Staying in Manuel Antonio
It’s no surprise that families love Manuel Antonio, one of the most beautiful regions in Costa Rica. This is where hilly and lush rainforests meet long stretches of sand on the Pacific Ocean, so you get the best of both worlds. You can go for a wildlife hike in Manuel Antonio National Park in the morning, then grab a kayak or snorkel and head to the beach in the afternoon. Because of this pairing, the area caters to all ages, including energetic kids.
But if you’re traveling with your family, you know the importance of booking accommodation that keeps everyone happy and entertained. Although the region’s central hub is the town of Quepos, it’s best for families to stay closer to the beaches and the national park. We recommend starting with the popular beaches, including Biesanz Beach (more secluded and great for kids), Espadilla Beach (the area’s main coast), and Manuel Antonio Beach (set in the national park).
Although you’ll find many accommodation options, including boutique, standard, and even luxury lodgings, consider one of kimkim’s recommendations for the best family-friendly hotels in Manuel Antonio. All that made our list cater to families and offer those kid-essential amenities, like outdoor pools, onsite restaurants, and lots of entertainment.
Parador Resort & Spa
For families, mid-range hotels in Manuel Antonio are ideal, and an excellent choice is Parador Resort & Spa. It's a large hotel, but its expansive grounds on the hillside lend it an intimate feel. All of the property’s 129 rooms feature modern amenities, like air conditioning and minifridges, and the premium rooms have private balconies with sea views. The suites include all of the above, plus a private Jacuzzi. Families might like the Penthouse, Family Suite, or La Casita options, which function more like apartments with multiple bedrooms, seating areas, and kitchens or kitchenettes.
Another perk of Parador is the quick seven-minute walk to the quiet and secluded Biesanz Beach, where you can rent kayaks and snorkel gear. If you’d like to spend time at Espadilla Beach, the resort offers a direct shuttle service.
On-site, you’ll have a few amenities to enjoy. There are beautiful outdoor pools with ocean views, a kids club, and a mini-golf course that the family can enjoy! When you get hungry, you can dine right on the property at La Galeria, the main restaurant serving a breakfast buffet and a la carte menu of local and international food, or stay causal with snacks at the lounge bar or swim-up bar. Other options include a wine cellar and private dining. Learn more
Hotel Costa Verde
For a unique experience (though one that could appear a little gimmicky depending on your style), try Hotel Costa Verde. Quirky banners, billboards, and old airplanes converted into restaurants and villas (plus grounds covering 20 acres) make it feel like its own town. You’ll also notice walls and light fixtures made from old glass bottles and handmade wood furniture on the property. It’s different and undoubtedly entertaining for curious little minds!
Rooms, cabanas, bungalows, and cottages stretch across 20 acres of forests and jungles. There’s a ton of variety in room type, but all units have patios or balconies, cable TV, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and kitchenettes—which is an excellent perk for families wanting to save a bit of money and cook their own meals. Much of the furnishings feature recycled materials, and you can even sleep in the cockpit cottage, accessible by a hanging bridge. Because the hotel sits on a bluff, the views are fantastic, especially at the top of the property, where you’ll find an old helipad-turned terrace.
The property has a lot of amenities, starting with three outdoor pools. Two are family-friendly, whereas the other is adults-only. Nearby is a sundeck and lounge, and you’ll have five eateries to enjoy; two onsite restaurants with open-air dining and three other options along the road near the hotel’s entrance. To get to the beach, you’ll need to walk about 10 minutes via a fairly steep path, and the hotel is also within walking distance of a few offsite restaurants and cafes. Learn more
Hotel San Bada
In terms of location, it doesn’t get much better than Hotel San Bada, next door to the national park (even closer than the official parking lot) and a 2-minute walk to the beach on a private path. Unique for the area, the hotel is also relatively flat, so the grounds are more accessible than other hilly properties. The exterior is bright and colorful with unique architecture and mosaic tiles.
Though standard in design and amenities, all 67 rooms have private balconies with jungle or beach views. Rooms are warm and inviting with wooden furniture, comfortable beds, cable TV, minifridges, and air conditioning. Suites have Jacuzzi tubs, and one option has an open-air loft. Bathrooms are clean and spacious, with some recently renovated.
For entertainment, you can enjoy the family pool with its artificial waterfalls, accessible ramp, and swim-up bar. There’s also an adults-only rooftop pool with a terrace and bar. Other amenities include a surprisingly extensive breakfast buffet, an onsite restaurant, a sushi bar, and spa services. Learn more
La Mariposa Hotel
If 360° panoramic views are your thing, then La Mariposa is for you. The hotel sits on the highest point in the region, so you’re treated to jaw-dropping vistas of rainforest jungle and the Pacific Ocean. With 65 rooms, the hotel is a bit large but feels intimate, and the rooms are genuinely incredible, thanks to those views! Some units even have wraparound porches and Jacuzzis.
Because some rooms are better than others, we recommend skipping over the standard category, which families might prefer anyway. The two- and three-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes offer more space and a place to prepare meals. The hotel is within walking distance of a grocery store and a few restaurants.
Although it’s farther from Espadilla Beach and the national park, the hotel operates a scheduled shuttle to the main sites four times daily, and it’s only a 20-minute walk (up and down a few hills) from Biesanz Beach. But if you want just to relax on-site, you can enjoy the hilltop open-air Le Papillon Restaurant, lounge/bar area, and outdoor infinity pools. All feel very serene with bright neutral colors, green tropical plants, and thatched roofing. Learn more
Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Refuge
To keep the family completely entertained, consider Si Como No Resort, one of those places you never have to leave unless you want to—perfect for energetic kids! The property features two restaurants, two swimming pools (one with a waterslide), a movie theater (currently on hold due to COVID), and a full-service spa. And when you need a little more entertainment, you can walk through a nature reserve across the street or hop on the hotel’s shuttle to the beach or national park.
The buildings blend into the environment, mixing neutral colors and warm hardwood. Spread across 10 acres, it’s not uncommon to see wildlife from your balcony or while walking on the nature trails. Although the rooms feel a little dated, all have at least partial ocean views, plus views of the jungle. They’re generally spacious, bright, and warm with unique wooden ceilings, plus they have air conditioning and minifridges (but no TVs, which is intentional to maintain the tranquil atmosphere). Opt for deluxe rooms or suites for a bit more space and bigger balconies with near panoramic views. Learn more