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PLAYA MANUEL ANTONIO COSTA RICA (MANUEL ANTONIO BEACH)
Manuel Antonio Costa Rica is one of our favourite spots in the entire country. We visit the area often for business purposes, but our time in the area never feels like “work”. We love that the the region offers so much to see and do, and the fact that it caters to everyone from lone travellers to family groups to honeymooners makes Manuel Antonio Costa Rica one of the easiest (and most obvious) destinations for us to recommend to the masses.
Great experiences in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica
- Visits to the Manuel Antonio National Park (try the Manuel Antonio National Park Tour)
- Surf lessons and surf trips (try a Surf Lesson or take a Surf Trip To Damas Island Or a Surf Trip To Dominical)
- Visits to the mangroves at Damas Island (try the Mangrove Boat Tour or the Mangrove Kayak Tour)
- Kayaking (try the Coastal Kayak and Snorkel Tour or the Mangrove Kayak Tour)
- Snorkeling (try the Sailing, Snorkeling, and Dolphin Watching Tour, the Coastal Kayak and Snorkel Tour, or bring your own snorkeling equipment from home and visit nearby Playa Biesanz for a clear snorkeling spot)
- Rafting (try the Savegre River Rafting Tour, the Express Savegre River Rafting Tour, the Naranjo River Rafting Tour, or the Naranjo River Chorro Section Rafting Tour)
- Tubing (try the Jungle River Tubing Tour)
- Ziplining (try the Titi Canopy Ziplining Tour or Midworld’s Canopy Ziplining Tour, a Night Canopy Ziplining Tour, or a Canopy Ziplining Tour and Superman Cable combo)
- ATV tours (try Midworld’s ATV Tour)
- Birdwatching tours
- Spice tours
- Butterfly garden visits
- Souvenir shopping
- Extreme adventures for adrenaline junkies (try the 10 in 1 Adventure Tour)
The below Manuel Antonio Costa Rica information can also be found on our related post:
MANUEL ANTONIO COSTA RICA DETAILS
(SELLING POINTS, DISADVANTAGES, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND EXTRA NOTES)
Located north of Playa Dominical and south of Playa Jaco along Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast.
Distance from San Jose: 170km (approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes)
Closest Town: Quepos
Beach Status: public beach accessed via paid entry into the Manuel Antonio National Park
Type of Sand: white sand, smooth beach
Playa Manuel Antonio Costa Rica selling points
- For those travellers looking to visit a popular beach area without the noise and crowd that beach town centres offer, Manuel Antonio is a great choice. The name Manuel Antonio (taken from the area’s famous beach) has been given to the entire region of land stretching from Quepos to the beach/national park along which one main road runs connecting the two areas. Although this region remains a popular vacation destination from year to year, given that the area’s variety of accommodations, tour operator offices, restaurants, shops, and other local businesses are spread out along the main road, the region rarely feels “full” given that there is no town centre that visitors can occupy at one time.
- Manuel Antonio offers everything that travellers could want during their trip, including the perfect balance of commercial development hidden in and among a lush, green, rainforest landscape. Travellers can choose to stay at accommodations located along the mountainside (most of which offer incredible views overlooking the Pacific Ocean) or at an accommodation on beach-level and within walking distance of the Manuel Antonio national park.
- Visitors to the Manuel Antonio area instantly gain access to two free public beaches: Playa Espadilla Norte (the main public beach situated outside of the national park) as well as Playa Biesanz (Manuel Antonio’s best known snorkeling spot located a five minute drive or taxi ride from Playa Espadilla).
- Travellers looking to participate in a number of tours/activities during their time at the beach will find a variety in Manuel Antonio. Most of the tour operators in this town include round-trip transportation to/from Manuel Antonio accommodations. For this reason, Manuel Antonio is a good choice for those individuals who will not have a rented vehicle and would prefer to stay in an area where getting to/from tour/activity, dining, and shopping options is possible via foot or a short taxi ride.
- Playa Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. Not only does the beach offer some of the nicest sand you will find in the country but its unique area in the heart of the lively Manuel Antonio national park makes it a not-to-miss hot spot.
- Depending on your hiking interest and ability, additional beaches can be accessed within the national park including Playa Espadilla (Sur) and Puerto Escondido.
Playa Manuel Antonio Costa Rica disadvantages
- Playa Manuel Antonio can be a busy beach. It is not only popular for its name and beauty but also for its location. Given that the beach is accessed from inside the national park it is frequented by park visitors on a daily basis. For this reason, the beach can get quite busy during the high/summer season when the country experiences a higher volume of tourism traffic.
- Since Playa Manuel Antonio is located within the Manuel Antonio national park, the park entry fee must be paid to access it (this fee is charged upon each entry into the park; come-and-go access into/out of the park is not permitted).
Playa Manuel Antonio Costa Rica recommendations
- The Manuel Antonio region is known for offering a lot, not a little. If easy access to accommodation, tour/activity, dining, and shopping options is what you are looking for, than the Manuel Antonio area would be the prime central pacific coastal destination for you. Alternatively, travellers looking to stay at a remote location where they can truly “get away from it all” (avoiding other travellers, local businesses, and tourism overall) would likely be put off by everything the Manuel Antonio region has going on. Although Manuel Antonio offers a lot without forcing it in travellers’ faces (the presence of tourism in the area is apparent but not annoying), the fact of the matter is, travellers who would rather stay within the boundaries of their chosen accommodation with little interest in venturing out to explore its surroundings would not benefit from the plethora of detail that is available to be experienced in the Manuel Antonio region. In this case, a different coastal area would be recommended.
Playa Manuel Antonio Costa Rica extra notes
- Recommended day trips from Playa Manuel Antonio include visits to Playa Espadilla (Norte), Playa Dominical, and Playa Jaco.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Manuel Antonio Costa Rica before? What did you think?
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