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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 03/15/2023

A Weekend in Manuel Antonio

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Have a long weekend and looking for somewhere to go?  Check out our recommendations and tips on visiting Manuel Antonio!

Where is Manuel Antonio and why should you visit?

Located on Costa Rica's central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica for both foreigners and locals.  Manuel Antonio is just south of Quepos and about 130 kilometers (81 miles) from San Jose.  It is home to white-sand beaches and hundreds of varieties of flora and fauna.  Manuel Antonio is perfect for those who like to explore but also for people who love to chill on the beach.

The town of Manuel Antonio is quite small but offers a wide range of hostels and hotels, and you will be able to find dining of all cuisines and for all budgets, from cheap "sodas" (small restaurants that serve local dishes) to five-star restaurants.

What should you do in Manuel Antonio?

First and foremost, you must make going to the national park a priority.  Although there are a number of beaches outside of the park, the beaches inside are what you think of when you dream of Costa Rica!  They are also safer for those who like to swim.  Plus, you are more likely to see a number of animals while walking the trails.  When visiting the park recently, we saw howler monkeys, titi monkeys and white-faced capuchins.  A white-tailed doe and her two babies walked within two meters of where we were standing.  We were also lucky enough to see a sloth on the move just a few meters away!  Of course we also saw a number of iguanas, lizards, birds and spiders.  Make sure you keep an eye on your things at the beach, as the raccoons like to scrounge for snacks!  Sneaky little guys!

Foreigners with no form of local ID need to purchase a ticket of 16USD at the ticket counter outside of the park before entering.  The park is open daily from 7am to 3pm.  To minimize the trash left in the park, security will go through your bag to make sure you aren't bringing in any potato chip bags, food wrapped in aluminum foil, alcohol or cigarettes.  You are also not allowed to bring in pets.

Although there are no stores or restaurants in the park, there are bathrooms and showers available.  Once entering the park, you will walk about a mile and a half to Playa Manuel Antonio.  The path has recently been paved and most is in the shade, and the different hikes and beaches are well-marked.

If staying in the area for the weekend, you may be able to walk to the park from your hostel or hotel.  You could also take the public bus that stops right in front of the park or even hire a private taxi.  If you are driving or have rented a car, there are a few options. However, we parked in the lot right next to the restaurant by the Manuel Antonio Hotel.  If you spend at least 10,000 colones in the restaurant (they also sell water, soda and other snacks), you are allowed to leave your car in the lot all day.  

In addition to the park, there are many other activities to check out.  Beach-hopping, hiking, ziplining, bird-watching, and boat rides are among the most popular.  And there is no shortage of bars and clubs to check out come nightfall.  Whichever activities you decide to partake in, wear lots of sunscreen and stay safe!

You won't regret your decision to visit Manuel Antonio!  If you are in our 4-week, onsite TEFL course in Costa Rica, watch for details about the package to Manuel Antonio!  If you haven't registered yet, contact us TODAY to save your spot in one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL courses in Costa Rica!


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