Costa Rica 

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Last month I met Ben in San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. After staying one night in San José (not much exploring involved), we caught a public bus for Manuel Antonio, a beautiful small beach town with a national park and rainforest on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

how to get there

Riding the bus was fairly easy and only cost $32 for both of us round trip. It took 3.5 hours to get to Manuel Antonio, and a little longer on the way back because of traffic. We rode the “directo” bus on the Tracopa line, which you can learn about here if you auto-translate the page (or if you already speak Spanish 🙂 ) Ben had been in San José longer than me, and he bought the tickets at the bus station a few days ahead of our trip.

Frommer’s has some good additional information about getting to Manuel Antonio.

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Where to Stay

There are plenty of hotel options in the Manuel Antonio area. Trip Advisor has a great list with reviews. We stayed at the Arenas Del Mar, and it was my second-favorite hotel experience ever – worth the splurge on our part for the short time we had in Manuel Antonio.

Monkeys, Sloths, Raccoons, oh my

One of the things I loved about our hotel is that the grounds are so close to the national park that you get to see a lot of the rainforest animals when you are just hanging out at the beach or on the balcony in your room. As soon as we checked in we saw a baby sloth up in the trees, and we saw monkeys several times, another sleepy sloth in the trees above the beach, iguanas and exotic birds. Despite the fact that I had the zoom lens for my camera I couldn’t manage to get a good photo of a sloth or monkey.

We also had a special visit from a rainforest raccoon. One night as we were brushing our teeth I saw the door to our room’s balcony shake a little. I ran over with my mouth full of toothpaste to investigate, and a raccoon was literally pushing the door to our room open. The raccoon backed up when I squealed and I had a chance to slam the door closed and latch it to keep us safe from any more critter visits! Eek! 😮

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog^Costa Rican coffee on the balcony of our room, with a view of the ocean. No raccoons joined in on this moment.^

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Finding Paradise in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog^Rainforest hike^

Pura vida–pure life–is a greeting in Costa Rica. It’s not hard to see why. Our visit to the “rich coast” felt like a trip to paradise. I hope we can return someday to explore more of the country!

More Info

Here are a few great resources for more information about Manuel Antonio:

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