Things to do in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

The overall vibe of Manuel Antonio is European and professional, yet it retains a “laid back” feel that can only be attributable to Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” philosophy.  People in Manuel Antonio love life, and live it well. They make the most of their wonderful surroundings by having barbeques with neighbors and frequent trips to the beach or marina. 

There are comforts that are unique to Manuel Antonio, like Emilio’s Cafe, with an extensive coffee menu and European foods.   Emilio’s Café features foods such as croissants and falafel, but it is most well known for its homemade onion cream cheese. One of the best bars in the area is El Mirador. El Mirador serves a local drink called the “Guaro Mojito,” which is a favorite among the locals.  For those who want an alcohol-free option, El Mirador also offers Costa Rican specialty drinks like horchata (made with rice, milk, peanuts, and cinnamon) and agua de sapo (a beverage of lime, ginger, and cane syrup).  

Many residents head down to the newly built Pez Vela Marina to enjoy one of the several restaurants in the vicinity.  For a special event, or day of whale watching followed by the sunset, a company called Tres Ninas rents out boats that one can captain oneself and enjoy privacy with friends. 

In terms of its beaches, Manuel Antonio has earned Blue Flag Ecological Status from the government for keeping its beaches healthy and clean. Many residents participate in volunteer events with organizations like Kids Saving the Rainforest.  

A day trip to Fincas Naturales—a private reserve and butterfly garden—is voted by many to be a must-see attraction.  Fincas Naturales also features a light show at night, during which visitors can see the jungle creatures though ultraviolet light.

Manuel Antonio National Park

The Manuel Antonio National Park (or Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio) is truly one of the most magical parks in the world. It offers beaches, hiking trails, whale watching, ziplining, white water rafting, birdwatching, and other outdoor adventures that delight its nearly 150,000 yearly visitors.  Monkeys are frequently seen here, and the white-faced capuchin monkey is known to visit beachgoers and take food from their hands.


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