Playa Espadilla Sur & Punta Catedral in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

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Playa Espadilla Sur

Top choice in Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio & Around

A half-hour hike from the park entrance, the exposed Playa Espadilla Sur is to the north of Punta Catedral and gorgeous with pinch-me scenes of white sand, backed by lush tropical forest. As tempted as you may be, swimming here can be dangerous – be aware of currents. There's drinking water, bathrooms and showers in the middle of the beach.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio & Around attractions

1. Playa Manuel Antonio

0.27 MILES

With its turquoise waters, this lovely forest-backed beach fronts a deep bay, sheltered by the Punta Catedral on the west side and a promontory on the…

2. Turtle Trap

0.36 MILES

At the western end of Playa Manuel Antonio you can see a semicircle of rocks at low tide. Archaeologists believe that these were arranged by pre-Columbian…

3. Punta Catedral

0.38 MILES

Geography fun fact: this isthmus, which is the centerpiece of the park, is called a tombolo and was formed by the accumulation of sand between the…

4. Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

0.45 MILES

Featuring lush jungle, picture-perfect beaches and craggy headlands, this tiny park (1680 acres/680 hectares) absolutely brims with wildlife (and often…

5. Playa Gemelas

0.55 MILES

Clasped by volcanic rock and jungle, Playa Gemelas is smaller than the other beaches, but no less spectacular: this place could be a desert island beach…

6. Playa Puerto Escondido

0.72 MILES

Visitors may visit a lookout over this gorgeous horseshoe-shaped beach, but the access point via the Sendero Puerto Escondido was closed indefinitely in…

7. Playa Espadilla

0.83 MILES

This wide stretch of white sand is found just outside the park entrance, in front of Manuel Antonio village. It's a popular place for families and beach…

8. Greentique Wildlife Refuge

1.44 MILES

Biologist Jimmy Mata leads magical one- and two-hour sojourns through the Butterfly Atrium, Reptile & Amphibian Water Gardens and Crocodile Lagoon, as…