Looking for the best resorts and hotels in Manuel Antonio? Read on for all the details!
Manuel Antonio is one of the best beach destinations in Costa Rica, as it has gorgeous, white sand Pacific beaches, great restaurants, and a national park. Plus, there’s TONS of wildlife here – it’s a common occurrence to see animals like monkeys, sloths, coati, toucans, macaws, lizards, and more wherever you go in Manuel Antonio.
All of these things make Manuel Antonio worth visiting during your Costa Rica vacation.
The Landscape of Manuel Antonio
There is a large variety of accommodations to choose from in Manuel Antonio, and some unique considerations to account for with the terrain and landscape of the area.
Manuel Antonio is very hilly, which is both a pro and a con. The pros are that many hotels are built on the hills and thus have amazing views overlooking the ocean. The cons are that there are basically no oceanfront accommodations in Manuel Antonio.
Thankfully, it’s not difficult to get to the beach. There are some hotels within walking distance, otherwise, it’s an easy drive or taxi ride down to the beach, or you can hop on the shuttle bus that runs regularly through the town.
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Where to Stay in Manuel Antonio: 14 Best Hotels in 8 Categories
In this article, we’re tackling the question of where to stay in Manuel Antonio and sharing our top picks for the best hotels and resorts in Manuel Antonio in a variety of categories. Whether you’re traveling as a family, on a romantic getaway, looking for close beach access, or really unique accommodations, there’s something for you in this list!
🛏️ Most Luxurious Adults-Only Resorts
Makanda by the Sea Hotel (Adults Only)
⭐ Rating: 9.1 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
Makanda By the Sea Hotel (Adults Only) is a drop dead gorgeous, luxury hotel in Manuel Antonio. Every room at Makanda by the Sea is a large and spacious suite with between 800-1600 square feet.
Enjoy the infinity pool overlooking the ocean, the pool near the poolside bar, or the incredible grounds and terraces. This resort also has a private beach area, an on-site restaurant, a spa and wellness center, and fitness center (which is rare for Costa Rica).
All the suites are incredibly decorated, with large windows, ocean views, balconies, and upscale furnishings. Several of the suites have their own private pools and/or jacuzzis overlooking the rainforest and the ocean.
This is a fantastic place to stay in Manuel Antonio for the ultimate romantic getaway.
Gaia Hotel & Reserve, Adults Only
⭐ Rating: 8.8 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
The Gaia Hotel & Reserve (Adults Only) is another beautiful luxury resort hotel in Manuel Antonio. The most swoon-worthy feature of the hotel is the 3-tiered infinity pool with incredible rainforest and ocean views.
You can also enjoy the spa, luxury salon, steam rooms, and fitness center, as well as the on-site high quality restaurant. Breakfast is complimentary to all guests.
Rooms are large, and beautifully decorated. Most have ocean views, and some suites have their own personal concierge, and plunge pool or jacuzzi.
The Gaia Hotel is located between Quepos and Manuel Antonio, and does take about 9 minutes by car to get to Playa Espadilla. However, the resort does offer complimentary shuttles down to the beach.
🛏️ Best Mid-Range Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Costa Verde Hotel
⭐ Rating: 9 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
The Costa Verde Hotel is a large property with several really beautiful pools, terraces, and views over the ocean.
Rooms available at the Costa Verde Hotel are all studio apartment style, with small kitchenettes, tables and chairs, and balconies and patios included in each room.
You can spend your time exploring the 3 different pools spread throughout the hotel property, or eat at one of the on-site restaurants. It is also very close (some within walking distance) to many restaurants in Manuel Antonio. While children are welcome at the hotel, do note that the main pool has a poolside bar and is an adults-only pool.
This hotel is about a 15 minute walk or 2 minute drive down to Playa Espadilla, which isn’t bad, except that the walk back up is fairly steep. You could also take the bus down to the beach or national park.
Hotel San Bada Resort & Spa
⭐ Rating: 8.1 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
The Hotel San Bada Resort & Spa has a great location, in that it’s located just less than 10 minute walk from the beach, and also just steps from the entrance to the Manuel Antonio National Park.
There’s a large, nice pool to swim in, several hot tubs to soak in, and a lovely terrace to relax on. You can hear and see a lot of animals from your rooms and on the property! A delicious breakfast buffet is included in the price, and rooms are decorated nicely, with many of the rooms having a great ocean view.
🛏️ Best Budget Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Hotel Tres Banderas
⭐ Rating: 8 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
Hotel Tres Banderas is an excellent, budget-friendly option in Manuel Antonio, offering lovely grounds with lush vegetation and a little waterfall, and great amenities for a very low price for the Manuel Antonio area.
You’ll enjoy the pool area, the on-site bar and restaurant, and the clean and comfortable rooms, many of which have balconies and hammocks that you can relax on.
This hotel is situated between Quepos and Manuel Antonio, giving you easy access to both locations. You will need to drive to get to the beach or the National Park, but it’s easy to get there via car, taxi, or bus.
The villa room at Tres Banderas offers beds for up to seven people plus a private kitchenette, making this a fantastic option for anyone with a large group, or wanting to stay a while and do some of your own cooking.
The Falls at Manuel Antonio Hotel
⭐ Rating: 9.1 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
At The Falls at Manuel Antonio, you feel like you’re in the rainforest, as lush greenery surrounds the property and animal sightings are common. Rooms are very nice, with comfortable beds, lovely wood-planked ceilings, and a terrace or patio off of each room.
The breakfast here is free and offers a lot of selection, and the pool and garden area feels like a calming oasis. Staff here are incredibly friendly and helpful, and make the experience very pleasant.
You will need to grab a taxi, drive, or take the bus down to the beaches or the national park, but these are all easy options and the bus comes every 15 minutes.
This hotel is also a great option for families, as there are several room options with multiple beds available.
🛏️ Best Hotels in Manuel Antonio Within Easy Walking Distance of the Beach
While you *can* walk to the beach from many of these hotels, the walk can be a bit long and down a big hill. The two hotels in Manuel Antonio in this section are within a couple minutes of the beach, making it extremely easy to pop over and catch some waves.
Igloo Beach Lodge
⭐ Rating: 8.3 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
Igloo Beach Lodge is a unique concept hotel that is an short, easy walk away from Playa Espadilla. All of the rooms are in their own, individual “igloo” pod and the design inside is very trendy and hip, with a bright and airy feeling. There is also an on-site restaurant, bar, and lounge areas around the pool.
The area is quiet but just a 2-3 minute walk to the beach, which is one of the closest spots you can get.
While this is a great choice for couples, there are family rooms available as well.
This is a great choice for anyone who wants to stay at somewhere kind of quirky and unique or close to the beach.
Jungle Beach Lodge
⭐ Rating: 9 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
The Jungle Beach Lodge is another great hotel within an easy, relatively flat 5 minute walk to the beach, and a short walk to Manuel Antonio National Park. This hotel is really built *within* the jungle and you’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the rainforest the moment you step out of your room.
The hotel has a pool area, bar, and on-site restaurant, and the rooms are clean and comfortable. There are a variety of room sizes, and many good options for families or even larger groups. Plus, the staff at the Jungle Beach Hotel are extremely nice and helpful.
🛏️Hotel with the Most Amenities for Families and Couples
Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Preserve
⭐ Rating: 8.8 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
The Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Preserve is one of the best hotels to stay at in Manuel Antonio for a lot of fun activities. The location is up on the hills, so you get lush jungle vegetation and wildlife all throughout the resort, with incredible views overlooking the ocean.
Amenities at this resort are impressive – there is a gorgeous pool, plus a waterslide, swim-up bar, and hot tub. Other fun features include a butterfly garden, a cinema, a full service restaurant with fantastic food, and a fun snack bar that will feature live music.
All the rooms are very well-designed and spacious, and each room has a private balcony with views overlooking the grounds and sea. Breakfast is included for all guests, and the staff is goes above and beyond to make your stay great.
🛏️ Glamping in Manuel Antonio
⭐ Rating: 9.5 of 10 stars | Read reviews here
Glamping Tomaselli is an serene, private and isolated luxury camping setup tucked away in the hills of Manuel Antonio. These luxury tents are gorgeously decorated and have windows and openings offering beautiful views of the surrounding nature settings.
Tents are spacious, air-conditioned, and have a balcony and hammock, but the real star of the show is the bathrooms, which features an open-air shower.
This property is about a 10 minute drive to Playa Espadilla, or a 50 minute walk, and it is about 5-10 minutes from the bus stop, so you’ll want to take some form of transportation down to the beach or the national park. The trade-off is that you get to enjoy a secluded oasis in nature when you are at the glampsite!
The property has been intimately developed by a father-son duo, and they put a lot of time and attention into the design and the care of the guests, which really shows!
🛏️Bucket List Airplane Cottage
These unique accommodations have been featured on hundreds of TV shows and have been named by “Travel and Leisure, HGTV, Strange Homes and Animal Planet as one of the most unique and fantastic experiences in the jungles of Costa Rica.” ,
This epic lodging experience is nestled 50 feet (15 meters) high up in the jungle, with it’s own dedicated path and platform, and beautiful ocean views. It’s located on the grounds of the Costa Verde Resort, so you also have access to all the pools and amenities of the resort.
Both of these are really incredible places to stay in Manuel Antonio – here’s a little more information about each accommodation:
727 Boeing Fuselage Home, which is a refurbished 1965 Boeing 727 frame that is converted into a little home in the jungle. This little home inside the plane includes 2 bedrooms (can sleep up to 6), 2 bathrooms, a little kitchen and dining room, a small indoors lounge area, and an outdoor deck with jacuzzi.
The interior is wood-paneled, creating a rustic woodsy feeling to go with the setting, and you can actually go sit in chairs in the cockpit and look out at the views over the sea.
⭐ The Boeing Fuselage Home has a rating of 4.8 of 5 stars | Read all reviews here
The Cockpit Cottage
The Cockpit Cottage is a smaller, cozy studio for two people in a MD-80 cockpit, and is located about 300 feet away from the Boeing Fuselage. The interior is has beautiful woodwork, and there’s a kitchenette, full bathroom with a screened in shower, and an outdoor deck overlooking the ocean.
The Cockpit Cottage is also elevated 50 feet in the air in the middle of the rainforest, and is accessible only by a hanging suspension bridge. You’ll enjoy the exceptional views, the privacy, the nature right at your doorstep, and just the FUN aspect of staying here.
⭐ The Cockpit Cottage has a rating of 5 of 5 stars | Read all reviews here
🛏️Gorgeous Vacation Rentals in Manuel Antonio
This light and airy house has a distinctly beachy feel. It’s nestled in the foliage of the rainforest and offers beautiful views over the sea, plus a private pool. You can walk to several restaurants, grocery stores, and coffee shops nearby.
This beautifully designed home has gorgeous views over the ocean from every window and the three terraces! All sorts of animals are in the rainforest outside the property, which is a relaxing oasis in the middle of Manuel Antonio.
Other Practical Information for Staying in Manuel Antonio
How Many Nights Should I Stay in Manuel Antonio?
There are a ton of things to see and do in Manuel Antonio and the nearby city of Quepos. I would recommend at least 3 days, but you could definitely stay much longer to enjoy the gorgeous beaches.
What Should I Do in Manuel Antonio?
Check out my post about the 9 Best Things to Do in Manuel Antonio here! I also have some *excellent* food and restaurant recommendations in that post.
Is Manuel Antonio Too Touristy?
Manuel Antonio is a tourist town, and Quepos is more a local town (though both do have locals and tourists in them). However, Manuel Antonio is a gorgeous, jungle retreat that maintains a lot of its nature appeal and has tons and tons of wildlife.
Additionally, when we visited La Fortuna, locals there that we were chatting with said Manuel Antonio was their favorite beach town, so it’s clearly a favorite with Costa Ricans as well as international tourists.
Is Manuel Antonio Walkable?
Yes and no. There are areas where you can walk around and if you are staying close to the beach you can walk down there. However, Manuel Antonio is extremely hilly and many of the streets don’t have sidewalks, so it’s actually fairly difficult to walk very far here.
Do I Need a Car in Manuel Antonio?
A car is not strictly necessary, as you can take the bus or grab a taxi to get around. However, it is convenient to have a car to get around, especially if you are staying at one of the best hotels or resorts farther up in the hills in Manuel Antonio. We drove ourselves around Costa Rica and definitely liked having that flexibility and convenience.
Check out my detailed post about driving in Costa Rica here.
Cell Phone Data in Manuel Antonio
While you can definitely get cell service in Manuel Antonio and throughout Costa Rica, having high speed data as an international visitor can be tricky to come by.
I’ve recently found a new way to get inexpensive, high speed data while traveling (something I love to have but has been annoying, expensive, or ineffective to procure).
Instead of purchasing a local SIM card (or renting a mobile hotspot) when arriving in a country, I’m now using an e-sim card from Airalo. I’ve used a lot of different methods in the past to get data when traveling internationally, and let me tell you, buying an e-sim card is EASILY the most affordable, fast, and convenient option.
E-sims are a relatively new thing, so before you purchase, you’ll need to contact your cell phone provider and have them unlock your phone for e-sim use.
Before you leave on your trip, purchase the amount of data that you need from the Airalo website. Then download the app, and when you arrive, toggle on the e-sim card, and that’s it! You can check how much data you’ve used in the app, and top up with more if necessary.
When is the best time to visit Manuel Antonio?
Dry season is December to April in Costa Rica, and you’ll see the clearest skies during these months. This is also the high season in Costa Rica, so expect to see more tourists and higher prices for hotels during these months. Also, towards the end of the dry season, some of the vegetation can start to look, well, dry.
May to November is rainy season, and the rain definitely increases as the year goes on. This is also known as “green season.” While you will likely get rain almost every day, it usually doesn’t rain all day, and generally rains for a few hours in the afternoon. You’ll also see lower crowds and lower prices at resorts and hotels in Manuel Antonio during this time.
Where to Stay in Manuel Antonio: The Wrap Up
Manuel Antonio is a really wonderful tropical destination, and you’re going to have a great time there at any of the places to stay on this list. Pack your sunscreen and get ready to hit the waves 😄