The small town of Quepos is a great base for exploring Manuel Antonio National Park. There are frequent buses leaving for the park each day, so getting there is super easy! Quepos also has fantastic fishing opportunities, many interesting art galleries, and a ton of lodging options for every price range.
Of course the gem of this region is the National Park which can sometimes seem overwhelmed by tourists. In any case, it is not to be missed! Clearly marked trails wind through tropical beaches, lush rainforest and rocky headlands. The views across the bay of the outer islands are incredible! Some of the wildlife you can expect to see include: squirrel monkeys, white-faced monkeys, sloths, iguanas, crabs, toucans, bats, birds and golden orb spiders. Just donŽt feed the monkeys!
For those who choose to not enter the park, there is a public beach right next to the entrance where you can soak up some rays, ride a few waves, or just relax and watch the iguanas cruising the sands!
When to go
Although you should be prepared for rain whatever the season, you may want to avoid May through September if you are looking to hit the beaches. Whatever time of year it it, it will be hot! Average annual temperatures in Quepos and Manuel Antonio range from 31.7°C (89°F) on the coast to 16.7°C (62°F) inland.
How to get there
The bus from San José is about a five hour ride. Also, you can hire a tourist-oriented private van or bus, which usually carries between 7-30 people, depending on the size and presence of air conditioning. Another option is to fly on NatureAir or Sansa Airlines which takes about 40 minutes from San José.
Most travelers do not need a visa to enter the country including those from Canada, U.S., Europe, Australia, the UK, Argentina, Israel, Japan, Panama, South Korea and Uruguay. Visitors can stay for up to 90 days. Note that it may be required to show a return ticket, ticket to another country, or proof of funds to purchase such tickets before being permitted to enter the country.
On guided tours, tip the guide US$1.00 to US$5.00 per person per day, and tip the tour driver about half of what you tip the guide. Naturally, tips depend upon quality of service. Taxi drivers are not normally tipped, unless some special service is provided. Upscale restaurants may add a 10% service charge to the bill. If not, you might leave a small tip to show your appreciation, but it is not required.