It was a five hour drive to Manuel Antonio from Arenal. The drive is absolutely gorgeous, we passed through green estates, cozy little towns, and even mountains so high up that we were driving through the clouds. Though I do recommend being as cautious as possible on the narrow, winding roads.
Just before reaching Manuel Antonio we made a small stop at a beach town named Jaco. I had heard about this town from friends who had visited this town on their trip to Costa Rica. You get stunning views of the beach, the coastline and a very busy touristy beach town. Personally one of the most exciting things in Costa Rica happened at Jaco. When we stopped at a view point to take pictures of the beach, there was a huge group of Macaws hanging out by the beach. They truly showcase the beauty of birds of paradise. I would make another trip to Costa Rica just to see them all over again.
We reached Manuel Antonio and checked in at Parador Resort and Spa. Highly recommend this resort. It has unbelievable views of the ocean, great amenities and surrounded by 12 acres of wildlife-rich tropical rainforest, and world famous Manuel Antonio National Park. We grabbed food at Emilio’s Cafe, again with the backdrop of ocean view. We even had time to make a quick stop at Biesanz Beach, right next to the resort.
We later did a guided night tour of the rain forest property within the resort and got up close with a resident Red-eyed tree frog and a sloth named Chase. I spotted two more sloths along the way and the naturalist decided to call me the Sloth Whisperer!
The most awaited part of the trip was to go the Manuel antonio national park and we started our day with a guided trip from the resort. This park is popular for its diverse wildlife, three-toed sloths and endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys to hundreds of bird species. We enjoyed seeing a wide range of animals, reptiles, birds and soaking in the stunning scenary all around.
After the tour, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in the pristine Manuel Antonio beache in the national park. Later we headed back to the resort to catch the popular Costa Rican sunset, which didn't disappoint. We spent rest of the night relaxing by pool side at the resort.
Next day, we spent more time at the pool enjoying the gorgeous views. After lunch and playing mini golf we headed back to San Jose to take a late night flight back home. This has been one of best vacations of my life, highly recommend it.