With golden-sand beaches fringed by emerald jungle and a straightforward journey from San Jose airport, it is easy to see why Manuel Antonio draws the crowds. This is the busiest beach destination in Costa Rica, particularly during the December to April peak, where the national park and surrounding beaches attract thousands of daily visitors. Those prepared to tolerate this will find easy-to-navigate jungle trails where sloths can frequently spotted dozing in the tree tops, capuchin monkeys leaping between the palms, enormous lizards scuttling along the beach and occasionally even a passing troop of squirrel monkeys.
The centre of Manuel Antonio holds little of interest beyond a handful of restaurants and bars, with the location of most quality hotels set along a winding cliff-side road leading down into the town itself. This means that few hotels have direct access to their own safe swimming beach, but they do benefit from sweeping views of this picturesque coastline.