The Central Pacific region of Costa Rica is the Nicoya Peninsula. It has spectacular coastlines and jungle landscapes, yet most of it is sparsely populated and often ignored by foreign tourists, making it an ideal destination for travelers who value seclusion and natural experiences.
- 1 Quepos
- 2 Manuel Antonio
- 3 Montezuma
- 4 Jacó
- 5 Esterillos
- 6 Playa Hermosa
- 7 Pochote
- 8 Mal País
- 9 Puntarenas
- 1 Carara National Park
- 2 Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves
- 3 Manuel Antonio National Park
- 4 Chira Island
You can catch a bus from the capital for US$4–5, and it will be an adventure. Be careful of pick pockets at the Coca Cola bus terminal in San José.
All major airlines fly into the capital. From there you can catch a puddle-jumper.
By (rental) car
You can also rent a car. The roads are not well marked and very curvy and winding with steep cliffs at times.
Quepos is a town for walking. So is Manuel Antonio.
There are two types of buses, the express or the collectivo—they cost the same amount.
Taxis are available, e.g. between Quepos and Manuel Antonio. They will sometimes try to charge tourists more, but if you know what to expect they will be reasonable.
- 1 Tárcoles Crocodile Bridge (Puente Río Tarcoles) (about halfway between San José and Manuel Antonio). This is a favorite spot for crocodiles that come here to warm up before hunting at night. You will normally be able to see at least 30 crocodiles here. The reptiles pose no threat (unless you plan to jump down to them), but you should pay attention to the traffic, especially when you cross the road to see the crocodiles on the other side. The 400 m long bridge is about 15 m off the ground. The bridge is missing some of higher guards rails so take care not to lean on them. The side walk is only 1 person wide. The bridge is long and straight so you will see the traffic and they will see you. The crocodiles sun themselves on the various sand bars in the middle of the river. They are long and fat. It is sad to see the garbage, used tires, plastic, in the river containing such magnificent creatures.
- Manuel Antonio beaches: the private beach in the park is clean and gorgeous, and the public beach has bars and restaurants. Rent a "rock star" set-up with chairs and big umbrellas and have food and drinks brought from the restaurants to you (tip them, of course).
- Herradura Beach: This used to be a Cattle Hacienda and a good spot for a one-day tour for Costa Ricans during the weekends as it was not developed. It changed when Los Suenos Resort was built. A top resort with full marina services, golf course and a Marriott Hotel. Among the services there are several condo communities which are one of the best accommodations you can get as for less from what you would pay at the hotel. You stay in a comfortable and luxury home with all the services you might need. Very close to Los Suenos Resort, there are now other condo buildings. You can also find a shopping mall nearby with one of the best supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacy, fast food, ice creams, clothing store, etc.
- Sportfishing: you'll find one of the best fishing spots for Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Roosterfish, and other gamefish.
In Quepos there are a variety of restaurants and tons more along the road to Manuel Antonio and in Manuel Antonio.
A very filling and tasty meal can be had for US$2 in the hole-in-the-wall restaurants.
The nice hotels and resorts have all the old standards for more money.
Try the Batidas, fruit smoothies made with fresh fruit. They usually will add sugar unless you order it "sin azucar" or with 'no sugar'.
Also the pipa frio, coconut, green variety, they chop the top off and add a straw. You might not like it at first, but it grows on you and is cheap!