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Manuel Antonio – Beaches, Wildlife, Adventure Tours
Discover for yourself why Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is such a popular vacation destination
Lying on the mid-western Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio and its immediately surrounding area will provide you with everything you need for a memorable vacation. Lying 80 miles (130km) south of San José, the capital of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is a dream for those of you who like to lie on a sun-soaked beach and chill, yet provides so much to explore and enjoy, without ever needing to take the car keys out of your pocket.
There are numerous reasons why Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Costa Rica, and not just because of the stunning local beaches including Espadilla Sur beach. There are so many things to do in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, such as visiting (more than once!) Manuel Antonio National Park, which has been listed in Forbes as one of the 12 most beautiful national parks in the world.
While there are regular buses to San José, and daily flights from the nearby domestic airport at Quepos to and from the country’s capital, you really have to ask yourself why you would want to leave Manuel Antonio once you have arrived. Restaurants a plenty, cafés, bars and beach shacks help to create a vibrant atmosphere, while for watersports’ enthusiasts, the expression ‘spoilt for choice’ comes to mind.
Hotels in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
In such a biodiverse and ecologically sensitive environment, and with its national park, many of the hotels in Manuel Antonio pay particularly close attention to being environmentally friendly. Do not be surprised to find power supplied from solar panels, or eco-friendly and biodegradable products used wherever possible. This is a a snapshot of what you can expect:
- La Mansion Inn – imagine stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from an up-market boutique hotel set beside a romantic sandy beach, and you have one of the area’s favorite hotels
- Rafiki Safari Lodge – seeing is believing with this totally unique “luxury tent camp in a jungle”. Set in over 800 acres of grounds alongside the Savegre River, glamping just reached a new level!
- La Posada – a charming family-oriented hotel lying at the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. Noted for its friendliness and ‘homey’
- The Preserve at Los Altos – with 26 luxury three-bedroom condos providing first-class luxury, adding a full-service spa, on-site restaurant, infinity and children’s pools, together with in-room childcare services, this is the ultimate family getaway location
Click here for further details of these and other hotels in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
It can be difficult to decide, from a distance, which hotel will best meet your requirements, which is why, at Costa Rica Rios, we are here to help you. We want your vacation to be stress-free from the moment you book it, not just when you arrive, so get in touch and let us help you create the perfect holiday in one of many, many stunning locations in Costa Rica.
Restaurants in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
With its Spanish heritage, it is no surprise that there is a predominant Latin influence mixed with a strong Afro-Caribbean influence. The local style of food is often referred to as ‘Tico’, which is a base of Gallo Pinto rice and black beans, but with an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood, the choice of food is as broad as it is long. From local to Italian, American to Mexican, pizzas to barbecue, eat-in or take-out, there’s something for everyone and every occasion.
Café Milagro offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, with great Tico food and a fabulous BLT with avocado. Barba Roja is as famous for its stunning views as it is delicious nachos. Playitas Restaurant is located by Playitas Beach and has great light snacks, while Sancho’s Taqueria will impress with its tacos, burritos and nachos. El Gato Negro is highly recommended for its Italian food, but for a real treat, Z Seafood and Grill has “the freshest seafood and the thickest aged steaks on the Pacific Coast.”
If the prospect of being on vacation leaves you worrying about withdrawal symptoms from your regular sports fix, Billfish Sportsbar and Grill with its large-screen TVs could become a regular hangout, and if you need a caffeine fix as well, check out Emilio’s Café
Beaches in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
There are a number of well-hidden and secluded trails off the beaten track in this part of Costa Rica, apart from the four following beaches which offer varying degrees of peace and seclusion, based predominantly on their accessibility:
- Playa Espadilla – at over 1.3 miles (2km) in length, this is a remarkable and stunning beach renowned for its beautiful white sand, while providing easy access to a good range of restaurants and bars.
- Manuel Antonio Beach – a quieter beach than Playa Espadilla, and one with few facilities. However, its relative seclusion is a bonus as in exchange for people, you will find you have the company of white-faced monkeys. The waters here are calmer than elsewhere, making it great for swimming, while tide pools also exist which are ideal for snorkeling.
- Playa Biesanz – a ten-minute walk from the highway above it, this is one of the quietest beaches in Manuel Antonio. You will find food and drinks available – try the blackberry margarita! – and paddleboards are available to hire. Wear beach shoes as opposed to flip-flops as the path to the beach is a little tricky.
- Playa Macha – located more in the direction of Quepos, access to this beach is not for the feint hearted, but the reward is tranquility and few other vacationers. Perfect for meditation, relaxing, and just letting the world go by.
Things to do in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
It should come as no surprise that with its coastal location, watersport-related activities abound. Add the national park for exploring the biodiverse fauna and flora to spice, mangrove and horseback tours, and forget any worries about being bored on holiday. It’s impossible to ignore the allure of such pristine crystal-blue waters, but there is much more to enjoy. The hardest decision on what to do in Manuel Antonio is whether to put your feet up and relax on a sun-kissed beach, get active on the water, or explore the mystical rainforest and all that it has to offer, as well as:
- Scuba diving and snorkeling
- White water rafting
- Surfing and surfing lessons
- Jet skiing
- Sportfishing for sailfish, marlin and dorado
- Sea kayaking
- Daytime and nighttime rainforest canopy tours
- Jungle night walks
If you want to ask any questions about any of the activities we have listed, or if you want to know if any other specific activities are available, please don’t hesitate to ask. At Costa Rica Rios, we are here to help you in any way we can.
Nightlife in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio isn’t a large town or city, so nightlife is a little more subdued, though there is still plenty to choose from. Aside from numerous restaurants and bars, as well as hotels which welcome visitors in the evenings, there is also the nearby town of Quepos to add a little extra choice. Liquid Lounge is located by the main beach in Manuel Antonio and hosts theme parties, live events and a disco, while Cuban Republik Disco Lounge in Quepos is usually packed out. The Billfish Sports Bar has pool tables and a Ladies’ night on Mondays. Bambu Jam has Salsa/Meringue music and Barba Roja has live music, while both these venues also double up as restaurants. Don’t forget there is also a Casino at Byblos, where you have slot machines, a poker table, and you can chance your arm with a favorite Costa Rican Game, ‘Tute’.