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Through the 40-odd years since Costa Ricans designated the park a protected preserve, nature lovers have established their residences throughout the area. You can enjoy the tropical paradise from a multi-level, 1-bedroom condo, petite “casita” (cottage), or more elaborate villas, homes and mansions with lush gardens and hilltop views.
Perhaps the zenith of eco-tourism destinations, the Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world. Covering nearly 1,700 acres, tropical birds, titi and white-faced monkeys, iguana and other reptilian creatures roam the tropical forests and low wetlands. Three protected beaches offer exceptional snorkeling for close-up views of the coral and sponges. In fact, the New York Times voted Manuel Antonio Beach one of the Five Best Beaches in the World.
Though hard to imagine in such a natural setting, many fine restaurants, casinos and spas are within easy reach. The quaint, beachfront village of Puerto Quepos centers around a six-block square of restaurants, bakeries, galleries and shops. One of the world’s most popular big game sport fishing centers, the port offers a large number of guided fishing tours. December to March is the dry season and Costa Rican summer, when surfers, hikers, and ecotourists mix with locals and scientists devoted to studying the reserve’s abundant flora and fauna.
Experienced adventure seekers take to the white water rapids that tumble down the rainforest mountains. A canopy tour also is an increasingly popular day trip. A particular favorite of this type of tour finds you suspended from a zip line that runs between platforms and allows you close access through the forest via a safety harness. Surfers should make their way northward to Jaco – a popular surf spot and party beach, where you might indulge in some post-surf partying before returning home.
Choosing a rental home for your family’s vacation is the ideal way to enjoy the lush, tropical landscape of Manuel Antonio National Park. Plan your daily excursions over breakfast on your hilltop deck or slip your feet into a pleasant spring near your condo. You’ll find that vacation home living mirrors your natural surroundings and allows your entire family the space, comfort and convenience of a private retreat.