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Top 5 Tours at Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is located at canton Quepos, province Puntarenas. It is an incredible place and even though it is quite small, it has become one of the main tourist destinations in the country.

The National Park at the Central Pacific counts with endless biodiversity where you can see white beaches with turquoise water and enjoy beautiful and impressive sunsets. You can also see much flora and fauna, for example, iguanas, sloths, Capuchin monkeys, squirrels, coatis, and hundreds of birds. The hotel offer is huge and there is everything from 1 to 5-star hotels, boutique hotels and hostels, there is something for everyone.

In Manuel Antonio there is much to do, so we started looking for the best tours you can do in this area. Therefore, we called or friends from Iguana Tours, experts in the area. So if you are planning to visit Manuel Antonio, we have some advice for you. I’m sure that after this blog you are even more excited to experience everything by yourself. So let’s start!

Tour Deluxe at Manuel Antonio National Park

This is a guided tour through the national park. The certified guide explained to us a lot about biodiversity in this area. I’m sure he will affect you with his happiness and enthusiasm. It’s incredible how Mauricio (our guide from Iguana Tours) still gets excited about a bird that flew over our way, after 20 years working in this national park (as he told us). He immediately started running to place his telescope so we could see it as well.

guia parque nacional manuel antonio

During the hike, you can visit beaches and souvenir stores, the ways are accessible for wheelchairs as well and you can see a great number of wild animals.

It’s easy to see iguanas, anteaters, and sloths, listen to the singing of the birds and watch the Capuchin monkeys play. It is one of the very few places where with a little luck you can see a very special kind of squirrel monkey in its natural habitat because there are only less than 1´000 animals of this kind.

The hike takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. After the half, you can relax at the white sand beach with crystal-clear water and enjoy some tropical fruit and drinks. The guide also showed us some other trails where you can walk by yourself and see waterfalls, viewpoints and other beaches of the park.


  • 2 hours and 30 minutes


  • Collective excursion
  • Transport from/to the hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Bilingual guide (English, Spanish, French or German)
  • Fruit snack and a drink, as well as the entrance to the national park.

What should I bring?

  • Water bottle
  • Swimwear
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Changing clothes (optional)

Catamaran Snorkel and Sunset Tour

A catamaran is a small boat with two parallel hulls, which is designed for tourist activities. On this tour, you can enjoy nature and beautiful views from the ocean to the coasts of Quepos and the national park. We did the tour in the afternoon and left around 1:30 p.m.

Onboard, we met Tomás, a man from Limón who has been working for many years on the catamaran of Iguana Tours. He is responsible for the party vibes, shares time with everyone, takes selfies, talks to everyone and also has his live music show. He is also responsible that everything is in order and that everyone follows the rules.

During the ride, we had the luck of seeing dolphins playing and jumping in front of the catamaran. Later, the captain stopped the boat so we could jump into the water or use the slides and swim in the warm water of the Pacific Ocean. We swam a little bit (50-75 meters) until we reached the riff where we could snorkel for a while.

iguana tours catamaran jump

Depending on the season, you might be lucky and see some humpback whales, dolphins, rays and many more animals.

The whole trip there was good music playing and they had fresh fruit and a minibar, in which you can drink all the cocktails and soft drinks you want (the only thing that is not included is beer). Before the trip ends, you will enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner, depending on the time you take the tour.

This is a highly recommended tour, no matter if as a couple, with friends, or in the family.


  • 3 hours and 30 minutes


  • Collective excursion
  • Transportation from/to your hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Bilingual guide (English and Spanish)
  • Lunch and cocktails with national liquor on board
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Live-music on board

What should I bring?

  • Comfortable clothes
  • Swimwear
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Hat (one that doesn’t fly away on the ocean)
  • Camera
  • Changing clothes (optional)

Kayak and Snorkeling in the ocean

Is there a possibility to fell freer and be closer to the ocean than in a kayak? Imagine paddling and seeing rays and dolphins swimming by your side. This is another adventure you can do in Manuel Antonio, in a group or individually.

Everything starts in Quepos at the Marina Pez Vela, where you drive along the coast of the beach and Manuel Antonio National Park until you get to Bahia de Biezans. Here you can take a swim in the turquoise water of the Pacific ocean and enjoy a delicious local snack.

kayak oceano

It can be a bit exhausting paddling by the sea and with the waves and rip currents. For this reason, it is recommended to have a certain physical condition to enjoy the tour.

The guide of Iguana Tours accompanies you and shows you the best places for snorkelling. In the end, you can eat a delicious lunch. It is a great way to experience the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.


  • 4 hours


  • Collective excursion
  • Transport from/to your hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Local guide
  • Fruit and refreshing drinks
  • Equipment (ocean kayak for one or two people)

What should I bring?

  • Swimwear
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Changing clothes (optional)


  • Preferable experience with kayaks on the ocean
  • Good physical condition (to paddle on the ocean)
  • Minimum age: 8 years (accompanied by an adult in a double kayak)
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes that may get wet

Kayak through the mangroves of Isla Damas

During this tour, you can enter the mangrove forest while a local guide shows you some interesting aspects of this environment. It’s normal to see wild animals on the shores. We were able to see monkeys, crabs, and small caimans.

kayak damas mangroove

It is important to bring repellent or another protection against the insects and not to wear bright colours like red, blue, yellow or purple which attract insects.

The ride takes about 2 hours. You paddle through 4 different types of mangroves and will see the scenic forest like in a movie. After the tour, a delicious lunch and natural drinks wait for you. This is definitively something you need to experience once in your life. 


  • 2 hours


  • Equipment (double or single kayak)
  • Swimwear
  • Lunch

What should I bring?

  • Protector solar
  • Light cloth
  • Camera
  • Repellent

Horseback Riding Tacorí Waterfalls Rancho Don Gilberto

Close to the town of Quepos, there is beautiful countryside with trails through the grasslands and forests, with a river and a beautiful waterfall. With no doubt, this is a great way to relax and enjoy a ride on a horse.

tocori horses and people

We started the tour at Rancho Don Gilberto, where Don Gilberto himself was our certified natural guide who told us about the plants that are growing on the ranch and its application in health, the kitchen, wildlife, history, and culture. He also answered some questions we had. When we started the horseback riding tour, the guide gave us some instructions. No matter it is the first time you sit on a horse or not, with this advice you feel like an expert.

While we were riding, we crossed a primary forest (never changed by humans) of the Reserva Ecológica Privada Tacori (private ecological reserve Tacori), where we saw a lot of wildlife and beautiful landscapes, until we reached the Tacori waterfall. Here, we enjoyed a refreshing bath in its waters.

tocori waterfalls

At this place, we got a snack and a bottle of water. When everyone was ready, we went back to the ranch to enjoy a delicious lunch.


  • 2 hours


  • Collective excursion 
  • Transportation from/to your hotel in Quepos/Manuel Antonio
  • Natural Guide
  • Lunch, fruits, and juice
  • Necessary equipment (helmet and mount)

What should I bring?

  • Water-resistant boots or shoes
  • Swimwear
  • Repellent
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Changing clothes (optional)


  • Comfortable clothes and long pants
  • Maximum weight per person: 200 Libras / 90 kilogram
  • Minimum age: 7 years

With no doubt, there is a great number of activities around the Manuel Antonio National Park, but the ones I mentioned in this blog are options I consider the best for an unforgettable experience in Costa Rica. Anyway, there are some others available that fit any traveller that visits Manuel Antonio National Park.

I hope this blog has been helpful and we will soon be enjoying those options in this area together. 

If you would like to share your experience or you have any question, feel free to write it in the comments down below. You can also write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will soon be in contact with you. 

Greetings from paradise!

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  • Janaina & Dieter, Brazil

    The trip was wonderful! Your help was invaluable and without your choices it would not have been so good! I am very very satisfied and very happy with the choices you made!

    Thank you very much for everything!

    Janaina & Dieter, Brazil
  • Kathrin, Ines, Matthias & Ingo, Germany

    Hello dear Aline, many thanks to you for the great compilation and organization of the trip. We were able to spend eventful, interesting and wonderful days in Costa Rica and will keep them in good memory. A thank you also goes to the ARA Tours team, which was available 24/7 for problems and questions, which were solved and answered quickly and reliably. The punctuality of the transfers offered should also be emphasized. In summary, it was a wonderful holiday.

    Kind regards

    Kathrin, Ines, Matthias & Ingo, Germany
  • Carina & Thomas, Germany

    Hello dear Aline,
    Now we have arrived back at San Jose Airport after a great trip. Everything worked out great and the tour was just perfectly planned and organized. Thank you very much. We take a lot of positive memories with us.
    Best regards.

    Carina & Thomas, Germany
  • Yvonne, Switzerland

    The Costa Rica trip together with my family is already behind us - it was wonderful!!! Everything went smoothly from A to Z, we had a wonderful time, no incidents and wonderful experiences.
    We all enjoyed it very much; the nature is enormous, but also the warm-hearted people, the cleanliness, the food - we are very enthusiastic!
    At this point I would like to thank you very much for your support in the preparation, for all the bookings, clarifications and enquiries!!!
    We visited the waterfall in La Fortuna and had a great view of the Arenal. In Monteverde we did a Hanging Bridges and Zipline tour and in Nosara a surf course. In Finca Rosa Bianca we did the coffee tour, it was all great, fun and interesting 😊. All in all, we saw lots of animals, always ate well, enjoyed the beaches....even in rainy weather 😊. Often we were even glad that it was overcast, otherwise it would have been almost toouuu hot for us.
    So THANK YOU again so much for everything!!!!

    Yvonne, Switzerland
  • Christina, Switzerland

    Many thanks for the extensive support (before, during and after the trip) and the professional handling of our concerns. With your support we had a smooth and unforgettable vacation in Costa Rica! Our favorite hotels: Hotel Plaza Yara and the Poas Volcano Lodge - a dream!
    All the best

    Christina, Switzerland
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    Yay! I´m glad we are back on track. Thank you again for helping us with all these changes.
    I´m glad we choose ARA-you are amazing! Thanks for all your help! It made it a very memorable visit!

    Jeanne, Bernd & Bill, USA
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    Hi Eli & ARA Team,
    We have spoken to the guest and they are super enthusiastic about their Costa Rica roundtrip! Everything was well organized, nice hotels, nice mix of activities & beach and they have big compliments for you guys!!
    Many thanks for all the good work!! The guest highly appreciate it!!
    They had lunch nearby in Ara Ambigua Lodge, and they loved this place. Friendly staff and good food!
    Do you work with this accommodation? If so, we would love hear 😊
    Once again, heads off for this amazing trip!
    With warm regards

    Janka, The Netherlands
  • Thomas, Deborah, Eva & Paula, Switzerland

    Dear Priska
    Happily I write some words to you in English, so you can easily forward them also to Ara Tours, please. Thank you all, we spent a magic time in Costa Rica! Baumeler's and Ara Tours organisation and logistics were perfect, everything worked out even better than we expected. The tours were brilliant, we really enjoyed everything very very much!
    All the accomodation was absolutely wonderful... the setting, the quality, the food, with happy helpful friendly staff everywhere. It was a wonderful way to experience this beautiful country the way we did, on a private tour with personal guide and drivers. We saw and learnt sooo much - it would have been impossible to do so on our own.
    Especially we praise our brilliant guide Fernando Perez, we benefited so much from his truly wide knowledge and deep love for his Country which he passed on in lovely encouraging way. We even became friends and we will meet in Switzerland coming September! Also our driver Carlos Sandi was great, not only as a driver but also as a compagnion, animal spotter and photographer. Thank you!
    So.... now we just enjoy our last day...
    Sunny greetings, pura vida

    Thomas, Deborah, Eva & Paula, Switzerland
  • Yvonne & Andrea, Switzerland

    Hello all
    Unfortunately, our wonderful trip is already over and everyday life has caught up with us again. We would like to thank you very much for everything. The trip was planned exactly according to our wishes and we have seen so many beautiful places.
    Thank you Stefanie!
    We have felt completely comfortable and top cared for by you. Via Whats App we got immediate answers to our questions, with the car everything worked out great. In all locations we were treated very warmly and nicely. It was just so indescribably beautiful, we will dream of the beautiful experiences for a long time. In any case, we will warmly recommend you and hope for a next time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Best regards.

    Yvonne & Andrea, Switzerland
  • Anita, Switzerland

    We have arrived safely in Switzerland and have already returned to work.
    It was a wonderful trip you put together for us.
    Your excellent service, as well as the 24 hour support service from ARA Tours, was truly outstanding.
    I have already recommended you several times and would book with you again and again. Thank you very much and keep me informed if there are any interesting offers.
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    Hello Pedro, our time in CR is coming to an end and we wanted to say "thank you very much for organizing a phenomenal week". Everything has been well organized and we have seen many beauties of nature. Thanks!

    Lukas & Isabelle, Switzerland
  • Reinout & Yvonne, The Netherlands

    Thanks Jenny for the clear answer. We will make an appointment via the link you gave us.
    Today we visited National Parc Cabo Blanco. What an amazing park, so quiet for tourists, so full of animals, really lovely and therefore together with Monte Verde, Cahuita and Corcovado the park today, Cabo Blanco, scores high in our ranking of most beautiful parks of CR.These parks give us reason, together with the Pura Vida in CR, to come back soon. We'll keep in contact.

    Reinout & Yvonne, The Netherlands
  • Dominik, Germany

    Good day Jennifer
    As we have already told Simone, the stay at Lapa Rios is extremely enriching, thanks to the well planned planting and the untouched environment we see a lot of animals. Contrary to the plans before the stay, we do not want to visit more animals in captivity at the end. We will have a look at the few hours before we leave.
    We thank you and your team very much for the excellent advice and the permanent support! We can only recommend Ara Tours.
    Best regards.

    Dominik, Germany
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    A big thank to you, you saved our vacation!
    Communication already worked very well in Germany. The help from you, especially through Aline, should be mentioned here. This was fantastic from the first WhatsApp message to the last. We already know Costa Rica, so we knew what we wanted and what not. Ara Tours was an important point of contact for us. We are very grateful to Aline precisely because our actual travel agent cancelled our trip 36 hours before departure. She immediately organized everything for us. Whether the hotel in beautiful Punta Leona, the tours to the national parks, even the shuttle service with the great driver Guillerno Ortega has to be mentioned here. We are very grateful to you, dear Aline, but also to the entire Ara Tours team. You too made our almost 3-week trip to Costa Rica unforgettable again. We would love to come back and of course we will book through Ara Tours again.

    Daniel, Jana & Theo, Germany
  • Alexander & family, Switzerland

    Thank you, everything really worked out great. Super organization and at any time quick info / help / support from you!
    We liked it very much. The conclusion in Quepos was crowning. We liked the beach in the National Park Manuel Antonio very much. We would have liked to stay longer, but we take home many wonderful, unforgettable impressions. PURA VIDA!
    Many thanks to you Aline! We will gladly recommend you to others.

    Alexander & family, Switzerland
  • Neumann Family, Germany

    - The route was super planned, first on the beach time to arrive and then only from Monteverde with excursions inland etc. and at the end again beach - perfect!
    - Support from Ara Tours was VERY good!!! Through Whatsapp reachability the service was great, very quick answers / very flexible, good suggestions etc. Also with the doctor Ara Tours helped with translations by phone - that was really very, very good!
    - The home stay day was an absolute highlight - very authentic - so we got to know the locals REAL, the family was super friendly and very open and have talked about everything. Not at all touristy perceived.

    Neumann Family, Germany
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    We would like to thank you personally for this beautiful trip that you organised for us and for the follow-up that you did throughout the stay. A big thank you also to Jennifer d'Ara tours! Thank you again and have a great week!

    Marine & Bruno, France
  • Walter, Switzerland

    We really appreciated your (almost) daily updates from Costa Rica on Covid and related issues. That was a highlight compared to other incoming agents worldwide! We thank you for your effort and wish you that you manage the coming time well and stay healthy.

    Walter, Switzerland
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    Our great compliments for keeping us informed every day on the developments. We wish you all the best and keep yourself and families in good health and mood during this unprecedented period!

    Ronald, Germany
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    You are really super! It is impressive how you manage the crisis with your super flow of information and the great reversal. Hats off!

    Kathrin, Germany
  • Michael, Germany

    Hello, we were on a round trip in Costa Rica from 27.11., which was booked through BigXtra and organised by them. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much. The tour was simply amazing! The support by Carlos was just great. We have done many trips before, but this one was an unforgettable experience thanks to Carlos. Carlos speaks very good German and was able to sensitively introduce us to Costa Rica, its incomparable nature and its great, friendly inhabitants. Pura Vida became for us a term for the attitude towards life in Costa Rica. Please say hello to Carlos from us and once again a huge thank you to him in the name of the whole group of 8. We wish him only the best for his future.

    Michael, Germany
  • Evelyne, Switzerland

    Wie just did a 4 week trip in Costa Rica which was organised from ARA tours and we really liked it - well done Ara Tours! We also had a guide - his name is Enrique. His German is really good and he knows a lot about Costa Rica and he showed us a lot of animals. We had a wonderful time with hime - thank you so much Enrique!

    Evelyne, Switzerland
  • Tanja, Germany

    perfect tour perfect tour guide pablo, everything very well organised 👍👍👍👍🇨🇷🇨🇨🇷 were thrilled

    Tanja, Germany
  • Ines, Germany

    Many thanks and great praise to our tour guide Mauricio and our bus driver Adrian! We felt very comfortable during the 2 weeks in Costa Rica. The wide-ranging knowledge of Mauricio and the super driving skills of Adrian were particularly admirable. Thanks to the eagle eyes of both of them, we had the opportunity to observe a variety of animals in Costa Rica. Thank you for everything!

    Ines, Germany
  • Sabine, Germany

    I can only recommend ARA Tours. Thanks again to Nicole for the great planning of the tour and the support. Our tour guide Peter Käser was simply incredible (a walking encyclopaedia) and always had an answer to all my questions about the flora and fauna and the history of CR. Our driver Julio carried my father on his hands, for which I am very grateful. CR is also worth a trip for wheelchair users at any time (with ARA Tours, of course).

    Sabine, Germany
  • Thieme Family, Germany

    We would like to thank you once again for organizing our trip [...] through the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Our special thanks go to our tour guide Enrique, who with his extensive knowledge of flora and fauna about his country brought it very close to us and made us want to come even a second time. We were very glad and happy to travel with him, as he was also very committed to our problems on site, in addition to his competent function as a tour guide.

    Thieme Family, Germany
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    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sensational effort! I do not know such a competent tour guide as with you really from nowhere else... and we have already traveled a lot... 🙏🏻🍀

    Antonia-Maria & Boris, Austria
  • Katja, Germany

    I wanted to thank you again for the great Costa Rica trip. We flew back home very happy and with many great impressions. A compliment for the super organisation. Everything worked out perfectly (except for the handover of the rental car, which was force majeure...). So thank you again and I have already recommended you to friends:-)!

    Katja, Germany
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    Thank you very much for your email and the tickets. We really appreciate how quickly and efficiently you deal with our requests each time!

    Denise & Alain, Switzerland
  • Philippe, Switzerland

    Hello Christine Thank you very much for this information. The support is super👍 many thanks Gruss

    Philippe, Switzerland
  • Marianne & Stefan Gräub, Switzerland

    Otherwise, the planned trip was a complete success. Everything went well and the visits you organised were all very interesting. The visits you organised were all very interesting and gave us a great insight into the respective topics. The fact that the Ticos are very friendly and always ready to help was fully confirmed.

    Marianne & Stefan Gräub, Switzerland

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