To preface this article, this is based on travels we took in March 2019 with a 2.5-year-old and an 8-month-old.
You Guys! Costa Rica is ALIVE!
Over 50% of Costa Rica is considered a jungle or forest. Therefore, everywhere you look and most every place you stay, you will be surrounded by lush greenery and with that greenery swing Monkeys in the trees, Sloths sleeping in branches and Tuscans coasting through the sky. It’s totally breathtaking. We stayed in 3 different locations during our 9-day travels. Our first stay was in Uvita, the second was Manual Antonio and we spent one night in San Jose.
San Jose is the capital and most likely where you will fly into. We are told there is another airport called Liberia which is a much smaller and a more quaint airport but it was much further North than we were willing to travel for this trip.
I wish we would have spent a little more time in San Jose and seen the live Volcano but now we have something to do for our next trip.
San Jose is definitely a city, as opposed to the towns we stayed in. In San Jose, you can find Subway restaurants and busy freeways. It was a more industrialized area from our experience.
We spent one day and night there to make our very early morning flight more bearable with a 20-minute drive to the airport, instead of a 3 hours drive from Manuel Antonio.
Manual Antonio is such a beautiful and fun place with lots of activities for people of all ages. We spent 5 days in Manual Antonio. We booked a home rental through Airbnb. There are nice parts to Manual Antonio and not so nice parts so if you decide to book through Airbnb be sure to read the reviews and try and get a full picture or understanding of the area, from reviews, before booking.
You may also want to ask your potential host about the sewage/water system of your rental. Many of the places in the area have sensitive sewage and water systems. So if you need the luxury of flushing toilet paper and hot showers, you may want to inquire with your Airbnb host before choosing that booking. We went with very little hot water and no flushing of toilet paper during our Manual Antonio stay. Also, 90% of the rentals in the area have bars on the windows. With that being said the most offensive crimes you’ll occasionally run into is petty theft but you can get pickpocketed in New York or Los Angeles too. Anywhere you travel it’s important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
Things to do In Manual Antonio:
• Sit outside and enjoy the wildlife. It’s better than any zoo!
• Visit Rain Maker Preserve: Suspension bridges, wildlife, and low entry prices. Such a fun and memorable experience
• Manual Antonio National Park: is amazing from what we are told. We didn’t go because there are a limited number of people who can enter the park each day. People line up 1-2 hours before the park opens to ensure they are able to get in. With an 8-month-old and a busy 2.5-year-old waiting in that line did not sound appealing. Even the locals say it’s amazing though and a great place to see some local wildlife. It’s also important to note. No “junk food” or packaged food is allowed in the park. If they see it while searching your bags before entry. They’ll toss it! Simply because despite the rules to not feed the monkeys people still do it.
• Biesanz Beach: A quaint locals beach cove with few people but there are still vendors present to be able to rent chairs and tents, paddle boards and sea dos. And if you are able to swim far enough out with ease, there is a large rock that has loads of beautiful fish to snorkel and swim with. Including fish that look like the Rainbow Fish..you know that book?! ?
• Jungle Night Tour: My husband and I did this with our almost 3-year-old and we all enjoyed ourselves and got some phenomenal pictures. During the tour expect to see snakes, spiders, all sorts of bugs and lots of frogs. So if creepy crawly creatures are not your thing. You should hard pass. Otherwise, it was such a neat experience and I recommend it!
• Sunset Snorkel: We booked with Snorkel Adventure Costa Rica. They picked us up from our hotel and overall provided a super fun experience. Giving us pineapple pieces to attract the fish, taking us to see dolphins and pointing out all the neat fish we may not have seen otherwise. We left the kids with grandma for this excursion but it was a super fun experience. We also forgot our cameras for this excursion? but the captain sent us a couple photos. That was nice!
• Pool Time: We spent a lot of time at the pool playing and basking in our scenery!
We spent 3 days in Uvita and I wish could have spent more time there! Our home rental and view was spectacular and the town was so quiet, quaint and quite literally perfect! Manual Antonio is more of a bustling town and Uvita is a sweet quiet town, with everything you need close by.
We spent most of our time at the pool here.
But two major things to do in Uvita are:
• Visit Whale’s Tail Beach. It’s not a super sandy beach, it’s actually very muddy with minimal shade but my daughter loved playing in the mud and there was plenty of shallow water areas for her to play in too.
• Scuba Dive Cano Island. My husband did some scuba diving at the world famous Cano Island. I’m so sad I wasn’t able to go because the excursion was too long and my nursing boobs would have been exploding but he saw some pretty extraordinary things and says that national geographic was filming that day he dove as well.
Literally, schools of fish, in the hundreds, swarming around him and turtles and all sorts of marine life. He had a wonderful time. We’ll have to go back so I can do the dive too! ?
I feel like everywhere we went to eat in Costa Rica the food was so fresh and delicious and a lot of places offer things like avocado seed straws to help preserve the environment.
It truly is an extraordinary place and it’s a location children can enjoy too.
I recommend it. I do!
If you have any additional questions, feel free to comment below or email me directly. If you found this article useful, feel free to share it with a friend! Sharing is Caring! ??