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Central Pacific: Quepos / Manuel Antonio & Dominical

Locate on the Central Pacific area Quepos / Manuel Antonio is one of the most visited tourist destination of all Costa Rica and the gateway to the world famous Manueal Antonio National Park a biological oasis formed by primary and secondary forest.  The village center is a delightful six-block square of restaurants, bars, hotels, bakeries, art galleries and gift shops, all fronted by the main beach and sport fishing fleet.  Explore a world of nature and adventure from this sleepy seaside town. Manuel Antonio is a fusion of scenic mountain beauty and active lifestyle; this is just a place that offers something for everyone.  For those who really want to get away, the tiny coastal town of Dominical is the perfect place.  28 miles south of Quepos and the gorgeous Manuel Antonio National Park, Dominical is a 4 km long beach strip, with a few hotels, lodges, resorts and restaurants. With its stunning backdrop of lush green forests and palm trees, with four National Parks and three Reserves in the vicinity, Dominical is a unique central location for day trips and is known for its surfing, canopying, rafting, whale watching and birding.

Activities Quepos

Manuel Antonio National Park: Created in 1972 to preserve the richness of the forest and the idyllic beaches, Manuel Antonio is home to many of Costa Rica's endangered species. Don't let the size fool you, the smallest of Costa Rica's National Parks, which encompasses almost 1,700 acres of land (683 terrestrial hectares) and 136,000 acres of ocean (55,000 marine hectares), is regarded as one of its best. Manuel Antonio National Park is internationally recognized as being one of the most biodiverse parks on the planet. Lush tropical forests, lagoons, mangroves and pristine white sandy beaches make up one of the most diverse ecosystems imaginable. Among the 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds, some of the frequently viewed residents include white-faced and howler monkeys, two and three toed sloths, iguanas and the endangered squirrel monkey.  The park contains a great system of trails to allow visitors to explore its four beaches, Espadilla Sur, Manuel Antonio, Escondito and Playita, rated some of the best in the world. Espadilla Sur and Manuel Antonio offer very good snorkeling. At 236 feet (72 m) high, Cathedral Point lies between Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio. It is connected to the mainland by a narrow land bridge and if you’re up for the hike, provides a memorable view. Playa Manuel Antonio offers a glimpse into the past with pre-Columbian turtle traps made of stone. Surfing, swimming or just relaxing under the sun are favorite activities for park goers. 

Snorkeling Adventures: Come and open your eyes to the many wonders that the Central Pacific of Costa Rica has to offer. Allow our bilingual guides and experts of the area to show you around the warm waters of Manuel Antonio, enjoy the volcanic rock formations, pyramids, canons, and endless array of fauna and flora fun waiting for you!

Kayak Adventures:  Explore this natural wonderland by kayak with naturalist guides as they reveal the protected inland waterways of the Damas Estuary and mangrove habitat.  Explore an unforgettable plethora of flora and fauna as you learn about, experience, and participate in the magical Costa Rican mangrove and tropical rain forest ecosystem.  Exciting night kayak tours are also available as you explore the nocturnal world of the rainforest.

Boat Tours: Naturalists steer you peacefully and comfortably in high-tech, ultra-quiet estuary boats as the wildlife comes to you – sometimes right into the boat!  Experience curious families of monkeys as they migrate across the mangrove ecosystem in search of food as you discover the secret ways different exotic trees of Costa Rica replenish the environment worldwide, yet sustain themselves for decades of growth.

Nature & Sunset Cruises: Navigating along the Costa Rica’s coast and Manuel Antonio National Park. Morning cruises include snorkeling adventures.  The afternoon tour is a truly amazing trip for nature lovers who will enjoy not only the experience itself but the breathtaking sunset of the Pacific Ocean. Humpback whales, and dolphins as well as other beautiful marine life can be witnessed from the boat.

White water rafting: Adventure down the Savegre River a class II, III and some rare IV rapids that are more than manageable and perfect for families.  For those looking for high adventure the Naranjo River; a class IV and V river awaits you.  Bilingual internationally trained guides and safety kayakers will expertly coach you through navigating these rivers.

Carara National Park: Once you’ve satiated yourself with Manuel Antonio National Park and its beaches, try something new located only about 1 hour away is Carara National Park.  This hiking tour and natural sanctuary adventure in a bio-diverse reserve is dramatically different in terms of wildlife and plant species than our “other” national park in Manuel Antonio.  Enjoy a relaxing hike for a few hours through the tropical rain forest with our highly educated, bilingual naturalists and guides.  On your Carara experience, unlike in Manuel Antonio National Park, you will spot unforgettable giant red Macaws and extraordinary crocodiles living in the the Tárcoles River ecosystem estuary and adjacent to the Carara Park and it´s protected biological corridor.

Canopy Tour: Day or night this tour focuses not just on adventure but also the unique bio-diversity of the area.  Excellent for individuals, families, and children 6 years old and over, or large groups, people of all ages will enjoy this adventure tour because of its variety, options and bio-diversity.

Tarcoles Crocodile Tour:  Explore three different eco-systems by river boat (swamp, river and ocean) as we search out the grand crocodiles and other animals in this stunning wildlife refuge. 

Surf School: The Manuel Antonio area is the perfect place for surfing and is known for consistent waves year-round with options for beginners and experienced surfers alike. Find the perfect wave to suit anyone; smaller waves to start on, or larger, more powerful waves for the more experienced. Plus the areas warm tropical water makes it especially comfortable and easier than learning in colder water or while wearing a wet suit.

Activities Dominical

Cano Island Tour: Caño Island is an amazing Biological Reserve considered the best snorkeling and diving area in the country. With fantastic underwater visibility, one can see on any given day, sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, manta rays, moray eels, barracudas, tuna, snapper and grouper swimming alongside a variety sharks and humpback or pilot whales.  Guided hikes of the Island’s archaeological sites you will be able to see remains of pre-Columbian stone spheres and pottery of the ancient Indians from the Diquis valley that used the Island as a cemetery. 

Whale watching & snorkeling Marino Bellena National Park Here we visit the famous Punta Uvita or  Whale´s Tale, Ballena Island, Tres Hermanas rocks and Ventanas Sea Caves. During the tour, we can see Humpback, Pilot Whales (in season), and dolphins and snorkel the coral and rock reefs. While cruising, enjoy the scenic beauty of the coastline of Costa Ballena observing the diversity of birds in the Islets and the amazing caverns of Ventanas Beach.

Corcovado National Park: Protecting approximately 54,539 hectares of humid rainforest and 24,000 hectares of pristine ocean, Corcovado National Park has become an international attraction since it was founded in 1975. It is the #3 ranked national park in the world, mainly because 2% of the entire world’s biodiversity can be found within the park. Corcovado Park is home to almost 400 species of birds, 140 species of mammals and 116 species of amphibians and reptiles and 6000 species of insects. 6 natural eco-systems have been identified in the park and it protects endangered species such as the jaguar, puma, crocodile, tapir, poison dart and golden frogs and the harpy eagle. The rainforest is also home to numerous plants and insects that are extremely valuable for scientific and medical discovery. It is the premier place in Costa Rica to see the diverse wildlife that exists in the country.

Nauyaca Waterfalls:  By horseback explore the waterfalls of the Barucito River.  These wonderful waterfalls are several of the main attractions of the Southern Pacific of Costa Rica. Here we swim, climb and jump into its pools all surrounded by incredible natural beauty and some of the country’s best bird watching. 

Whitewater Rafting:  The nearby Coto Brus, Savegre and Gubo rivers offer a paddlers paradise.  Ranging from an easy class II to an adventurous class IV they are known for its beautiful scenery, the lush greenness that surrounds it, and the diversity of wildlife that you can find on the banks of the river.

Kayaking: Kayaking the Marino Bellena National Park or the Hatillo Mangrove is a highly recommended way to actively explore the areas rich and diverse eco-systems.  Get up close with nature as you paddle through these waterways.  Some adventures include snorkeling, caving, and wave surfing.

Surfing: The Dominical area is known as one of the best surf areas in Costa Rica.  Whether you are a beginner or an expert you can find the perfect wave and instruction here.  From Dominical take a trip south to Pavones to surf one of the longest left breaks in the world!

Bird Watching Expeditions: With 875 different types of birds, Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world that offers as many different species of birds in such a small area. One of the reasons for Costa Rica’s extraordinary bird life is the country’s great variety of habitats: rain forests, mangrove swamps, beaches, cloud forest, rivers, etc.  This Lowland bird watching expedition begins early when the birds are just beginning to wake up. First on the agenda is a visit to the tower. The upper deck puts you in the tree tops at eye level with the birds. This is an ideal location for spotting tanagers, honeycreepers, toucans, saltators, vireos and others. From there you will hike through secondary forest with your sharp-eyed guide until you arrive at La Casona, the old Hacienda Barú home where you will enjoy a delicious breakfast of typical Costa Rican food.  From the Casona we will go on to the river, your only chance to observe water birds. Petrels, jaegers, gulls, and others are likely to be found there, and, with a little luck, an osprey might make an appearance.  From there its on to the rookery where, during the wet season, you will observe egrets, herons, ibis and other water birds from a platform built over the water of the mangrove estuary that offers a great view.The final leg of the tour includes secondary forest and the beach, your best opportunities to observe shore birds such as whimbrels, plovers, phalaropes, sandpipers and sanderlings, pelicans and frigate birds.

Fishing: Costa Rica is a Sport Fishing paradise!  Well known as one of the best sport fishing spots in the world due to the big concentration of Sail Fish in its waters during the dry season from December to end of May.  Together with Sail Fishes, there are big schools of Mahi Mahi, Blue and Black Marlins, huge Yellow Fin Tunas and Wahoos all year around.  The South Pacific area and the Ballena Coast, where Dominical is located, gives us the access to the best fishing banks, and reefs for incredible sport fishing.

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