Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Costa Rica, and it has some of the best beaches I’ve been to in my entire life. Located on the pacific coast of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is home to Manuel Antonio National Park which has two beaches inside the park.
With white sandy beaches pressed right against lush jungle teeming with wildlife, you can see why people travel from all over the world to spend a few days laying in the Manuel Antonio sun. Here are the best beaches in Manuel Antonio.
1. Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Manuel Antonio (or Manuel Antonio Beach) is easily one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to in my life. After hiking through the national park, you are greeted with one of most stunning views in all of Costa Rica. The water is bath temperature, and taking a dip into the water was a magical experience for me. This was the busier of the two beaches in the park, but with good reason. The views are elite, and we even saw a ton of capuchin monkeys playing around the trees right on the beach. A must visit if you are visiting Manuel Antonio.
2. Playa Espadilla Sur
Also known as Espadilla Sur Beach, this is the bigger of the two beaches inside the national park and has less crowds. The surrounding area is also incredible, with jungle on every side and large rock formations jutting out from the water on the horizon. There is also an area on the beach with umbrellas and chairs if you want a more classic feel in this national park beach.
3. Playa Espadilla
Outside of the National park, the main public beach is Playa Espadilla, and it is stunning in its own right. This beach bumps right up to the National park and is free. You can pay around $10 for a set of chairs for the full day if you’d prefer to be a little pampered. The chair areas also serve drinks and food right on the beach, but there is plenty of room elsewhere on the beach if you are looking for solitude.
The main road is right along the beachfront and has convenience stores, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels. The water was very warm (I went in late April) and the waves were fairly intense. Surfers shared the water with swimmers, jet skis, people parasailing, and catamaran boats. Lots of action on this beautiful beach backed up right against the National park.