Costa Rica is known for many things. Volcanos, rain forests, and of course their beaches. After our action packed holiday, my friend, Meagan, and I wanted at least one day to just sit and relax on the beach. We took the four hour car ride from Monte Verde to Manuel Antonio, or as the locals call it, a Costa Rican "massage". Mainly gravel roads, the drive isn't easy but as soon as the Pacific opens in front of you, you are immediately blown away.
Manuel Antonio is like a lot of beaches in Latin America. There are very touristy parts of it, but if you walk down far enough (the part near the National Park), the beach feels untouched. We found a spot under an umbrella, broke out our books, and spent hours just laying around in the sand.
We stayed in a gorgeous hotel where their motto was "still more monkeys than people". Hotel Costa Verde was located a short 10 minute walk from the beach which was ideal for a beach day. Their grounds stretch across several blocks and include unique restaurants and pools. Too lazy to walk up the hill? No problem! One of the employees will grab the truck and take you there!
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MANUEL ANTONIO
+ Manuel Antonio isn't actually the city, it's the National Park/beach. The nearest city is Quepos.
+ The surrounding area is very Americanized. Almost everyone speaks English and accepts US dollars.
+ Manuel Antonio National Park's last admission is at 3:00pm. Not 3:15, not 3:05. 3:00 exactly. We learned the hard way.
+ When you're entering the city make sure to look up at the power lines to spot cute tiny little monkeys. They're everywhere if you know where to look.
+ San Jose airport is a short 2 1/2 hour drive from the beach, making it an easy access point if you don't want to venture too far away.