- Location Between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica and physically south of Atlanta and Havana
- Climate and Seasons High Season (11/15-4/15) is warm, 80-90F, sunny and consistent. Green Season (4/15-11/15) warm, partly sunny, an afternoon shower, with the rainiest months in September and October. Not unlike the beach roulette you have at the Atlantic beaches.
- Time Zone Costa Rica does not observe daylight savings time. In High Season - one hour behind, in Green Season - two hours behind.
- Currency Dollars to Colonnes ($ vs. C) Dinner for seven people may cost C38,750! That's about $12 each and buys you a feast! The taxi down to the beach will cost C500 or about $1, the bus is C105 or 20 cents. At restaurants, generally the tax and tip is included and the check is totaled in dollars and colonnes. Everyone seems to run around with a calculator to do conversions for you. Clothes and electronics cost about the same due to high import tariffs.
- Food You can safely drink the water. The coffee is great everywhere. The fruit is outrageous. The vegetables are terrific. The meats taste different because they are unadulterated. Seafood is spectacular (just remember lobster is best eaten in Maine.) There is Italian, Chinese/Latino rice dishes and other ethnic food. Some of the medium and high end hotels sport French and nouvelle cuisine. Native cafes are called "sodas". The frozen lemonades and fruit drinks will make you swoon.
- What's the downside? Along the hilly main road, there are few sidewalks, so you walk along the gravel and be careful of the cars, taxis and busses. The water isn't crystal clear like the Caribbean, so snorkeling isn't as fantastic. With all the birds (more species than any other country), bats (we were asleep, we didn't see any) and geckos (cute) mosquitos are far less prevalent - BUT bring zip lock bags, because similar to most of the Pacific coast, ants are particularly industrious. Keep all snacks, sugar and even vitamins under tight cover. Geckos. We find them fascinating, but they are out and about, as are chameleons and little lizards. You night even spot an iguana or monkey stopping by for a visit, but they are skittish and stay out of the way. DON'T FEED THEM! They need to find food natually.
- What's the upside? Some may say Manuel Antonio is over-developed, and compared to much of Costa Rica and from decades past, it certainly is - but we like all the adventure and amenities tucked in the jungle paradise. Costa Rica is the Switzerland of the Americas - there is no military, with national investment supporting health care and education. The literacy and life expectancy rate is higher than the USA. In Manuel Antonio, family friendly easily blends with gay friendly. There are several gay hotels, gay friendly hotels and bars. The larger dance bars are naturally mixed. There is a live and let live demeanor bred into generations of culture and law. Election day is a holiday with cause for celebration regardless of party affiliation. Women's, workers and environmental rights are at the forefront of national concern. Beyond Manuel Antonio, the land is rich with other resort towns, beaches, volcanos and nearly one third of the country is environmentally protected. Costa Ricans are by nature, polite, respectfully quiet, conflict averse as well as inordinately helpful and friendly.
- The best of both worlds. You are in the jungle, but civilization is not far away. It is a glorious escape from the urban and suburban madness, air conditioned sprawl and sitting in traffic, but while eco-adventure is steps away, the town of Manuel Antonio and Quepos bustles with hospitality and activity. Remote yet not isolated. Laid back, unpretentious, casual, a little rough around the edges, yet the world-class Rain Forest Spa or terrific restaurants are right next door. Even when it is raining, the climate is warm and a dip on our pool is a treat. There is plenty to keep you entertained, or nothing to do except stare at fascinating vibrant birds and colorful paradise.
Ticos or natives use the phrase pura vida like we use okay, alright or ALL-RIGHT! The actual translation is Pure Life or it's a great life. Enough said.