Manuel Antonio is a nature lovers’ paradise; this isn’t the type of place you come to sit on a beach all day or stay confined to your resort.
You can find almost every water and land activity known to man here; whale watching, skydiving, kayaking, snorkeling, zip-lining, off-road jeep and ATV tours through the jungle, waterfall climbing/jumping/swimming, whitewater rafting, canopy walks across suspension bridges, you name it! As you probably guessed there are TONS of great tour companies that provide these activities to tourists, and you should definitely do some of them, but these activities can add up pretty quickly if you are on a budget. We wanted to share with you one of our favorite “day-trips” from Manuel Antonio that you can do yourself for less than $30/person (including lunch) all you need is a rental car.
Rain Maker, located thirty minutes from Manuel Antonio in Parrita, Costa Rica, is one of the best bangs for your buck. $20 USD gains you access to this partial primary rainforest where you can enjoy a two-and-a-half-mile hike while you enjoy some wildlife, cross multiple hanging bridges, swim in natural pools, and even climb a waterfall by rope (if you choose) to access a secret waterfall and cave hidden in the jungle. The hike is perfectly marked by 12 different checkpoints points so it’s nearly impossible to get lost and you can take shortcuts if you prefer a shorter hike. The first six marks are straight up hill, where you will use manmade tire steps and your leg muscles. Once you have crossed several suspension bridges with incredible views, you will make your way downhill through waterfalls and swimming holes.
The best part? After your long hike you can post up at the Rainmaker’s craft brewery Perro Vida, which translates to Dog Life. After your 2 ½ to 4-hour adventure and a few brews, chances are you’re going to be ready to eat and we have just the place for you!
Google maps says that Rain Maker is 42 minutes away from Manuel Antonio, but that’s only because everything takes longer then expected in Costa Rica and you have to drive a few kilometers on a dirt road. We usually get there in 30 min tops. Also note that you do not need 4-wheel drive for this trip.
Tip: Google Maps works even when offline. If you start your navigation while you’re on WiFi, then it will continue with the directions to your destination.
Next adventure will take you to the best Chicharones (pork ribs) in Costa Rica! Family owned and located on the side of their home, Kokys is the most authentic restaurant we have been to while living here. Unfortunately, it is unable to be found on google maps, however, if you ask any local they will give you great directions on the spot! If you’re one of those people who have a problem ordering, don’t worry, there is no menu and there is only one thing to order. You also order by kilo, so if you’re hungry, you better add an extra kilo of meat to your order! The chicharones comes with a side of mashed or fried yucca (a potato-like vegetable) and fried plantains. It is also served with delicious lime/orange wedges and their special, homemade hot sauce. I promise you will leave here satisfied and in a meat-induced coma.
After you’re done filling up your bellies, head over to the beach and take a relaxing dip at Playa Manuel Antonio while you watch the most incredible sunset you’ve ever laid eyes on. Remember, it gets dark in Costa Rica around 6:00 PM so plan your day accordingly.