Manuel Antonio or Uvita

Nov 10th, 2015, 03:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 9
Manuel Antonio or Uvita

Thank you to everyone who has helped me with planning this trip so far!

I've always wanted to go to Manuel Antonio after seeing beautiful pictures of it. However, the more I read about how touristy / crowded it is, the more hesitant I am. I was thinking of spending three nights there because I don't like to change locations/hotels too frequently when traveling, but now am considering spending one night there and two in Dominical or Uvita, OR spending three nights in Uvita instead. I would love any input on these options. If we stayed in Uvita, would a day trip to Manuel Antonio be reasonable?

We like the beach, but are most interested in seeing wildlife and hiking. Corcovado National Park also looks wonderful, but from the little I've ready about it, it seems quite hard to get to and I read that you can only hike with a guide there, which does not appeal to me.

I would also love advice on any alternate locations to spend 3-4 nights to see great wildlife, that are not super hard to get to (we are also likely going to the Arenal area).

Thank you!!
cclemer is offline  
Nov 12th, 2015, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 226
You're sort of looking for what everyone is looking for and if you can see great wildlife and it's easy to get to there will probably be quite a few people.

easy to see wildlife = more people
fast/easy to get to = more people
good infrastructure (hotels, rest etc.) = more people
inexpensive options = more people
near other attractions = more people

Manuel Antonio also gets extra attention through marketing and repeat visitors.

We recently had to spend a couple of weeks in the unlikely destination of Tarcoles for business and rented a house in the hills (Casa Celestial) where we saw an amazing amount of wildlife. Carara national park is right next door and there's a lot of wildlife there too. The animals aren't as tame (acclimated to large numbers of visitors) as in Manuel Antonio so are somewhat harder to see and there's not much in the way of restaurants etc. in the area but we enjoyed it.

There are also many km of trails at places like Cabo Matapalo, Drake and other Osa destinations that are not inside the national park, do not require a guide and have tons of wildlife. The wildlife really has no idea where the park boundaries are...
costaricaguide is offline  
Nov 12th, 2015, 10:42 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,759
We loved Bosque del Cabo on the Osa Peninsula, saw all 4 kinds of monkeys right from our front porch, and also saw toucans, sloths, scarlet macaws, and an anteater. Their hiking trails are fantastic. We flew down on Sansa, about an hour's flight from the SJO area.

Also Tulemar Bungalows in Manuel Antonio. We saw sloths and monkeys right on the property, and they have their own beach. It doesn't feel crowded, but the park will be crowded. Also lots of good open air restaurants you can walk to.
volcanogirl is online now  
Nov 13th, 2015, 03:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 9
Thanks so much for your help! Bosque del Cabo looks amazing. I think I want to wait for the Osa Peninsula until I have a whole week to devote to it, but it is definitely on my list! This is our first trip, so I'd like to see two different places and want to go to Arenal. Tulemar looks great too. At this point, I'm just trying to decide whether to spend one night in MA, or take a day trip from Dominical / Uvita.

Also, thank you Volcanogirl for your previous Arenal Observatory Lodge recommendation - it looked like they were booked online, but I made the extra effort to contact them directly based on what you said and booked a room - it looks perfect for us so thank you!!
cclemer is offline  
Nov 13th, 2015, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,839
What time of year are you going?

It was probably a combination of going off season and where we stayed (Tulemar and Gaia) but we didn't feel it was that crowded. Both properties have some trails and we saw wildlife at both. Tulemar also has a beach. We didn't go in the park.
Patty is offline  
Nov 14th, 2015, 02:40 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,759
Oh, good, yes, we loved AOL. The Smithsonian rooms are great, particularly the ones by the observation deck; we saw monkeys and coatis right from our room. Good hiking trails on the property too.
volcanogirl is online now  
Nov 14th, 2015, 08:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 9
Awesome! We booked a Smithsonian room, maybe I can request to have one by the observation deck, that sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for all of your help (and detailed trip reports). There are so many things that look wonderful in Costa Rica, reading your reports really helped me narrow it down to decide what we want to do on this first trip. Thanks!
cclemer is offline  

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