Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
The Manuel Antonio Vibe
Manuel Antonio Costa Rica is home to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is the most visited national park in Costa Rica.
This town has pretty much every outdoor adventure you could possibly want.
There are also many upscale hotels and restaurants.
However, it is definitely possible to find decent places for budget travelers as well.
We find Manuel Antonio Costa Rica to be a bit crowded (especially during the dry season), but despite that, it is a beautiful destination that is convenient to get to from the San Jose airport.
Map Of Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is located in the Puntarenas Province on the Central Pacific coast of the country.
It is easy to get to from the San Jose Internation Airport.
Manuel Antonio at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose
Popular Things to Do
explore the national park, relax on the beaches, take a catamaran tour
Best Way to Get Around
Rental car, walking in the downtown area
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
Need to Know
Book Your Trip
Getting to Manuel Antonio
Flights to Costa Rica
The easiest way of getting to Manuel Antonio is by flying into the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose.
For flight booking we suggest Skyscanner. They are our go-to flight booking site for great rates.
OUR FAVORITE OPTION
We suggest renting a car and drive yourself. The highway from San Jose to Manuel Antonio is a well-maintained highway.
You should have no issues if you are a somewhat experienced driver.
Keep in mind that the first highway is a toll road. You need to pay with cash, but they do accept dollars if you don’t have colones.
We usually pay with a $10 bill and the change (in colones) is enough to pay for the rest of the tolls.
About an hour into your drive you will cross over a river called Rio Tarcoles which is usually lined with people. Pull your car over and walk back onto the bridge to check it out. You’ll see huge crocodiles below waiting for a tasty meal.
You do not need to rent a 4×4 for this route. The roads are all paved.
We partner with a local Costa Rican rental car company called Adobe for all our rental car needs.
We have a 10% discount plus other great perks for you if you would like to rent with them. Just click here!
If you are only going to Manuel Antonio and not planning on traveling to other places, the bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio is your cheapest option.
The public bus will only cost you about $10 dollars and runs several times a day. It’s not the most comfortable and if it’s full you could be left standing for the whole ride, but hey, it’s cheap!
You can check out the full bus schedule here. As your destination put in “Quepos”.
MOST COMFORTABLE OPTION
If you have a small group, the most comfortable option is hiring a private shuttle.
We are big fans of Adobe Transfers and they are more than happy to stop along the drive so you can check out all the crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles or other viewpoints.
You can get get a price quote from Adobe Transfers here.
Your other option is to fly. There is a small airport in Quepos and domestic flights from San Jose and Liberia fly here.
From Quepos you can easily get a taxi to Manuel Antonio.
Getting Around in Manuel Antonio
If you do not feel comfortable driving to Manuel Antonio, but would like a car for exploring while in the area we suggest renting a car for a few days while in Manuel Antonio and using the bus to get to and from Manuel Antonio.
To do this just select “Quepos/Manuel Antonio” as your car pick up location when you reserve your car with Adobe through us. In the comments section of the rental car reservation, you can specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel. Adobe will deliver it to you free of charge if you are within 12 miles of their office location.
After some nightmare rental car experiences with other companies, we have partnered with the only company we fully trust, Adobe, to bring our readers a 10% discount.
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Manuel Antonio Weather
From December until mid-Aril you can expect zero rain and hot weather in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica. Just keep in mind that this is also prime tourism time and this area tends to be one of the most full places in the country.
From mid-April until the end of July you can expect sunny and hot days with a daily afternoon thunderstorm. The rain usually rolls in around 2 pm and typically does not last for more than a few hours. Even after the rain ends for the day it tends to stay hot here.
From August until December the weather can be a total guess. Sometimes you’ll have nice sunny days and other times you might have nonstop rain. Keep in mind that this is also the least popular time to travel so there are fewer tourists and everything is cheaper.
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Manuel Antonio Hotels
Manuel Antonio is home to tons of great hotel options! Here are some of our favorites.
Tulemar Resort– Beautiful resort with private beach, restaurant, pool, and water sports on-site.
Los Altos Resort– Stunning modern property with pool, fitness center, private beach, spa, and restaurant.
Gaia Hotel & Reserve– Luxury hotel with spa, gym, pool, and a fine-dining restaurant on site.
La Vela Boutique Hotel Adults only hotel with pool. Located only .5 kilometers from Manuel Antonio National Park.
Hotel Villas Nicolas– Adults-only hotel with amazing ocean views. The property here is gorgeous!
Millenium Hostels– Located 20 meters from Manuel Antonio National Park, this hostel has private rooms and shared dorms. There is a pool and free parking for guests.
Manuel Antonio Homes & Villa Rentals
We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.
Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double check before booking.
Casa Fantastico – This was actually one of our top villa choices for our wedding. Ultimately we decided we wanted a place directly on the beach so we didn’t rent this place. But, it is such an amazing home. This place sleeps 12 guests and comes with a private chef that cooks two meals per day. It has a gym, large outdoor pool, movie room, game room, six bedrooms, and 12,000 square feet of living space.
Casa las Brisas – We love this spot because the house and property have so much character. This house sleeps 12 guests, has three pools, has a game room, and comes with daily cleaning and a personal chef.
Villa Pelicano – This home is not as modern as some of the others in Manuel Antonio, but we like it because it’s one of the few places with a large property (5 acres). It would be the perfect place for hosting an event. The home sleeps 22 guests, has a pool, and comes with a chef and housekeeper.
Villa Preciosa – This place is perfect for a large group that wants an all-inclusive option. This house sleeps up to 24 guests, comes with a chef, housekeeper, and bartender. Yes, you read that right. You get your own personal bartender here. There is an all inclusive meal plan option so your group can fully enjoy all the food and drinks you would like.
WORLD FAMOUS 727 Airplane – You may have seen pictures of this place before (it goes viral from time to time). This is an old 727 airplane that has been converted into a 2 bedroom/ 2 bath home. If you are looking for unique, this is it.
Superb Villa with Ocean View – A 4 bedroom/ 4 bath villa that sleeps 8 guests. This is located in the hills above Manuel Antonio and has a private pool.
Casa Gina – A two bedroom house that sleeps five guests. This house has jungle privacy and a nice pool.
Casa 3 Palms – A two bedroom house that sleeps six guests. This house is located in the Manuel Antonio hills and has a small private pool.
Casa Amiga – 3 bed/ 2 bath home that sleeps up to five guests. There is also a private pool.