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    Manuel Antonio: Best National Park for Beaches, Hiking and Wildlife

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    Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast, is a magical place displaying scenic beauty with many white sand beaches, lush mountains and voluptuous forests inviting you to enjoy the majestic scenery.

    It is a perfect combination that allows you to be surrounded by forest and oceanfront while observing hundreds of animals such as raccoons, coatis, iguanas, two and three finger sloths, the white-faced monkey, marmoset monkeys and small wild cats, among many others.

    This site is located in Quepos, in the province of Puntarenas (Pacific), and has an area of ​​1,983 hectares on land and 55,000 hectares in the marine part, dedicated to conservation, research and ecotourism.

    Park visitors can see birds like the tucancillo, the pelican, the grouse, the osprey, green kingfisher and Chirin coke. In total, 300 species can be found, almost of all them with beautiful colors.

    It is possible to see iguanas, lizards, snakes and many insects, or simply relax and sunbathe in Manuel Antonio, Scull South, The Twin, Punta Catedral and Puerto Escondido beaches.

    “This heavenly place is the most visited in Costa Rica because the diversity of species that can be found. Besides, the animals come to the trails when people are walking through the park,” indicated the coordinator of the coastal marine program Sinac, Roberto Avilés.

    Most visited

    The park is one of the smallest of Costa Rica and yet it is the most visited because one can perform many activities like rafting, rappelling, kayaking, surfing and even horseback riding.

    Forbes magazine classified Manuel Antonio in 2011 as one of the 12 most beautiful parks in the world and highlighted its beautiful beaches with coral reefs, perfect for snorkeling and observing marine wildlife such as morays, manta rays, angelfish, sea urchins and starfish, and offshore whales and dolphins.

    In areas near the park you can find many hotels and restaurant services.

    Small and medium enterprises of the park called on the authorities to promote the area as they still feel the effects of the international economic crisis.

    They also complain that the large hotel chains have caused a decline in customers for small businesses.

    The president of the Association for the Protection of Tourism (PROTUR) and a business owner, Boris Marchegeani, estimate that 386,000 additional tourists are needed in the area.

    Tourism is one of the main drivers of the economy of Costa Rica, a country of 4.7 million people which in 2013 received 2.34 million foreign tourists generating foreign exchange of around $2.3 billion.

    Costa Rica is home to about 4.5% of the planet’s biodiversity, which constitutes one of its main attractions.

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