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Manuel Antonio

Situated on the west coast in the heart of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is home to one of the most beautiful beaches and most popular national parks in Costa Rica. What this stunning beach town lacks in terms of big city excitement it more than makes up for with its amazing wildlife, serene coasts, and delicious eateries. Visitors can hike for hours through the Manuel Antonio National Park, walk on the white sand beaches and swim through crystalline water. Because of the amazing location and nature that abounds, this area can actually become quite busy with visitors in summer, but its easy to escape into the wilderness with a guided hike or to a hideaway hotel in the local village and really immerse yourself in Costa Rican life.

Whether you are looking for pristine beaches, delicious food, awe-inspiring nature, or all three, Manuel Antonio has what you’re looking for! Take advantage of this heaven on earth and come to Manuel Antonio.

Manuel Antonio

Costa Rica


Costa Rican Colón

Important dates in Costa Rica

  • January 1st: New Year’s DayMarch/April: Easter WeekApril 11: Juan Santamaria DayMay 1st: Labor Day

    July 25: Annexation of Guanacaste Day

    Aug 2: Patron Saint Day

    Aug. 15: Mother’s Day

    Sept. 15: Independence Day

    Oct 12 (entire weekend): Limon Carnaval

    Nov. 2: Dia de los Inocentes

    Dec. 24: Christmas eve

    Dec. 25: Christmas Day

Interesting facts

  • Manual Antonio park is known for its sightings of exotic animals. If you are lucky you can see crocodiles, four types of monkey, sloths, arboreal porcupines and more all in the same day!
  • Though the park is not that large, its home to a huge array of different plant and animal species, including 109 different mammal species and 184 bird species.
  • When visiting the park, make sure to do your research about parking and location. There are some fake parking attendants who have been known to guide tourists to illegal parking zones far from the park instead of the free, closer parking lot.

Good to know

Entrance fee for the park is $16 for non residents, but free for children up to 12 years old. Make sure you bring your swim suit, towel, water, hiking boots and camera for this adventure!

Culture and Etiquette in Costa Rica

The influence of the culture for this region comes from the Caribbean, North and South America. The locals, who are endearingly called Ticos, are very proud of their heritage and enjoy conversing with foreigners about family, politics, education, peace and their homeland. Speaking of interaction between locals, when asked how you are doing, it’s common to state pura vida, which translates to full of life, in this particular instance. This word, used in many contexts, is as fluid as water. Ticos use it to answer ‘how are you?’, to reply to a ‘thanks’, and just to express joy.

You won’t have a hard time making friends with the Ticos, as they are friendly humans who take pride in their piece of paradise. When it comes to punctuality, you can expect lateness, as it is just a slice of the culture. In order to conserve the beautiful nature of ‘chill’ that exists in Costa Rica, the lack of awareness and recognition of time’s importance needs to be peacefully accepted. When traveling by bus, just make sure you are planning for a possible 2-hour delay.

If you plan to venture through the rainforests it’s best to bring bug spray, long pants and a hat. Creepy crawly bugs are not strangers to this area. For those who enjoy soaking up the rays in the beach zone, relaxed attire is very much welcome here.

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For every type of traveler out there, there’s an ideal vacation type. Some people love relaxing all day long on the beach, a cool drink in their hand. Others are looking for a high adrenaline surf-cation where they can catch sick waves from dawn till dusk. And others are happiest trekking through wilderness and surrounded by animals and plants. This can make planning travels for groups a real pain as it’s rare that a place can meet everyone’s needs.

This is part of what makes Manuel Antonio so special. It features beautiful wildlife, untouched sandy beaches, crystal swimming pools and killer waves all at the same location. We’ve put together some of the best activities in this blog post to help you consider Manuel Antonio for your next holiday!

Hit the Beach at Playa Manuel Antonio

This beautiful beach is one of Costa Ricas best. Imagine sweeping white sands, turquoise waters, abundant schools of fish, and a beautiful green forest backdrop. Visitors can take advantage and lounge on the beach, cool off with a swim in the gentle waters, or take shade under nearby palm trees. The beauty means that the beach can get busy, so be ready for some other tourists during peak season!

Take a Guided Tour Through Manuel Antonio Nature Reserve

One of the best ways to experience Manuel Antonio is to take a guided tour through the park. A tour guide can help you to spot all of the different animals your bound to see, and also show you some of the unexpected turns that this park has. Plus, guides are not too expensive–you should be able to find one for $50! Make sure to take a camera on your trip for when you unavoidably spot the local monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, and porcupines!

Get Your Heard Pumping with a Whitewater Rafting Tour

Costa Rica is world renowned for its whitewater rafting, and with rapids ranging from class II to class V, there’s something for everyone here. Near Manuel Antonio there’s a number of whitewater rafting companies, and you can go rafting on the nearby Naranjo River. Whitewater rafting is not for the light of heart, however, so make sure you are prepared for the adrenaline and in good physical shape!

Find a New Passion with Bird Watching

Costa Rica’s warm climate and rich biosphere makes it perfectly suited for a variety of bird species and it’s well worth taking a day to do a bird-watching tour. There are over 100 different bird species that call Manuel Antonio nature reserve home, and many are visible on local bird watching tours. Take your camera and comfortable clothes and get ready to be wowed by the amazing variety of wildlife you will encounter on this trip!

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Manuel Antonio is a popular destination for its wonderful nature and beautiful beaches, but what you might not have expected is that it is home to a rich dining scene ranging from decadent fine dining to cheap eats, all wonderfully fresh and locally sourced. This article outlines some of the places we think you won’t want to miss when you visit.


Got a hankering for some fish tacos after a long day out exploring the sights of Manuel Antonio? Need a quick stop to recharge, but not wanting to break the budget? Then look no further than Sancho’s. This local soda (what the locals call a small, open air restaurant) has a delectable menu featuring fresh ingredients, big portions, and cheap prices. You’ll get a great taste of Costa Rican cuisine, and maybe even get to meet some locals while you’re here.

Call them with questions here: +506 2777 0340

For more information see their website.

La Luna Restaurant

One of the best fine dining experiences in Manuel Antonio, La Luna sets itself apart with its delicious selection of fresh seafood and its stellar customer service. Though it is a bit more expensive than some of the local options in Manuel Antonio, its a great way to commemorate a special experience. Furthermore, La Luna prides itself on adapting to every customers needs, and even features an entire menu of vegan options.

Make a reservation online at their website.

Call toll free for more information at +1-800-226-2515.

Cafe Agua Azul

Cafe Agua Azul is a great place to grab dinner with friends and catch a great view, which is one of the main perks. The main dining area is an outdoor deck which looks down on the ocean and jungle below, and provides the perfect relaxing ambiance for great conversation and killer food. They are mostly known for their burgers and nachos, but you can find plenty of healthy options in their menu too.

See the menu at their website.

Call them for more info: +506-2777-5280.

La Cocina

Arguably the best breakfast in Manuel Antonio, La Cocina is a local eatery that prides itself on simple Costa Rican food done freshly and cheaply. For breakfast you should be sure to try their avocado toast, which features fresh, local avocados spread on homemade bread with local eggs and fresh fruit.

Find a menu at their website here.

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