Pura vida. Pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah, in English translates to, “Pure Life”. However, per the locals, these two words have much more meaning throughout the Costa Rican culture.
Our trip to Costa Rica was the first international vacation Adam and I embarked on together. We were invited to a destination wedding, and created a ten-day vacation out of it! (Seriously people, this is why destination weddings are the BEST.)
I was SO excited about this trip to Costa Rica that we started planning our adventure eight months ahead of time. (Side note- I may be a little bit Type A.)
Prior to heading south, we had high hopes for our trip to Manuel Antionio. Well let me tell you, Costa Rica did not disappoint. To be honest, it far exceeded our expectations. The culture, the views, the food, and the people were amazing.
Manuel Antonio is a small village situated on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. Beauty is not scarce in Manuel Antonio. The jungle meets the beach; it is breathtaking. Manuel Antonio is known for its white sand beaches, coral reefs, and vast wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species.
Adam and I traveled to Manuel Antonio with his brother, Joe, and sister-in-law, JonnaLee. We opted against a hotel, and rented a beautiful airbnb located in the rainforest. Best. Decision. Ever. We stayed at Casa Gina, a two bedroom, two bathroom home with a private patio and pool.
The only hotel recommendation I have is La Mariposa Hotel. The wedding we attended was held at said hotel. I cannot speak for the rooms or amenities, but I can speak for the views. It was situated on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful, to say the least.
There was no shortage of delicious eats in Manuel Antonio. The only thing there was a shortage of was good beer- sorry, Imperial, but your Bud Light taste did not do it for us.
Here is a list of some of our favorite restaurants and what we enjoyed the most at each!
- Cafe Milagro
- This cafe was amazing. The roast their own coffee (you can buy their coffee on their website- you will not be disappointed!). Their espresso and macchiatos were out of this world. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is all served here!
- The best part? This is the ONLY place in Manuel Antonio that was serving craft beer! The IPA- damn. Hoppy and knocked us on our asses!
- El Wagon
- Wood fired pizza. Because seriously, who doesn’t love a great pizza?!
- Pair the pizza with a refreshing mojito and enjoy the views.
- El Avion
- This restaurant is on the list because of the ambiance and decor. There is a full size airplane in the center of the restaurant. SO neat.
- Falls Garden
- This is the cutest little place, with mouth-watering food. Honestly, we ate lunch and dinner at Falls Garden, and everything here was delicious.
- My favorite item on the menu was the fresh ceviche served with plantain chips. I still have dreams about that meal.
Activities and Adventures.
In Manuel Antonio, there is no shortage of activities to fill those sunny, warm days.
First, the beach. Duh.
- Playa Espadilla is located across from the entrance of the Manuel Antonio National Park. White, sandy beaches and some big waves live here! Head down to the beach early and rent a beach chair and umbrella (this is worth the money- trust me). Spend your days soaking up some Vitamin D and grabbing fresh food and cold drinks from the nearby beach clubs.
Second, the National Park.
- Manuel Antonio National Park is a must while in Manuel Antonio. Take a stroll through the park to experience Costa Rica’s wild life, including monkeys and sloths! Then head to the fresh water lagoon to soak in the views. This place just kept impressing us!
Third, the adventures.
Two of our days in Manuel Antonio we spent on some extreme adventures! We booked our two adventures through Amigos Del Rio. I highly recommend this company. Their customer service and prices were impressive.
- ADR, 10 in 1 adventure.
- Hiking, ziplining, repelling, free falls, etc.
- SO. MUCH. FUN. Adventuring through the Costa Rican rain forest was definitely an exciting, memorable experience.
- White water rafting.
- What a great day! Our guides were a blast and the river was beautiful. We took a break in the middle of our rafting and hiked to a beautiful waterfall for a hike and swim.
Get out there and explore, people! You will not regret it!
Costa Rica, you are beautiful. We will be back to see you. Pura Vida.