Planning a Trip to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica? Some Questions Answered

Costa Rica is well known for its immense biodiversity. Surrounded by lush jungle, and boasting a national park and pristine beaches, Manuel Antonio is a slice of Paradise in Costa Rica. It is a must-to-visit travel destination for all those who visit Costa Rica. This travel advisory answers essential questions that tourists usually ask.

Where is Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica on a map?

None can think of visiting Costa Rick without Manuel Antonio. The place features beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and the National Park. Manuel Antonio is off the central Pacific coastline of Costa Rica. It offers an incredible vacation for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. It is around 153 kilometers (95 miles) from the San Jose International Airport. It takes about two hours and forty-five minutes by car from the airport.

One can also travel by bus, or fly to Quepos and take a bus to reach Manuel Antonio. The latitude and longitude for Manuel Antonio are 9.409262 and -84.155385 respectively. When expressed in Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds, the latitude is 9º24’33.34” N, and the longitude is 84º9’19.39” W.

Is Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica safe for tourists?

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is a wonderful vacation destination with a great climate and wildlife. No matter if you are a nature lover or looking for a relaxing spot, it can deliver everything. Costa Rica happens to be one of the safest countries to visit in Central America. But one needs to exercise caution and always trust the gut feeling. Women traveling alone must be extremely cautious. Taking the following steps will help you have a safe trip.

  • Avoid isolated areas: Staying in an isolated place one runs the risk of getting robbed, Always try to stay with the crowds and be aware of the surroundings. It is the best way to stay safe from potential muggers.
  • Avoid wearing flashy items: Petty theft is common in the area. So, one should not wear any jewelry or precious watches. One should not also wave the phone around. These attract snatchers and pickpockets.
  • Never leave anything unattended:  One should not leave their belongings unattended while on the beach. You are likely to lose them. Take only those things that you require and not a single thing more.
  • Stay alert in public transport: Petty theft like bag snatching is common in Costa Rica. Tourists become a victim of this when boarding a bus. Always stay vigilant about the bag and keep it on your lap.
  • Always take a licensed taxi: It is always best to take authorized taxis. One should also make sure that the meter is running.
  • Get travel insurance: Always buy travel insurance if you have plans to join surfing, white water rafting, or zip lining. Travel insurance can give protection against illness, injury, theft, etc., and comes in handy if anything goes wrong.

Best things to do Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio is a perfect vacation destination for both nature lovers and adventurers. It is filled with rich biodiversity and plenty of activities.

Visit Manuel Antonio National Park

Although Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest park in Costa Rica, it is abundant in wildlife. The park is open every day throughout the year, except on Tuesdays, from 7 AM to 4 PM. The park includes several beaches and trails and follows the same schedule. The public beach, Espadilla Norte, outside the park is open from 5 AM to 6 PM.  Entrance tickets are only available online.

One cannot take food, beverage, pets, and drones in the park. The park offers a dense rainforest full of biodiversity and animal life. Several popular, adventure and adrenaline tours are also available. One can book these guided tours on the website. One can also explore the park without a tour by taking marked trails and following trail signs. While exploring the national park one can expect to see agoutis, iguanas, sloths, and a wide variety of birds there.

Walk the trails

One is sure to come close to a variety of wildlife while trekking different trails within the Manuel Antonio National Park.  And the extraordinary views of the rainforest from vantage points come as an additional benefit. One can take any of the following trails.

  • The Sloth Trail
  • The Mangrove Trail
  • The Waterfal Trail
  • Sendero Playa Espadilla Sur
  • Sendero Playa Manuel Antonio
  • Sendero Congos
  • Sendero Playa Gemelas
  • Sendero Punta Catedral
  • Sendero Miradores
  • Sendero Puerto Escondido

Explore astounding Manuel Antonio beaches

Both Espadilla Sur beach and Manuel Antonio beach are inside the park. One can reach there doing about a 30-minute hike from the park’s main entrance, but the journey is worth taking.

  • Manuel Antonio Beach: Another name for Manuel Antonio Beach is Playa Manuel Antonio; which offers a breath-taking scenic view. It boasts a gentle crescent of white sand surrounded by lush vegetation.  The water is calm here. But, it is a bit crowded.
  • Espadilla Sur beach: For beating the crowd one must visit Espadilla Sur beach. It is a quiet place as it involves more walking to reach. The beach is on the northern side of Punta Catedral and one has to walk through the lush forest to get to the beach.  However, one can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling at both of these beaches.
  • Espadilla Beach: It is the main Manuel Antonio beach. It sits outside the Manuel Antonio National Park and has an expansive stretch. This family-friendly beach is an ideal place to chill out. As the water is a bit aggressive, one must take care while swimming. Watching the sunset over there delivers an unforgettable experience.
  • Playa La Macha: When looking for a quiet, serene, and secluded place to beat the crowd, Playa La Macha could be a perfect choice. One has to take a difficult hike for about 40 minutes to reach there. It is an ideal place for sunbathing and enjoying the solitude. Going there, you are likely to see monkeys in trees and dolphins and sea turtles in the ocean.
  • Playa Biesanz: Surrounded by cliffs, it needs a fairly steep hike. It is not ideal for sunbathing but is abundant with exotic wildlife. Visitors come here to swim, snorkel, and also have a glimpse of ocean life.

Explore the town

Besides the national park and wonderful beaches, Manuel Antonio town also has many things to offer to the tourists.  It has grown up to support tourists from all over the world and offers an excellent opportunity for souvenir shopping, bars, cafes, and restaurants. One should defer shopping until after the sunset when it gets cooler.

Take surf lessons

Although Manuel Antonio does not offer the best surfing opportunities, the place boasts some beach brakes that are ideal for beginners. One can book online. But it is preferable to talk to the instructor upon arrival and plan based on weather conditions.

Enjoy a Catamaran booze cruise

If you want to enjoy the afternoon, you can take a catamaran booze cruise. You can see the astounding view of the sunset with a glass of cocktail in hand. They provide good food and plenty of fruits so that guests do not get sloppy.

Spend the night in a container hotel

Maybe you have slept in a lot of hotels in different cities all over the world. But they deliver more or less the same experience. But if you check in the container hotel in Manuel Antonio, you will have the experience of a lifetime. Made of reused shipping containers, they are unique and eco-friendly as well. This quirky hotel kept the original floor of the container and is ideal for couples looking for luxury and privacy. 

Where to eat in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Here is a list of restaurants, in no particular order, for you to explore.

Emilio’s Café

If brunch, steak, and pastries are your favorite, Emilio’s Cafe is the right place for you. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers delicious food, wine, desserts, and coffee. You will find plenty of delicious seafood and fabulous pastries. The restaurant offers everything from local, Mediterranean, and Central American cuisines. The restaurant also offers live music and a waterfront jazz bar.

Falafel Bar

This Mediterranean restaurant offers fresh homemade food and salad with many options. If you are on the lookout for authentic falafel dishes and Middle Eastern delicacies, Falafel Bar is the best place. The place offers many non-vegan specialties, and one can also have a yummy dessert there. It has a cool and relaxing outdoor seating arrangement, and the super tasty food does not make a hole in the pocket.

La Luna Restaurant

La Luna Restaurant is on the top of the Gaia Hotel & Reserve. The restaurant offers healthy, fresh, and local food. One can enjoy an amazing view of the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean. It offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. The restaurant also offers several international choices, including low-carbohydrate options.

El Avion

Want to drink in aircraft? El Avión is the coolest place in Manuel Antonio. It is housed in a converted cargo plane and features a restaurant and a bar. It peeps out from the trees and delivers an astounding view of the ocean. It exudes a casual ambiance and serves a wide variety of delicious menus. One can have amazing seafood, grilled meats, sandwiches, and local beer and wine there.

Shana Restaurante 

Shana Restaurante features a casual restaurant and pool bar. It offers foods with unique flavors and textures and the bar serves refreshing cocktails. The restaurant offers delicious fish menus. You can spend your days lazing by the pool, watching the sunset, and relishing good food. It also offers a wide variety of pizzas, pasta, seafood, and wonderful steaks.

Café Agua Azul

Café Agua Azul offers an outstanding ocean view. The restaurant serves local menus and fresh seafood. One can start with the Tuna Tostadas and end with Shrimp Salad. Having an elevated terrace the café offers excellent sunset dinner. One can taste a variety of local and international menus.

El Arado Restaurant

If you are looking for mouth-watering food including burgers, meat cuts, and sea foods, El Arado Restaurant can offer everything. The restaurant offers beautiful lunch and dinner menus with live music. They offer exceptional hospitality.

Is it Worth Visiting Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica?

Manuel Antonio is only 7 kilometers away from Quepos. It is one of the most popular towns in Costa Rica. Paradise beaches, picturesque landscapes, incredible wildlife, and rich diversity of fauna are some of the many attractions that make Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica a dream destination for spending vacations.

Plentiful accommodations are available in Manuel Antonio. They are set high on the cliff and offer the most inspired lodging with amazing views, and the fresh ocean breeze kisses you all over. Most visitors arrive here to visit the national park, and they soon find out a bunch of other things they can do. It is a worth visiting destination, especially for nature lovers.

What is Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica known for

Manuel Antonio is a jungle paradise that offers beautiful hikes with incredible views and wildlife. It is well known for the beachside fun it offers visitors to enjoy their vacations in the best possible way. It boasts everything the country is proud to show off to the world.

Manuel Antonio is also known for the Manuel Antonio National Park. Although small in size, it is the most visited national park in the country with its tropical vegetation and diverse wildlife. Manuel Antonio also boasts several white sand beaches and crystal clear water. The place is best known for dedicated wildlife and beach getaway with a lively rain forest within the reach.

In Conclusion

Manuel Antonio happens to be the Crown jewel of Costa Rica. With its unique location, adventure opportunities, and good food, one can spend a wonderful vacation there for a week or more. Get Started!

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