Somehow it went right over our heads that it was an eight hour travel day from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio, but we found out last minute that the only bus is at 6am. To get to Manuel Antonio from Monteverde:
Bus #1: 6am bus to Punta Arenas, arrive in Punta Arenas around 9:30am – 3000 colones
Bus #2: 10:30am bus to Quepos, arrive in Quepos around 2:30pm – 2430 colones
Bus #3: Busses run from Quepos to Manuel Antonio every 20 minutes – 315 colones
Rated one of the world’s most beautiful national parks by Forbes, Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is absolutely stunning, albeit small for the hefty $16 entrance fee. The park itself offers everything from beaches to tropical rainforests. The scenic trails offer beautiful views of the beach and you’re likely to see monkeys jumping all around you both on the beach and in the forest- we sure did! We happened to spot two sloths without a guide as well. While this was most likely an exception to the norm, we were psyched nonetheless. Can you spot the sloth in the photo below?
The park as a whole offered really gorgeous views, exciting wildlife, and pristine beaches with warm water to chill on following hours of hiking.
The park is open at 7am and closes at 4pm. Note: Busses run to/from Manuel Antonio every 20 minutes for 315 colones.
5FT Tip: Bring 2x the amount of water that you’d usually bring because the park is sweltering hot, has very little shade, and no amenities once inside. Wear a hat and good walking shoes too!
The city of Manuel Antonio as a whole is quaint and extremely touristy. Clearly, it is a beach town, even though the public beach itself lacks sand front. It appears to be a solid beach for beginner surfers and pretty sunsets.
Manuel Antonio has an incredible wealth of cute little eateries – if you have the time and money, I highly recommend checking out as many as you can, trying to taste a new dish every night. We stumbled into Victoria’s Pizzeria, which offered Italian cuisine, and we were instantly sold by the outstanding smell of the brick oven pizza. Immediately we both looked at each other and decided that we had to sit down and eat, even though it was a very overpriced pizza place for Costa Rican standards but normal for US standards; the quality of the pizza was fantastic and highly recommended if you appreciate pizza.