Costa Rica’s most popular national park is reopening to the public.
Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos, Puntarenas joins several other protected wildlife areas across Costa Rica that Monday begins welcoming visitors under measures approved by the Health Ministry.
Among the measures is a daily capacity limit of 1,300 people at Manuel Antonio National Park, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) said. In addition, visitors must follow a defined hiking route and remain at least 10 meters apart from other groups.
Some of the park’s trails which necessitate bidirectional pedestrian traffic will remain closed, as will the beaches.
Manuel Antonio National Park has extra hand washing areas, will institute temperature checks, and has blocked off areas of heavy congregation in order to minimize the risk of coronavirus spread. Park rangers and other staff will wear masks.
“We are committed to providing a safe visitor experience while supporting the site’s conservation efforts and the economic revival of communities near the park,” said Pamela Castillo, of the Environment Ministry (MINAE), in a statement.
Though Manuel Antonio is typically closed Mondays, it is open May 18. Afterward, visitors can enjoy it on the usual schedule: Tuesdays to Sundays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Several other national parks, in addition to the Monteverde Biological Reserve, will reopen Monday. They had been closed since March 20 in response to the pandemic.
Costa Rica’s remaining protected wildlife areas could reopen June 1.
Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio National Park helps protect 352 species of plants, 107 species of land mammals, 335 species of birds, 93 species of reptiles and 56 species of amphibians, according to SINAC.
More than 311,000 people visited Manuel Antonio National Park in 2017, according to data provided by ICT. Typical capacity is up to 2,700 guests each day.
The entrance fee to Manuel Antonio is 1,600 colones (about $2.70) for citizens and residents, and $16 for foreigners and non-residents. Due to the coronavirus measures, visitors can enter in groups no larger than five people.