Manuel Antonio is Paradise at a Price -

Manuel Antonio is Paradise at a Price

Manuel Antonio beach


In Manuel Antonio


Manuel Antonio


hotels perch on cliffs like palaces


Manuel Antonio view


disguising sweeping sea views


Manuel Antonio View


with their tall castle walls


Manuel Antonio


Restaurants serve nachos and burgers


Manuel Antonio


to American families


Manuel Antonio


at American rates


Manuel Antonio Beach View


The most beautiful beaches are protected


Manuel Antonio Park


by gates and guards


Manuel Antonio Beach View


you must pay to pass


Manuel Antonio Beach Rocks


unless you are so bold to climb the cliff


Iguana Manuel Antonio


Monkeys and iguanas approach tourists


Manuel Antonio White Face Monkeys


like ducks and squirrels


Manuel Antonio Park


making you wonder


Manuel Antonio Cameleon


is this the jungle


Manuel Antonio Raccoon


or the zoo?


Manuel Antonio Street Art


And everything


L'Avion Manuel Antonio


is written, spoken, expressed


Jungle Beach Hotel Manuel Antonio


in English.


Manuel Antonio Beach


But the sun casts its glow over a sparkling green sea


Manuel Antonio Beach


and at the right time


Manuel Antonio Beach


on the right day


Manuel Antonio Beach Park View


you might be the only one on its warm golden shore


Manuel Antonio White Face Monkey


Animals are everywhere


Iguana Manuel Antonio Park


and ever ready


White Face Monkey Manuel Antonio


to pose for your perfect picture


Breakfast Manuel Antonio


Delicious food


Emilio's Cafe Manuel Antonio


from a renowned array of international chefs


Italy & Co Manuel Antonio


is plentiful


Emilio's Cafe Manuel Antonio


the service impeccable




And a town


Manuel Antonio Hill


just beyond the hill




with its markets, and Spanish, and sewage


Manuel Antonio Street Art


is right next door




if you need a reminder that you are indeed in Costa Rica.


Manuel Antonio Beach


I could not imagine


Manuel Antonio Beach


a more perfect introduction


Manuel Antonio Beach


to the country that I love


Manuel Antonio Beach Sunset


than the beautiful, friendly, easy


Manuel Antonio Beach Sunset


Manuel Antonio.





Hotel Costa Verde

Starting at $140 for a studio with kitchenette, two double beds, and panoramic ocean views

Accommodations in Manuel Antonio are pricey, but Hotel Costa Verde strikes a great balance between luxury and affordability. The hotel has several restaurants including L’Avion and El Wagon (see below). You can reach the national park by bus in a few minutes or walk in less than half an hour downhill.


Vista Serena Hostel

$14 for four bed dorms, $45-60 for private bungalows

Vista Serena sits on the hill between the park and Quepos but manages to keep prices extremely low. Enjoy the same views as luxury hotels from a comfy hammock while conversing with other travelers. Dorm rooms are clean and simple with shared kitchens and bathrooms.





Emilio’s Café

$3-5 for breakfast, $5-8 for lunch

Adorably decorated, delicious, healthy affordable food, incredible coffee and has a panoramic ocean view. The latte and pastries are perfection, the vegetarian omelet is loaded with delicious roasted vegetables, and the sandwiches are perfect for packing for the beach.


Agua Azul

$10-20 for dinner

This friendly spot offers ocean views, an enormous and internationally diverse menu, and some of the best food in Manuel Antonio.  The menu offers anything from thai spring rolls to bacon cheeseburgers to big satisfying salads to calamari sautéed in garlic, capers and white wine… and it’s all delicious! The brownie sundae is to die for and it seems to be the place to meet fun expats and locals.



$10-30 for dinner

Where else can you enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean with a cold creamy pina colada next to a vintage airplane? Come here for a delicious tropical umbrella topped cocktail, appetizers, and prompt professional service. I’d put the fried calamari and nachos against the best you’d find in the US.


El Wagon

$10 for a big pizza for two

Any local will tell you this is not only the best pizza in Manuel Antonio, but maybe in the world. Thin crispy wood fired pies come simple and hot and the lively open air space is great for kids.


Italy & Co

$8 for a Panini, $3 for a scoop of gelato

Enjoy Panini on your way to the park or indulge in one of twenty amazing flavors of gelato. The coconut and pistachio are my favorite.


Markets in Quepos

Restaurants in Manuel Antonio are pricey and inaccessible from the park. Head to nearby Quepos for inexpensive groceries, bakeries, and delis to assemble your own picnic.





Manuel Antonio National Park

$10 for a day pass, open 7am-4pm

The trails are somewhat disappointing but the beaches are absolutely stunning. Show up early, hike the paths to few points for a couple of hours, then spend the rest of your day at one of the perfect swimming beaches.


Take a Load off

Free to very expensive

Get a massage. Eat a nice meal. Relax at the beach. Manuel Antonio is a place for vacation. So treat yourself. Enjoy it!



Flights from San Jose arrive in nearby Quepos in twenty minutes for around $85. Buses run constantly to the Manuel Antonio National Park, stopping at hotels along the way, or take a short taxi ride.





$95, 3.5 hours for shared shuttle



$45, shared shuttle



2.5 hours



3.5 hours, $5

Direct buses leave downtown San Jose at 6an, 12pm, and 6pm for Quepos.

Check the schedule here.



Looking to create the trip of your dreams in Costa Rica? My eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica will show you how!


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  1. Ha, that was also my impression of Manuel Antonio. Thank goodness I went, though, even with all the prices and hoopla, because I got to witness possibly my favorite comment ever. We saw a coati and a tourist near us asked, loudly, what it was. The answers from within their group: “A raccoon!” “A cat!” And then: “No you idiots, that’s clearly a lemur!”

  2. Costa Rica is indeed one of those rare places which have been truly blessed by nature in terms of bio diversity and scenic beauty.

  3. Hello! I just found your blog, went through a dozen of posts, and fell in love with it. Beautiful writing and photography. I can feel your freedom coming through them. I see you’ve been to Portugal (I’m half portuguese)! What were your impressions?

    Anyway, I wanted to ask you for some advice, if possible. I’m headed to Costa Rica in late July/early August with my mom for aprox. 10 days. WHAT TO CHOOSE? I’m absolutely overwhelmed with all the options. What would you personally recommend, having into account that we’re both crazy for nature (including beach), and really don’t want to spend much time mingling with large crowds of people all the time? Also, we’re not going to rent a car, so not too secluded would be great. I’m not looking for luxury or the ultimate backpackers’ experience (since I’m going with my mom). Something in between, I guess. Any tips? Am I being too picky?

    • Hi Ana. Thank you so much for your kind words!! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog. Yes, I have been to Lisbon and Lagos and absolutely love Portugal. It is one of the countries I have been to that I desperately would like to return to. I found the people to be some of the friendliest and most accommodating in the world. The landscape is incredibly beautiful and I would love to do a road trip starting in the North and head South down the coast. Someday I’ll have to ask for your recommendations when I return 😉

      I’d love to give you some advice on Costa Rica. Can you send me a private email and we can discuss more there? You can find it on my contact page.

  4. Done!

  5. […] Manuel Antonio […]

  6. Hi Cammille,

    My wife and I are planning on traveling to Costa Rica in October. We are very adventurous people…i can only relax on vacation for a couple days till i am bored and ready to go home. So we try to do alot of exciting things. My head is just spinning on what to do and where to go though. It is our 10 year anniversary so we would really like a good mix of Romance and Adventure. Originally was looking at Arenal staying at the springs…but everyday that i log in i am torn into another direction. Now I found Issimo suites in Manuel Antonio and it seems pretty legit too. only have 1 week, so cant do everything…..Any advice on where to get the best mix of romance and adventure.

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Duane, thanks for your comment. You really can’t go wrong in Costa Rica if you want romance and adventure, but consider checking out this post for a breakdown of some different beach towns:

      Manuel Antonio has plenty of activities and if you rent a car you can visit lots of nearby beach towns. The Northern Nicoya peninsula around Nosara is also a great option for you with lots of surfing, jungle hikes, turtle sanctuaries, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, etc.


  7. […] The beaches and hiking trails at Manuel Antonio National Park are less than an hour from Dominical and Uvita. Read more about Manuel Antonio. […]

  8. […] I could barely walk the next day as we journeyed back to the bus in San Jeronimo. Could it be that only four days prior I walked up this hill instead of down? This time the sun blazed and we chatted excitedly about the next leg of our journey at the beach in Manuel Antonio. […]

  9. Julie Burnham Says: March 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    I am trying to help my daughter and her boyfriend and there are so many options and so much wonderful but overwhelming info. We love you blog and have been reading nonstop for the last few days. Would it be possible to give you my email or you give me yours and I can ask more specific questions. I wanted to ask before I took the liberty to email you. Thank you

  10. […] Manuel Antonio […]