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“Enchanting adventure”
Review of Manuel Antonio

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Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
17 helpful votes
“Enchanting adventure”
Reviewed January 11, 2010

We loved every minute of our 6 night, 5 day stay here. The beaches are magnificent - although the center of Playa Espadilla was crowded the first week in January - but not crowded like East Coast US beaches - just not empty. Playa Espadilla is very much a beach town, and there will be people who approach you to rent chairs, sell you stuff, but not like I've heard it is in other such places.

We recommend Nature Vacations to arrange your transportation from San Jose to your destination - we were 4 hours delayed getting from Charlotte, NC to San Jose & a driver was waiting for us and drove us to our hotel near Quepos - it's 3.5 hours and would have been great if it was day time - but it was a fairly comfortable ride. We flew Nature Air from Quepos "airport" to San Jose for the trip back - and got a van from the Pavos airport where they come in to the main San Jose airport. Really nice van driver - Fermin Rodriguez, (--). www. naturevacations.com.

Manuel Antonio National Park is amazing - it had been very dry for a month before we arrived, so we didn't see the variety of wildlife one can see in the rainy season, but we did see iguanas, howler monkeys, sloths, white-faced capuchin monkeys (EVERYWHERE), lizards, bats, tcrabs, a killer bee nest, etc. It is worth it to have a certified guide at least once in the park - we had William Perez (--) and he was terrific. His cousin Michael, we are told, is also very good. The guides talk to each other to make sure they are aware of great finds of wildlife in the park.

As for restaurants - we ate at Rafael's Terrazzo, a new local-owned place - excellent and lots of food - but expect if you are loud that the locals might poke a bit of gentle fun at you... It has a view too. We enjoyed the brochette at Ronny's Place, and salads/nachos at Marlin, and food and live music at Mar Luna. There are many sunset viewing spots - La Mariposa is the best, I think! Ceibo the bartender at La Mariposa became like family to us after our week-long stay.

Cafe Milagro has amazing coffee and good food - they have two locations, one near La Mariposa and one in Quepos. It's owned by a couple USA ex-pats but is authentic Costa Rican food.

For some fun, call Luis the cab driver at (--). He laughs the whole way and plays sounds out of the cab; safe driver, a little nutty personality!

A magical trip, all in all.

1 Thank aerogirl59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote
“I LOVE this place!”
Reviewed December 31, 2009

Quepos (or more specifically, the mountain and beach, which most people called Manuel Antonio after the national park there by that name) is AMAZING. My sister and I went there when I got engaged as a very small pre-bachelorette party trip. We both just loved it. The whole atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and just so, so relaxing. The landscape is spectaular, and so are the sunsets. It is definitely worth the trip. I've recommended it to all my friends - they all loved it too!

1 Thank busterMI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
28 helpful votes
“Whitewater rafting with Unique”
Reviewed December 22, 2009

FYI, if you want to do a short, 1/2 or 3/4 day whitewater rafting trip, I can't recommend Unique highly enough. Excellent focus on safely (spent the necessary time to assure life jackets fit, practiced commands, positions, etc.)....then had a blast. Guides were knowledgeable and also made it a lot of fun with positive vibe and energy. We did the Savegre River which included quick stops on the drive to pick/point out various jungle plants. Did a quick hike to a waterfall/jump/pool early in the trip which was a blast.

The river in Nov was just challenging enough to keep focused but not too difficult to intimidate (Class II-IV rapids). The Naranjo River is supposedly a bit more of a challenge (Class III-IV rapids)

1 Thank GEL-TX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Green Bay, Wi
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 helpful votes
“NOT worth the money-- overpriced and dirty--- not much wildlife”
Reviewed December 1, 2009

First off, we went to Arenal Area 3 years ago and LOVED it!!! The volcano, the people, the wildlife was wonderful. We decided to take our 9 1/2 year old to a CR for his Christmas present. We decided to try Manuel Antonio based on some of the good reviews. In the end, we are very disappointed with the Manuel Antonio area. The town is high priced ( food, sunscreen, water, soda etc.) It is way more than what you would pay in the US for the same things. I feel like the locals here get a different price than the tourists for everything including groceries. It isn't right.....the attitude is, if you are from the US, you must be so rich and need to pay more. We came here for a family vacation and wasted alot of money. I feel very used and robbed.
We tried some tours in this area.....most were okay. We did the zip lining with La Selvita Tours....they were very nice and everything was excellent. But, then we went to Manuel Antonio National Par and were EXTREMEMLY disappointed. Here again, the price for locals to get into the park is 3.00....but tourists pay 10.00 to get in. There isn't alot of wildlife that you haven't seen on another tour ( we saw some crabs, a sloth, an iguana, a couple insects, and the same monkeys we could see every day at our hotel) Our guide was a nice guy, but the price for the guide is 20.00/ per person. So, for us....60.00 for him to point out a few things to us in 2 hours. It just wasn't worth it. When we left the park, my husband and I were crabby because we just wasted 100.00 to walk around this park. It's just didn't impress me. Manuel Antonio in general didn't impress me. The only thing that impressed me in this area was how close you can get to the monkeys. They come to your hotel becuz the tourists feed them and they know that. Otherwise, we would have rather gone back up to the Arenal area or somewhere else. This was just a disappointment.

2 Thank RN4IttyBits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, CA
2 reviews
3 helpful votes
“Paradise, plain and simple”
Reviewed October 8, 2009

We spent four nights in Manuel Antonio at the end of our trip and I think we both could have just stayed there for our whole time. The place we stayed helped (Lunatica guest house) but the entire area is just amazing. The beach outside of the national park was as good as it gets with strong, warm waves and an incredible view. The national park was very cool even though we didn't have a guide... saw an awful/amazing spider and many monkeys.

We will definitely be back and for a much longer time!

2 Thank JoshCanHelp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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