10 Fun Things to Do in Playa Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica

  • Jun 5, 2024
  • Reading time: 6 mins read
  • By Anoushka
manuel antonio beach costa rica

The many beaches in Costa Rica are widely known throughout the world for their pristine beauty. Even if some of these are already touched by human development, they are still breathtaking in appearance. Among the Costa Rica beaches, we’ll be focusing on Manuel Antonio Beach. Shortly, we’ll get to know the fun activities to do while staying there.

An Overview of Manuel Antonio

The Playa Manuel Antonio beach is widely renowned throughout the world. It is one of the best Costa Rica travel destinations. The beach offers a very serene and tranquil vibe, as the gentle waves and scenery form an image of paradise. It’s not only the beach life that you’ll get to enjoy, as Manuel Antonio has a lot of fun activities for you to get into. 

Fun Activities to Do in Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio hosts a bunch of fun activities that you can do. Activities range from swimming in one of the most well-known Costa Rica beaches to nature trekking and more. In this section, you’ll get to know the fun activities that you can do at Manuel Antonio during your stay. Here they are as listed:

Relax, Lie Down, and Lounge!

  • For as little as $2 to $10, depending on the chair, you can relax in a lounge chair on the beach for a whole day. The chairs are covered by an umbrella, so you won’t get scorched by the summer sun. Also, expect offers for cocktails, souvenirs, and massages while you relax. 

A Nice, Cold Snow Cone

  • Dessert lovers will adore this! From time to time, some vendors walk the beaches of Manuel Antonio. These vendors sell snow cones for around $2. If you want to enjoy an icy cold treat during a hot summer day in Costa Rica, go get a snow cone.

Jet-skiing Through the Waves

  • Another fun activity to do during your trip to Costa Rica at Manuel Antonio is jet-skiing. Glide and ride the waves as you ride on a jet ski! You can rent jet-skis for around $75 or join a jet-ski tour to the National Park and Espadilla Beach. Choosing the tour option costs $130 per person by the way.

Ride the Waves by Surfing!

  • If you are into surfing, be on the lookout for surfboards stacked against the palm trees by the beachside. You’ll likely meet a local who offers both surfing lessons and surfboard rentals. Lessons cost around $40 for two-hour lessons whereas the rental costs start at $10 for half a day or $20 for a whole day.
  • Now, if you’re already an experienced surfer, you can try to challenge the waves of the area called “Playitas”. This area of the beach is at the northern end, which is home to strong waves that surfers would happily challenge.

Banana Boating

  • Another fun activity you can do at Manuel Antonio Beach during your vacation in Costa Rica is banana boating. This is recommended if you’ve arrived at the beach in groups. Riders will wear life vests and pile onto a giant banana to guide them through the waves. It’s not too expensive either, banana boats cost around $8.

A Nice Sip from a Fresh Coconut

  • If you want an authentic tropical experience at Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio Beach, try drinking from a fresh coconut. Locals sell ice-cold, freshly-obtained coconuts on the beach. Order one up, and they take one from the cooler and crack it open. Enjoy your drink!
  • Taking a drink from a fresh and cool coconut gives off the vibe that you’re relaxing in paradise.


  • Going to the southern section of Espadilla is a hotspot where you can observe a variety of monkey species scurrying along the trees. These monkeys won’t mind the camera that’s aimed at them since they’ve gotten used to human contact. Make sure to keep an eye on your bag; the monkeys can get mischievous at times.

Riding on Horseback

  • For only around $45 for an hour, you can enjoy galloping along the shoreline on horseback. Feel the ocean breeze run through your hair as you ride along the beach. It also gives off that vibe that you see in some movies that feature a beach scene.

Watching the Costa Rican Sunset

  • Another fun activity to do at Manuel Antonio is to watch the sunset. Aside from the beach itself, which is an ideal spot to watch it, you can try watching the sunset at El Sol downtown.
  • Keep in mind that during the sunset hours, around 4 to 6 p.pm., bars and restaurants will have their happy hour. You can purchase drinks for the price of one or get special offers on specific beverages.


  • You can ride on a harness and fly over the islands and the beach in Manuel Antonio for only $75 per person for 15 minutes. You’d be surprised how tranquil the place is when viewed from above.

The Bottom Line?

There are a lot of fun activities that you can do in Manuel Antonio during your Costa Rica trip. Try to know which activities interest you to make the most of your stay on the beach. Once you’ve made some fun memories on this beach, perhaps you can bring more people along next time. That way, they can also experience what you’ve experienced at Manuel Antonio.

Frequently Asked Questions
Is there parking at the beach?

Yes, there is parking on the beach. You do need to pay a parking fee, though. That’s because Playa Manuel Antonio Beach is inside the area’s national park.

How long does it take to reach the beach from the parking lot?

On average, it’s a 30-minute hike to reach the beach from the parking lot. Try to enjoy the national park’s sights as you hike along the trail.

How long is the trip to reach Manuel Antonio?

The fastest route, assuming you landed in San Jose, takes 20 minutes. You need to book an $80 per person flight to Quepos local airport. Once you land at the local Quepos airport, it’s a 10-15 minute drive to reach Manuel Antonio, whether by commuting by bus/shuttle or renting a vehicle.


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