The Environment Ministry’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) reported that it will invest approximately ₡600 million (some $1 million) in improvements to Manuel Antonio National Park before the end of the year.
This investment in the Central Pacific park will address a series of infrastructure improvements that the Health Ministry ordered in February.
SINAC officials said in a news release that, as part of the works, they will build a 784-meter (2,600 feet) footpath above one of the park’s wetlands. The footpath will facilitate visitor access from the park’s east entrance to beaches located on the west side.
The park’s entrance area will have more booths, benches and other improvements to reduce wait time and long lines for visitors.
Park administrators are also working to build new tourist trails that meet accessibility standards, according to provisions of local legislation. Environment Ministry officials in February had reported that new trails will provide “all required measures to address visual, motor, hearing and sensory disabilities.”
SINAC also reported that agency officials completed an evaluation of all wastewater systems as well as repairs to the drainage system that caused problems earlier this year. They are working on plans to expand the drinking water storage and distribution system and are conducting improvements to cell phone coverage in various areas of the park.
Manuel Antonio is the most visited protected area in Costa Rica; according to SINAC a total of 436,466 visitors entered the park in 2016.
In addition to its popular white-sand beaches, Manuel Antonio protects one of the last stands of transition forest from the humid tropical forest to very humid tropical forest. It also protects various species of plants and animals, particularly mammals.