Manuel Antonio Tours
Our clients often ask us which Manuel Antonio tours and activities we recommend during their stay at their rental villa or condo. The truth is–outside of an active volcano, Manuel Antonio has everything you’d want to do and see in Costa Rica: Canopy tours, deep sea fishing / sportfishing, rafting, whale watching, surfing, ATV tours, waterfalls, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, mangrove kayaking, sea kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing, catamaran cruises, hiking, horseback riding, vacation buggy tours, and a whole slew of things we just haven’t gotten around to trying! The fact is–there’s too much here to possibly do in a single vacation, so you ‘ll have to decide what’s best for you, your friends and family.
The most popular tours are Manuel Antonio national park tours, canopy tours and catamaran tours. Seeing the best national park in Costa Rica is a must; it’s full of wildlife, easy to explore, and relatively uncrowded. (Keep in mind that it’s closed Mondays.) Once you’ve ticked off this check box, it’s time to decide what else to do.
After working for Outward Bound here in Manuel Antonio for a couple of years, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on outdoor activities in Costa Rica. There’s something for everyone. However, I’ll break them down into 3 categories: 1) Adrenaline Junkie; 2) Naturalist; 3) Family Fun
- Rafting – There are 2 rivers rafted near Manuel Antonio: the Naranjo and the Savegre. Neither is a challenging river for experts. The Naranjo is half-day, and a quick buzz, with technical class III rapids. The Savegre is longer, with slightly easier rapids. If you have the option–I suggest doing the Savegre. Also–both rivers become bony and dry from about February to May, so best to hit them after a night rain.
- ATV tours – Driving a powerful ATV up into the rainforested mountains is a great way to explore the area around Manuel Antonio.
- Parasailing – This is one of those ‘you-gotta-do-it-once’ type activities. Amazingly, it’s much smoother and more relaxing than you’d think!
- Jet Skis – The ocean version of an ATV, a jet ski is a big, fun, powerful toy.
- Canopy tours – Anything that involves zip-lining, platforms high up in the canopy, rappelling, and something called a ‘Superman’ is bound to satisfy even the most destitute of adrenaline junkies.
- Sportfishing – Quepos is one of the central American Meccas for deep sea fishing. The new Pez Vela marina provides the perfect launch spot for your fishing adventure. Spend a sunny day reeling in tuna and mahi mahi, and then have it grilled for you at the Gran Escape!
- Mangrove kayaking – This is perhaps one of the most peaceful, beautiful tours around, and a great place to see monkeys, birds, crabs and other wildlife.
- Horseback riding – There are basically two options: 1) a short horseback ride on the beach; or 2) a full tour horseback riding in the mountains. Heading to the mountains, you not only get your equestrian fix, but also get to explore the rainforest and take a dip in a river.
- SCUBA diving – For the casual diver, scuba is one of the most peaceful, quiet ambiences around. While not as florid as the Carribbean, there are some great dive spots within reach of Quepos.
- Spice Plantation – For those who like a laid-back tour and want to learn about the rainforest, the Spice Plantation tour is just right.
- Sailing – While the Pacific ocean is a misnomer, sailing on the Pacific is a peaceful way to get out and relax.
- Canopy tours – These tours are so well run and safe that even your 5 year old can do them!
- Mangrove boat tour – If kayaking is a bit much for the family, you can do the mangrove tour by boat, also.
- Tres Ninas Boat Rental – Rent a 27-foot motorboat and take the family out for a picnic on the ocean!
- Catamaran tour – These large catamarans can accomodate large groups, and are ideal for families–snacks, refreshments, waterslides, and snorkeling equipment available.
- Vacation Buggy – This is a perfect way to see the mountains in a rugged–yet comfortable–way. It also includes a 400-foot suspension bridge over a waterfall, where you can swim, and then have a local lunch afterwards.
Here are a couple of suggestions for planning your itinerary, based on my personal experience:
- Be sure to do both an ocean-related activity and a mountain-related activity. One of the greatest things about Costa Rica (especially Manuel Antonio) is the presence of both beautiful, rugged mountains and the Pacific ocean. Both provide a unique perspective of the area and country.
- Save your last day for relaxation! If you are here for several days or longer–a day lazing by the pool or visiting the beach is the perfect way to end your trip. Don’t go home wired because you didn’t get a chance to relax!
- Book the most important tours ahead of time. Some tours have limited availability and times, so don’t wait until the last minute to reserve those activities you don’t want to miss! (Esp. Vacation Buggy, sportfishing, Nauyaca waterfalls, ATVs and jet skis.)
- If you’re staying during the green season, try to get an early start and book tours for the mornings. While the rains are usually localized and not extremely predictable, it’s more likely to rain in the afternoons. There’s nothing better than a long, active morning followed by a tranquil rain from your balcony!
So… put your adventure hat on! Get ready for sunshine, waves, open beaches, monkeys and more! You may be staying in a luxury rental property in Manuel Antonio, but don’t forget to explore the great, big outdoors! Manuel Antonio is the best place to explore Costa Rica–all within arm’s reach!
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