Best beaches in Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica Blog

Top beaches in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Despite being one of the most touristic and crowded enclaves of Costa Rica, the beaches of Manuel Antonio maintain that paradisiacal attraction where the vegetation blends with the fine sand and the blue water. We propose five of them to enjoy the warm waters of the Costa Rican Pacific.

Manuel Antonio beaches

Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most visited and, therefore, crowded places in the Central American country. For this reason, it generates admiration and rejection in equal parts. Its defenders claim that it is an enclave that combines excellent beaches, all kinds of services and a very rich fauna and flora. Its detractors claim that it has become a sort of theme park similar to the resorts of the Caribbean. It is true that for those who come to Costa Rica to enjoy totally virgin natural spaces, Manuel Antonio is not the place for them. But, nevertheless, if the objective is to enjoy nature and beaches with a varied offer of hotels and a good number of restaurants, then it is an interesting option. Also, it can be a good end to a stay in the country to rest on the beaches of Manuel Antonio from hiking in places like the Arenal Volcano, the Rio Celeste waterfall or Monteverde. It must be said that it is nothing like a Caribbean resort, since it is not distinguished by all-inclusive hotel complexes. It simply has a larger tourist infrastructure than in other parts of the country…


In our trip to Costa Rica on our own between the months of May and June we did not see that it was crowded with tourists. In fact, in Manuel Antonio beaches like Espadilla and Biesanz we were practically in family and very comfortable. In addition to visiting Manuel Antonio National Park, this enclave on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast also allows you to relax on beaches of fine sand and warm waters. The only disappointment we had was that the water was not completely crystal clear. In Espadilla beach it is logical since there is a bigger swell, but in Manuel Antonio beach we expected the typical transparent water typical of this kind of paradises. To know which are the beaches in Manuel Antonio that you can visit, we are going to review the most interesting ones.

Espoadilla Beach

Espadilla Beach

This is the most famous of Manuel Antonio’s beaches. Its northern side is outside the boundaries of the National Park, so it is not necessary to pay an entrance fee to enjoy it. It has a length of about 3.5 kilometers and is surrounded by vegetation. To access it you have to get almost at the end of the road that connects Quepos with Manuel Antonio National Park. To the right of the road we will see several parking lots where, upon payment, we can leave the car and walk to the beach.

Due to its length, it is usually not too crowded and can be quietly lying on the sand without any other swimmer within a radius of twenty meters. The closer we get to Manuel Antonio National Park, the more tourists, beach bars and vendors we will see. Meanwhile, if we stay in the opposite area we will be calmer.

Being a very open beach, the waves are sometimes quite strong. In addition, we must be cautious with the currents that are usually registered in this area of the Pacific. If we notice that one of them drags us out to sea, it is advisable to swim parallel to the coast until we get away from the current. When we have done so, we return to the sand. What can never be done is to try to swim against the current, since it will be impossible to move forward and the chances of drowning increase considerably.

As in any beach in Costa Rica and practically the world, you should not lose sight of your belongings in case the thieves make their appearance. However, it is a safe, quiet and paradisiacal beach. In the vegetation zone we can see some capuchin monkeys and large iguanas.

Espadilla has a southern slope that belongs to the Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio Beach

It is undoubtedly the most emblematic beach of the National Park, for a reason it bears its own name. To cool off in its waters you have to pay the entrance fee that allows access to this protected area (16 dollars). In our case we also hired a guide who showed us the different species in Manuel Antonio thanks to a telescope. It is a tour of just over an hour that starts at the entrance of the park and ends at the beach. Therefore, the sand and water of this small Eden appear as an oasis in the middle of the vegetation to cool off and relax after the walk. It is one of those sights that are difficult to forget, since it configures the typical landscape that we imagine when we speak of a paradisiacal beach.
As hundreds of visitors enter Manuel Antonio National Park every day and the beach is not too long, overcrowding is usually the dominant note. It is the negative point that detracts from the charm of the place. The beach also has some rather scroungy and thieving inhabitants. These are the capuchin monkeys and raccoons that appear through the vegetation and begin to swarm stealthily through the sand in search of an innocent victim. These animals have become experts at snatching snacks from tourists. With total impunity they are able to open the backpacks and take the snack without any modesty. Therefore it is necessary to be very attentive to the belongings, especially if it is food.

In Manuel Antonio Beach, as in the rest of the National Park, there are no restaurants, so it is necessary to take food and plenty of drinks to spend the whole day there.

Manuel Antonio Beach is not the only option for a dip in the National Park. If we walk a little we can reach other small paradises where you can enjoy the warm waters of the Pacific with much more tranquility. One example is Twin Beaches, two small beaches separated by a portion of land covered with vegetation that can be reached by the trail of the same name after walking a little less than a kilometer. It is also a recommended route to get into the exuberance of the National Park that has the reward of being able to enjoy small but very cozy beaches.

Las Gemelas Beach

The name Twin Beaches or Playa Las Gemelas  comes from the fact that from the sand you can see two islets called Twin Islands. Keep in mind that when the tide rises the beaches disappear under the waters of the Pacific. In our case we went early in the afternoon and we were able to take a dip without any problem.

Puerto Escondido Beach

As its name suggests, it is the most hidden and quiet of all the beaches of Manuel Antonio. To get there you have to walk, first, along the path of Gemelas beach and then take the one that bears the name of Puerto Escondido (all of them are well signposted). In total you have to walk a little more than a kilometer from Manuel Antonio beach.
Playa Puerto Escondido is an imposing cove of about 800 meters surrounded by green cliffs that form an image of extraordinary beauty. The only drawback is that, if there is high tide, it is impossible to access it. Therefore it is necessary to be very careful not to get caught by this phenomenon to avoid unnecessary discomfort.

For those who do not want to go down to the beach but want to contemplate its silhouette, there is a path called Mirador, which leads to a platform where you can enjoy exceptional panoramic views of the beach and the rest of the National Park.

Biesanz Beach

Biesanz Beach

It was undoubtedly one of the most pleasant surprises of our stay. If someone who comes to Manuel Antonio wants to get away from the most crowded and touristy areas without having to pay a dollar, Biesanz beach is your place. To get there you have to drive along the road that connects Quepos with Manuel Antonio and take a street to the right at the height of Café Milagro. At that point we see a panel indicating the direction of the beach. We go down a narrow road towards the luxurious Parador Resort & Spa Manuel Antonio, but before reaching it we see a path on the right that allows access to the beach. We can leave the car on the road itself (there is usually a local who takes care of the vehicles if we leave a tip) and walk about a kilometer along the path until you reach the beach Biesanz.

The name of this place is due to the surname of the family that settled on the adjoining property. It is a small beach, surrounded by vegetation and with calm and very warm waters. A real Eden where you can see huge pelicans doing what they do best, fishing. Undoubtedly a must-visit beach if you travel to Manuel Antonio.