Thanks to the joint investment of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and ProParques, as well as to the contribution of park rangers, tour guides and private companies, Punta Catedral trail were restored. This trail allows visitors to go deep into one of the areas with most panoramic views of Manuel Antonio National Park and to observe all of its islands and islets.
Because of its relevance, it was selected to be the first trail to be restored completely, to the point that many of its new sections were re-routed from the original pathway; thus making it safer by moving it away from its bordering cliffs.
The trail begins and ends in Manuel Antonio beach, bordering all of Punta Catedral. The height of the overlooks allows visitors to fully appreciate some of the park’s beaches such as Escondida, Espadilla and Manuel Antonio –or Playa 3, as it is known too. The birdsong, combined with the echo of the waves crashing deep inside the cliffs, accompany visitors during the tour. And if one observes the trees carefully, it’s possible to see iguanas, white-faced and squirrel monkeys as well as huge guarumo trees that blend with vines and palm trees.
The railings in the three outlooks and rest areas allow a safe and comfortable expedition. Everything is built with cured pine wood that prevents damage.
Part of the trail was built with concrete, another one with stone on top of a base built also with pine, which substituted an old road that was impassable during the winter as it became mire, completely useless. Thanks to the investment made, visitors will be able to take the tour during winter and summer and enjoy its wealth of flora and fauna all year round.
An important aspect to keep in mind before starting the tour is that the trial’s topography is of medium complexity reason why some of its parts will entail a significant physical effort. It is therefore recommended only for people with no physical limitations.
A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
Aware of the importance of the park’s trail, SINAC allocated funds for its reconstruction but there were no further resources for the unpredictable technical aspects of the project. In an example of a public-private partnership, ProParques and SINAC joined efforts making their own contributions and coordinating the actions of other participants. So, ProParques contributed with financial resources for the topographic map, the design of the project, the technical specifications for the bid and the technical inspection of the work. At this stage, the engineering company Valdesol that was in charge of the project’s design donated work and time as part of their corporate social responsibility projects. It is worth to highlight the useful contribution of park rangers and tourist guides who gave important suggestions.