My daughter and I spent 4 nights at Villas Nicolas celebrating her 30th birthday. It is a very intimate hotel with a small open air bar and restaurant and a refreshing pool. The villas are individually owned so the decor and layout varies slightly, but all villas that we were able to see were great!
I was originally placed in the villa at the top of the hill, closest to the office. My daughter was in the villa just below mine. It was either 11 up or 1 up, can't remember. I had a very difficult night- the street noise is very loud in this unit, and you can actually see the buses zooming by from the bathroom window. Also, across the street there is a new club that has a loud event on Mondays and some Fridays. I was up all night due to the music and loud drunken crowds moving to and from this club. Even with the a/c blasting and my sound machine on full blast, it was impossible to sleep through. I notified the office first thing in the morning- and they took care of my concerns immediately. They showed us every villa available and allowed us to choose which we would prefer. My daughter, by the way, was right below me and heard nothing. Almost all villas are built into the side of the hill and the acoustical differences are amazing! We moved to 7 up and 7 down. The rest of the trip was completely quiet and tranquil- save for the howler monkeys!
The sun sets around 6 and rises around 5, so if you are light sensitive bring your eye mask!
7up was definitely the most beautiful of all the villas. Though we met folks at the pool who swore by 3 down! It is spacious and gorgeous. There is a bathroom with a large open tile shower. Bedroom area with very comfortable bed. A sitting area and full kitchen. The porch is wonderful with a hammock and table and chairs. We spent many hours on the porch watching the monkeys, tucans, and other wildlife as well as the beautiful unfettered ocean view. My daughters room just below was just as nice but smaller with no porch but big open windows across the wall.
When swimming in the pool we were lucky enough to have a group of white faced monkeys playing right over our heads in the mango trees! The dinner meal was delicious and fresh. The bartender was a great guy- don't leave without indulging in a cacique sour!!
The location of Villas Nicolas is perfect! You can walk in one direction to several great restaurants and the local grocery store. The neighboring hotel on the right- Si Como No- has several little gift shops. It is a pretty hot and sweaty walk down the hill to Manuel Antonio but the bus stops are clearly marked and cost one dollar. The beach in the national park is totally worth it- gorgeous, stunning and on the quiet side of the island.
Tours- we signed up for two tours of the rainforest. One all ziplining and one that had ziplining, monkey drop, and water fall rappelling. Both were reserved by the front desk who had good suggestions for us. Both also included lunch which were the best meals we had the whole time we were in Costa Rica- very authentic made by family members of folks running the tours. Both tours were great! The double zip line on the first tour - sorry I don't remember the tour group names!- seemed like a good safety measure but once we were into it, didn't feel like we needed that. If my younger kids were doing ziplining it would probably make me feel better though!
We ate at several places throughout Manuel Antonio and all of our meals were amazing! My young son had us make a list of all the new foods we tried and whether we liked it or not so we were very adventurous! Cafe Milagro had the best gazpacho I have ever had. We enjoyed the sunset view and drinks at La Mariposa- both great! Could live without the food though and service was actually pretty terrible. Bring your suit and you can enjoy the sunset from the pool bar.
Overall, this was truly the trip of a lifetime. We felt like we found the best place to stay in Manuel Antonio- the perfect mix of quiet relaxation, convenience and comfort. I cannot wait to come back to Villas Nicolas!