Anyone who knows me can tell you I am the last person to sit on my butt and relax for more than four hours. The thought of finding a nice quiet place to sit for two weeks seems like an eternity of doing nothing to me. I know, I know, a lot of people are more than happy to chill in the sun by a pool and call their vacation perfect. If that’s you, just go to the next post. This article is about getting out and actually having fun. I spent hours researching the day trips in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, ran it by our local host and put that information together here for you.
You can read our posts of the things we did, or I put together a guide to the area below with a little help from our hosts.
Playa Espadilla – the public beach in Manuel Antonio.
Villa Vanilla – Tour an organic and bio-dynamic farm. Learn how to make cocoa, vanilla, pepper, tumeric, and more.
Things to do in Manuel Antonio
First, let’s cover the general area. Manuel Antonio is on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica basically south of San Jose. If you are an ocean lover, you have a huge playground that includes scuba, snorkeling, kayaking tours, mangrove tours, and salt and freshwater fishing. In fact, I spoke to an ex-Californian (A califoreiner?) living here. He says he takes his kayak out all the time and catches snapper on light tackle right off the beach. Next, there is a national park adjacent to the town. There is a lot of eco-tourism you can enjoy from the very popular and common canopy tours to ATV rides, and waterfall tours. Finally, the city of Manuel Antonio itself has a lot of shopping, restaurants, and local culture.
Looking for something on the water?
For the adrenaline junky, check out Agua Azules Costa Rica. They offer parasailing, a banana boat tour, jet ski tours and rental, snorkeling, waterskiing, surf lessons and rental, sunset cruises, fishing, and private boat rentals. Plus, they are located right on the beach.
Paddle 9 offers waterfall tours, and park tours. They also have a bunch of Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP’s) with tours of the ocean and mangroves.
Manuel Antonio Catamaran Adventure is a tour of the coastline. This 100′ yacht has two jacuzzi’s, trampolines, and drinks.
Mad Marlin Sportfishing. Costa Rica is known for its excellent fishing. Expect to run into billfish, tuna, dorado, and rooster fish.
Manuel Antonio Jet Ski Tours is an adventurous way to visit the Manuel Antonio coastline.
Looking for Snorkeling? Snorkel adventures is your place to go.
Looking for ecotourism on land?
Most outfits will go to the major attractions. But here are a few notable tours to get you started:
Some other gringos on my Villa Vanilla tour highly recommended Johan Chaves. The guide heard us talking and was explaining why. There are two types of guides. The first are the guys that are outside the park and you can pay for a tour. They are fine, but the other type are certified. These certified guides take much more time with you and will find significantly more wildlife. Johan Chaves is certified and has a great reputation.
MidWorld Costa Rica has a little bit of everything including zipline and repelling canopy tours, a superman line, spider free fall, ATV tours, hiking tours, and passenger tours. Don’t take my word for it, 674 of 735 reviews on Trip Advisor are excellent.
Johan Caves Guided Tours of Manuel Antonio Park. Has great reviews and is recommended by people I have spoken to.
Costa Rica Jade Tours offers tours of Manuel Antonio Park, Damas Island Mangrove, Horse Back Riding to the Nauyaca Waterfalls, Night time tours to the mangrove and rain forest, and the rainmaker park tour.
Unique Tours offers a white water rafting adventure as well as Manuel Antonio park, mangrove tours, ocean kayaking, and more.
One quick note about the zipline tours. Safari Adventures is the only guide that has a zipline that goes to the waterfall. So if that is important, that is where you need to go
Segway tours are offered by Segway Costa Rica. You can take a tour, or rent a Segway for your personal use. They also offer SUP lessons and Rentals.
ATV tours are available through ATV Quad Adventures as well as MidWorld above.
Horseback riding through the Manuel Antonio park is available through Anywhere Costa Rica
Waterfall rappelling tours area available through Quepo Canyoning.
In the City.
The city of Manuel Antonio has shopping, lot’s of restaurants, and is a good place to get some local flair. Our host’s recommend a vacation buggy welcome tour to give you a lay of the land. There are tours of the jungle and waterfall as well as the city.
Make sure you are following along on our trip on Twitter and Periscope at @chrisashbach and snapchat at chris.ashbach. We’re using the hashtag #dan330 to communicate. So if you have any questions, please hit us up there and we’ll get right to you!