Staying in Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful regions in Costa Rica, about midway along the country’s Pacific coastline at the town of Quepos. Numerous sandy beaches dot its shores, including the popular Biesanz Beach, Espadilla Beach, and Manuel Antonio Beach. But perhaps the area’s biggest draw is Manuel Antonio National Park, a natural area beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Some of the best things to do in Manuel Antonio require blending the area’s coastline and hilly rainforest to get the best of both worlds. Enjoy kayaking and snorkeling in the ocean, hiking through the park, or taking a boat tour through the mangroves. At the end of a busy day, rest your feet at one of the best hotels with views in Manuel Antonio, where you can sip a cocktail as the sun melts into the Pacific Ocean and the sounds of the jungle below start to fade.
Tulemar Bungalows & Villas
You can escape it all at Tulemar Bungalows & Villas. You’ll understand all the buzz as you step foot on the property’s 33 acres in the middle of the rainforest, which houses 34 luxurious bungalows and villas. Each accommodation is climate controlled, and many feature rainfall showerheads. Not only does kimkim love it, but the hotel also earned TripAdvisor’s Traveler Choice Award as the second-best hotel in the world in 2018.
There are also 12 premium villas, each with nearly panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from octagonal balconies. A millennium pool fronts the premium villas, complete with a waterfall and views overlooking the forest. There’s even an offsite beach villa on Playa Espadilla for those who want to stay as close to the waves as possible.
If you prefer to spend your time at the beach, the resort provides complimentary transportation, loungers, towels, umbrellas, food and drink services, and equipment like kayaks, boogie boards, and beach balls. On-site, you’ll find four swimming pools (one adults-only), plus a pool bar and a full-service spa. When hungry, enjoy your meals at the resort’s two eateries, TuleCafe Restaurante and Victoria’s Gourmet Italian Restaurant. You can also reserve private dining with a personal chef.
Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa
Not far from Biesanz Beach is Issimo Suites Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa, a quaint adults-only hotel with just 13 rooms. Opt for the penthouse suites for the best views, which feature a wall of windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean. All units have ocean views, jungle views, private Jacuzzis, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs.
Amenities include an outdoor pool with a terrace and sundeck, a perfect spot for sunset. Grab a cocktail at the adjacent pool bar and watch the sun melt into the ocean. Next to the pool is the onsite restaurant, Terrazza by Issimo. With open-air seating, you can enjoy breakfast or lunch in the sunshine and dinner by candlelight. For some pampering, head to the spa for a relaxing massage or stretch your legs on the property’s nature paths, many connecting to nearby trails to beaches or cliffsides.
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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.
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 with exceptional views, plus kitchenettes, cable TV, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi. Much of the furnishings feature recycled materials, and you can even sleep in the cockpit cottage, accessible by a hanging bridge and overlooking the ocean. 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
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! We recommend skipping over the standard category. Upgrades offer wraparound porches, private Jacuzzis, multiple bedrooms, and/or kitchenettes.
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. There’s also an onsite art gallery worth a visit. 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 where travelers can enjoy watching gorgeous sunsets every night. Other amenities include a surprisingly extensive breakfast buffet, an onsite restaurant, a sushi bar, and spa services. Learn more
Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Refuge
For near-complete entertainment, consider Si Como No Resort, one of those places you never have to leave unless you want to! The property has two restaurants and two swimming pools (one with a waterslide) that feature fantastic views over the ocean. And when you need a little more entertainment, you can walk through a nature reserve across the street or hop on the 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
El Faro Beach Hotel
El Faro Beach Hotel is a unique option, as old shipping containers make up the hotel. Although you’ll find basic service here, the property gets the job done for budget-friendly travelers. Rooms are small, narrow, and simple, with stark black and white decor. It doesn’t quite match the warm and welcoming vibe of Costa Rica, but all rooms do have excellent ocean views, plus free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, minifridges, and balconies. Bathrooms are also small, but some come with a nice soaking tub.
Although still within walking distance to the beach, El Faro is up a steep hillside nestled against the national park boundary. Getting down is simple, but trekking back up to the hotel might be tricky for some. As a trade-off, you’ll just be a few minutes from the start of the Park Trail, one of the more popular hiking routes in the area.
To add to the views is the open-air restaurant that overlooks the jungle and ocean—a prime spot for sunset happy hour. The restaurant serves international foods with Spanish influences and is where you’ll eat your basic and simple complimentary breakfast. Other amenities include two outdoor swimming pools (one infinity pool), a pool bar, and an all-day coffee bar. Learn more