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Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

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Washington, DC
posts: 29
reviews: 17
Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

We have a group of 6 adults and 4 young kids (4-6 years old) and want to do a tour of the park with a guide. I have emailed several of the guides recommended here but they all charge around $25 per person including the kids which seems to me quite steep for a couple of hours.

I have heard there are guides waiting at the entrance of the park - does anyone know how much we can expect to pay for those?

I don't mind getting responses directly from guides on these boards.

Also, why do all the tours start around 8-8:30 am? This is too early for our group and we'd prefer to do it later, maybe 10:30 or so. Any specific reason for the early tour that I'm missing?

Manuel Antonio...
posts: 691
reviews: 45
1. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

HI....two replies.....you get what you pay for with the guides.....at the entrance.....you can usually work a deal for a group like yours......but remember.....some guide prices include admission and some do not.....and they suggest earlier....because it is cooler.....and there are less people.......they also limit the number of visitors into the park each day.....the later in the day.....the hotter and more crowds.

Tulemar Dave

Washington, DC
posts: 29
reviews: 17
2. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

Thanks Tulemar Dave!

So if we decide to get to the park later is there a chance that they won't let us in if they have filled up? I'm not too worried about the weather as we are used to heat.

posts: 553
reviews: 57
3. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

I have wondered about the guide charges also. My husband & I usually travel alone and guide prices usually range from $35-75pp depending on the length of the tour. That makes sense for a daily wage if the guide can only fit in 2-3 tours in the day. But sometimes we've been asked to pay the same amount and they want to lump you in a group of up to 10 people. That just doesn't seem reasonable. The tour length is the same and their attention is divided among more people. Does anyone have a thought on this?

Personally, I don't think a guide is needed at MA. There are so many people clustered around different guides & their scopes that all you have to do is look at what their looking at as you try to get pass them.

Manuel Antonio...
posts: 691
reviews: 45
4. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

I don't know what time of the year you are coming....but yes, they do turn people away during the busy times......or you wait until enough people have left to allow more to enter.

Tulemar Dave

Midland, Texas
posts: 198
reviews: 131
5. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

Visited the park in March 2011. The guide I had made arrangements with did not show up at our pre-arranged meeting place and didn't answer his cell phone...so after waiting for around for about 1 hour we just went to the park entrance. I bought tickets and explained our situation and the nice agent actually helped me get a guide there on the spot. We were a family of 4 and the guide quoted me a price of $80US (I ended up paying him $100). If we had visited without a guide, I doubt that we would have seen much. Unfortunately I can't remember the guide's name that took us, but it was a good guided walk...saw monkeys and multiple bird species. He was very knowledgable-The beach was nice. I was a bit disappointed in the size of the park (it is rather small) and there were lots of people that day. It was my least favorite national park in Costa Rica--but seems to be the most visited....

posts: 187
reviews: 11
6. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

The tour starts early because the wildlife is more active then. $25 pp is the going rate but you may be able to negotiate a quantity discount on the spot.

Don't forget the park is closed on Mondays.

Manuel Antonio
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio National Park
posts: 2,171
7. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

I highly recommend a guide, you will learn and see so much more, especially since they use telescopes and know where the animals feed and nest. It is best if you arrange your guide thru your hotel or house concierge. They know and work with the "certified" guides all year and know that if you are not happy you will come back and let them know. The normal charge is around $45 per person, including the $10 entrance fee, refreshments, your bilingual guide and RT transport from your hotel/house. Kids under 10 yrs or so are usually charged 2x1. Yes, you can bargain with guides at the gate, but you cannot be sure they are certified, they may just be wearing an official looking shirt. (Some are excellent though.). Either way, they usually charge $20-$25 per person, then you pay the $10 entrance fee, the $4-$6 parking (or more for taxis to get there and back), and you have to buy your own refreshments (they sell nothing in the park). So.....if you do the math, it usually ends up easier to just hire a proven guide through your hotel/house. These tours usually have less than 10 persons, or you can pay around $65 pp for a private tour. The tour is about 3 hrs long on the easier trails, as that is what most tourists prefer, but you can stay in the park and continue to explore on your own if you want. In fact, the whole park is doable on your own, but the majority of visitors always comment to me that they were so glad they went with a guide. Also, regarding the hour to go......most people prefer the morning when it is cooler and the animals are more active, but most guides will also do an afternoon tour starting around 12:30pm, so just ask. Enjoy!

Jersey City, New...
posts: 260
reviews: 71
8. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?


We visited MA in 2009 and used Juan Brenes who we found here on TA. There were 4 adults (2 Costa Rican natives) and 2 children. He did an AMAZING job pointing things out to us that we would have NEVER seen. It is well worth the price.



Juan Luis Brenes

Cell: (506) 8892-1132

9. Re: Cost of hiring MA park guide at the entrance?

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