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Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

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San Diego...
posts: 9
reviews: 2
Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

Trying to figure out where to spend the firs couple days of our 7 days in Costa Rica. What do you guys recommend between these 2 and why. Will be spending the 2nd half of our trip on Osa peninsula/drake bay area. Thanks

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 8,316
reviews: 57
1. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

In case you will drive to Osa stop in Manuel Antonio, it is on your way. More touristy for sure, yet its small NP will give you the opportunity to see the wildlife you will encounter later in Drake Bay / Osa. Also beaches in MA are better for swimming and surfing. If you are flying to Osa then go to Arenal. A volcano, ziplines and hot springs are what you will not find in Osa.

Manuel Antonio
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio National Park
posts: 2,171
2. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

I have to agree with xelas, this is spot on. Otherwise, you can always stick closer to SJ and spend some time in the Poas Volcano area. This is one of the more active volcanoes right now and the La Paz waterfall gardens are amazing. Enjoy!

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,918
reviews: 22
3. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

If you are flying to/from Drake Bay I would head to Arenal 1st for adventure activities (ziplines, canyoning, whitewater rafting, volcano hikes, waterfall hikes and hot springs). Then fly Nature Air from Arenal to San Jose to Drake Bay.

If you're driving I agree that MA is a more logical choice.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
posts: 4,100
reviews: 124
4. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

We prefer the Arenal area for the ziplines, volcano, and great adventure activities. If you're more of a beachy person, you might like MA more - it really just depends on your own personal preferences. Both places offer a lot of nice hotel and restaurant options.

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 44,271
5. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

Agree with others...if you are driving to OSA...make sense to split the drive and spend some time around MA...if you are flying...nice to drive to Arenal the area is just incredible nice and a lot of soft adventure tours!


Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
posts: 4,395
reviews: 85
6. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

I would vote for a third option--stay in the Central Valley area (Poas and Irazu volcanos, La Paz waterfalls, coffee plantations, Pacuare rafting) and that way you'll be close to the airport to fly to Drake.

San Diego...
posts: 9
reviews: 2
7. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

Thanks all!!! Will likely be not renting a car, doing the shuttle thing or Flying if long distances. I'm thinking we will get our beach thing down in Osa, not looking for surf down there just nice chilling beaches and possible kayak fishing. So many choices I really wish we had more time, oh well, an excuse for a trip next year. Seems like MA is nice but if had to chose a location for a couple days then Arenal area might be a better bet.

We're still up in the air as some of our budget will be determined by wedding dance/gifts etc. All I know is we bought our flight tix and will adapt to the rest based on budget/weather constraints.

Were thinking of staying at Danta corcovado lodge in osa. Seems within our budget and the kind of experience we are looking for any thoughts advice on that place, and any ideas of reasonable places in arena area?

Thanks again for your time/thoughts!

8. Re: Manuel Antonio or Arenal Volcano

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