We were guests at Cabinas Espadilla for four nights in March 2014.
We learned of Cabinas Espadilla from our trip planner Pura Vida! Eh? (who we highly recommend, by the way). We had some concerns about Cabinas Espadilla based on some negative reviews we had seen online, but our experience was very positive, and we would recommend this property to others.
The rooms at Cabinas Espadilla are basic, and small. Don’t expect anything fancy inside the rooms. That said, the rooms are clean and comfortable, and perfectly adequate. These really aren’t cabinas, in the sense of individual cabins. Rather, this is more like a series one-story 6 room clusters – probably 30 rooms in all.
We were traveling with two children, and had booked one room (which was presented as able to hold 4 people). Upon arrival, we found that the room with a kitchenette and two double beds was really too small for four people and suitcases – there was literally no room to open up four small bags on the floor.
The management was very courteous and responsive, and offered to move us to another room with a 3d bed instead of the kitchenette, and this worked much better for the four of us.
Cabinas Espadilla is set back from the main commercial area along the beach, so there’s a sense of quiet and privacy. The grounds are very pretty and well maintained, with flowering plants and fruit trees – theres no avoiding you're in the middle of a tropical paradise. The pool is basic, but very clean and well maintained.
From Cabinas Espadilla, it is a two minute walk to Playa Espadilla beach, which you can access via a private, flat pathway through the back of the property, or along the main road.
A note about accommodations in Manuel Antonio – and this is something I had a hard time visualizing as we were making our plans. Most of the hotels in Manuel Antonio are located along the 8 km curvy road that runs along a mountain ridge between beginning in Quepos and ending at Playa Espadilla beach and the national park. Most of the higher end hotel properties and restaurants are located along this ridge. Some of the properties along the ridge may have lovely views, but they aren’t within walking distance of a beach. The road is hilly and curvy, and not easily walkable, especially with young children. There are plenty of cabs and buses available to take you to the beach and national park, but if you want to be near the beach, or within walking distance, you need a hotel at beach level.
The Manuel Antonio road comes back down to beach level at Playa Espadilla, a beautiful, long beach. Although there is a small strip of restaurants and gift shops across the street from the beach, there are no hotels directly on the beach. Most of the hotels at beach level are located on the 1 km road that runs back away from the beach and toward the entrance to the national park. For hotels, Cabinas Espadilla is about as close as you can get to the beach. While there are several hotel options available at beach level, most of them are small and none are really “resort style” -- frankly, the lack of glitz is one of the attractions of Manuel Antonio.
Cabinas Espadilla has a sister property, Hotel Playa Espadilla, which is located a two minute walk further away from the beach. Breakfast is part of the package, and the sister hotel is where the buffet is served: made to order omelets, fresh fruit, sausage, plantains, rice and beans, baked goods. Lots of food, and good quality. The hotel pool and hot tub are also available to guests of the cabinas. The Hotel Playa Espadilla is billed as a superior property to the Cabinas, with larger and more modern rooms, but at a higher price. While the rooms at the hotel may be bigger and better decorated, I would recommend the Cabinas due its close proximity to the beach, beautiful grounds and value.
For lunch or dinner, we recommend the restaurant across the street from the Cabinas – the Costa Linda. It has much the same menu as most other area restaurants, but they serve up a particularly good version of the fish casado (the typical Costa Rican plate of rice, beans, salad, and either fish, chicken, beef or pork), they have great prices (about $7 for the casado and $2 for rum and cokes and beer) and are very friendly. Their fish casado was one of the best meals we had in Costa Rica.
In addition, don't miss the ceviche vendors along the beach.
We came to Manuel Antonio after 4 days in the La Fortuna/Arenal area, where we did most of our adventure activity (river rafting, zip lining, hanging bridges, volcano tour, waterfall), and were looking forward to some relaxation time. Manuel Antonio is a great place to relax. The only activity we scheduled for Manuel Antonio was the national park tour, which is a must-do for Manuel Antonio. We weren't sure about the value of paying $35 each for a guided tour of the park when the entrance fee is only $10, and our hotel is a 5-minute walk from the entrance. After taking the tour, I can tell you that having a having a knowledgeable guide is key to this tour. Our guide was Juan, with Aguila tours, and he helped us spot howler monkeys, toucans, sloths, iguanas and snakes, which we never would have seen without him. He used his high powered scope to help us get great views of the animals, and he even helped us get amazing quality photos by aiming our point and shoot cameras through his high powered lens. It was a great tour.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Espadilla Cabins is a beautiful little beach hotel located just one minute from the beach in Manuel Antonio. It has 16 units surrounded by beautiful gardens, a swimming pool and parking. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Cabinas Espadilla Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
- Cabinas Espadilla Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio National Park