Recently listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the 12 “World’s Most Beautiful National Parks,” Manuel Antonio on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast is a combination of lush forests, warm water, gorgeous beaches and abundant wildlife. Tucked within forest-lined coves the broad cream-colored beaches are ideal for sunbathing or relaxing in the beach edge shade. Pleasant water temperatures allow one to comfortably enjoy swimming, wading and snorkeling. Friendly monkeys, sloths, iguanas and colorful birds live in the park assuring plenty to see while hiking the park’s easy trails. Whitewater rafting, boating, horseback riding tours and more can be arranged outside the park where there are also many excellent hotels and restaurants.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest in the Tilaran Mountains of northwest Costa Rica is one of the world’s premiere destinations for naturalists. A cloud forest is an especially beautiful and rare type of rain forest created by frequent mists from low-lying clouds. This cool and moist environment is characterized by massive trees covered by thick “carpets” of small plants. Much of the resident wildlife is endemic to these habitats. In addition to forest hikes, visitors can enjoy many other area attractions including horseback riding; dining in numerous restaurants; live frog and butterfly exhibits; bird watching; crafts and gift shopping; “zip line” tours and bridge walks in forest canopies; a visit to a native orchid garden and more.