Quepos, Costa Rica: Bustling Central Pacific Coast Beach Town
Quepos Costa Rica is a busy fishing town located near Manuel Antonio National Park
The Quepos Costa Rica Vibes
The town of Quepos is a somewhat bustling spot on the Central Pacific coast. It serves as a gateway to Manuel Antonio.
It is not exactly charming, but it is the perfect jumping-off point for tons of activities. We like the hilly areas surrounding Quepos for beautiful views and tons of wildlife.
Background Info About Quepos Costa Rica
Nearest International Airport
Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose
Popular Things to Do
visit Manuel Antonio National Park, fishing tours, catamaran rides
Best Way to Get Around
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
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Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).
We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and have called sunny Costa Rica home since 2016.
We are on a mission to help you plan the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Map Of Quepos
The town is located on the Pacific coast in the Puntarenas Province.
It is south of Jaco and just slightly north of the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Flights to Costa Rica
Montezuma is great because it is easily accessible from the Liberia airport and the San Jose airport.
More and more airlines are starting service to Liberia so check out the rates. It may be worth it for you.
If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.
Driving to Quepos
We suggest renting a car and drive yourself. The highway from San Jose to Quepos 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.
- 10% discount for Costa Rica Vibes readers
- Free second driver
- 0% deductible on Liability Protection Insurance
- Excellent customer service
- New fleet of well-maintained vehicles
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.
BOOK YOUR COSTA RICA RENTAL CAR AND SAVE 10%
The Adobe Rent-A-Car discount includes…..
– A 10% DISCOUNT
– FREE SECOND DRIVER
– FREE ROOF RACKS TO USE
– 0% DEDUCTIBLE ON LIABILITY PROTECTION
– DISCOUNTED SMARTPHONE USAGE WITH UNLIMITED DATA
Private Shuttle to Quepos
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.
Public Bus to Quepos Costa Rica
If you are only going to Quepos and not planning on traveling to other places, the bus from San Jose to Quepos 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”.
Domestic Flights to Quepos
Your other option is to fly. There is a small airport in Quepos and domestic flights from San Jose fly here.
Transportation In Quepos
We like to have a car in Quepos just so we have more flexibility in our exploration and don’t need to stick entirely to tours. It’s always nice to be able to get around on your own.
If you do not feel comfortable driving to Quepos, but would like a car for exploring while in the area we suggest renting a car for a few days while in Quepos and using a shuttle to get to and from Quepos.
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.
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Quepos Costa Rica Weather
From December until mid-April you can expect zero rain and hot weather in Quepos. Just keep in mind that this is also prime tourism time and this area tends to be one of the busiest spots in the country.
From mid-April until the end of July you can expect hot sunny days with a daily afternoon thunderstorm.
The rain usually rolls in around 2 pm and typically doesn’t last longer 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.
Things to Do in Quepos Costa Rica
Visit Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is definitely the highlight in this area. We 100% suggest you visit since it is in such close proximity to Quepos. We have a complete guide to the park for more info.
Go on a Catamaran Tour
If you have ever wanted to enjoy the Pacific coast of Costa Rica in style, this boat tour is the place to do it. There are many catamaran tour options from trips which include snorkeling and sunset tours.
Take a Deep Sea Fishing Trip
The waters off of Quepos are great for deep-sea sport fishing. There are many experienced guides here who can help ensure you catch marlin, tuna, sailfish, and more!
Our personal suggestion is a half or full-day trip with Captain Benn on the Good Day. You are bound to have a great experience.
Visit Nauyaca Waterfall
Nauyaca waterfall is located just south of Quepos in the town of Dominical.
If you do not have a rental car it is possible to go here on a tour, but it is also completely possible to visit this spot on your own with a car.
Expect an intense hike and swim under an impressive waterfall.
Check out our complete Nauyaca guide for all the details.
Go White Water Rafting
It is possible to go whitewater rafting from Quepos on the Naranjo or Savegre River. The Naranjo is class III, IV, and V rapids. Stick to the Savegre if you are new to rafting and want class II and III rapids.
The beach next to Manuel Antonio is one of the few places in the country where we have seen parasailing. This is the perfect activity for those of you who are crazy about a unique adventure.
Go Mangrove Kayaking
The waterways around Isla Damas located near Quepos are perfect for kayaking with an experienced guide. Along your peaceful paddle, you may see several species of birds, sloths, monkeys, reptiles, and more!
Go Beach Hopping
Our personal favorite Pacific ocean beaches in this area are Playa Espadilla and Playa Biesanz located in Manuel Antonio. Both have white sand beaches and generally calm waters.
Take a Surf Lesson
If you are new to surfing, this area will be good for you to try your hand at riding the waves. There are several beaches nearby with semi-calm waters.
Go Zip Lining
In the hills above Quepos, there are a few different ziplining options. We think that a canopy tour is the perfect family-friendly activity that will get the adrenaline pumping.
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There is really only one high-end restaurant option in Quepos. For more high-end restaurants, check out Manuel Antonio.
Gabriella’s Steak Seafood & Pasta – Delicious spot for fresh fish and seafood from lobster to mahi-mahi. This place looks out over the Quepos harbor. We suggest getting an early dinner to enjoy the sunset view. Also, during high season it is good to make a reservation here.
De La Finca – The perfect place for tuna or red meat. Everything here tastes extremely fresh and of high quality. It looks like a simple restaurant from the outside, but I promise that the food is AMAZING!
Mira Olas – Amazing place to enjoy a meal with a view of the water. We suggest the ceviche and a cocktail.
La Cocina – A great place for flavorful typical Costa Rican food and a very fair price. The portions are large and everything is excellent.
Soda Sanchez – Great relaxed cafe that serves typical Costa Rican food as well as some standard restaurant fare. The prices are very reasonable.
Quepos Costa Rica Hotels
Santa Juana Lodge & Nature Reserve – This hotel is on the upper end of the mid-range price bracket. It is located in the hills above Quepos and is just absolutely beautiful. There are only two hotel rooms and one two-bedroom house available on the property. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is included in the room rate.
La Foresta Nature Resort – A nice clean, standard hotel. There is a pool on the property for guests to use and breakfast is included in the room rate. It is helpful to have a car if staying here because it is a bit out of downtown Quepos.
Hostel Plinio – A simple but dependable hostel with a pool, shared kitchen, lounge areas, game room, restaurant and breakfast included in the rate. They have 8-bed dorms as well as a few private rooms.
Casa Quepos – Super basic but clean and affordable accommodation option. The guest rooms share a bathroom.
Airbnb and VRBO in Quepos
We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation in Costa Rica. 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 Lucero – A two-bedroom home with an infinity pool and swim-up bar. This place if located in the hills and has really great Pacific coast views.
Casa de mi Amada – A one-bedroom modern home with a private pool. This would be the perfect spot for a couple looking for a relaxing getaway with plenty of nearby activities.
A Glimpse of Paradise – A five-bedroom home that can sleep up to 10 guests with a private pool. The property is modern and well-maintained, but the real draw here is the management. You can expect everything to be absolutely perfect and the house manager is happy to help set up anything you need.
Quepos Travel Tips
– Quepos is not a bad spot to stay if you plan on visiting the Manuel Antonio National Park area AND want to take day trips down to places like Dominical or Uvita. If you plan on just visiting the national park and relaxing on beaches, you are better off staying in Manuel Antonio.
– This is very much a town and not extremely nature-y like Manuel Antonio. However, prices tend to be lower, and being right next to the Marina Pez Vela harbor is helpful if you plan on doing a lot of fishing or catamaran trips. Plus, the hills around Quepos have some great accommodations with nature views.
Packing for Quepos Costa Rica
The downtown of Quepos is somewhat bustling, but it is in no way fancy. Wear whatever you will be comfortable in. Usually we opt for lightweight clothes which offer sun protection.
The roads aren’t the best, so flip flops with good soles or sneakers are best for footwear.
Keep in mind that the mosquitos are nasty here once the sun goes down. During sunlight hours they shouldn’t bother you unless you are in a swampy area.
Check out our Quepos Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.
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You Might Also Like Visiting
Jaco: A bustling beach town with a vibrant nightlife scene
Puntarenas: A bustling city that is home to the Pacific coast cruise port
Manuel Antonio: A beach town that is home to Costa Rica’s most popular national park
….if none of those appeal to you, check out our Guide to the Central Pacific Coast for more ideas of places to visit in this area.