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Plan Your Manuel Antonio and the Central Pacific Coast Vacation

The Central Pacific region of Costa Rica is a long swath of gorgeous land, encompassing sublime coastline dotted with national parks and palm-lined beaches, and inland stretches of ranches, coffee plantations, small villages, and forested mountains. There's a reason this is a popular place to visit: the region has a lot of pura vida to offer.

If you're a first-timer to Costa Rica, this region is all about Manuel Antonio and the acclaimed national park of the same name. (Manuel Antonio and the Arenal Volcano in the Northern Lowlands make the classic "get your feet wet" visit to Costa Rica.) For Costa Ricans, the Central Pacific often means Jacó, the closest beach town to San José, and an odd mix of burgeoning condo developments, nightclubs, hotels, and surf shops. But you need not limit yourself to these two anchors: Herradura, Playas Hermosa, Esterillos, and Bejuco along this stretch of coast offer a little more solitude, although development is slowly creeping up here, too.

The region is easily accessible by way of the San José–Caldera Highway CR27, which connects to the Southern Coastal Highway CR34.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Adventure sports Snorkel among colorful fish, get muddy on mountain adventures, and zip through treetops near Jacó and Manuel Antonio.
  2. Fishing Deep-sea fishing at Quepos, Jacó, or Herradura gives a chance to hook a sailfish, marlin, wahoo, or yellowfin tuna.
  3. Nature and wildlife Explore the seaside forest and see sloths, iguanas, agoutis, monkeys, and 350 species of birds at Manuel Antonio National Park.
  4. Sunsets Whether you view it from the beach or while sipping hilltop cocktails in Manuel Antonio, this region has some of the country's best venues for watching the sunset.
  5. Surfing This is Costa Rica's surf central. Jacó, Playa Hermosa, Esterillos, and Manuel Antonio beckon surfers, from beginners to pros.

When To Go

When to Go

High Season: December to April Dry season means high season here. Your payback for braving the crowds is nearly ideal weather. Expect warm...

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Travel Tips

Manuel Antonio and the Central Pacific Coast Travel Tips

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