Manuel Antonio Beach
Manuel Antonio Beach is ranked the Number 1 beach in all of Costa Rica on many sites. When you visit Manuel Antonio Park (16 USD), it takes you through the forest and into a cove where you can hang out on the beach. If you are driving to the park, don’t stop for the guys telling you to park along the beach road (there’s a sign that says 1km to Manuel Antonio Park) when you get close to Manuel Almost Park, you will take a left heading in land and there’s parking within a couple hundred metres. They wave down the cars and make it seem like you have to park there but it’s not true, unless you want a 1km walk – then by all means.
There are so so many people that will try and get you to take a guide, its up to you. They have telescopes for viewing things and for sure will be able to show you more stuff BUT there was like 20 guides in the park all looking at the same stuff, plus they keep you on the main paths that are just packed with people. You do have the ability to break away from the crowds if you are on your own. Here is a shot not far into the park, so busy!
Almost immediately as you enter the park you will start to hear the monkeys. They’ve been having issues with the monkeys stealing stuff from tourists so you are highly discouraged against bringing any food in as this just continues the behaviour. The most common kind we saw were white headed capuchin monkeys but did spot a howler as well. Click here for a video of one, they’re cute but still to be treated with caution. Unpredictable little things.
I would also definitely recommend taking the loop that goes out passed the beach to the look outs, there we only ran into a couple people and its a nice hike with some really great views. I’d say it’s not hard, but gets the heart pumping, lots of stairs.
We stayed about 1km from Manuel Antonio Park at a place called Hotel Verde Mar – It was pretty decent but you can also stay in Quepos for a lot cheaper and take a day trip into the park. I’m not sure if anything in Quepos is along the beach but Hotel Verde Mar is right on the beach and has some great sunsets.
Off to Samara!