Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular travel destinations in Costa Rica. This is a great place to splurge in luxurious amenities while still experiencing the culture.
Manuel Antonio is a prime vacation spot located on the Pacific Coast of central Costa Rica. This destination is a 2-3 hour drive from San Jose International Airport. World class surfing, jungle treks, shopping, and visiting the famous National Park are just to name a few things to do near Manuel Antonio.
Things to do near Manuel Antonio
I could get use to this view from our hotel room overlooking Manuel Antonio Beach.
Playa Manuel Antonio
This is one of the most popular local beaches. Playa Manuel Antonio is half a mile long and lined with lush jungle. It has large waves so it is more accommodating for surfers. Vendors offer boards for rent as well as hourly lessons. I would not recommend this beach for first time surf lessons, but rather Montezuma. Vendors at this beach also sell food and drinks.
If you prefer a smaller beach or are traveling with little kids, take a taxi to Playa Biesanz. This beach is much calmer than Manuel Antonio beach which makes it prime for swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The taxi will drop you off on the side of a road where you will then follow a trail in the woods. The trail will eventually end and the trees part open into a quaint and quiet beach. This beach also offered paddle boards and kayaks for rent. Howler monkeys, lizards, and squirrel monkeys can be seen and heard here.
Visit Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is a main attraction. Don’t let the small size fool you, this park is one of the most stunning bio-diverse parks in the world. This park offers many different tours. If seeking adventure, they offer waterfall repelling, zip-lining, and horse back riding tours. Birdwatchers may enjoy a guided walking tour. Night tours are also offered to witness the jungle come alive at night.
Enjoy dinner and drinks in a historical plane
El Avion is a restaurant/pub that has been built around a part of history. This downed cargo plane has been turned into a world-famous tourist attraction with fine dining and stunning views. Learn more about this scandalous cargo plane from the 80s on your visit by browsing photos displayed inside the plane.
If your craving pizza and cold beer, check out El Wagon for good food and a family friendly atmosphere.
Tour or Volunteer at a local Animal Sanctuary
**This is an ethical wildlife travel destination**
Kids Saving the Rainforest is a non-profit wildlife sanctuary located in Quepos, Costa Rica. They rescue, rehab, and release local animals that have been orphaned or injured. Tours are offered to learn more about native wildlife and the dangers they face. Volunteer opportunities are also available. By visiting this sanctuary, you are helping the organization rescue more wildlife.
Spend a day in Town
The town of Manuel Antonio has a variety of shopping available. Clothing, souvenirs, and home-good shops line the streets of this town. There are also markets, restaurants, and drug stores for anything you might need.
Where to Stay
Hotel Costa Verde is a fabulous hotel! Here you can splurge in modern amenities and still encounter lots of wildlife. Monkeys and exotic birds are very abundant here. The location of this hotel is prime because it is situated with in walking distance to the main beach, restaurants, and town. Although, the walk to town is about 30 minutes and uphill.
They also offer free shuttle service to local restaurants. Some rooms include a kitchen for cooking, which is nice if traveling with kids. Or choose to stay in a room built in and around a historical airplane. Costa Verde has 3 pools (1 is adult only) that offer stunning views of the ocean or surrounded by jungle life. The breakfast at Anaconda Restaurant is to die for…fresh fruit for days!