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When the surf is up, riptides are a dangerous problem on Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio's main beach, which runs parallel to the road to the park's entrance.
Playa Biesanz. For a less-turbulent swim and smaller crowds, head to this beach within a sheltered cove. It also has good snorkeling. Amenities: none Best for: solitude; snorkeling. Near Hotel Parador, Manuel Antonio, 60601.
Playa Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio's safest swimming area is sheltered Playa Manuel Antonio, the second beach in the national park. Its white sand makes it attractive for lounging around, and it's also a good place for snorkeling. There are plenty of palm trees where you can find shade on this wide stretch of sand, and just outside the park are vendors selling fresh coconut water and lychees. Huge mounds of lava rock shelter this cove on both sides. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: swimming; sunbathing. 6 km south of Quepos; near park entrance, Manuel Antonio, 60601.
Never leave your valuables unattended while you're swimming.
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