Rediscovering Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio

The Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast gets quite crowded with visitors in the high season.  So we set out to look for alternatives “off the beaten track” and found a spectacular one right at our “doorstep”.

It is the green season in  Costa Rica and this is the time for all of us at Cayuga’s Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges to create new experiences for our guests, that are planning to visit us in the next high season.  We focus on innovative wellness treatments, new culinary offerings and of course tour experiences and nature adventures.

In early September, we set out to explore the “Ruta Mae”, a little known coastal trail, that connects the port of Quepos with Manuel Antonio.  Our guide was Michael (a.k.a. Baywatch), our lifeguard at the Arenas del Mar Playitas beach.  He grew up in the Manuel Antonio area, and and as a kid, he used to play at the beaches that we hiked.

Manuel Antonio Beaches
The new “Ruta Mae Trail” winds along the coastline through tropical rain forest and alongside beautiful beaches.  Don’t get scared away by the fact that it is the “rainy season” right now.  This picture was taken on September 1st – a great time of the year to visit.

The tour is only possible at low tide as some of the beaches get completely flooded at high tide.  This is why it is important to go with a local guide.  At Arenas del Mar Rainforest & Beachfront Resort, we have three on staff naturalist guides plus “Baywatch”.

Costa Hiiking, Costa Rica
The hikes takes about 2 hours and does require good fitness levels. You will be walking on narrow trails in the forest and climb rocks next to the Ocean.

It is ideal to go early in the morning or in the late afternoon.  We will pack you some sandwiches and lend you some reusable water bottles.  September through November is also whale season on the Central Pacific Coast.  Take the time to stop and scan the Ocean for those majestic creatures.

Steep cliffs with spectacular views.  It is not unusual to observe humpback whales during this time of the year in the waters around Manuel Antonio.

But of course there are other wildlife viewing opportunities.  In the area that is located north of the National Park, the co-existence of wildlife and humans works quite well.  Everybody just minds their own business…

On our hike we saw a troop of white face monkeys and a sloth on the same tree.

Mission accomplished.  Back at the hotel, ready fora hearty breakfast with Gallo Pinto, Eggs, Avocado and Tortillas.  We have a great new tours for our guests that want a bit more adventure, adrenaline and a solid workout.  If you want to learn more about this, send us a note.

The happy team of “explorers”.  Fernando (Experience and Sustainability Manager), Michael (Baywatch), Jorge (General Manager), Hans (CEO of  the Cayuga Collection) and Dave (owner of Arenas del Mar Resort).

3 responses to “Rediscovering Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio”

  1. We have been to Costa Rica five times, but mostly in the Guanacaste region. I had a stroke a few years ago and don’t walk over rough terrain very well but do okay on flat ground. We used to take lots of adventure trips, but now keep it a little milder. This sounds like a great trip and we would like to go to Arenas del Mar in October or November. What are your suggestions. We have stayed at Dreams las Mareas, Secrets,and Villa Buena Onda. We want to see as much wild life as possible on a 7 nite stay in the country.

    John and Rose Moody

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