Travel Guide: Top Things to Do in Manuel Antonio

If you ask anyone where you should go in Costa Rica, the answer will always include Manuel Antonio. Home to the smallest national park in the country, there are a ton of things to do in Manuel Antonio from soaking up the rays on the beautiful beaches to exploring the rainforests teeming with wildlife.

This area of Costa Rica is perfect for first time visitors due to the variety of things to do and see, the ease of getting around and the range of accommodation options. Rainforests, white sand beaches and an amazing array of wildlife from three toed sloths to white faced capuchin monkeys to endless species of little critters, there is plenty of entertainment for all ages. Manuel Antonio is great for families looking to enjoy beach life while also exploring the adventure that Costa Rica is known for. 

Read on for our guide for everything you need to know for planning your trip to Manuel Antonio, including our top things to do in Manuel Antonio as well as where to stay, eat and how to get around.

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A Costa Rica Family Vacation with Intrepid Travel

A Costa Rica family vacation is a must do for those who love nature, animals and adventure. For outdoor families like ours, there is no better destination, especially when you have a nature obsessed kid! 

Having been to Costa Rica twice already, we were super excited when offered the opportunity to take a Costa Rica family vacation with Intrepid travel.

I have done two tours with Intrepid already and loved them both. My first trip was to China on my own as a 20 something traveler and last year I took an amazing Borneo family holiday with my 7 year old son in tow.

This trip to Costa Rica is a bit different, as it is a Solo Parent tour. I’ve wanted to check these trips out for a while. I even tried to book one on our around the world journey, but couldn’t get the dates to work. Thus, you can imagine how excited we were to finally get the chance to check out this variant of the family tours offered by Intrepid, all while in one of our favorite countries!

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Top Things to Do in Arenal and La Fortuna in Costa Rica

If you are going to Costa Rica it is my guess you will make a visit to the adventure capital and want to find out all the top things to do in Arenal and La Fortuna! With an abundance of outdoor activities, not to mention amazing access and views to one of the most perfectly formed volcanoes in the country, it’s no surprise that Arenal/ La Fortuna is at the top of most Costa Rica itineraries. Well known as an outdoor adventurers playground, there are so many things to do in Arenal and La Fortuna for all ages. As most visits to the area are short, it’s important to determine in advance just what you want to do while you are in town. To help guide your planning process here are the top Arenal activities we think all families should check out.

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Monteverde Itinerary & Guide

Monteverde 2 Day ItineraryStraddling the Continental Divide in the mountains of Costa Rica is Monteverde, one of the country’s top tourist destinations. In English, that translates to green mountain. And green it is! There is an almost always present layer of moisture in the air, creating what is known as a cloud forest.  This unique habitat is home to an abundance of birds and other wildlife.

Most itineraries to Costa Rica typically include a couple day stop in the cloud forests of Monteverde. Even though most visitors don’t stay long, there is quite a bit to see and do if you are really into nature. That said, visitors can experience the main nature focused sights with only 2 days in town. Below is our Monteverde 2 day itinerary from our recent visit, with additional information needed to plan your trip.

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The Ultimate Guide for Visiting Costa Rica with Kids

Are you looking to visit Costa Rica with kids? For nature lovers big and small, it is a dream destination. If I had to choose one country in the world to recommend for outdoor loving families, it would hands down be Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a large country, with an abundance of things to do from top to bottom which could takes weeks, if not months to really explore. However most travelers do not have weeks to travel around this beautiful Central American country. Luckily with our extensive guide, you can easily create a wonderful Costa Rica itinerary that takes in the best of the country from volcanos to cloud forests to beaches.

After several visits to Costa Rica with kids, we have come up with the perfect things to do in Costa Rica itinerary for adventure loving families like ours. Whether your kids are into creepy crawlies like tarantulas or slithery vipers or cuddly sloths, it is all here waiting for you to explore.

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Arenal or Monteverde? Which is better?

Arenal or Monteverde? Which is betterPlanning a trip to Costa Rica is a bit of a challenge considering how much there is to do, not in just one area, but in every region of the country. Many visitors opt for in-land adventure activities followed by time for relaxation on the beach. While considering where to go in-land, you will invariable come across Arenal/La Fortuna and Monteverde as being top destinations for a classic Costa Rican adventure. Given the unique appeal of both destinations, it’s no wonder that for visitors with limited time, the question quickly arises – which is better? Should I go to both or just one? I had this question over and over while planning our trip, so I decided to do both just to check them out. I cannot say which is better as that almost always amounts to personal preference, but I can provide details on what both places have to offer so that you can make the most informed decision possible. 

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Top Destinations in Costa Rica from Liberia Airport

Top Destinations in Costa Rica from Liberia Airport
Photo via Flickr

In planning my yearly birthday trip, it came to my attention that there is a direct flight from Los Angeles to Liberia, Costa Rica on Southwest Airlines. I knew that Southwest had begun flights to Costa Rica, but hadn’t really checked into it. Instead I constantly search for direct flights to San Jose, which are few and far between and always expensive. For some reason I just couldn’t open myself up to flying into Liberia. Boy did I miss some opportunities!

I am so excited about this discovery though. Why? Timing and Price. The direct 5 hour flight on Southwest Airlines leaves at 2:10 pm daily from Los Angeles, which means it is perfect for a long weekend getaway. Even more importantly, if you book this flight in advance it is about the same price as a round trip ticket to most places inside the US, making a quick trip to Costa Rica even more feasible.

Since heading off to Costa Rica for a long weekend doesn’t seem that doable to many people, I thought I would share a few destination options to get you started on your trip planning. These individual destinations can easily be combined to make a week or longer trip as well.

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Children’s Books on Costa Rica

Children's Books on Costa RicaOne of the best ways to armchair family travel is by reading books based in different locations. As a family, we love reading books that teach us about different cultures and traditions around the world, especially when we are not traveling. However, whenever we are planning a trip somewhere, we always make a visit to the library to check out a few books about our travel destination. We have found that this helps our son participate more in the initial planning phases with his own thoughts on what he would like to see, as well as providing him a greater look into the destination before we arrive.

Since I do this research anyway, I thought I’d share it all with you to help inspire your little ones to dream about new destinations. Read on for some of our favorite books on Costa Rica.

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