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  >  Destinations  >  Costa Rica  >  Christmas in Manuel Antonio

After several nights without hot water and a hostel like stay in the jungle, we were pleasantly surprised with our hotel in Manuel Antonio.  The Falls had a beautiful courtyard filled with lush vegetation and a nice pool.

We immediately dropped our luggage in the room and started our evening with a sunset cocktail poolside, a hot (the first of the trip) shower and dinner at Cafe Milagro.  The next few days were all about beaching in the turquoise waters surrounding Manuel Antonio.

Christmas Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Manual Antonio National Park

While Manuel Antonio’s park is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, it was one we were keen to check out as it is know for the abundance of monkeys and other wildlife.  We saw a few sloths, iguanas and birds, but really, the monkeys were the stars of the show!Howler Monkeys Manuel Antonio

Monkeys Manuel Antonio

Adam Monkeys Manuel Antonio

The walk through the park is also nice as there are two beaches within the park itself.  We had a chance to swim at one of the beaches inside the park before heading to the beach in town to try out surfing.


Adam and I had never surfed before and Manuel Antonio’s gentle waves were perfect for just this. I was extremely nervous about trying it but after two hours with Luis, we were both hooked.  We spent the first few minutes on the sand learning the basic technique and we were then in the water with Luis holding the board and teaching us how to stand up.  We felt like we were toddlers again learning how to ride a bike!  It started with him holding the board and then slowly, the training wheels came off and we were standing up on our own. We ended up enjoying it so much that we took a second lesson the following day and tried to perfect our ability to ride the waves.

Surfing Manuel Antonio

Surfing Manuel Antonio


After a few days of relaxing on the beach and surfing, we had one last morning to enjoy Manual Antonio.  We decided to spend the morning on the beach, but also soaring above.  We took a 15 minute flight over Manuel Antonio National Park and the surrounding islands.

Parasailing Manuel Antonio

Random Notes

  • A funny story that I want to remember but no one else will care about: Adam’s birks got left behind on the boat from Drake Bay to Sierpe.  We only noticed in Manuel Antonio.  Adam thought they were gone and then I remembered that in Costa Rica anything is possible (14 years ago, I had a passport left behind in Monteverde and had it delivered to me in Arenal).  Anyway, I messaged Kenny from our hotel who kayaked to the boat that was parked, found the birkenstocks, and then delivered it to Susan and Gert, a couple we met in Corcovado who were also on their way to Manuel Antonio, and then brought them the next day!  Pretty amazing and it was also great as we got to have dinner and drinks with them in Manuel Antonio.

Gert, Susan, Adam and I having a Christmas Drink

  • Once again, I had a blast from the past!  We were sitting in El Avion for drinks when my phone asked me to share my wifi with one of my contacts, Ben from back in my Seattle days.  I hadn’t seen him in about 20 years so it was such a nice surprise to bump into him and his family!

Ben and Shivani El Avion