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