Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica


When doing our Costa Rica research, Manuel Antonio was a place that came up a lot. There were raving reviews about this area that made it jump to the top of our list. Manuel Antonio is famous for the National Park & Rainforest, but it also has an amazing beach along the Pacific Ocean (with the warmest ocean water we’ve ever swam in LOL). Manuel Antonio sounded like a place we would love and we knew we just had to come here.

How to get to Manuel Antonio

We try and do things as cheap as possible so we decided to take the bus. The buses in Costa Rica are very clean and run efficiently. We used Tracopa and had a great experience both times! The bus ride was about 3.5 hours, cost about $9 per person, and you got some amazing views along the way! You could also drive yourself or fly into Manuel Antonio but the bus was such a great experience we wouldn’t recommend spending more money doing it another way.

Where to Stay

We stayed near the beach right next to the National Park and we thought that was the perfect location! We walked everywhere, or took the public bus up the hill (which cost about 50 cents) to some of the restaurants up the hill. Being near the National Park was key because we got there when it opened and got to be some of the first people into the park!

Best Things to Do

  • Manuel Antonio National Park

  • Playa Espadilla

Where to Eat & Drink

Manuel Antonio was more expensive than the other areas of Costa Rica we visited. This area is more touristy so the food prices were higher. We ate at a few restaurants, but the local sodas were our best friends. Our restaurant recommendations are below:

  • Cafe Milagro

  • Barba Roja

Things to Note

We encountered some things in Manuel Antonio that we had to learn the hard way. Here are our tips so you can avoid making the same mistakes!

  • Have cash on you. Once you get down the big hill to the beach/National Park area, there aren’t any ATMs for a while. Make sure you take our cash before you head down, you’ll need it.

  • You buy your ticket for Manuel Antonio National Park before you go inside. The ticket booth is not by the front of the park it’s a little ways down and you have to pay in cash! The entrance fee is $16 per person and is definitely worth the price. Also once you enter the National Park you can’t leave without paying again so make sure you have everything you need with you!

  • Get to the National Park when it opens. The park opens at 7:00 AM and you’ll want to get there early to avoid crowds and see the most animals! A lot of animals avoid the hot sun so the later it gets in the day the less animals will be out. We got there when we opened and saw tons of animals including all different kinds of monkeys, birds, sloths, and even a toucan!

  • Bring your bathing suit to the National Park. We had no idea but there was a beach inside! It looked super nice but we didn’t bring our bathing suits so we didn’t go swimming there. We just walked along the sand and took in the views instead haha.

Manuel Antonio was definitely the most touristy and most expensive Costa Rica destination we visited, and we totally get why. It’s beautiful, it has so much to see and do, and it’s definitely worth the hype.

Follow us through the Rainforest

Here's part 2 of our Costa Rican adventure!!! We went to so many places that we had to split Costa Rica into a two videos! In this video we're exploring the area of Manuel Antonio and the Manuel Antonio National Park.
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