Last weekend, our GWA-team went to the Pacific Coast and explored Manuel Antonio National Park, which is about 4 hours bus-driving from San José. We started our adventure positively by almost missing the hotel check-in. We arrived 5 minutes before the closing time, such a perfect timing!
If you are lodging in Manuel Antonio, you will be really close from the entrance (walking distance). Of course, there is a public bus passing every 10 minutes from Quepos to Manuel Antonio and back. As well, it will take you approximately 20 minutes from Quepos.
Be sure to wake up early, the park opens at 7am. And remember that the park is closed on Mondays. When we arrived at 6:40am, we were surprised to find out a 200 metres queue. The best option would be to buy tickets one day before. Or, if you are travelling in a pair like we did, one could stay in the queue while the other one can go to buy the tickets. Have you forgotten foods or drinks? Don’t worry, there are many sellers walking around and shouting “Agua, Agua fría” or “Mango fresca”. But of course, you will not stand in the line since you have booked a tour.
Additionally, the park has got three main trails though the forest and two magnificent beaches where you can sunbath on the white sand. Moreover, you will be able to see the beauties of the park, which will take around 2 hours depending on your pace. Since we were amazed by all the views and trying to find animals, we spent around 3 hours walking. You will not get bored here and you can spend the whole day here until 4pm.
Manuel Antonio is a must for birdwatchers or seeing different wildlife such as howler monkeys, white-headed capuchins, squirrel monkeys, sloths and many more.
When you take the time and takea break, you will be amazed how lively the jungle is! After a long walk, we have decided to relax on ‘Las Espadillas Sur’ beach which was less crowded! Relax, have a drink, have an early lunch, take your book out, you have the all afternoon to enjoy. Be sure to not forget to put your sun cream, the Costa Rican’s sun is a treacherous friend, and be careful of the ‘cheeky’ monkeys that will rob you of your lunch!
Moreover, we advise you to go deep in the park before going to the beach. By doing so we had the feeling that we were the only ones and we have enjoyed the tracks and the viewpoints for ourselves. Most of the tourists go directly to Manuel Antonio or Las Espadillas Sur beach to relax.
Manuel Antonio is quite a relaxed location. Usually, most of the people stay at their hotels at night which allows you to enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant without it being too crowded. The food was delicious. If you are not a big adventurer, western dishes can be found, or you can become a real ‘tico o tica’ by trying the ‘casado’ with meat or fish.
Finally, to fully enjoy your night, buy a few drinks and go watch the stars on the beach. Also, if you are crazy enough, enjoy a night swim in the ocean under the moonlight. But watch out for the currents.
So, if you are interested to visit this park you can ask our travel experts to create an excursion to this magnificent place. A visit to this park is also included in the “From Caribbean Coast to the Pacific Side” package.