Manuel AntonioCentral Pacific region of Costa Rica.
It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica due to its beautiful beaches and rich wildlife. The area that is Manuel Antonio stretches from the town of Quepos and then along an approximately 8-km road up a mountain and then back down, finishing at the entrance of the Manuel Antonio National Park and the beautiful Playa Espadilla. The road to the beach and park is surrounded by hotels and restaurants.
From San José, Manuel Antonio can be reached by either bus or plane, via the airport (XQP) 5 min outside of Quepos. Tracopa has several direct public buses daily from San José to Quepos and Manuel Antonio for US$8. A shuttle service can be hired for about US$170 for all the places in a mini-van one way. Duration of travel is 2½-4 hours.
- Aerobell Airlines runs two daily flights in between San José (Tobias Bolaños Airport in Pavas) and Quepos. From $60 per way.
- Sansa Airline runs several flights a day between Quepos and San Jose (SJO) airports. Price is about US$82 one way.
- Nature Air has two flights daily between San Jose (Pavas) and Quepos airports. Price is about US$94 one way.
Buses run up and down the mountain every 30 minutes during the day stopping at many places along the way. Cost is ₡315. Taxis are also readily available at about US$8 from Quepos to Manuel Antonio. Scooters and cars can also be rented by those who feel a little more adventurous.
Must-sees include the Manuel Antonio National Park and the beautiful beaches. Don't miss the monkeys crossing the road in the afternoons or the spectacular sunsets which can be seen from many of the restaurants and hotels along the road.
The list of activities in Manuel Antonio is endless. Some of the most popular activities include trips to the park and zip-lining and snorkeling.
White Water Rafting: Two rivers are near Manuel Antonio, the Naranjo and the Savegre. Depending on the season the rivers will vary in strength and speed from a Class II - III during dry season up to a Class IV during wet season. The Naranjo tends to be the faster river with a particular stretch further upstream known as El Chorro sometimes reaching a class V even during the dryer months.
Horse-back tours: Tours are available along the beach and to some of the local forest areas and waterfalls. Most companies provide a selection of different tours.
Mangrove tours: Take a trip through the mangroves checking out some of the incredible wildlife.
Spice Tour: Check out the local vanilla farm and get to sample some of the amazing products produced by Villa Vanilla.
- Park tours: Guides can be found very easily around the entrance to the park from early in the morning. Prices per person can be around US$25
- Scuba diving and snorkeling: There are around 15 local dive sites and offshore sites in the Manuel Antonio area. Sites vary in ability and wildlife and Try Dives for those that have never been before are also available.
- Snorkeling and coastal tours with whale watching are also available. Depending on the season humpback whales can be spotted near shore, and dolphins feeding is a regular occurrence during the afternoons.
- Avoid the sunset tour. They claim they sail on the sail boat and do snorkeling but they just run the engines and the water isn't clear. It's a huge rip off.
- Zip-lining. Canopy tours are available in this area. They involve zipping through the trees at high speed. Depending on the company, some tours also involve rappels and Tarzan swings so are not recommended for those that have an aversion to heights.
La Selvita has 16 sequential lines, one being nearly 800 m (half a mile) long and 180 m (600 feet) off the ground. The guides are truly bilingual and very friendly. The pictures they take are a bit pricey but worth every penny.
Check out the large selection of souvenirs and gifts being sold along the beach and by the entrance to the park. The Regalameart gift shop offers the widest selection of higher end, but pricey souvenirs.
- El Wagon. Hebrew National hot dogs, burgers and wood-fired pizza.
- Salsipuedes. Tapas and beers.
- Barba Roja. Nachos and that famous view.
- El Avion. Good value and a large menu.
- El Gato Negro. Very tasty Italian cuisine.
- Dos Cocos El Meson. Great food and decent menu across the street from the Marlin.
Billfish Sportsbar & Grillphone: +506 2777-0411address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio ParkBillfish Sportsbar & Grill is a favorite for watching international sports are their large screen TVs. Offering the usual sportsbar fare, and dinner specialties off the grill. Located next to the Byblos Casino, it is one of the few places to enjoy nightlife in Manuel Antonio. Monday night is Ladies Night!
phone: +506 2777-0442address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park, Hotel Makanda
Bistro Restaurant & Pizzeriaphone: +506 2777-0411address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio ParkBistro Restaurant offers Italian and international specialties in a poolside atmosphere. An excellent location for monkey sightings, with brick oven pizza. Take out orders accepted.
phone: +506 2777-2777address: Arenas del Mar Beach and Nature ResortSituated next to Playitas beach, guests can choose their favorite drink or cocktail of the day. Has light but elegant foods.
address: firstname.lastname@example.orgCafe Milagro offers breakfast, lunch or dinner with dishes such as a typical Tico breakfast, the BLT & avocado sandwich, as well as an excellent wine and cocktail selection. Sit outside on the back garden under a starry night for dinner or regroup on the front patio.
- Quepos. The disco is open most nights until about 05:00.
- The Marlin. Excellent 2-for-1 happy hour right by the beach.
phone: +506 2777-2777address: Arenas del Mar Beach and Nature ResortServes a great variety of natural and Costa Rican style drinks such as horchata made with rice, milk, cinnamon and peanuts or a refreshing agua de sapo that combines the flavors of lime, ginger and cane syrup. Or try a guaro mojito prepared with aguardiente, typical Costa Rican liquor made with sugarcane. Also has a long wine list and organic shade grown coffee.
Manuel Antonio area stretches from the town of Quepos and then along a 6 km serpentine road uphill and then back down to the beautiful Playa Espadilla and the entrance of the Manuel Antonio National Park. The road to the beach and park is surrounded by a large number of hotels and restaurants, offering the visitor a selection of places to stay and eat.
The road is rather busy and lacks sidewalks in some parts. If you plan to visit Manuel Antonio National Park or go to the beach, the accommodation options located near the Manuel Antonio National Park entrance might serve you best. The beach is 200 meters away from the park entrance. From the hills you can enjoy cooling sea breeze and ocean views.
Around the Easter and New Year period, vacancies can be hard to find so it is wise to book ahead. A lot of houses and apartments are also available to rent and many come with personal chefs as well.
phone: +506 2777-2777address: Manuel AntonioRooms with views of Manuel Antonio National Park, a spa, two restaurants featuring local, Costa Rican-fusion cuisine, access to two pristine beaches, a private reserve and a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and community development. Located in 11 acres of primary and secondary rain forest home to wildlife such as White Face Monkeys and sloth. Sustainable features of the hotel include the use of electric cars on property, a private reserve, solar panels to heat hot water, and the use of biodegradable cleaning products.
phone: +506 2777-4501address: Between Manuel Antonio and QueposApartments for rent surrounded by exotic vegetation that characterize the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
phone: +1-800-282-3680address: Pacific Canyon DrFour-bedroom modern home with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Six baths, private pool. Handicapped accessible. Zero-carbon footprint - solar and wind powered home. Stay in the only home that has lights when the daily electric outage happens. Free Wi-Fi internet with computer. Free safes in all rooms for you to leave your things when you go on tours and to the beach.
phone: +1-800-282-3680address: Pacific Canyon DrEnveloped in a horseshoe curve of the land, look out into the deep blue water of the Pacific Ocean while relaxing in the private pool. Watch the daily arrival of the playful endangered squirrel monkeys, the white-face monkeys, howler monkeys and sloths. Four bedrooms, three baths, an in-door waterfall and tub to enjoy. Fully stocked kitchen with free Wi-Fi and computer. Safes are free to use. Chef available.
phone: +506 2777-0442address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio ParkHotel Makanda By the Sea has 12 acres of wildlife sanctuary, 100 meters above the ocean. Villas and studios are located throughout botanical rainforest gardens with views over the 100-km (60-mile) coastline. Adults only. Offering all the amenities expected of a 4-star hotel.
Hotel ParadorAn eco-conscious, luxury destination high above the Pacific coastline on Punta Quepos, which has ocean views and is set on more than of wildlife-rich tropical rainforest.
Do not leave anything unattended on the beach, even for a short time, especially after dark. There have been recent opportunistic thefts on Manuel Antonio beach. Take the same safety precautions you would in other parts of Latin America.
- San José. See the "Get in" section for flight information.