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8 days in Manuel Antonio

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Level Contributor
129 posts
1 review
8 days in Manuel Antonio

I've just booked airline tickets for my family of 4 (2 adults and 2 teens boys) for end of June 2013 for 8 days not including our travel days. I am debating between spliting our time between MA and Arenal or just staying at MA all 8 days. We really prefer to stay in one place, but don't want to be bored. We are thinking about staying at La Posada private Bungalows which is right next to the beach and entrance to the National Park. We'll probably do ziplining, river rafting, Damas Jungle cruise, and tour MA park visiting beach #3. We are all adventureous, but enjoy a lttle down time as well.

My question is, with several extra days in MA (beyond our excursions), will there be enough to do? We love the beach, but will the boys be able to enjoy the ocean with the rip tides? Are sufing lessons safe? Are there lounge chairs/umbrellas, cafes on the beach to have lunch?

Is the local town interesting to walk around? Would a couple hours in town having lunch etc be eventful?

Thanks in advance!

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
3,528 posts
1. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

There is enough to do in Manuel Antonio for your stay. The surf lessons are safe and you should have a great time. I would however spend 2 or 3 nights in Arenal and the rest in Manuel Antonio as they are 2 very different areas and many activities that your boys can enjoy but that is a personal opinion. You will enjoy it either way.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
45,028 posts
30 reviews
2. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

Just common sense...a lot of nice families visit Manuel Antonio...La Posada is a great place to stay...small but great location...Mike the owner is a great person...a lot of monkies around mot o fthe time...tey have some great pizza around...

I like the combination with Arenal...most of our clients really enjoy the two places...

Good idea common sense as well with rip tides...just keep an eye on the kids and follow beach signs...if you do not feel safe just ask locals

I will be more worry about some sharks looking for your booking commisions...they can swim away with your money...great idea to dealt directly with services providers...

Please enjoy our country as much as we NATIVES do!


Level Contributor
129 posts
1 review
3. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

Thanks for your replies. How is Biesanz Beach? Is it worth taking a bus or cab to spend a few hours there? Are there cafes to buy lunch and can we rent beach chairs? Thanks in advance.

San Francisco Bay...
Level Contributor
30 posts
22 reviews
4. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

I just returned from a 10 day stay with my two kids (15/10). We had a night in SJ, 2 nights in Tortuguero, 3 nights in Manuel Antonio and 3 nights in Arenal. We stayed at La Posada, which I thought was great and you can see my recent review of it. I think adding Arenal as part of your trip would be a good idea and give you a little bit more to do on your vacation and give you the opportunity to experience a little bit more of Costa Rica. Send me a message through Tripadvisor and I'll give you a lot of information that will point you in the right direction....

Winnipeg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
6,863 posts
24 reviews
5. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

I agree with everyone else. Though your family could enjoy themselves for the full time in MA, the trip will give you a better sample of what Costa Rica has to offer if you add Arenal.

In the MA area, you can rent chairs and umbrellas on the main public beach. You can't in the park. There is no food sold in the park. On the beach, there is a restaurant called Balu which is right on the beach. There are also several places like Marlin's El Sol, Las Gemelas right across the street from the beach. There are guys working on the beach as freelance waiters who have arrangements with several of these restaurants.They Will show you menus, place your orders and then bring the food and drinks right to you on the beach. There is also a supermarket - super Joseth right across from the beach.

If by the local town you mean Quepos which is about 7 km from MA beach/Park, it isn't the prettiest town. But there are several good restaurants, shops, banks, supermarkets, bakeries and other services. I think it is worth a visit. Something to do to get a different perspective of the sunset is to go down to the ocean in Quepos to watch the sunset. You will see lots of Ticos out walking and enjoying the sunset. it is a different perspective than watching the sunset from a restaurant or from your hotel. You get some local flavour.

There is also a farmer's' market on Friday Night and Saturday in Quepos along the waterfront. Lots of fresh produce, baked goods, cheese etc.


pura vida


Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
1,190 posts
105 reviews
6. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

Ditto Canada's remarks

Surf lessons

Lots of water activities

Depending how many days you like at beach

You may want to go to arenal


Manuel Antonio
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio National Park
Level Contributor
2,171 posts
7. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

Sounds like you will have plenty to do in Manuel Antonio, especially if you want some down time, as those are all great tour options. If you want to forego some of the down time, then by all means head to Arenal, it is beautiful and a great mix of different eco systems. Manuel Antonio doesn't really have much of a town, just some hippy souvenier stands and "sodas", but a fun beach vibe. Quepos has little to spend hours looking at, just some souvenier stores and a couple good restaurants.... so you might want to stick to the tours, beaches, spas located closer to the park. The beaches are great and rent all kinds of food, drink, boogie boards, chairs, umbrellas, surf boards, etc and it makes for fun people watching. Enjoy!

Level Contributor
129 posts
1 review
8. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

I know I'm a little late in replying. I do appreciate your replies!! We've decided to split out time between MA and Arenal, and I just booked our hotels. It looks like the beach vibe is exactly what we are looking for along with surf lessons, ziplining, and MA tour. Arenal looks awaazing too. Thanks again for all your helpful comments....Raquel, that info is just what I needed.

9. Re: 8 days in Manuel Antonio

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