When traveling to Costa Rica two of the most popular places to stay is near Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio. Both have completely different things to offer. Ideally, you would want to visit both but if you only have time for one this guide will help you choose. Both Locations have diverse wildlife and many things to offer.
Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna)
Arenal Volcano and the closest nearby town La Fortuna is located in the middle northern part of Costa Rica. It is about 3 hours away from San Jose International Airport by car or bus. Many resorts offer amazing views that are situated around the Volcano. It has many things to offer in the rainforests of Arenal and you can see diverse wildlife and scenery. From a volcano, waterfalls, hot springs, hanging bridges, zip lining and more there are many things to do in this area of Costa Rica.
Things to Do
- See the Waterfalls (La Fortuna and Catarata Río Celeste)
- Go to Tabacon Hot Springs
- Go to the Cloud Forest of Monteverde
- Walk across the Hanging Bridges
- Hike Arenal Volcano
- Go Boating or Kayaking at Lake Arenal
- Ziplining and White Water Rafting
Manuel Antonio (Quepos)
Manuel Antonio National Park and the closest town nearby Quepos is located in the western part of Costa Rica near the Pacific Ocean. It is a little under a 4 hour drive from San Jose Airport. It is known for its beautiful beaches and national park where you can see the mountains meeting the ocean. There are many things to do here from beaches, waterfalls, sailing, and more. Being along the coast there is many watersports but you can also drive inland and see things like waterfalls and more.
Things to Do
- Nauyaca Waterfall
- Manuel Antonio National Park
- Watersports (Sailing, Diving, Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Fishing)
- Kayak Damas Island Mangrove
- Relax on the Beaches
Which should you Choose
Choosing between Arenal and Manuel Antonio depends on what you prefer. Do you prefer more of a rainforest with hot springs and a volcano or do you like beaches and watersports? Both have many things to offer like a lot of wildlife in both destinations from sloths to monkeys and more. You can’t go wrong with either choice.