Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica: hotel options

I mentioned a trip to Costa Rica two days ago (the trip to Europe should happen during the winter of 2007-2007 and will include Munich’s Christmas market, Paris, Madrid, and Bangkok – and maybe Trang – more on that later).

Back to the trip to Costa Rica – several people have recommended Manuel Antonio National Park (including Kristin in her comment on this blog entry from 2 days ago) in Quepos, Puntarenas (3.5 hours car ride south of San Jose). It’s listed in 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.

The author likes that Manuel Antonio National Park because it has rain forest areas, beaches, and coral reefs for snorkelers. They say the best times are the dry months December to March and June to August. I thought that June to August was the green season (when it rains more) so I’m going to look into that.

They like Hotel La Mariposa and say some people are so happy there they never make it down the hill to Manuel Antonio National Park. Rates start at $140/night.

One friend recommended the Blue Monkey Hotel: “Manuel Antonio is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited… If you are looking for somewhere great and cheap to stay, look for the Blue Monkey (El Mono Azul) — you get your own villa (one bedroom with kitchen, family room and patio) for around $75 (American $$) per night. However, if you are going in August, expect extreme heat!

I checked out the website and the rooms seem to start at $55 (less if you don’t need AC). They have lots of rafting trips and things (though you can go rafting in America) – these trips are surprisingly expensive compared to the hotel room.

Another friend recommended Hotel Parador: “Hotel Parador was great–Excellent value, locations and amenities.” Rooms here start at $145/night and they also have numerous trips that actually seem to be a little less expensive than those at the cheaper hotel.

I’m going to contact all three hotels to explore the possibility of doing reviews (like I just did with Plantation Bay). If you know of any others I should look into, let me know.

Another friend recommended Santa Ana which he said is a “small town (pronounced “santana”) a short ride southeast from San Jose. Villa Belen just outside of town was an excellent place to stay (10 years ago at least). Spanish Villa bed and breakfast. Last minute change of plans but it turned out to be a great place.” I’ll see what I can find out about Santa Ana as well.

And I really need to find out if August is truly a dry month or if I’ve been misinformed. As always, I’ll share whatever I find out.

Filed Under: Travel ideas

Comments (10)

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  1. Bev says:

    I would recommend Hotel Villa Nina. It has A/C, lovely balconies, and a good price. It has been a few years since I stayed there, but it was the best deal of all the places I stayed during 2 trips to Costa Rica and quite close to the wonderful Parque Manuel Antonio. I wonder if you are aware of how badly maintained the roads are? It will take longer to drive from one place to another, than you can imagine. The only fast road, they had radar out and I got a speeding ticket (on the way to Limon—not a nice town at all by the way) though I loved Cahuita. Have a great trip.

  2. Gregg says:

    We stayed at the Costa Verde hotel in Manuel Antonio in late March 2007. The hotel itself was a great value, and we were as happy to sit by the pool with a spectacular view of the park as we were to visit the park itself.

    However, we found the staff to be generally uninterested in helping with anything. Example: when we inquired about flights the next day from Quepos to San Jose, they suggested we wouldn’t be able to get a reservation, without even calling to check. We ended up going on line and easily booking a ticket for the specific flight we wanted.

  3. kristin says:

    In Manuel Ant. we stayed at Costa Verde, the pool has a magnificent view and kitchens for cooking a few meals.The restaurant there is pricey. Sorry i do not know what we paid but ask for a room by the pool. Our room was huge and the monkeys come through morning and evening. I think we just had overhead fans and sea breeze and we were fine in Aug. It did rain, really hard once but it does not last long. Pura Vida!

  4. Jane St. Rain says:

    Costa Verde is the way to go….

  5. James Trotta says:

    Thank you Bev – A quicke search didn’t actually turn up a website for Hotel Villa Nina – do you have contact info for them?

    Thank you also Gregg, Kristin, and Jane for suggesting Costa Verde – I’ve contacted them as well now.

    What I may try to do is visit two or more hotels because this might make the reviews I write more useful.

  6. Sue says:

    We stayed at “Si Como No” up on the hill above Quepos. It was a lovely hotel with a tranquil pool for adults and a children’s pool complete with slide and swim up bar for the best chicken fingers and smoothies ever. Our Spring Break trip was during late March, early April 2005 with our boys, 8 and 10 years old who just loved every minute of monkeys jumping from tree to tree. There was one night of lightning and rain but that just added to the scenery’s beauty. The guides at the Manual Antonio State Park made our hike very interesting and memorable. It’s worth the extra $$ for the guided tour. We took a deep sea fishing tour that the hotel recommended but it was not up to par for us. Maybe that has changed by now. We found Costa Rica to be a fabulous destination for families.

  7. Diane says:

    Last September, we stayed at Villa Nicholas in the Manuel Antonio area. The hotel is very nice and has a pool and every room has fabulous views of the lush coast. The room was very clean and comforatble and air conditioned and each room has a huge patio with a neat bench-style couch, coffee table and a large hammock. The hotel staff were very friendly and even arranged for me to have a massage on my patio. Be sure to eat at El Gato Negro, it is a great italian restaurant with nice live music. Also, if you like sangria, the airplane bar (you can’t miss it) has the best! and has a lot of atmosphere. This area is very expensive but we always end our trips to costa Rica there. The park itself has perfect beaches with warm swimmable water. For a totally different experience, try Arenal. It has a VERY active volcano. Stay at the Smithsonian’s lodge and pay a little extra for a room in the new wing. The rooms are very large and comfortable and anytime of the night you can wake up and watch the volcano spewing red hot lava! So exciting. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful, I’ve never seen so many butterflies! September is the best time to go because it is the end of the rainy season so it’s pretty dry, but you still reap the benes of off-season prices. Bring cash to pay for hotel rooms in Manuel Antonio area. You can barter on the pricing with cash(often you get out of paying the steep room tax – we paid $85/ni, much lower than initially requested room fee).

  8. James Trotta says:

    Great tips Diane and Sue – thank you!

  9. Anita says:

    If you are looking for an even more inexpensive lodging with incredible wild life and ocean views check out Casa Buena Vista B & B. With clean rooms from $35 to $50 including breakfast in the morning you can’t go wrong.

  10. Sandra says:

    We had a lovely time in Manuel Antonio staying outside the park at Villas Nicolas which is comprised of apartments which are on the hillside. Ours had a huge veranda, a kitchenette, small living room, bedroom and bathroom. The view was spectacular and we felt we were in the middle of the jungle with a view of the ocean as well. We paid $135 and were very satisfied. The hotel next door charged over $200 and I bet a hotel room couldn’t compare with what we had at Villa Nicolas

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