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Top 9 Activities for an Awesome Vacation in Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio, located on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is a beautiful and popular tourist destination. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforest, and abundant wildlife, there are endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation in this area. Here are the top 9 things to do on a vacation in Manuel Antonio.

Vacation in Manuel Antonio

1. Explore Manuel Antonio National Park

This is the most popular attraction in the area, and, indeed, the entire country, and for a good reason. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and exotic birds. You can take a guided tour or explore on your own by hiking the trails. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, as the park also has several beautiful beaches and showers to rinse off in.

manuel antonio national park
Manuel Antonio National Park has an abundance of wildlife and two beaches to enjoy.

2. Off-shore Fishing

Manuel Antonio’s beaches are a surfer’s paradise, with great waves for both beginners and experienced surfers. There are several surf schools in the area that offer lessons and board rentals, so you don’t have to bring your own gear. If you’re not interested in surfing, you can still enjoy the beautiful beaches by sunbathing or swimming.

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Off-shore fishing. Sailfish, wahoo, rooster fish are caught nearby.

3. Take a Catamaran Tour

A catamaran tour is a great way to explore the beautiful coastline of Manuel Antonio. You can swim, snorkel, and enjoy lunch on board while admiring the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. You might even get lucky and spot some dolphins or whales.

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Enjoy a day on a catamaran in Manuel Antonio.

4. Go white-water rafting

The nearby Naranjo and Savegre rivers offer great opportunities for white-water rafting. You can choose from a variety of tours, ranging from easy to challenging, depending on your experience level. This is a great way to get an adrenaline rush and experience the beauty of the rainforest from a unique perspective.

5. Go zip-lining

Zip-lining is a popular activity in the area, and there are several tour companies that offer tours through the rainforest canopy. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the jungle, and it’s a great way to get your heart pumping. There are zipline options that include a jungle hike, as well as one that is right in town and is a single, long run.

6. Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a great way to explore the countryside around Manuel Antonio. You can choose from a variety of tours, including beach rides, jungle rides, and waterfall tours. This is a great way to see some of the beautiful scenery in the area while getting up close and personal with nature.

7. Take a Nature Hike

If you’re interested in nature and wildlife, there are several guided hikes available in the area. You can explore the rainforest and learn about the plants and animals that call it home. This is a great way to get a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio.

8. Visit the Manuel Antonio town

While most of the attractions in the area are nature-related, the Manuel Antonio town has plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars. You can sample some of the local cuisine, browse the souvenir shops, or relax with a drink in one of the beachfront bars. It’s a great way to interact with both locals and ex-pats/foreigners. We recommend enjoying some time or a meal at the Pez Vela Marina.

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Enjoy a sunset at one of the restaurants at the Pez Vela Marina in Quepos.

9. Relax on the beach

With its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, Manuel Antonio is the perfect place to relax and unwind. You can soak up the sun, swim in the ocean, or read a book under the shade of a palm tree. There are several beaches to choose from, so you can find the perfect spot to suit your needs.

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Enjoy the public beach just outside Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica Las Villas has a variety of lodging options to fit almost any budget. If you’d like to experience one of the most beautiful and luxurious homes while on your vacation in Manuel Antonio, we recommend Casa Luna de Plata. For those on a tighter budget, consider one of our condos at Villas Tranquilas.

Manuel Antonio offers a wide variety of activities for travelers of all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a little bit of both, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of Costa Rica. With its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife, be sure to follow the tips we just shared for your vacation in Manuel Antonio.

Feel free to contact Epic Costa Rica Tours for more tips and ideas about planning a vacation in Manuel Antonio.

8 Reasons a Family Vacation in Dominical is Wonderful

Family Vacation in Dominical

Dominical, Costa Rica, is a great place to visit for a family vacation because it offers a variety of activities and experiences that can be enjoyed by all ages. From surfing and beach activities to wildlife watching and cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in Dominical.

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Costa Rica is a wonderful family friend vacation spot.

1. Beautiful Beaches.

One of the main attractions of Dominical is its beautiful beaches. The area is home to several beaches, including Playa Dominical, Playa Dominicalito, and Playa Hermosa, all of which offer differing types of sand and Pacific Ocean water for swimming, boogie boarding, and sunbathing. Families can spend a day on the beach building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply relaxing in the sun. It is definitely recommended that every family vacation in Dominical involves some time at the beach.

Playa Hermosa, located south of Dominical

Playa Hermosa is one of just a handful of beaches in all of Costa Rica that is handicap accessible. This feature allows visitors who are wheelchair bound the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful Costa Rica beach.

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Miles of sandy beach at Playa Dominical

2. Surfing

For families who are interested in surfing, Dominical offers a variety of surf schools and camps that cater to different levels of experience. Parents can take lessons or rent equipment to try surfing for the first time, while more experienced surfers can challenge themselves on the powerful waves of Dominical Point. Surfing is a great way to bond as a family and create lasting memories.

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Dominical beach is a great place to learn to surf, and popular with experienced surfers also.

3. National Parks

In addition to beach activities, families can also explore the nearby national parks and wildlife reserves. Marino Ballena National Park, located just south of Dominical, is home to humpback whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. Families can take a whale watching tour or snorkel to see the marine life up close. Manuel Antonio National Park, located about an hour north of Dominical, offers hiking trails through rainforests, beaches, and viewpoints where families can see monkeys, sloths, and a variety of bird species.

It is definitely recommended to visit a National Park during a family vacation in Dominical

manuel antonio national park
Manuel Antonio National Park has amazing wildlife, several beaches and about 45 minutes from Dominical.

4. Cultural Experiences

Dominical also offers cultural experiences that families can enjoy together. Families can also visit nearby towns and villages, such as Uvita and Ojochal, to learn about traditional Costa Rican life and culture. There are also cultural experiences, such as the “Pre-Columbian Chocolate Tour/Experience” where visitors will learn where chocolate comes from and the importance of the cacao fruit in the history of Central America.

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Enjoy a hands-on experience at the pre-Columbian chocolate tour.

5. Restaurants

The town is home to several restaurants and cafes that offer traditional Costa Rican dishes, including gallo pinto (rice and beans) and ceviche (marinated seafood). There are also several restaurants next to the beach, providing a great place to enjoy some cocktails during the sunset on the beach, as well as pizzarias, vegetarian, sandwich shops, coffee shops…for the small size of Dominical, the number of restaurants and speciality restaurants is quite large.

6. Logistics of Traveling with Kids

Dominical’s location is also convenient for families who are traveling with children. The town is located about three hours from San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, and there are several shuttle services and buses that make the journey. The closest airport is Quepos La Managua Airport, which is about 45 minutes from Dominical, and there are several domestic airlines that offer flights from San Jose.

7. Lodging in Dominical

Everyone here at Costa Rica Las Villas would prefer visitors rent a vacation rental home from us while in Dominical, however, for some guests, hotels are a better choice. The good news for those visitors is that there are plenty of wonderful boutique hotels in Domincal, as well as more affordable options. Regardless of your budget, there will be a wonderful lodging option in Dominical for your family vacation in Dominical.

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There are luxury vacation rentals in the Dominical area.

8. Safety in Dominical

In terms of safety, Dominical is generally considered a safe destination for families. However, like any destination, it is important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t leave valuables in your vehicles.

Families should also be aware of the potential for strong currents and rip tides in the ocean and should always swim in designated areas. Playa Dominical has lifeguards at the beach and guests should only swim in approved areas with lifeguard coverage.

Taking a Family Vacation in Dominical, Costa Rica is a great idea! Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities and memory building experiences for guests of all ages. From beach activities and surfing to wildlife watching and cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in Dominical. Families can enjoy quality time together while creating lasting memories in a beautiful and safe destination.

Casa Lapas New Costa Rica Rancho

New Costa Rica Rancho

The owners of Casa Lapas, our Chairman Duane Halverson and his wife, Mary, recently improved their home – they added a beautiful Costa Rica Rancho behind the home.

Casa Lapas was the first home constructed in Las Villas de San Buenas and the Halverson’s have been continuously adding features and landscaping to improve not only the look, but also the functionality of the home for their use, their friends’ use and clients. The most recent change was punching a hole in the wall of the garage and building a rancho behind the house.

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This home is located in the Estates area of the development. If you would like to own a lot near this home, please take a look at the Estate Lots masterplan.

If you are interested in renting Casa Lapas and its amazing new Costa Rica Rancho, please visit the availability calendar or Contact Us for more information.


United Airlines adds Seasonal Flights to Costa Rica

United Airlines Adds Two Nonstop Flights to Costa Rica

Source: The Tico Times

The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) in July reported that U.S. carrier United Airlines will open two seasonal flights between Denver and Costa Rica from December to April.

One of the flights will arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, and the other will fly to the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste.

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The new seasonal trips from Denver will operate Fridays and Saturdays from December 18 and April 30. (Courtesy of United Airlines)

The route between Denver International Airport and San José will operate once a week from Dec. 18 to April 30, 2016. The flight will depart from Denver at 10:59 p.m. on Fridays and will arrive at Juan Santamaría on Saturdays at 5:24 a.m. From San José, the flight will depart Saturdays at 7:19 a.m. and will arrive in Denver at noon.

The route to Daniel Oduber also will operate on Saturdays from Dec. 19 to April 30.

Flights will leave from Denver at 9:55 a.m. and arrive in Liberia at 4:15 p.m. Departures from Liberia will be at 12:30 p.m. and will arrive in Denver at 5:05 p.m., the ICT reported.

Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura said the news from United is important for the country: “These new flights will boost the tourism sector throughout the country, but they also will expand opportunities for Costa Ricans to fly to this major U.S. destination.”

The U.S. is Costa Rica’s main source of travelers. In 2014, the country registered a total of 936,929 arrivals from that country, a 7.6 percent increase from 2013.


Costa Rica Tourism Up in 2014

Nick Halverson Pam Bunte
Enjoying a drink at Tortilla Flats, Dominical, Osa, Costa Rica. International travel in Costa Rica increased 6.4% in 2014 (up by over 103,000 travelers compared to 2013).

The number of travelers traveling through Costa Rica’s two international airports increased by over 6% in 2014 compared to 2013. The Tico Times provided the following information. Not surprisingly the majority of visitors come from North America. In fact, North America accounted for 74% of all international visitors to Costa Rica in 2013.

Tourism Ministry officials on Thursday reported that revenues from Costa Rica’s travel sector last year totaled $2.6 billion, an 8.3 percent increase over the $2.4 billion registered in 2013, according to figures from the Central Bank.

Officials credited the 2,526,817 international arrivals registered in 2014, an increase of 4.1 percent over the previous year. That’s an increase of 98,876 arrivals by air, land and at ports, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) reported.

Tourism Minister Wilhelm Von Breymann said that the arrival figures are generated by crossing reports from the Immigration Administration and the ICT.

Air terminals still are the main ports of entry for international travelers, and the country’s two international airports — Juan Santamaría and Daniel Oduber — registered an increase in arrivals of 6.4 percent, or 103,509 travelers.

According to the Immigration Administration, this is the highest number since 2008 when the international crisis hit the tourism sector worldwide and in Costa Rica led to a decrease of more than 100,000 arrivals in 2009.

Von Breymann noted that 67.5 percent of international arrivals came from North American countries, followed by Europe at 16.5 percent and South America at 6.9 percent.

“The ICT’s promotional efforts this year will focus on attracting more tourists from those markets,” Marketing Director Alejandro Castro told The Tico Times.

The U.S. remains the main source of travelers, and in 2014, Costa Rica registered 936,929 arrivals from that country – a 7.6 percent increase from 2013. Arrivals from Canada also increased by 7.5 percent, according to the Immigration Administration report.

“Our research told us that the U.S. has a potential market of 65 to 70 million citizens who want to travel abroad, and some 16 million would be interested in a destination like Costa Rica. So there is still great potential for us to increase arrivals from there,” ICT’s Director of Strategic Planning Rodolfo Lizano said.

By percentage, however, the region that showed the most important hike was Europe, which grew by 19.9 percent. According to Immigration Administration records, Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. are the main sources of travelers from that continent. The only drop was registered by South American travelers, which decreased by 18.1 percent “driven mainly by the FIFA World Cup that attracted tourists to Brazil,” Lizano said.

He also said that greater revenues were influenced by an increase in tourists’ average stay, from 11.6 to 12.1 nights. That prompted a hike in the average per-person spending from $1,252 in 2013 to $1,378 last year.

“These variables reflect Costa Rica’s leadership in the region as our figures actually can be compared with those of major destinations around the world. Our direct competition is not in the region,” Lizano said.

Asked if the opening of relations between Cuba and the U.S. and the boost of the tourism industry in Nicaragua would affect Costa Rica, Von Breymann said he does not believe those countries represent direct threats to Costa Rica’s tourism sector.

“Cuba is basically sun and beach. We have a much wider variety of tourism options here, and the country’s size gives tourists the possibility to visit many different destinations in a short period of time. As for other countries in the region, our main advantage is the experience and development of our tourism industry, which is many years ahead,” he said.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, regional countries such as Panama and Nicaragua last year registered average stays of eight days, while Cuba and Mexico reported 10 and 11 days, respectively.

ICT officials highlighted that another advantage for Costa Rica is its lodging capacity, as the country currently has 45,531 rooms, a figure that exceeds by far Panama’s 22,768 rooms and Nicaragua’s 11,189, according to World Tourism Organization figures.

Regarding the ministry’s plans for this year, von Breymann said officials have detected a strong potential in specialized types of tourism such as fashion, health and wellness, sports and events. He said officials are hoping to speed up construction of a National Convention Center, a key infrastructure project to attract event-related tourists.

Costa Rica Travler Arrivals by Air (2013, 2014). Source: Costa Rican Tourism Board and Immigration Administration

All data in ‘000s.

North America: 1.082 (2013) 1.162 (2014) Increase of 6%

Europe: 237 (2013) 284 (2014) Increase of 20%

South America: 145 (2013) 119 (2014) Decrease of 18%

Asia-Middle East: 31 (2013) 35 (2014) Increase of 12%

We made a terrific choice!

We made a terrific choice!

The Madrigal family from San Jose, Costa Rica, recently spent a week in Las Villas de San Buenas. After their stay they wrote the following review of their stay.


We decided to go south Costa Rica for our year end vacation. We’re from San Jose and we all decided to skip the road to Guanacaste as this time of the year is hectic.

We rented this house for the final week of December and first days of January and we really had a great time here. First of all the road is in in great condition. Directions to the house are also really easy to follow. We were a group of 7 people, 3 couples and a friend. The house has 3 bedrooms, all with their private bathroom. Hot water of course and even a Jacuzzi in the master suite.Costa Rica home rental
Kitchen is in perfect condition, large refrigerator, dishwasher, stove and microwave. Laundry room with washer and dryer. Living room with Sky TV and all others with a DVD player.

The gardens and pool area are exceptional, the ocean view is amazing and we really spent our days there! With a cool breeze and birds singing everywhere.
The property is located in San Buenaventura town, close to beaches, national parks and waterfalls

Now, we really didn’t find any cons, however I must say that the house is listed for 8 people and the house has only 3 bedrooms with 3 beds (for 6 people comfortably accommodated). The other two must sleep in mattresses in the floor so you have to make some room for them in the bedrooms. Not a big issue for us.
Booking process was excellent and Nick the owner, replied every single email in no time.
If you’re thinking for a vacation in south Costa Rica, this is a great choice, you’ll have a wonderful time here!

The Hollis Family Trip to Las Villas de San Buenas

We were fortunate to have the Hollis family visit us here at Las Villas de San Buenas for a week this month. They travelled from Bermuda and enjoyed Hollis_SBDSC_0218the local wildlife, the beaches and all of the activities the Osa Peninsula has to offer.

They stayed in Casa Tinamou during their stay and appreciated the easy access from the Costanera Highway (1 mile). While looking at the views from Casa Lapas, two pairs of lapas flew overhead making the view even more spectacular (see photo below).

We look forward to them visiting again soon!

Costa Rica scarlet macaw lapa


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Repaving of Roads to San Buenaventura

Visiting the Osa region between Palmar Norte and Coronado (which includes San Buenaventura) just got smoother. Already considered one of the best roads in all of Costa Rica, Highway 34 (or as it is better known, “The Costanera Highway”) has been repaved with another layer of asphalt over the past ten days. Unlike many roads in Costa Rica, especially those in Guanacaste, the roads leading to San Buenaventura are perfectly smooth and provide easy driving for everyone.

Now that the asphalt has been put down, the paint and reflectors in the road will be applied over the next month.

They repaved and smoothed out the entrance into San Buenaventura as well. We are located 2 km (a little over a mile) from the Costanera highway (Highway 34) providing easy access all year!

As always, we recommend flying into Palmar Sur regional airport and then driving to Las Villas de San Buenas. It is now easier than ever!

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Costa Rica’s Southern International Airport Update


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

International flights will be coming to the Southern zone. Exact time is unkown.

The project to build an international airport in the southern zone got a boost over the weekend when President Laura Chinchilla declared the concept to be in the public interest.

That technical designation put a high priority on the $35 million project, which will start in 2012 to put in the bare bones of an international airport. Until then there are more studies and surveys.

Significant planning and environmental work already has been done. For example, officials can say with certainty that the land proposed for the airport does not contain any of the famous pre-Columbian stone spheres of other important sites. An archaeological survey already has been completed.

According to plans reviewed Saturday, the airport will have a runway from 2,000 to 2,600 meters, some 6,560 to 8,530 feet. The site already has been selected. It is fincas 9 and 10 in the Valle de Diquis in Sierpe de Osa. Officials also plan on getting two adjacent fincas for eventual expansion.

Finca 9 is the property of the Instituto Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo, a public agency. It contains 233 hectares (about 576 acres). Finca 10 contains 261 hectares (645 acres). This is enough land for the runway, ramps, taxiways, a passenger terminal, parking and space for a fixed base operator to handle private aviation. Also needed will be a fire station, a control tower, navigation and landing systems and space for customs and immigration.

The money for this project will come from the Dirección General de Aviación Civil, the national budget and an allocation the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes received from the International Civil Aviation Organization, officials said.

Ms. Chinchilla said that the airport is important to generate employment and combat poverty. Real estate operators and tourism agencies are solidly in favor of the project.

Ms. Chinchilla made a tour of the southern zone over the weekend and attended a meeting of the Golfito municipal council. There central government officials agreed to help the city with its tourism promotion.


NOTE: When the project is complete, owners in The Village of San Buenas will only be 30 minutes from their home.  Now is a great time to purchase.

This is the first official update regarding the international airport since former President Oscar Arias discussed it in July 2009.