The Quepos / Manuel Antonio area is one of those parts of Costa Rica that I love because it has a bit of everything for every taste. From cheap hotels to luxury resorts, world-class restaurants & tons of activities are available. In fact one of the most amazing stuff in this country is the amount of natural wonder and things to do in Costa Rica, it’s pretty amazing. And as you can see, there are tons of things to do in Quepos, Costa Rica!
From amazing and adventurous tours and relaxing spas to hiking and wildlife watching.
Best Things to Do in Quepos, Costa Rica
1. ATV Tours
Exploring cattle farms and African palm plantations on an all-terrain vehicle has never been this daring before. Half-day tours include a swimming pit stop in a cool waterfall.
Most of the ATV Tours offer a whole canopy tour, with zip lining and off-road experience, but you can just ask for the ATV tour, those types of tours often last half of the day and are $70-$80 per person.
Some tour agencies offering ATV tours:
- ATV FOURTRAX
Address: 618, Provincia de Puntarenas, Quepos, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2777 7600
- Real Adventures
Address: GPJW+VHH, Puntarenas Province, Punta Arenas, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2779 4246
- Safari Adventures
Address: Junto al gran escape, Provincia de Puntarenas, Quepos, 60601, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2777 7111
2. Boating, Canoeing & Sea Kayaking
Kayak or ride a covered boat to Damas Island. These tours take you through the famous lush mangrove forests, estuaries, and backwater canals full of all kinds of wildlife including crocodiles.
Besides exploring one of the most important mangrove ecosystems, you’ll be able to enjoy a unique adventure surrounded by nature. Prices for kayak tours range from $60 to $90.
Some tour agencies offering kayak tours:
- Iguana Tours
Address: Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2777 2052
- Tico Loco Adventures
Address: 800 metros sur del bm, Provincia de Puntarenas, Quepos, 60601, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2777 0010
- Tucanes Tours
Address: CVW3+GWG, Road to La Inmaculada, Provincia de Puntarenas, Quepos, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2777 0775
3. Canopy Tours
Canopy tours abound in this neck of the woods, all offering naturalist guides with the canopy. You can even get a combo deal of zip lines, rappel lines, suspension bridges, waterfalls, and Tarzan swings.
Imagine yourself rappelling from a waterfall, it’s one of the most exciting things, a must-do. The price of canopy tours varies a lot too, from $70 to $90.
Some tour agencies offering canopy tours:
- Titi Canopy Tour
Address: CVR7+3JG, 34, Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2777 3130
- El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tour
Address: APDO 94-6350, Provincia de Puntarenas, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2777 6908
- Zip Coaster
Address: El Avion, Main street Manuel Antonio 618, 100 meters south of the restaurant, Provincia de Puntarenas, Quepos, 60601, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 4000 1379
4. Dolphin and Whale Watching
When the season is right, spotted dolphins, migrating humpback whales and sea turtles are easy in the waters off of Quepos and Manuel Antonio.
The best time to see dolphins and whales in Quepos is from August to October, you can hire a boat to take you there or go to one of the agencies that offer deep sea fishing.
Tip: You can just do a deep sea fishing tour in this season and there’s a high chance that you spot a whale or a dolphin.
This is probably not the first thing you’re going to be looking for when traveling to Quepos, but you’ve got plenty of casinos all around this area to try your luck at Hotels Byblos, Kamuk and Divismar, and Club Atlantis.
With well-marked, easily accessible hiking trails of Manuel Antonio both novice and seasoned hikers will get their money’s worth. Plus, you can sign up for a night tour and see creatures normally asleep during the morning hike.
There are several hikes you can try in Quepos, some of the most popular are:
- Hike Sendero Punta Catedral
- Hike to Nauyaca Waterfalls
- Hike Cerro Chirripó
- Reto Mae
7. Horseback Riding
What better way to really check out the rainforests and mountains of this area than on the back of a horse? Most tours visit waterfalls for refreshing swims.
If you aren’t excited about hiking, what about a horseback ride? You’ll be able to enjoy the nature Manuel Antonio has to offer on top of a friendly animal. There are places where you can do this activity like Hacienda Mil Bellezas and are agencies that offer tours to the best spots in Quepos. The price usually vary from $70 to $85.
8. Jet Skis
Take a 2.5-hour tour to isolated bays, beaches, and islands. Tours include a trained guide and jet skis. Also, enjoy a sunset tour, because sunsets must be celebrated!
There’s no best way to enjoy the beaches of Quepos/Manuel Antonio than riding a jet ski, the tour passes by beaches, and surrounding islands, and if you are lucky you can spot some dolphins and turtles (even whales if you are there on the right season). Some jet skis tours offer it with snorkeling, they will take you to Biesanz bay to do it.
Of course, those tours are on the pricey side, most of them cost from $100 to $130 for a single and up to $160 for a double (2 people on one jet ski).
9. Mountain Biking
Not only mountains, you can just rent a bike and do a tour in the city if you want, but if you want to go to the mountains I highly recommend you hire a tour. They usually take you through the backcountry roads of neighboring farming communities, mountains, and Quepos itself.
Some of the most popular trails for biking are:
- Sacred Garden
- Lower Saltamontes
10. White River Rafting
There’s nothing that brings more adventure and excitement than white river rafting, and Quepos offer several options for this, there are many classes of rapids suitable for different persons, the two most popular are Naranjo and Savegre rivers offering Classes II to IV rapids.
The prices usually go from $95 to $120, but most of the tours offer lunch, hotel transfers, and a professional guide.
11. Sailing and Catamaran Cruises
You can reserve a spot on beautiful catamarans and majestic sailboats for half-day or sunset tours. Most tours include snorkeling, dolphin watching, and a fresh seafood lunch with an open bar.
Another great way to enjoy the beaches of the area, and enjoying the sea. The time varies, but usually, it’s 3h to 4h, and they cost anything from $80 to $150, depending on what they offer. Most of them include hotel transfers, lunch, snacks, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
If you want a relaxing day of pampering yourself, Quepos, offers many spas and wellness retreat centers. Prices vary a lot since each person chooses the package they want. You have two options in spoiling yourself in Manuel Antonio:
- Check into a full-service day, you will get natural treatments using tropical fruits, therapeutic hot stone and oriental massages, body wrap and scrubs, facials, pedicures, body scrubs, and all kinds of pampering packages.
- Or, let the spa come to you, not really a spa but there are people offering massages on the beach.
Some popular spas and wellness centers in Quepos:
- Raindrop Spa
- Holis Wellness Center and Spa
- Ambar Body Therapy & Treatments
13. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Snorkeling tours of all sorts are available here. You can choose a half-day excursion aboard a catamaran that features sailing, dolphin watching, and fresh lunches, or take a tour to coral reefs that host colorful schools of fish. Diving is also available here. Check out the live coral reefs in the open water.
The water habitat in this area is amazing, with interesting volcanic formations, corals, and tropical fish.
Literally, snorkeling is everywhere, there are jet ski tours with snorkeling, ocean kayaking with snorkeling, and catamaran tours with snorkeling… you get the idea.
Some popular DIY snorkeling spots are:
- Playa Manuel Antonio
- Playa Espadilla
14. Sport Fishing
This is the place where world-class sport fishing is great year-round, and there are many options to choose from, but it can be tricky, I personally did this with my husband, and it’s quite an experience. Most of these tours are catch and release too.
Some of the popular catches are:
If you want to learn more about it, you can listen to my podcast Deep Sea Fishing is Fun or Not, make sure you check it out before you head there.
15. Surfs Up!
Want to surf like a pro and hit those hot surf spots with gusto? Well, you’re in the right place. Quepos like many towns in Costa Rica has this nice surf vibe to it. Surf shops and surf schools offer instruction for all levels with board rentals too.
You won’t find huge waves in Quepos, but there are tons of fast mid-size waves, making it ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers. Also, longboarding is really common when the tide is low.
Popular surfing spots:
- Quepos: Directly in front of the town, the river mouth breaks mostly left and is best when the surf is big.
- Manuel Antonio: Great beginner surfable waves are along the Manuel Antonio stretch of beach. Take your pick on these ideal waves for all surfing levels of lefts and rights.
Is Quepos Safe?
Despite I felt safe in Quepos, there are crimes in the town, mostly robberies. You need to take care of yourself, the center of the town is lively at night but past midnight you can stumble upon some shady people, don’t go around carrying and showing all of your valuables.
You need to stay safe on every trip abroad and use your common sense. Costa Rica is the safest country in Central America but shady people always target tourists.
Tip: Avoid walking around too late in the night, if you can, go with a group that’s even better
How to Get There
It’s pretty easy to get to Quepos, it’s well-connected to most places in Costa Rica. There are three options to get there.
By Car – Rent a car and driving there yourself, is a great way to immerse yourself in the country, and it’s the easiest way to get to Quepos.
By Bus – If you’re in San Jose (which is where most of the tourist comes from) you can take a bus right from the airport, and it takes about 4h to get there.
Flights – Every 4 hours there are planes flying with Cosa Rica Airways and SANSA Airways from San Jose Airport. It’s really a short flight, but you still can check the views.
Quepos, Costa Rica is a small town, and it’s easily walkable, or you can get around using a bike or a scooter. It gets complicated when you want to travel to areas outside the town, for this you’ll need a car.
You can just rent a car or use a taxi, rides on a taxi are more expensive than buses, but I know many people don’t feel good when it comes to traveling on buses in other countries.
Where to Stay
Hotels in Quepos are interesting, despite you can find some good hotels in the town, the best ones are outside its limits. The town of Quepos is located 6-7 kilometers from the Manuel Antonio national park, but everything that’s outside the town borders is considered Manuel Antonio village.
In this short distance there are tons of hotels, so, searching for a place to stay can be tricky. That’s why I have selected one hotel inside the town of Quepos and one in Manuel Antonio.
Wide Mouth Frog – Perfect for those on a tight budget, but you won’t find fancy amenities, you will find clean and affordable accommodation with most of the amenities needed. The location is close to the center of Quepos, making beaches, tour agencies, and other attractions of the town really accessible.
Shana By The Beach Manuel Antonio – If you’re looking for the best experience available, and you have a mid-budget then this one is for you. It’s located in the national park and is very close to the beaches. This highly rated hotel comes with all the amenities you need for a comfy stay, it only has breakfast included, two pools, bars, and a spa. Ask for the airport shuttle!
Tip: Quepos can be really hot, like most coastal towns in the area, make sure to choose a room with air-conditioning. It’s a must.
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