Manuel Antonio National Park
Founded in 1972, with an area of 4,015 acres (1,625 hectares) land and 135,908 acres (55,000 hectares) of sea territory, Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful national parks in Costa Rica and the world. In 2011 the renowned magazine Forbes ranked it among the 12 most beautiful natural parks on the planet.
The four areas of the national park
The Tombolo of Punta Catedral, a strip of dunes formed by coastal streams, connects the peninsula of the park with the mainland. In this area are the main beaches: Playa Espadilla Sur with 2,624 feet (800 meters) of length and Playa Manuel Antonio, both with white sand.
In the second area is Puerto Escondido, the “hidden port”. It is a rocky bay with its rocks facing the breaking waves and giving a peculiar sound at high tide.
The third area is called Punta Serrucho, the “Saw Point”, and forms a land peak with numerous caves in the southwest.
To the west of the park is La Trampa, which translates as the “trap”. It is assumed that the aboriginal inhabitants caught fish and turtles, which came into the bay at high tide and did not get out at low tide.
The most important habitat here is the primary forest, which is composed of trees such as the black guapinol and mallow plants such as ceibas.
Several lagoons lined with herbaceous plants stretch across the park. The most important is Laguna Negra, the black lagoon, but the access is difficult.
Flora and fauna
There are numerous species of mammals in the park, including:
- white-headed capuchins
- mantled howlers
- spider monkeys
There are also several squirrel species and two raccoon species.
In the park you can find to twelve islands, which serve as a refuge for seabirds. The 184 bird species include:
- Green Kingfisher
- black-collared hawk