Regions: Central Pacific: Quepos and Manuel Antonio
Right in the center of the middle… It sounds like one of Alice in Wonderland’s riddles, but it’s just what you could say about Quepos and Manuel Antonio. These two destinations are more than the center of the Mid Pacific region, they’re a central point for finding beautiful beaches, lively towns and amazing natural environments.
A good time
This region was once inhabited by the Quepos indians from which comes the name of the city of Quepos. Upon the europeans’ arriavl, the region was converted into land for crops, and was later purchased by the United Fruit Company.
Today in Quepos, you’ll have every opportunity to truly experience Costa Rica’s relaxed way of living. The town is small, which makes it perfect for walking around. Residents are friendly, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions or advice.
Fishermen have been interested in Quepos for a long time. The marina boasts states-of-the-art equipment, and all boats are run by top notch operators that will be great company as you catch marlin and sailfish.
If you suddenly crave seafood, you have nothing to worry about. Several oceanfront restaurants serve tasty preparation with freshly caught ingredients. There are also a few bars where you can enjoy an exotic cocktail and listen to all kinds of music. After sunset, everyone in town hits the streets and walks around or enjoys a bite.
On your way
Quepos lies at the bottom of a hill. The road that leads out of it, South towards Manuel Antonio, winds up and over it and is filled with hotels, restaurants and tour operators.
Many of the hotels are on large properties and reach into forests. It’s possible to enter the the grounds and go for a hike. Other activities available include horseback riding, kayaking and birdwatching.
When walking or driving along the road, keep your eyes open. Chances are you’ll spot capuchin monkeys or sloths in the surrounding trees. If it’s wildlife you’re interested in, however, head out to Manuel Antonio; you won’t regret it!
Land and water
Everyone that travels through the mid Pacific zone, has Manuel Antonio on their list. Located 98 miles South of San Jose and 4.5 miles from Quepos. It’s of easy access, and one of the most beautiful parks in Costa Rica.
Inside, paths, an estuary, a lagoon, and beaches seem to have it all. A mangrove swamp, with the red, buttonwood and white mangrove species, covers 44.5 acres. If you walk through the tropical forest, you’ll find mosses, ferns, flowers and epiphytes growing on every tree. Along one of the trails you’ll come upon an observation tower; on the very top a 360 degrees view will take your breath away.
Licensed local guides are available at the park’s entrance and are worth the investment. They will help you see all the wildlife Costa Rica is famous for, as they help you understand the habitat and the roles played by the different animals, plants and insects. Be sure to follow any ecosensitive advice you’re given.
This way you’ll contribute to the country’s conservation efforts and you’ll enjoys the park to the fullest. If you visit the park during high season, try to arrive early, since it usually welcomes a lot of visitors.
In the wild
The Manuel Ant National Park is part of a Humis Tropical Forest life zone. It’s home to many species of endangered flora and fauna, and it protects primary and secondary forests, the mangroves, beach vegetation and marine resources.
Some of the species of flora in the primary forest are the bully tree; cedar; black locust (a tree in danger of extinction); cow tree; silk cotton tree; and many more. The raccoon; white-nosed coaties; agouties; the two-toed sloth; white faced capuchin and squirrel monkeys are some of the most common, yet impressive animal species.
Birds are also abundant. Keep your eyes open for the brown pelican; laughing falcon; black-collared hawk; and green kingfisher.
Chances are you won’t want your stay in the town of Manuel Antonio to end. It not only offers restaurants, lodging and souvenir shops, but the friendly atmosphere and the laidback lifestyle are hard to leave behind.
A special beach
Dominical’s chocolate brown, rocky beaches are great for practically anything. South of Quepos and Manuel Antonio, its reliable waves year-round, make this tiny beach a surfer’s paradise. Here, quiet evenings give way to lively dance parties.
An expansive beach and mountainous backdrop delight visitors and invite them to say. However, the American influence is overwhelming. This is the place to go if you wish to relax in a familiar atmosphere, but not as much if you’re more interested in discovering tico’s culture.
Finding a place to say in Dominical varies between two options: small one-bedroom alternatives to nicer beachfront cabins. It’s best to make reservations to guarantee a place to say upon your arrival. Don’t expect a large food offer; locals often complain about the lack of restaurants to choose from.
There’s really a lot to do here. You can choose from tours that include a horseback ride to some beautiful waterfalls; decide to take lessons in everything from basket weaving to yoga; board and bike rentals are also available, as well as surfing lessons.
Costa Rica Travel: Travel Information & Tips
No matter how beautiful a destination may be, it needs easy access and be reachable within the limitations of an average vacation period. Costa Rica is only two and a half hours away from Miami!