Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica – 5 things you must do

Manuel Antonio is a beautiful place: natural parks, stunning beaches and countless wildlife is what makes it Costa Rica’s most popular area for tourism.

The whole mentality and way of life is known as Pura Vida, meaning no hurry, no worry and that’s really how it works: relaxed, chilled and appreciating the natural wonders around you as opposed to material things.

Here’s our Top 5 things you must do whilst your in Manuel Antonio, helping you to make the most of this awesome trip.

What to do in Manuel Antonio!?

1. Explore Manuel Antonio National Park

A trip to Manuel Antonio wouldn’t be complete without visiting its park! A rainforest oasis teaming with monkeys, sloths, macaws, deer, birds, agoutis, beautiful beaches – the list goes on.

One of the great things is how accesible the park is without damaging too much of its surroundings. And with wooden walkways keeping the trail elevated, strict rules on what food & packaging you can bring in and heavy regulations on the way buildings inside the park are made, it feels like a sustainable set up.

Advice: Buy your tickets before the day you go, the ticket office is called Coopealianza, right next to the park entrance and open each day until 3pm. It means you avoid the big queues in the morning and guarantee yourself getting in, when its busy this park regularly sells out. This is the only official ticket office, don’t book in any of the shops around the park entrace. Cost: $16pp, cash only.

2. Chill under palm trees at Espadilla Beach 

Turn right Buena Vista hotel, follow the road down and this will take you the best quiet spot along Espadilla beach. Away from the tourists, and surrounded by palm trees you can relax and spend some time here. Cost: Free

3. Visit 2 secret beaches

Two beaches that not many tourists know about, so it will either be just you, or you and a few locals – perfect! The first one is called Playa Linda, located by Matapalos. The second is called Biesanz Beach, located here. Park up on the road and follow the trail of rocks down till you arrive. Cost: Free

The second one was our favourite in Manuel Antonio, we loved it! There’s nothing like seeing the jungle meets the sea ❤️

4. Book a relaxing massage

If Pura Vida is the phrase, then why not fully embrace it! It was Iban’s birthday whilst we were here so I booked him in for a surprise massage at Holi Spa. He rated this massage as the best he’s had so we’d definitely recommend it. Cost: $110 for a 90 min, full body massage.

5. Take the #1 wildlife tour in Manuel Antonio

If you came to Manuel Antonio to pack in all the wildlife encounters you possibly can, and you’re not visiting anywhere else in Costa Rica, we’d recommend you taking one of the Hacienda Baru Lodge tours. Rated as the official number #1 tour, you can expect good things! As we travelled to Drake Bay after here, we didn’t take the tour, though both tourists and locals raved about it. Cost: from $40 pp.

There’s our Top 5 for Manuel Antonio, have you been and discovered anything else?? We’d love to hear! If you’re thinking of visiting anywhere else, Drake Bay is a must!

As always, if you have any other questions or need advice, just message or WhatsApp us and we’ll help you out.

Pura Vida,

Shay & Iban 👬✌🏻

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