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The Top 10 Things to do in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Whenever we want to escape the harsh winter season, we always think of flying to tropical countries like Costa Rica where we can enjoy the beach all year round. And when it comes to stunning beaches, Manuel Antonio is the first destination that comes into mind.

Best things to do in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

With its ideal coastal location in this beautiful tropical country, Manuel Antonio is lined with beaches and a national park. It also hosts one of the most colorful sunsets we’ve ever seen, making it a feast for your eyes as well. That makes it the perfect destination for nature lovers – or anyone who simply wants to relax by the beach.

If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful coastal town, you came to the right place. Here are the top 10 things to do in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica that you should not miss out on.


Being a coastal area, there’s no denying that swimming is a top activity in Manuel Antonio. In fact, the town is best known for its picturesque beaches and pristine waters, so there’s no denying that you should try swimming on one of its beaches while you’re there.

Manuel Antonio is home to several stretches of beaches, and you can easily take your pick as to where you want to swim. You can choose between the family-friendly Playa Espadilla and get to socialize with the locals or head south to Playa Espadilla Sur if you want to escape the crowd.

If you want more information on the different beaches in the area, you can check out the 5 best Manuel Antonio Beaches here.


Aside from swimming, Manuel Antonio also offers several water-sports activities like surfing.

The area’s main beach of Playa Espadilla is known as a surfer’s paradise, owing to the variety of waves that you can catch daily. If you’re looking for tall waves to ride, just head on to the northern part of the beach and surf to your heart’s content.

Even if you forgot to bring your surfing equipment, there’s no need to worry. Playa Espadilla is lined with shops offering surfboard rentals for your convenience.

And if you’re a beginner, Manuel Antonio also has you covered. The southern part of the beach has more gentle waves, and that makes it perfect to learn how to ride for the first time. So whether you’re an experienced surfer or not, you’re bound to have a good time in Manuel Antonio.

Try Sport Fishing

Aside from fishing, the area is also known for sport fishing activities. Technically, you have to visit the neighboring town of Quepos, which is dubbed as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Nevertheless, it only takes a few minutes to get to Quepos, and there are several available transportation options from Manuel Antonio, so it won’t take much of your town.

To enjoy this activity, it is recommended that you avail of fishing charters to make sure that you’re compliant with their local laws. These charters can be booked for half-day excursions or whole-day affairs for the best experience.

White Water Rafting

If you’re not a particular fan of fishing, then perhaps white water rafting is more your style.

There are several tour companies around Manuel Antonio, and they will be more than willing to take you on a tour of the nearby rivers of Naranjo and Savegre. Booking a tour is recommended since these waters can be rough, especially if you choose to visit during the wet season.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

For those who prefer exploring what’s underwater, you can also go scuba diving or snorkeling in Manuel Antonio.

The many beaches in this coastal area are home to interesting marine life – you can even spot dolphins and whales during certain seasons if you’re lucky enough. With that said, Manuel Antonio is home to 15 dive sites, so there’s enough for you to explore.

But for your safety, make sure to book a diving tour with professionals or tour guides, especially if it’s your first time to try these activities.

Mangrove Tours

Another tour that you should consider while you’re at Manuel Antonio is to explore its mangrove area.

The area between Manuel Antonio and Quepos is lined with mangroves which are home to several exotic wildlife. This may be the best way for you to get to know the local fauna, which is a truly educational experience.

Bear in mind that the local wildlife is protected, so make sure to stick to what your guide has instructed so you don’t violate any of their local laws.

Visit the Manuel Antonio National Park

There’s no denying that the most popular tourist destination in this area is the Manuel Antonio National Park. This national park is considered a natural haven where you can go sightseeing over rock formations and admire the nearby seascape.

The Manuel Antonio National Park is also home to several protected flora and fauna, so booking a tour of this location will truly be an educational one. For more information about this national park, you can visit the Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion Costa Rica (SINAC) website.


If you’re not exactly a fan of water-sports activities, don’t worry because Manuel Antonio has enough options for you.

Once you’re in the Manuel Antonio National Park, you can choose between the several hiking trails available. This will allow you to experience the park and all its natural glory – and admire the rainforest views once you get to the top.


Being a top tourist destination, Manuel Antonio is lined with restaurants serving local, fusion, and international cuisines. You don’t have to worry about taking too long to look for a place to eat – these restaurants seem to be everywhere, especially in the town center.

But for the freshest catch, you can always dine at any of the local seafood restaurants.


And lastly, you can also shop while you’re in this lovely coastal area.

Manuel Antonio and the neighboring Quepos are home to several shops and boutiques where you can find local trinkets and souvenirs. These unique finds will surely serve as the perfect reminder of one of the best beach escapes you’ve had in your life.

Also, exploring the boutiques gives you a glimpse of the local trade, and that gives you a deeper appreciation of the Costa Rican culture.

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