If you’ve never been to Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is the perfect introduction. It offers plenty of options ranging from beachcombing to rappelling off the side of a waterfall. If you’re planning a return trip but have yet to visit Manuel Antonio, it’s a must-do. But don’t make the mistake of making your stay too short. Many vacationers save Manuel Antonio for a couple of days at the end of their trip and regret not going there first and staying longer.
Enticement #1: Costa Rica is Ranked the #1 Happiest Country on the Planet.
I know I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but it bears repeating. A British non-profit group, New Economics Foundation, prepared a comprehensive report comparing countries according to the population’s life expectancies, satisfaction with their lives and ecological footprint. NEF used these combined factors to create a “Happy Planet Index” score. The newest report ranks sunny, tropical, fun-loving Costa Rica as the number one place on the planet to live. This makes Costa Rica a three-time winner!
Enticement #2: The Views are Spectacular
The beaches are awesome, and the main bay is dotted with picturesque islands. Manuel Antonio Beach is ranked #1 in Central America. The rain forest grows right down to the sand. Local businesses make the most of the views, so you can enjoy them from your hotel, vacation rental home or from a local restaurant.
Enticement #3: There’s a Great Selection of Restaurants
There are more than 30 restaurants to choose from ranging from inexpensive local owned spots that serve “casados” (local fare consisting of beans, rice, fried plantains, salad and your choice of chicken, fish or beef) to fine dining. This seafood Mecca specializes in fresh fish dishes, but you can also find Italian, Sushi, and Fusion cuisine and more.
Enticement #4: Manuel Antonio has its Own National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is known as the “jewel of Costa Rica” and is the most popular of the country’s 32 national parks. Its wildlife includes monkeys, birds, sloths, iguanas, toucans and much more. There are 3 gorgeous white sand beaches within the park and a waterfall you can hike to. Hiring a guide is optional.
One amazing perk of having a national park in the neighborhood is several Manuel Antonio vacation rental homes are within the natural foraging routes of 3 different species of monkeys. Monkeys in your yard – how cool is that!
Enticement #5: There’s an Abundance of Activities
If you prefer to get in touch with your adventurous side you can dangle from a zip line from the forest canopy, rappel off the side of a waterfall, go white water river rafting or enjoy a number of other activities that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and say howdy. Costa Rica has 27 different adventure Tours – and Manuel Antonio has 24 of them!
Enticement #6: There’s a Wealth of Accommodations
Manuel Antonio has several charming boutique hotels, each with its own flavor. A popular option is vacation rental homes, which far outnumber the hotels. At last count there were 120! They range in price from a few hundred dollars a week for a modest cabin or to several thousand for a spectacular luxury home complete with concierge and chef. Many have incredible hillside ocean views. There’s also a handful of luxury vacation homes right on the beach.
The many choices Manuel Antonio has to offer make it the ideal destination in Costa Rica. You could stay for a month and still not exhaust all your options. Just be sure and leave your tux and prom dress at home because this beach town is the epitome of laid-back casual. Flip flops, shorts and sundresses are the local attire. It’s the perfect place to get away from stress, traffic and life as you know it. The national motto is “Pura Vida” and translates to mean: living the pure life. Or in Bob Marley’s words, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
(Image: Courtesy of GalleryHip.com)