Manuel Antonio Journals

Nature's Gift - Costa Rica

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A July 2005 trip to Manuel Antonio by SFPhotocraft

Le Papillon Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica More Photos
Quote: The family went off to Virginia and allowed me the chance to travel alone. I picked the beaches and rainforest of Costa Rica. I picked Manuel Antonio, since this was my first trip, and I fell in love with it!

Nature's Gift - Costa Rica

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Overview

Manuel Antonio National Park Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
The first question I had to ask myself was, "How did it take me 50 years to find this place?" Sure, I had seen photos of this area and had friends who had been down here, but nothing prepared me for the scenic beauty this area of Costa Rica.Manuel Antonio is the most popular area of Costa Rica, and it walks a fine line of development and keeping the rain forest and jungle pristine and pure. So far, I have to say it's doing a marvelous job.Just a few years ago, this area was remote and had just a few small hotels tucked away in the jungle. Today you can surely say Manuel Antonio has been discovered. The road between the fishing town of Quepos and the park is full of hotels, spas, restauran...Read More

Hotel Parador Resort and Spa

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Hotel | "Hotel Parador"

Hotel Parador Resort and Spa Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
I didn't stay here but went to check this hotel out for possible future stays. It's a little surprising to find a major resort like this on the road its on. You exit the main Manuel Antonio Highway by the Hotel Mariposa and start down a narrow dirt road. The road appears to be a minor area road, heading into the jungle. I was lucky there were signs for the Hotel Parador, as otherwise, I would have been sure I was lost.When you arrive at the gates to the hotel, it's a bit surprising. Here is a world-class resort hotel tucked away at the end of this tiny, local dirt road. I explained to the guard desk that I was not staying at Hotel Parador but wished to look around. They sent a hotel staff me...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2005

Hotel Parador Resort and Spa
Near the town of Quepos
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
+506 777-14-14

La Mariposa

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Hotel

La Mariposa Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
Have you ever looked at a friend's photos and you just knew you had to see a place for yourself? Twenty years ago, I had some friends who honeymooned at La Mariposa, and those photos were seared in my mind. I knew I had to see this place. It was 20 years ago, and Manuel Antonio was not built-up. La Mariposa was one of the few hotels in the area and was considered a deluxe hotel in the jungle. The photos were fantastic, so when I planned my trip to Manuel Antonio, I knew I had to stay here.Twenty years is a long time, and things change. Manuel Antonio is now built-up. La Mariposa, once alone in the jungle, is surrounded by restaurants, hotels, and clubs...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 2, 2005

La Mariposa
Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
011(506) 777-0355

Si Como No

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Hotel

Si Como No Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
One day I visited a number of hotels to explore where our family wanted to stay on our next visit to Costa Rica. One of my stops was at the very popular Hotel Si Como No(Yes, Why Not?). You can't miss this hotel, as it sits on the main road between Quepos and the national park. Looks are deceiving. It appears to butt up to the road and looks like a fairly uninteresting motel from the road. This is only the front office. Once you enter, you realize that you are on top of the resort and the rooms, pools, spa, and restaurants all are down below.Si Como No marvelously incorporates the rain forest into the resort. Some of the rooms even looked l...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 14, 2005

Si Como No

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
(506) 777-0777

Hotel Costa Verde

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Hotel

Hotel Costa Verde Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
Hotel Costa Verde is another hotel I did not stay in, but visited to learn about what they offer in hopes of staying there for a future family visit. The hotel is another popular choice and is hard to miss, as it sits right on the only road you can take between Quepos and Manuel Antonio. It has an excellent central location.The hotel is a nature lover's paradise. As a matter of fact, their slogan is "More Monkeys than Humans," and from what I could tell, it was not false advertising!The hotel is an extensive property. The many buildings that house rooms are spread out, and you take well-groomed paths through the rain forest to get to your rooms. T...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 15, 2005

Hotel Costa Verde
50 Manuel Antonio Highway
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
(506) 777-0584

Issimo Suites

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Hotel

Issimo Suites Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
One of the days in Manuel Antonio I spent driving around and just looking at area hotels for a future trip with my family. On the road between La Mariposa and Hotel Parador, I came across a small hotel that looked very interesting. I pulled in to take a peek. I learned that the hotel had just opened the week before.I asked if I could look around and maybe even see a room. The front desk could not have been more helpful or friendly with my request. The operations manager, Alejandro, gave me the deluxe tour.The hotel is very open, and the front desk is small but modern and sleek in feel. The lobby is the hotel’s restaurant. It is open and overlooks the rain forest and ocean. The views ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 27, 2005

Issimo Suites
Punta Quepos
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
(506) 777-4410

Le Papillon

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Restaurant

Le Papillon Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
Le Papillon is the hotel-restaurant in The Hotel Mariposa. This is the hotel where I stayed, and often I had breakfast here in the morning. The restaurant is an open area just off the main lobby. The views of the ocean and Manuel Antonio National Park are beyond comparison. The seats that ring the outside are the prime tables during the day, but even tables in the center of the space have a million-dollar view during daylight hours.The restaurant at lunch and at dinner turns into a French restaurant, and I was told that it was one of the best in the area. So rather than venturing out one night, I decided to try the restaurant for dinner. The space is lit by candles at night and linens are on ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2005

Le Papillon
Hotel La Mariposa
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

El Avion

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Restaurant

El Avion Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
There is no way you can miss this one! On the road to the National Park, you will take a sharp curve in the road, and your heart will skip a beat. There on the side of the road is a 1954 Fairchild C-123, a huge military cargo plane that at first glance looks like it has just crashed on the side of the road. Soon you realize it's just part of this roadside restaurant and bar - hence the name, El Avion.The plane does have an interesting history. It was purchased for the Nicaraguan Contas by the U.S. and was being readied in a hangar at the San Jose airport. But when the Iran-Contra scandal broke, the plane never made it to Nicargua and stayed in San Jose. In 2000, the plane was bought and broug...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2005

El Avion
22 Manuel Antonio Road
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
777-3378

Anaconda

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Restaurant

Anaconda Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
Anaconda (I know, not the most appealing name) is in the Hotel Costa Verde and lies on the main road between Quepos and the National Park. You can't miss the hotel. It has a large green sign that proclaims, "Still more monkeys than people." Anaconda is in the front of the front part of the property (the hotel area is huge), parking is a breeze, and it's an easy spot to pop in and out.Inside, the restaurant is open and seems to blend right into the rain forest that is just beyond the open windows. The place has a distinct Central American feel to it and has a large open bar near the front door. There are ceiling fans to keep the air moving and flora that seems to be creeping into the restaurant...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 15, 2005

Anaconda
50 Manuel Antonio Highway
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
+506 777-0700

El Gran Escape

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Restaurant

El Gran Escape Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
I was exhausted, I had taken the all-nighter down to San Jose and drove the perilous 4-hour drive to Quepos. I realized I had not eaten in over fourteen hours and I finally had time to think about getting a meal. I was so hungry, I just pulled into the first place I saw. The food gods must have been with me because, by chance I found the best place in Quepos.El Gran Escape looks very local, very rustic, and there is not flash and pop here, just an honest building on one of the main corners in Quepos across the street from the ocean. Inside, it's typical Central American. Great music is playing, ceiling fans are turning, plants are invading from outside to the inside, trophy fish hang on the wa...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 17, 2005

El Gran Escape
Main Road, just across from Banco Nacional
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
777-0650

Manuel Antonio National Park

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Attraction

Manuel Antonio National Park Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
When you arrive in Quepos, followi the signs to Manuel Antonio. There is one main road, stay on it , the road empties into the park. It would be hard to get lost.In front of the park is a public beach, vendors selling handicrafts and foods. There are also some shops and restaurants here. The atmosphere is one of a fair. This is a popular spot for folks coming down for the weekend from San Jose and everyone seems to be in a party mood. The park opens every morning at 8:00am. If you want to catch some monkey action - the earlier the better. The monkeys are most active in the morning and at dusk. During the heat of the day they tend to nap and relax. Early in the morning the beaches are n...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 16, 2005

Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio Park Road
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park

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Attraction | "Butterfly Botanical Gardens"

Manuel Antonio National Park Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
Butterfly Farms are a frequent attraction in Costa Rica. You will see several signs for these farms on your visit here. I noticed one that seemed very well maintained across the street from The Si Como No Hotel near the National Park. I thought to myself if I was going to take a peek at one of these Butterfly Farms this would be the one I would pick. It has a simple name - Butterfly Botanical Garden.So one day at the beach, the clouds started to roll in, and on the way back to my hotel, I stopped in for a look. The farm is a few about 100 feet from the check-in building and you walk to the enclosed space through the jungle. Inside the sce...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 26, 2005

Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio Park Road
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The drive between San Jose and Quepos Photo, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Quote:
There are three main choices from getting from San Jose International Airport and Manuel Antonio. The first is by bus; there are several bus companies that make this run. It's inexpensive but takes a long time. I wasn't up for spending my valuable travel time on a bus. The next option is to fly. There are several small commuter airlines who fly the San Jose to Quepos (the airport nearest the national park). These flights are the quickest and easiest way, but this was rainy season, and I didn't feel up to flying a small prop plane in the height of a summer thunderstorm. So I opted for the third choice, and that was to drive.I can proudly say I have driven all over the world, in many major citie...Read More