Getting to Paradise
Manuel Antonio has humid tropical weather. They have a number of different areas including jungles, estuaries, and now swamp Marsh’s. Pack accordingly or suffer a similar fate.
If you go during the rainy season this will apparently be your weather most of your trip. BRING BINOCULARS IF YOU WANT A GOOD LOOK AT THE WILDLIFE!
Should I rent a car?
Because you will not be spending much time in a car on this trip or navigating in general- no need to purchase the mobile WIFI. Most locations will have WIFI for you.
Where to Stay
We rented an amazing house while we were there, but for the budget conscious I have only one hostel to recommend- Hostel Selina . Selina’s is square in the middle of Manuel Antonio and if you are age 18-30 this is the hip spot to be. It has a pool, pool table, and a fantastic bar within its confines.
Here was a list of things to do and their prices to give you an idea. We chose 3 different excursions as listed below.
MidWorld Costa Rica
I know what question you are asking yourself- “Is that the first ever dab on a zip line?” The answer is yes.
The entry fee to the park is $16 and you will be asked countless times to purchase a guide. I do not recommend going with a guide as it is close to $80 per person and you will always be able to see where these guides stop to look because the park is small and they have nowhere to hide.
They are adept at using their telescopes to find sloths, but we were able to find multiple sloths/monkey’s/etc. without needing a guide. The Manuel Antonio National Park has 4 path ways total culminating at a beachfront location to end your day. Besides- Many of the animals you see in this sectioned off park can be found while you are walking the town.
White Water Rafting
Ask for Gustavo if you go- Guy knows how to have fun on the river.
I recently became a runner in the past few months so finding a good route was paramount. The Manuel Antonio area is exhausting with the amount of hills it contains (good if you are interested in doing some incline training.) The best place to go for a run is on the Manuel Antonio beach. If you do a round trip down the beach and back it amounts to about 2.5 miles.
Nightlife in Manuel Antonio
The only place worth going at night for me was Selina’s. The place has live music and a young atmosphere. You will find locals and tourists alike. If you plan to travel to Quepos for a night out this guide will help: Guide to Quepos
Where to eat
Serve delicious seafood and some great bruschetta. The owner Ignacio was incredibly kind and accommodating to all of his guests to make sure everybody was enjoying their dinners. They have craft brew on tap and specialize in specialty shots!
Get the curry or the cinnamon encrusted seabass.. but mostly the curry. Just get the curry and stop asking questions. Curry.
Apparently there is good breakfast here as well.
If you’re a big Mediterranean fan, this is the place to go. Delicious food. Ranked #1 on trip advisor.
Café Agua Azul
This place is always packed and rightfully so. Everything they have on the menu is fantastic. They also have creatively named monstrous burgers for $12
Famous for the cargo plane it is built around- the food is good not great and the drinks are cheap.
Italian food. If you are dying for some linguine or spaghetti and meatballs check this place out.
- The sunsets are spectactular- felt like a different array of colors every night. Soak them in at different locations
- The currency is the colón. Current exchange rate is 548/1 American Dollar.
- Quick exchange calculation- Multiply the price in colón’s by 2 and remove the last 3 digits. Ex: Fajitas are 6000 = 6000 x 2 = 12,000 = remove last 3 digits= approx $12 American dollars.
Most things purchased will have a 13% tax and restaurants add a 10% tip onto your bill
Take the time to rate these places on http://www.tripadvisor.com – this is their means of living
Negotiate the prices on your beach chairs you rent- $6 per chair is good.
Beware of the jet ski’s- People are irresponsible and ride close to the swimming area
You may run into a jellyfish or 9 in the water
The monkey population is awesome. Extremely interactive throughout the trip. The locals refer to them as “The Mafia”
Brush up on your Spanish before you go- approx. 50% of the population will be able to communicate fluent English with you
- Salud is your word for Cheers!
Travel Accommodations made for you!
Overall, Manuel Antonio is a beautiful place for wildlife admiration and relaxation away from traditional resorts. You will find that the area is full of extremely genuine people who care about making sure your stay is memorable!
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Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Arkansas, Chris is living vicariously through himself as a corporate escape artist and self proclaimed decreaser of world sucking. Currently based out of San Diego, he graduated from Arkansas with a dual degree in finance and economics and is a travel writer, entrepreneur, and project manager. He thoroughly enjoys traveling, humor, and beer so he created Hops On Planes. He prefers his puns intended and speaking in 3rd person.