Last Stop | Three days
After a long bus ride from the eastern Caribbean coast, we have finally come to another hot and humid paradise of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio. It’s a small village known for the national park, which you can enter directly from there. It’s located 3 km from Quepos town and offers a variety of hotel accommodations as well as vacation rentals.
Despite high popularity among tourists, Manuel Antonio is a perfect place to relax and really energize your body and soul. People come here to visit the natural park, not to have a party. So the nights were literally “Pacific” and after 6 pm the Sun was already gone. Mornings in Manuel Antonio, on the other hand, can be quite loud because of the howler monkeys and other species. In fact, 109 species of mammals and 350 of birds live in this tropical area.
What to do in Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio Park
An obvious choice is to enjoy local fauna and flora in Manuel Antonio Park. The admission fee is 16$ for adults, children under twelve can enter for free. A guided tour is officially over 50$ per person but we got a special deal from a guy on the spot and paid less. Opening hours are from 7 am to 4 pm and be prepared to join hundreds of people at the entrance even in the early morning.
First, you will be shocked by the traffic on the main path, since there are tens of guided tours present at the same time. Groups move forward very slowly, a tour guide bears telescope with him/her and every attendee wants to look through and enjoy a zoomed-in image of two- and three-toed sloths, bats, iguanas, birds and many other species.
There are several kilometers of hiking and walking trails, which you can experience on your own. They’re made of concrete and are well-taken-care-of so it’s super easy to reach all of the viewpoints. The most of the visitors though end up on gorgeous beaches. Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Espadilla Sur are separated by a narrow piece of land. Be aware that animals like raccoons and monkeys are kings over there and do what they think of. So you have to constantly protect your belongings. Otherwise, you may easily lose your valuables as we personally witnessed. One woman left her bag on the beach and it was stolen by a monkey. She will never use her iPhone again…
Avatar Zipline Roller Coaster and Canopy Bike ride
Just two kilometers from Manuel Antonio, on the main road just below El Avión and El Wagon Restaurants you can get a crazy one-minute ride on Zipline Roller Coaster or a slow “ride” on canopy motorized bike. Both priced $12. I took the first option and it wasn’t what I expected at all. 🙂 Actually, it was quite brutal, and I just counted every second to end it.
Both evenings in Quepos, a nearby town, were unforgettable for us. Tourists visit the place because of the spectacular promenade perfect for sunset. Around 5:30 pm suddenly hundreds of birds appear on few trees located on the parade and begin to sing so loud that it touches you deeply. This concert lasts just for 30 minutes till the sun falls down.
Then you may be lucky to meet local percussionists with female dance group performing just for fun. The energy of the local music is enormous. At that moment I realized how much I admire Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, and wish them all the best.
Hope to come back soon…