The national park Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is located near to Quepos a small city on the pacific coast just a few hours from San Jose.
From the Caribbean coast (Puerto Viejos) we made our way with a small detour via San Jose to Manuel Antonio on the pacific coast. Many people that you tell about Costa Rica most likely think of the beautiful Caribbean coast first. That the pacific coast might even have the more beautiful beaches and the more constant climax is something some people won`t believe. But the fact is that that the pacific coast of Costa Rica is really stunning particularly the nature park Manuel Antonio. One thing that I enjoyed way more on the Caribbean side was the food though.
How to get there:
A bus to Quepos/Manuel Antonio costs about 8 Dollars and leaves every few hours from the terminal Tracopa at the Plaza Viquez. The ride on the bus takes about 3,5 hours from San Jose. Instead of going straight to Manuel Antonio we stopped one night in Quepos since it was already pretty late when we arrived there. Quepos can be a little bit of a dodgy place but once you get used to it is not too bad. And it is actually a great place to go out and party. We went for some bar hopping and found quite some nice bars and clubs there. Unfortunately I had a few drinks too much and cannot remember the places we had been to.
Only a few minutes from Quepos starts the Manuel Antonio nature park. Already on the way there from the hill you have a spectacular view.
The city of Manuel Antonio is very small and has not much to offer but a few restaurants, hotels and a beach. But that wasn’t the reason why we went there. We mainly came to see the nature park. We stayed at Vela bar, which was a pretty nice hotel directly next to the park entrance but unfortunately a little pricey. If you travel on budget you can go to Costa Linda the hostel right next door for dinner. They have quite some big portions for a moderate price there.
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
The entrance fee for the park is 10 Dollars for foreigners and only 2 Dollar for residents. But if you are lucky or simply bad greedy people like we are you can just sneak in from the other side (Sorry to all the people that earn money from the park and keep it clean, but the gate was simply wide open and no security insight hence it was just too tempting to enter without paying). Inside the park you can find some of the most beautiful beaches in Latin America as well as plenty of animals and plants. Like for instance: Howler Monkeys, Squirrely monkeys (which are even outside the park all over the place), capuchin monkeys, iguanas, raccoons and sloths. The raccoons and monkeys can be pretty intrusively so be carfeul and never leave your bags unattended. Apart from that not much to say about the park but that it is incredibly stunning and very clean. It is not even allowed to smoke inside the park, which I believe is a good thing even though I am a smoker. We just planned to stay 3 days at Manuel Antonia but after a short Stop in Montezuma and a very disappointing Stop in Jaco which I recommend everyone to skip unless you are totally into hookers we came back for a few more days because we enjoyed it so much.
As an additional Info we planned to go out one night and one of the waitress sent us to the Disco Liquid not far from the park that turned out to be a guy bar. I don’t end up often in gay bars but I have to admit this place was pretty cool and the people really knew how to party. My girlfriend and me we ended up having one of the best party nights in Costa Rica.