Living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The Manuel Antonio area on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast has been a long-time favorite of visitors. Just two hours from the capital San Jose on a well-maintained modern highway, Manuel Antonio is the site of the country’s most popular national park. In 2011, Forbes magazine named it one of the world’s best.

At 4,000 acres, it’s a relatively small refuge and one of the smallest national parks. But the rainforest is home to capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths, coatis, and much more. Easy-to- walk trails make it accessible to trekkers of any age. A great way to spot wildlife is by hiring a guide. You can arrange a private tour or join a larger group for a more cost-effective experience.

Within the park boundaries, you’ll also find some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. There are four protected coves where white sand meets clear blue water, with jungle-clad hills rising dramatically from the shoreline. And because park rangers cap entrance to the park each day, you’ll almost have the whole place to yourself.

The natural beauty of this coastline has also brought many expats to the area around Manuel Antonio. You’ll find some of the country’s most expensive real estate here. These mansions on the hills can command millions.

But there are still plenty of homes and condos available for around $150,000, making living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica quite affordable. And real estate investors here have the ability to bring in income from vacation rentals.

A recent listing featured a 2,600-square-foot home for just $151,000. No ocean view, but still close to the beach and the heart of the community. A two-bedroom condo was available for just $109,000.

You will pay more for an ocean view. A one-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot condo with a balcony overlooking the Pacific recently sold for $149,000.

The popularity of the region with tourists and expats has brought development.

The windy, hill-hugging road between Manuel Antonio and the nearby port city and sport fishing center of Quepos is lined with resorts, boutique hotels, restaurants, and nightlife options.

Try La Mariposa Hotel for sunset drinks. It offers views of the jungle-meets-the-beach coastline from high up the hill. Si Como No is a deluxe resort perched on the hillside right down the road. But there are plenty of more budget accommodations in the area as well.

Quepos features grocery stores, hardware stores, clothing shops –anything you might need for day to day living.

Manuel Antonio is easily reached from other Central Pacific coast destinations like Jaco, about 45 minutes to the north, and Dominical, about 45 minutes south.

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