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Manuel Antonio

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Costa Rica : Central Pacific : Manuel Antonio
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Manuel Antonio is in the Central 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 8km 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 either side by a large number of hotels and restaurants, offering the visitor a large selection of places to stay and eat.

Get in[edit]

From San Jose, Manuel Antonio can be reached by either bus or plane, via the airport 5 min outside of Quepos Shuttle bus companies like Easy Ride Shuttle Services run trips about 3 times daily between this area and other popular places all around Costa Rica.

  • Sansa Airline.[1] Sansa runs several flights a day between Quepos and San Jose (SJO) airports. Price is about $82 one way.
  • "Nature Air".[2] Nature Air has two flights daily between San Jose (Pavas) and Quepos airports. Price is about $94 one way.

Several tour companies operate tours that can pick up individuals in one community and drop them off at the end of the day (upon request, and depending on whether there is a minimum amount of travellers requesting this service) - a great way to save on transportation costs between different areas of the country. This includes:

    • Cruises to Tortuga Island, which typically leave from/drop off at San José, but can include Manuel Antonio as a pickup/drop-off location

Get around[edit]

Buses run up and down the mountain every 30 minutes during the day stopping at many places along the way. Cost is approximately $0.40 USD (285 colónes, the local currency). Taxis are also readily available at approx $8 from Quepos to Manuel Antonio. Scooters and cars can also be rented by those who feel a little more adventurous.

See[edit][add listing]

A must-see is the Manuel Antonio National Park as well as 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.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Oceans Unlimited (Scuba Diving Costa Rica), (On the Manuel Antonio road heading out of Quepos.), 2777-3171, [3]. Scuba diving and snorkeling tours. PADI IDC and technical dive center offering a full range of courses and scuba diving trips. Varies.  edit

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.

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 $25. Tours and transportation to/from the park from Quepos/Manuel Antonio may be arranged ahead of time through:

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling[4] There are around 15 local dive sites as well as 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. For those that want to stay above the water 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.


Zip-lining[5] [6]. A large number of canopy tours are available in this area. They involve zipping through the trees at high speed and are thoroughly enjoyed by all. Depending on the company, some tours also involve rappels and Tarzan swings so are not recommended for those of you that have an aversion to heights. La Selvita [7] has 16 sequential lines, one being nearly a half mile long and 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.

White water Rafting [8] 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.

'Surfing Lessons and Tours

  • Barrabas Surf (Surfing Manuel Antonio), (Mar y Sombra), 8719-4954, [11]. The surf school to be run by true, local surfers. Offering personalized surf lesson and tours to suit everyone, whether it is your first time in the water or you are looking to go on a tour of the local breaks. Ask for Bati or Chino who run the center and will be able to organize your activities for you.  edit

Horse-back Tours A variety of tours are available both along the beach and to some of the local forest areas and waterfalls. Most companies provide a selection of different tours that you can choose from

Mangrove tours Take a trip through the mangroves checking out some of the incredible wildlife. Tours and transportation to/from the mangroves from Quepos/Manuel Antonio may be arranged ahead of time through:

Spice Tour Check out the local Vanilla farm and get to sample some of the amazing products produced by Villa Vanilla.

  • Quepos Sailfishing Charters (Queposfishing.com), Main st Quepos (On the road from Quepos to Manuel Antonio across from the school), 800-603-0015 2777-2025, [12]. 6-10. Quepos Sailfishing Charters offers world class fishing for Sailfish and Marlin. Book your Quepos fishing trip today!  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Check out the large selection of souvenirs and gifts being sold along the beach and by the entrance to the park. The Regalameart [13] gift shop offers the widest selection of higher end, but pricey souvenirs.

  • Quepos Charters (1-855-3GoFish), 8719-2008, [14]. For fantastic guided Quepos fishing, choose Quepos Fishing Charters, one of the top fishing charters in Quepos Costa Rica. World-renowned as one of the finest sail-fishing ports near Manuel Antonio, Quepos is routinely the destination for top captains, mates and sports fishermen from all over the globe. With the opening of Marina Pez Vela, Quepos hosts the largest marina on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. Sailfish and marlin can be caught year round during the endless Costa Rica fishing seasons, but are most abundant during the dry season from November through May. It's not uncommon to catch 10 or more sailfish in a day. In between numerous shots at sailfish, you can also expect to have your baits crashed by dorado and schools of yellow fin tuna that feed along the rips and current eddys.  edit
  • Meli Melo Boutique (Quepos), (Side Street Near the Port Wall, Quepos), [15]. Take the bus down from Manuel Antonio (it's less than $1 USD per way) to Quepos, if only to check out this great little boutique of hand-painted and well-sewn pillowcases, beach bags, aprons, backpacks, pencil cases, and more. The quality is great, the images are vibrant, the prices are very reasonable, and these are the best Costa Rican souvenirs you'll come across. If you bring $40-$75 USD to spend, you'll come away with 1-3 good-quality items.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Aqua Azul. Offers a mix of American and Tico food
  • Barba Roja. Nachos and that famous view.
  • Billfish Sportsbar & Grill (Byblos Sportsbar at Billfish), Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park (3 Kilometers from Quepos on Left), +506-2777-0411, [16]. 6PM to Midnight. Billfish Sportsbar & Grill is a favorite for watching International Sports are their large screen TVs. Offering the usual Sportsbar fare, as well as dinner specialties fresh off the grill, its the perfect casual nightspot. Located next to the Byblos Casino, it is one of the few places to enjoy nightlife in Manuel Antonio. Monday night is Ladies Night! $3 & up.  edit
  • Bistro Restaurant & Pizzeria (Byblos Bistro Pizzeria), Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park (3 Kilometers on Left), ]506-2777-0411, [17]. Bistro Restaurant offers Italian and International Specialties in a casually elegant poolside atmosphere. An excellent location for monkey sightings, it is known for the best brick oven pizza in town. Take out orders gladly accepted. $3 & up.  edit
  • Cafe Milagro (Manuel Antonio), info@cafemilagro.com, [18]. Cafe 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.  edit
  • Dos Cocos El Meson. Great food and decent menu across the street from The Marlin.
  • El Avion. Good value and a large menu.
  • El Gato Negro. Very tasty Italian cuisine.
  • El Lagarto, (200mts. Norte de la Plaza de Deportes de Manuel Antonio), 2777-6932, [19]. Fantastic BBQ and a great sunset view  edit
  • Emilios Cafe (Breakfast & Coffee), Before Hotel Mariposa, Manuel Antonio. 6 - 9. The home to the best coffee in Manuel Antonio. Great breakfast and lunch cafe with spectacular views of the park and ocean. great pricing and atmosphere.  edit
  • La Cantina. Kabobs and steaks.
  • Playitas Restaurant and Bar, Arenas del Mar Beach and Nature Resort (Manuel Antonio), 506-2777-2777 info@arenasdelmar.com, [20]. Situated next to Playitas beach, guests can choose their favorite drink or cocktail of the day. Has light but elegant foods.  edit
  • Salsipuedes. Tapas and beers.
  • Sancho's Taqueria, (50 mts. from the soccer field in Manuel Antonio), 506-2777-0340, [21]. 11:30-9 Monday through Saturday. tacos, burritos, nachos, and other Mexican fare - great for an after-beach afternoon snack, or a casual supper!  edit
  • Sunspot Bar & Grill (Makanda's Sunspot Restaurant), Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park (Turn right at Cafe Milagro and follow signs), +506-2777-0442, [22]. 11AM to 10PM. One of Manuel Antonio's few award winning restaurants, Sunspot Bar & Grill offers International and Local Specialties prepared on the grill. $5 & up.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Byblos. Monday night ladies night
  • Bambu Jam. Tuesday and Friday Night live salsa and good drinking.
  • Sargento Garcia. Friday Night ladies night
  • Barba Roja. Saturday Night, party into the early hours.
  • Quepos. The disco is open most nights until about 5AM.
  • The Marlin. Excellent 2-for-1 happy hour right by the beach.
  • El Mirador Bar, Arenas del Mar Beach and Nature Resort (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica), 506-2777-2777 info@arenasdelmar.com, [23]. Serves 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.  edit
  • El Gran Escape, Marina, Quepos. The home of the best happy hour in town. Now located at the Marina for the best views of sunset from Quepos. Great food, atmosphere and company.  edit


Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Arenas del Mar Hotel, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (Road to Manuel Antonio National Park take right at Hotel Mariposa), 506-2777-2777 info@arenasdelmar.com, [24]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Rooms 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 within 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, the use of biodegradable cleaning products, etc.  edit
  • Brunxu Apartments, Between Manuel Antonio and Quepos, 27774501, [25]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Apartments for rent surrounded by exotic vegetation that characterize the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. (9.427159,-84.155767) edit
  • Byblos Resort & Casino (Hotel featuring private jungle bungalows in Manuel Antonio-Quepos), Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park (3 Kilometers past Quepos on Left), +506-2777-0411, [26]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12:00noon. Three star accommodations in jungle style lodgings. Free wifi. $120/132 night (discounts in low season). (9.39673418751348,-84.15355682373047) edit
  • Casa Mono Congo (Modern Rental Villa), Pacific Canyon Drive (Main road to Manuel Antonio turn after Villas el Parque, 350 yards turn down drive to home), +1 800 282 3680, [27]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Four 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. $75 per person/night.  edit
  • Casa Mono Titi (Squirrel Monkey House 3 story Spanish-style home), Pacific Canyon Drive (Main road to Manuel Antonio turn after Villas el Parque, 350 yards turn down drive to home), +1 800 282 3680, [28]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Enveloped 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 as well as the white-face monkeys and 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. $50 per person per night.  edit
  • Hostel Plinio, Main Road 50 meters before Restaurant Bamboo Jam, Manuel Antonio National Park 60601, Costa Rica, [29]. Refurbished hotel into hostel run by two travelers who really know what is needed in a hostel. Clean, safe, pool, kitchen, etc - everything you need. Privates (from $21/pp) and dorms (from $12/pp)  edit
  • Hotel Makanda by the Sea (Makanda by the Sea Hotel), Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park (Turn right at Cafe Milagro, follow signs), +506-2777-0442, [30]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12:00 noon. Hotel Makanda By the Sea contains 12 acres of wildlife sanctuary, 100 meters above the ocean. Villas and studios are located throughout botanical rainforest gardens with views over the sixty mile coastline. $200 night. (9.24.10.30N,84.9.40.50W) edit
  • Hotel Parador, 1-877-506-1414, [31]. an eco-conscious, luxury destination high above the Pacific coastline on Punta Quepos in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, which has ocean views and is set on more than 12 acres of wildlife-rich tropical rainforest.  edit
  • Manuel Antonio Hotel & luxury villa rentals (manuelantonio.com), Manuel Antonio (Main st Manuel Antonio), 800-523-0079, [32]. Hotel rooms and luxury Manuel Antonio villa rentals. Book you Dream vacation to Manuel Antonio today!  edit
  • National Park Backpackers (Hostel.cr), Manuel Antonio National Park (We are located just beside the entrance of the most popular National Park in Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio National Park. From Quepos down town drive 4 km on the main road towards Manuel Antonio. It takes about 10 minutes by car. When you arrive in the Manuel Antonio beach and see the Blue Marlin Restaurant on the left side of the road, turn to left and drive 250 meters past hotel Villa Bosque and continue 300 meters more. We are on the left side just before the road ends to the entrance of the national park.), 506-2777-5115 (), [33]. checkin: 12. National Park Backpackers is inexpensive hostel with convenience and good service. There is a swimming pool, free WiFi, big communal kitchen, nightly movies, and the good company of other backpackers. Hostel has both shared dorm rooms and private rooms with AC or fan. Beginning from US $12.  edit
  • Villas Jacquelina, Quepos (Finca los Alfaro, Quepos), (506) 2777-0183, [34]. checkin: Any; checkout: Any. Villas Jacquelina #1 rated on tripadvisor.com. Eco-friendly specialty lodging, specializing in private rooms with both private and shared bathrooms. Large rooms with ceiling fan or A/C, Amazing rooftop patios, swimming pool, full guest kitchen, family ran, westernized hot water showers, Free morning shuttle to town. A modern hotel accommodation with great vibes, exceptional service, and comfortable rooms and common areas. Just minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park. Rates starting at $17.50 per person. Private rooms starting at $35. www.villasjacquelina.com $35.  edit

Huge number of hotels and hostels to choose from. For those that are budget minded remember that the hostels in Manuel Antonio can fill up so it's good to ring in advance. Hostels include

A larger number of cheaper accommodations are also available in Quepos.

Around the Easter and Christmas period, vacancies can be hard to find so it is wise to book ahead. A large number of houses and apartments are also available to rent and many come with personal chefs as well.

Contact[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • Sansa Airline.[36] Sansa runs several flights a day between Quepos and San Jose airports. Price is about $55 one way.
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