Greetings from paradise. In part one of my epic day in Costa Rica, I returned to the Discovery Beach House from running errands around Quepos and Manuel Antonio. While I was out and about, I kept thinking to myself how fortunate we are to be in such a special place filled with beauty and so many conveniences to offer.
Picking up from where we left off in the last issue, David and I were leaving to meet friends for sunset at Barba Roja. (If you didn’t have the opportunity to read part one about the Quepos area, you can find it here.)
Moving on to the second part of my epic day in Costa Rica, we’ll explore the conveniences you will find in Manuel Antonio.
Once you leave Quepos and start heading up into the mountains, you enter Manuel Antonio. The road from Quepos to Manuel Antonio is about eight kilometers long (five miles) and ends at the public beach next to Manuel Antonio National Park. Hold onto your seats as the road winds through steep hills covered with rainforests at times with sneak peaks of breath-taking ocean views. There is a very steep part of the road known to us locals as “Cardiac Hill.” You will know because you’ll feel your heart beating a bit faster as you climb up, up, up this winding hill. Once it flattens out, you have reached “the hill.” Here you’ll find the local soccer field, a few smaller supermarkets, and “restaurant row.”
Restaurant row in Manuel Antonio offers a variety of dining options. There’s a sushi place, Mexican food, a bakery, a hole in the wall burger spot and a Costa Rican “soda.” A soda is not a soft drink here, it’s what we call a typical Costa Rican-style restaurant. Get your fill of rice and beans, chicken, pork, or beef, with sides when you order a “casado,” the working man’s lunch. As you walk restaurant row, your nose will be delighted with the aromas of freshly cooked onions, peppers, and savory meats. You hear the “phhssst, phhssst” sounds of the pressure cookers making homemade beans and soups.
As you continue down the road, you’ll come to Barba Roja. Barba Roja is one of the first establishments in the Manuel Antonio area. It has been a local hang out ever since it opened in 1975. The dishes are tasty, with delectable sushi and a sunset view to die for! Ask your concierge what specials they’re running.
Across the street is a wonderful little deli. Manuel Antonio Deli has scrumptious deli sandwiches, meats, cheeses, and breakfast. They make their own hearty sausages, smoked bacon, corned beef, and zesty hot sauces. I love their sizable breakfast burrito and their divine egg and sausage English muffin. By now all this food talk has made you hungry, right? It’s making me hungry!
Next to the deli and across the street are boutiques and handicrafts shops. The Captain’s Booty is located just to the right as you walk into the entrance of Barba Roja. It features only items made in Costa Rica, a rare quality and definitely worth a visit. You are sure to discover the perfect tropical gifts for everyone on your list. There’s even a shop that has clothing made from bamboo, banana, and hemp fibers. Try them on and you will love how soft they feel against your skin.
Be sure to visit the renowned coffee shop, Café Milagro. This is the quintessential place to grab an exquisite cup of coffee any time of the day. Café Milagro roasts their own premium coffee locally, David’s and my favorite coffee. I’m sure you’ll find their restaurant menu irresistible, too. If you like live music, Café Milagro is a great spot to catch it every night of the week. We love the variety of live music Manuel Antonio has to offer. Do you want to bust a move or learn salsa dancing? Be sure to ask your concierge where to go for live music each night of the week.
Just a few steps from Café Milagro is Plaza Vista shopping center. Here, you can find an ATM to withdraw US dollars or Costa Rican colones. The shopping center offers a full-service bank, charming boutiques, souvenir shops, mini-super, wood-fired pizza restaurant, and the best gym around with an iconic view of Manuel Antonio National Park. If you’d like to work out while on vacation, let our concierge know, as we can get you a discounted day-pass or a multiple day-pass through the Discovery Beach House.
As you travel a few more steps past the shopping center, here is another one of my favorite restaurants, Agua Azul. What a cute little place. By little I mean there’s about nine tables, and it gets packed. If you want seafood, this is the place to go. If there’s a birthday in your vacation group, stop by Agua Azul for dinner. Without giving away the birthday surprise, let’s just say it’s loads of fun and the whole restaurant gets into it.
Other restaurants we enjoy close by include Z Poolside Bistro and Jolly Roger. These two are next door to each other. Jolly Roger is a pirate-themed chicken wings bar. They have live music on the weekends and 24 different chicken wing sauces to choose from. The sauces range from no spice to super spicy with delectable flavors including garlic, honey, curry, red wine, and of course many buffalo and BBQ sauce choices. So, there’s individual flavors for everyone. Z Poolside Bistro is just that, a great little bistro next to the pool. Bring your suit if you’d like to have lunch or dinner and take a dip to cool off. The fusion of fresh flavors and local ingredients in the dishes are fantastic.
Keep heading toward the Discovery Beach House, and you’ll run into an old US C-130 supply plane called El Avion. This supply plane was shot down in Nicaragua during the fight between the Sandinistas and the Contras. It was left abandoned for years until the current owner rescued it, brought it to Manuel Antonio where it found a second life as a restaurant and bar. You can even go inside and snap a few pictures in the cockpit. Indeed, this is a one of a kind experience!
After El Avion, the road starts its descent down to the Discovery Beach House and the beach. You’ll know you’ve reached the main beach because it’s the first time you’re actually the same level as the beach, the rest of the time, you are up on the hill. At the beach, you’ll find a couple mini-supers, even more souvenir shops, and a few restaurants. There is another ATM near the Super Pura Vida mini-super. This is the closest ATM to the villa.
You will feel so peaceful and secluded at the Discovery Beach house. Yet you are only a short walk from the backyard of the Discovery Beach House to the main beach, shops, bars, and restaurants.
I get excited talking about this area and why I love it here so much. It truly is a place to visit and experience. We look forward to your stay with us.
If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @Discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.