Manuel Antonio - Too touristy?

Feb 6th, 2005, 01:42 PM
  #1  
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Manuel Antonio - Too touristy?

We have 4 nights scheduled in MA next month and we've been looking really forward to this section of our trip to CR. However, I just read a guide book which claimed that MA has become over populated with tourists, tourist traps, and how there is even a disco near the park?! The writer also stated that the beaches are packed on the weekends during high season (when we'll be there) with families from San Jose and tourists.

I realize that MA is a populuar tourist destination, but I didn't imagine it to be overrun with people and certainly didn't imagine us being neck to neck with others on the beach.

Can anyone give me the real deal on MA?
Thank you!!
jenniemojo is offline  
Feb 6th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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You must have read the Lonely Planet guide book. I'm wondering the same thing. That's precicely why we are planning three nights in the Osa Peninsula.
NDrake is offline  
Feb 6th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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Funny b/c we almost added the Osa Peninsula to our itin. too. Instead we opted for MA and Montezuma, which seems like a charming little beach village with a lot of character. We backed out of Osa b/c of the travel time but I've definitely had 2nd thoughts. It really looks amazing and everyone loves it. You don't risk it being over developed either.

Having said that, i have a friend who visited MA and she loved it...did not say it was too touristy, but thats all in one's taste, right? Of course, she visited in November.

I'm afraid I'm not helping, but I've wondered about the same things. Hopefully the experts will set us straight!
jenniemojo is offline  
Feb 6th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Manuel Antonio popular? You bet! Overcrowded with tourists? Depends on what you mean by "overcrowded." There are plenty of visitors but it is a big little area with lots of hotels and plenty of things to do. If by overcrowded you mean as tourist places get crowded in the U.S., not at all. Relative to the rest of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio has the most tourists, but I do not believe you'll find it too crowded to enjoy. There is a reason, after all, why it is popular. It is quite spectacular and not to be missed!

Osa, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Not crowded at all, but also remote, with few amenities, and slow-going from place to place. If you REALLY want that, then Osa is for you.

By the way, the disco on the beach near the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is called Mar y Sombra, and it has been there for eons, long before Manuel Antonio became the popular destination it has become.

Barbarian is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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I was there in the green season and didn't think it was too touristy. It is all personal preference--but my husband and I agreed we'd rather not go during high season because it would be less enjoyable if it were more crowded. Example: we loved walking through the national park, but in some places the trail is narrow and muddy, and if there are lots of people on the trail at the same time, it can be awkward to step aside or pass people.

If you had a choice of on-season or off-season, I'd definitely say go off-season, but since you can't do that, I wouldn't steer anyone away from MA--it's so beautiful!
allison04 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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I have a question, a couple of posters have stated that there is so much to do in MA, can you be more specific. I spent the day in the park, awesome time, and the views are absolutely breathtaking from the top of the town, but what else is there to do besides pay for tourist activities that take you outside of MA? I am glad I went, but had much more fun in other areas of CR that I wonder why people keep promoting MA as such a great place. Maybe I missed something.
ewesthoff is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Just had to reply about the disco , it has really been their for ages , at least it was there 15 yrs. ago on my first trip ! Not really a disco either .... Anyway , i cant see anyone being disappointed in M.A. , I guess it could be touristy in a C.R. sense , but not like Aruba or Cancun ! Still a GEM !!!
faithie is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 09:12 AM
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OOPS ! Did not read the last post , I guess it all depends what you are looking to do ? If you are having a go-go-go , do tons of tours , hikes , etc. kind of trip , or more of a relax, mosy on down the road look at the animals kind of trip ? There is the soft adventure type , and the more serious adventure type , each would see something different in each place ... We were with our kids this last trip and really just wanted to relax , be warm , see some animals , swim at the beach , take some hikes etc. , in that sense it was perfect . I am curious about the areas you went to where you had so much more fun ?? We are returning so it is always great to have info. on new spots ! Thanx , Faith .
faithie is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 09:16 AM
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ewesthoff: For me, just the fact that the beach and the park were right there was nice, so we could spend the day hiking around or just sit on the beach. And we didn't even get to the butterfly gardens, sunset cruises, and canopy tours (not sure exactly where those were) that we considered doing. Instead of doing those things on our second full day in MA, we opted to go back to the park a second time and take a slightly different route in the park--it was so pretty we decided we'd rather go back than do anything else.
allison04 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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Maybe it's due to the fact that I went in the 1st week in June, but I found it much less crowded than I had expected. Sometimes I'd wonder where the heck everyone was. A couple times I took off on some trails and though 'uh oh, there's no one around, it's very slippery, no one will find me when I fall & break my leg'. Luckily that didn't happen.
tully is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 04:00 PM
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Thanks so much to all of you who responded...especially whomever said that MA is nothing like Aruba or Cancun! I was starting to get worried, but now I feel much better. Anyway, it sounds like a great place and I'm sure to an extent, it is what you make it.

I'll be sure to post a report when I return. This site has helped me so much!
jenniemojo is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 04:24 PM
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It was me , and believe me , ABSOLUTELY no comparison to Cancun etc. , I guess it just gets described as touristy compared to the more remote areas that are abundant in Costa Rica . I am sure you will love it ! Enjoy !
faithie is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 04:27 PM
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Oh ! I am helping to arrange my sisters first trip , and I think they will do a M.A, Montezuma combo as well . If they love it they will do other areas on another trip .
faithie is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 11:50 AM
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We loved Manuel Antonio (Mango Moon), and also enjoyed the Drake Bay area. Both are nice, Drake Bay is more remote. They are two beautiful and different areas.
NDrake is offline  

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