Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is a great place for a family vacation. Accessible for all ages, you’re guaranteed to find something for even the most hesitant tourist to enjoy.
However, planning a vacation isn’t fun, even if experiencing it is.
Planning a family trip to the tropics? We’ve got a list of the top 10 things to take in on your trip to help you out with your itinerary.
Interested? Let’s count them down!
Top 10 things to do in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Rainmaker Conservational Park
The most popular national park in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is Manuel Antonio National Parked. Aptly named, and it gets crowded very quickly. This adds up to long lines, which you don’t want to waste your family vacation rating in.
Rainmaker Conservational Park provides you with a more authentic, less tourist-oriented park experience. It’s quiet, and it boasts several hiking trails and hanging bridges.
The park is mostly a rainforest, so it has a ton of great wildlife, especially in the way of insects and reptiles and birds.
Still got that thirst for adventure? Check out Los Campesinos.
This is a rural tourism organization that’s pretty far off the beaten path. Tucked away in the mountains, it’s about an hour away from Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, but it’s still worth the trip.
This is another point for our outdoorsy and active tourists. Los Campesinos has different hiking trails. One leads to a waterfall and a river, while another goes deep into the jungle and to a lookout.
You can also take a trip in a cable car!
Experience the Local Chocolate
Unbeknownst to most, the region is home to a blossoming chocolate scene.
Definitely the most enjoyable chocolate related experience to be had in Manuel Antonio is a chocolate-making workshop hosted by Mamá Cacao – a locally-based chocolate maker.
During this 2hr workshop, you will get your hands dirty making your own truffles from raw, organic Costa Rican cacao beans whilst learning the history and nutritional value of cacao. With lots of samples to taste along the way. What’s not to love? Ask at the hotel front desk to book your workshop.
However if you fancy venturing a little further afield and seeing cacao in its natural habitat, take the family for a tour to La Iguana Chocolate up in Mastatal. La Iguana Chocolate will take you on a tour of their 10-acre family farm that they have been working for the last 30 years. You will get to see how the cacao pods get turned into delicious chocolate. You might even get the chance to grind cacao and temper chocolate whilst enjoying this idyllic rainforest setting.
If you’re looking for a tour closer to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica that’s just as tasty and informational, you’ll want to take a look at Rainforest Spices.
This farm, true to its name, grows spices and various different fruits. For the sweet-lovers, they specialize in vanilla and cinnamon. However, there’s also cocoa, black pepper, turmeric, and more to be found.
Part of the tour involves walking through a jungle trail, and you even get the chance to taste the different spices. The in-house pastry chef may even give you the chance to sample some of the treats they prepare there!
Kids Saving the Rainforest
For those interested in wildlife, but less so in the idea of wandering blindly down a park trail, Kids Saving the Rainforest offers you the chance to get up close and personal with rescued animals.
Over 130 animals are treated at this facility per year, all of the injured or orphaned in the jungle.
In fact, they’ve made national news recently for performing the first ever C-section on a sloth to save both the mother and the baby!
Kids Saving the Rainforest is a great educational tour, and it gives you the chance to see animals such as spider monkeys, tamarins, sloths, and parrots.
Playa Espadilla is the main beach in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. However, because of this, it’s heavily trafficked and the crowds can be overwhelming.
Playa Biesanz, or Biesanz Beach is somewhat secluded, and it’s a fantastic getaway for your family. If you want to know where the locals swim, you’ve found it.
It owes its popularity in part to the fact that the water on this beach is calm and easy to swim in. You don’t have to worry about your children’s safety here, unlike other beaches with rougher, choppier water.
Quepos Farmers Market
If you’re looking for unique and exotic fruits and vegetables, look no further than this farmers market. Open on weekends, this is one of the biggest markets in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
Not only do you have access to the agriculture grown in the area, you can also find cheese, fresh-baked pies, bread, and handmade souvenirs!
While you’re filling your belly, let yourself learn about the produce grown in Costa Rica. You can also take pride in learning about the culture and the routines of the locals.
Ever surfed before? If not, Costa Rica is a great place to learn!
There are a ton of companies which cater to tourists looking to enhance their sense of adventure by taking on the tides, and most of them are kid friendly!
Please note that for safety reasons, your kids need to be age 7 or older.
Before taking lessons, take some time to barter and negotiate with the business owners. You may be able to snag a great deal out of it. For a couple of hours of lessons, you’ll be surprised at how far you get.
You may even be able to ride the waves!
The best time to do a sailing tour is during the day. A Catamaran Sailing Tour offers a barbecue lunch on board during the day, but also offers dinner on the deck.
A sailing tour offers you the chance to see the gorgeous cliffs and enchanting waves without sticking to the shoreline.
You can also opt for tours which include things like water slides to keep your kids entertained, or snorkeling to take in the underwater wildlife.
Nighttime rainforest hike
A nighttime wildlife hike will let you see all the unique and exotic animals which come out after the sun sets.
Make sure to bring a flashlight to take in all the great sights!
Manuel Antonio is a gorgeous place that’s vibrant with all sorts of life. Whether you’re into nature, the beach, or delicious food, there’s something around that will speak to the thrill-seeker in all of us.
Take some time to enrich yourself about the culture, or try some new food. Take on nature and learn to surf! The possibilities are endless.
Questions about your trip? Did you experience something great? Let us know!