Manuel Antonio is Paradise at a Price - This American Girl

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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