Manuel Antonio is a popular national park and beach town in Costa Rica’s Puntarenas Province. It boasts of a very diverse rainforest, which is home to a great variety of flora and fauna. Among its most famous inhabitants are the white-faced capuchin monkeys and three-toed sloth.
But the main draw of Manuel Antonio’s are actually its beaches – white sand, turquoise waters – the perfect ending after hiking through its jungle. Playa Manuel Antonio is the most beautiful, but also usually the most crowded. Keep in mind that the national park is closed on Mondays!
New to Manuel Antonio? Check out this compact Manuel Antonio guide to show you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Manuel Antonio!
There are 3 ways you can travel the 185km distance from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio: via a 4 to 5-hour minivan, a 6-hour bus, or a 5-hour private transfer. Rates range between 5,040 CRC ($8) and 119,444 CRC ($191).
The minivan is a very convenient way to get from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio. You won’t have to worry about any transfers as it’s a door-to-door ride. It’s a bit pricey though. Ticket prices start from 27,190 CRC ($44) for the 4 to 5-hour journey.
On a budget? The bus is a very cheap alternative. There are no direct buses from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio so you’ll actually have to take three buses. The transfers are very easy though, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is whether your connecting bus is available as soon as you arrive at the bus stations. Still, with combined bus rates from 5,040 CRC ($8), the 6-hour journey may be worth it.
Are you travelling with a group? A private transfer from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio can be cheaper than a shared minivan when you split the cost. Rates start from 119,444 CRC ($191) for a car that can accommodate up to 6 persons.
The minivan is the most hassle-free option when travelling from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio. You will be picked up from your hotel in Monteverde and dropped off at your hotel in Manuel Antonio. No need to worry about any other transfers or finding your way to and from bus stations.
There are at least 4 trusted minivan companies you can choose from:
Monteverde Shuttle Bus
Tropical Tours Shuttle
Fares start from 27,190 CRC ($44) and travel time is 4 to 5 hours.
Book your tickets online so you won’t have to visit their office for reservations. We’ve already searched for the best rates for you. You can find the corresponding booking links in the table below.
The bus is a much cheaper option compared to the minivan, but there are no direct buses from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio. You’ll have to take 3 buses: one from Monteverde (Santa Elena) to Puntarenas, another one from Puntarenas to Quepos, and then finally Quepos to Monteverde.
Travel time is around 6 hours, excluding the possible waiting time for your connecting buses. It’s a very budget-friendly alternative though with combined fares from 5,040 CRC ($8.).
Step 1: Monteverde to Puntarenas by Bus
Duration: 2 hours Cost: 2,060 CRC ($3.30)
Buses bound for Puntarenas depart from Santa Elena, particularly at Centro Commercial Monteverde. Depending on where you’re staying around Monteverde, you can get here via a 10 to 20-minute walk or a very short taxi ride.
Transmonteverde operates at least 2 trips daily with a travel time of around 2 hours. Keep in mind that most buses depart early in the morning!
As not all buses are available daily, we recommend booking your tickets online at least a day before to be guaranteed a seat at your desired time. You can purchase your tickets through the Transmonteverde website for 2,060 CRC ($3.30). If you don’t mind taking a risk, then you can also buy your tickets at the bus station for about $1 cheaper.
From Puntarenas, you’ll then have to take another bus going to Quepos, located 140km southeast. Transportes Quepos Puntarenas offers several trips from 04:30 to 17:30. Depending on the time of your arrival at Puntarenas, you may have to wait a few hours for the connecting bus.
Travel time from Puntarenas to Quepos takes around 3.5 hours and a ticket costs 2,630 CRC ($4.50).
Quepos is a town and transport hub located beside Manuel Antonio, just about 4km north. There are already plenty of hotels and guesthouses around town. And if you’re staying in Quepos, you may be able to simply walk to your final destination.
But if you’re hotel is located in Manuel Antonio, then you can take a short bus ride to get there. Buses from Quepos to Manuel Antonio depart every 30 minutes from 05:45 to 19:00 and then every hour onwards. A ticket costs 350 CRC ($0.60) for the 25-minute journey.
Alternatively, you can take a 15-minute taxi for around 3,680 CRC ($6).
Monteverde to Manuel Antonio by Private Transfer
Duration: 5 hours Cost: from 19,444 CRC ($191)
Travelling with a group from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio? Taking a private transfer maybe even cheaper than a shared minivan when you split the cost.
BookAway offers various private vehicles with rates from 19,444 CRC ($191) for a 6-seater minivan. Split the cost and that’s just about $32 per person.
You can’t really ask for a better location in Manuel Antonio than this one. Millennium Hotel is only 100 metres from the national park! That also means that you’re super close to the beach too.
The hotel has its own outdoor swimming pool, perfect for a refreshing swim after walking around the national park. The rooms are spacious and offer everything you could need during your stay. Breakfast is also offered for free in a nearby restaurant.
Peace of Paradise feels exactly that. All you have to do to see wildlife from here is sit on your balcony and wait. Before long, you may be able to see monkeys, toucans, birds and maybe a sloth passing by.
The rooms are large and spacious, offering their own kitchen facilities. You can simply make yourself a coffee or cook a full-blown meal. The hotel has a great location in Manuel Antonio though. Not far from bars and restaurants which may be more tempting than cooking your own meals.
Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or in a group, Hostel Plinio will suit your needs. There are both dorms and private rooms available, depending on what you’re looking for.
With the outdoor swimming pool and onsite Mexican restaurant, the place feels more like a mini-resort than a hostel. The breakfast in the morning will set you up perfectly for the day ahead, especially the delicious gallo pinto. And don’t forget to try out their Taco’s!