Safety in the water

Manuel Antonio National Park Wildlife, Beaches, Rainforest & More

Costa Rica is famous for its flora, fauna and wildlife and Arenas Del Mar is the perfect base from which to explore Costa Rica’s natural treasures. Our hotel is nestled in eleven acres of rain forest and is a short trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. Many first-time visitors to Costa Rica plan their vacation around seeing the park, and that visit does not disappoint: the views from the hills overlooking Manuel Antonio are spectacular, the beaches are idyllic, and its jungles are inhabited by howler, white-faced, and squirrel monkeys, two and three toed sloths, tropical birds and other forms of exotic wildlife (download our animal & plant guide here). We’d also recommend the breathtaking suspension bridges in our Hanging Bridges & Waterfall Tour that meanders through a 1500-acre pristine forest via footbridges suspended above the canopy.

That’s just the beginning. There are countless ways to experience the great outdoors in the Manuel Antonio area: Horse back riding, Kayaking, White water rafting, Surfing, Sailing, and Ziplining. They’re all available in this community.

And don’t miss the opportunities right in our own backyard. Arenas Del Mar is nestled in a rain forest. There’s wildlife aplenty on our property, including a vibrant bird population for birders. To make sure you get the most out of your tours, our hotel has two resident naturalist guides who are always available to answer your questions and take you out into nature to make sure you get the most out of your experience. If you want to get in touch just ask at the front desk. They will be more than happy to answer all your questions.

OFF-PROPERTY TOURS WITH ARENAS DEL MAR GUIDE

MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK GROUP TOUR

Manuel Antonio National Park Group TourEarly in the morning or in the afternoon, enjoy the charms of Manuel Antonio National Park with its striking white sand beaches, clear tranquil waters and abundant wildlife. Though the highlights of this park are its two white sand beaches Espadilla Sur and Manuel Antonio – it also protects coastal rain forest, a mangrove swamp, coral formations and 12 islands that serve as seabird sanctuaries. Our guide will teach you about the park’s distinctive plant life and point out some of the resident fauna, which include 109 mammal species, including 3 species of monkeys, agouti, three-toed sloth and more than 300 species of birds.

What to bring: sun block, hiking shoes or hiking sandals, insect repellent, binoculars, hat, swimsuit, towel, camera and plastic bags for your camera
Departure time: 7:45 a.m. & 1:00 p.m. (park closed on Mondays)
Arrival time: 12:00 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
Driving time: 10 minutes
Length of tour: 3-4 hours
Difficulty Level: low
Includes: transportation, bilingual guide, bottle of water, entrance fee and snack

MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK PRIVATE TOUR

Manuel Antonio National Park Private TourA hike that captivates your spirit, taking you deep into the jungle and alongside beautiful white sand beaches. Your guide will point out the abundance of wildlife that lives in the area, including monkeys, sloths and agoutis. Over 300 species of birds live in the Park and your guide will point them out to you, along the way. Having a private tour of Manuel Antonio allows you to set the pace and is a chance for a one-on-one experience with you and your guide, which is an uncommon, but very special, opportunity. You will be able to choose what you would like to do during the hike, whether it’s spending more time at the beach or further exploring the jungle. This tour will captivate you, leaving you with unforgettable memories to take back home.

What to bring: sun block, hiking shoes or hiking sandals, insect repellent, binoculars, hat, swimsuit, towel, camera and plastic bags for your camera
Departure time: 7:45 a.m. & 1:00 p.m or requested (park closed on Mondays)
Arrival time: 12:00 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
Driving time: 10 minutes
Length of tour: 3-4 hours
Difficulty Level: low
Includes: transportation, bilingual guide, entrance fee and snack

HANGING BRIDGES & WATERFALLS TOUR

Hanging Bridges & Waterfalls TourFor those who love nature and hiking, the Rainmaker Reserve is just the right tour. Hand rails and easy to follow footpaths connected by a breathtaking canopy bridge system connected with observation platforms in the treetops, allow you to observe waterfalls, discover the area’s rich biodiversity and explore the majesty of the forest from a bird’s eye view. The Rainmaker is a 1,500-acre reserve mainly consisting of primary rainforest and home to thousands of unique plant species, many varieties of birds, morpho butterflies, and the colorful poison dart frog. The Canopy Bridge system consists of suspension bridges of ten sections total, spanning from platforms attached to massive hardwood trees to create the most impressive canopy walk in Costa Rica. At the end of the walk, there are several beautiful waterfalls where you can take a refreshing dip.

What to bring: sun block, hiking shoes, insect repellent, binoculars, hat, swimsuit, towel, camera and plastic bags for your camera.
Departure time: 7:45 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Arrival time: 01:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.
Driving time: 30 minutes
Length of tour: 3-4 hours
Difficulty Level: low-Medium
Includes: transportation, bilingual guide, bottle of water, entrance fee and lunch

NIGHT WALK NATURE RESERVE

Night Walk Nature ReserveAt night, many animals go to sleep but others come out to explore the dark such as frogs, snakes, spiders, opossums and owls. This is your opportunity to see, hear and experience the thrill of the wild nocturnal life at a nearby nature reserve. Our night tour is one of the more popular activities where you’ll see the jungle come to life.

What to bring: Rain gear, hiking shoes, insect repellent, long pants, camera and plastic bags for your camera
Departure time: 5:15 p.m.
Arrival time: 7:00 p.m.
Driving time: 10 minutes
Length of tour: 2 and a half hours
Difficulty Level: low
Includes: transportation, bilingual guide, flash light, entrance fee

ON-PROPERTY TOURS WITH ARENAS DEL MAR GUIDE

BIRD WATCHING

Bird WatchingCosta Rica is a birder’s paradise. With over 856 different species, you just need to go for a short walk to see a multitude of colorful exotic birds. Here, in Arenas Del Mar, the trees, bushes and flowers planted just outside your room, were chosen because they attract different species of tanager, euphonias, flycatchers, robins, woodpeckers and over 180 different species of birds. During the morning hike we usually see monkeys, sloths and agoutis as well. Come and join us for a fascinating nature experience!

What to bring: sun block, hiking shoes or tennis shoes, insect repellent, binoculars, hat, light clothing camera and plastic bags for your camera
Departure time: 6:00 a.m.
Arrival time: 7:30 a.m.
Driving time: none (onsite tour)
Length of tour: 1.5 hours
Difficulty Level: low
Includes: bilingual guide and coffee

RAIN FOREST HAWK TRAIL

Rain Forest Hawk TrailThis tour is designed to provide nature experiences in the tropical rainforest to families with children of all ages. The tour is on the grounds of Arenas Del Mar and can be shortened or extended according to the families’ interest and energy level. Leave at the reception building and head down to the river and eventually the Playitas beach. Our expert nature guide will explain the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest where the resort is situated. You will be surprised how much there is to see, hear, touch and smell. It has been said that going into the rainforest without a guide is like going to a library without knowing how to read. There is a good chance of seeing a variety of birds and wild animals on this tour.

What to bring: bottle of water, hiking boots or tennis shoes, camera, binoculars, light clothing
Departure time: upon request
Driving time: none (onsite tour)
Length of tour: 1 hour
Difficulty Level: low
Includes: bilingual guide (Upon availability)

MAKING TORTILLAS

Making TortillasJoin our onsite guides for an authentic Costa Rican experience. This walking tour takes you around our property and behind the scenes to Petatillo, home to many of our staff. You will learn about Costa Rican customs and discover the meaning behind our national symbols. We will show you how tortillas are made the old fashion way, and if so inclined you will make your own tortilla and savor it with a good cup of coffee or a cup of agua dulce (“sweet water”), just like our grandparents used to do.

What to bring: camera, comfortable shoes or sandals
Departure time: 2:30 p.m.
Arrival time: 4:00 p.m.
Driving time: none (onsite tour)
Length of tour: 1 and a half hours
Difficulty Level: low
Includes: interpretative guide, history and national symbols explanation, fresh tortillas and coffee

EASY BEING GREEN

Easy Being GreenLearn about history, nature and green practices all in one. We will take you behind the scenes and show you how being green can be easy! You will see our native plant nursery and hydroponic vegetable gardens; and in the vermiculutre and compost area we’ll show you what we do with our organic wastes. In our recycling center we’ll share our philosophy for reducing waste and saving energy. This unique experience will show you how your stay at Arenas Del Mar, while relaxing and fun, is also having a positive impact on our environment.

What to bring: camera, comfortable shoes or sandals
Departure time: On request
Arrival time: Depends on starting time
Driving time: none (onsite tour)
Length of tour: 1.5 hours
Difficulty Level: low
Includes: interpretative guide, green drink

TOURS OFFERED BY THE COMMUNITY

MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE TOUR

Mountain Adventure TourExperience a unique piece of Costa Rican rural heritage on a country drive just an hour away from Quepos. This guided nature, conservation and cultural expedition takes you along the Fila Chonta Mountain Range. Explore a 3 kilometer nature trail where the guide will share its knowledge on this pristine mountain sanctuary. Different activities are offered while the tour takes place: swimming in the waterfall natural pools, organic tilapia fishing, horseback riding or a visit to a typical sugar cane mill. Submerge yourself in the real meaning of ‘pura vida’!

What to bring: Comfortable clothes, tennis or hiking shoes, sun block, towel, extra change of clothes
Departure time: 7:30 a.m.
Arrival time: 3:00 p.m.
Driving time: 1 hour
Length of tour: 8 hours
Difficulty Level: Medium
Includes: Breakfast, lunch, drinks, transportation and bilingual guide

SURF LESSONS

Surf LessonsSurfing is one of the healthiest sports. It gets you in shape, gives you a nice tan, and most of all is FUN! From kids to grandpas, pros to novices, we have you covered. Playa Espadilla has wonderful right and left breaks on its different points, “El Frente ” is great for beginners with perfect breaking 2 to 5 feet waves! Before you get into the water, our bilingual instructors will give you a safety talk, some theory and demonstrate the first steps of surfing and after that you are ready to try out your first waves.

What to bring: Appropriate swimsuit (make sure it won’t fall-off with the waves), towel, waterproof sun protection and camera
Departure time: Upon Request
Arrival time: Depends on departure
Driving time: 15 min
Length of tour: 3 hours
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: A/C vehicle, surf board, leash, lycra top, beverages, snacks and a surf instructor

WHITE WATER RAFTING – SAVEGRE

White Water Rafting - SavegreThe rivers of Costa Rica are famous for their White Water Rafting and the Savegre River is renowned in the world. This full day adventure will take you on a journey of unsurpassed beauty, jungle vegetation and exploding whitewater. At the lower Savegre, the whitewater rapids are exiting but no so demanding and you will have time to enjoy the spectacular tropical scenery. This is one of the most pristine rivers in the country and lurking just behind the shroud of lush foliage, you will find a number of truly magnificent waterfalls. Get to explore the natural swimming pools in the area surrounded by blooming heliconias!

What to bring: Rubber-soled shoes, swimsuit, shorts of a quick-drying material, hat with a brim for sun, towel, waterproof sun protection, T-shirt is optional. Bring an extra change of dry clothes for after rafting
Class: II-III
Departure time: 8:00 a.m.
Arrival time: 4:00 p.m.
Driving time: 60 min
Length of tour: Full day
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: River gear, soft drinks & fruits, bilingual guide & air-conditioned transportation.

HORSEBACK RIDING

Horseback RidingExperience a picturesque ride through the jungles and hills to nearby waterfalls and explore exuberant natural world of tropical plants and wildlife in a non-intrusive manner. Discover the secrets of the forest; learn about medicinal and curative plants. Find toucans in our exotic primary forest. Time for a swim! Enjoy a relaxing stay at waterfalls and natural pristine pools.

What to bring: Long pants, sturdy footwear (not sandals), hat/visor, swimsuit, sunscreen and camera. A change of clothes is recommended
Departure time: 8:00 a.m.
Arrival time: 1:00 p.m.
Driving time: 45 min
Length of tour: Half day
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: Transportation, bilingual guides, horseback riding equipment, fruit, snacks, beverages and Costa Rican Typical lunch or dinner

WHITE WATER RAFTING – NARANJO

White Water Rafting - NaranjoIf you are looking for more action and higher adrenaline then it is only 30 minutes away from the Manuel Antonio / Quepos area where the Naranjo River forms the natural southern border of Manuel Antonio National Park. The Naranjo River drops steeply from the coastal mountain range above Quepos through a beautiful jungle gorge, and takes you on a wild ride to sea level passing nearby farmlands and palm plantations. These are 8 miles of whitewater and famous rapids. The river banks are overgrown with jungle and the canyon walls meet the water at 90 degree angles. The whitewater, jungle, canyon, and sky make for an unforgettable day.

Class: III – IV
What to bring: Rubber-soled shoes, swimsuit, shorts of a quick-drying material, hat with a brim for sun, towel, waterproof sun protection, T-shirt is optional. Bring an extra change of dry clothes for after rafting
Departure time: 7:00 a.m.
Arrival time: 12:30 p.m.
Driving time: 45 min
Length of tour: Half day
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: River gear, soft drinks & fruits, bilingual guide & air-conditioned transportation

BUTTERFLIES BOTANICAL GARDEN & AMPHIBIANS AQUATIC GARDEN

Butterflies Botanical Garden & Amphibians Aquatic GardenWe all appreciate the magnificent butterflies we see in the wild, but do you know how they hatch and how long they can live? Visit the first butterfly garden and private nature reserve tour in Manuel Antonio and find more than 20 species (such as the famous Monarch butterfly and the Blue Morpho) inside a uniquely designed 1,000 sq. foot atrium garden. You will also learn about Tropical Aquatic Gardens where a variety of species of frogs and toads live; including the red-eyed tree frog, the glass tree frog and the wet forest toad, all endemic species of Costa Rica. The tour also offers the opportunity to see the reptiles’ exhibition. This experience can also be enjoyed at night and experience the thrill of the wild nocturnal life.

What to bring: Cool comfortable clothes and shoes, hat & sun block.
Departure time: 8:30 a.m.
Arrival time: 12:30 p.m.
Driving time: 10 min
Length of tour: 1 to 3 hours
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: Air-conditioned transportation, bilingual guide and entrance fee

DAMAS ISLAND MANGROVE BY KAYAK

Damas Island Mangrove by KayakThis is a once in a life time opportunity to be within arms reach of the spectacular nature of the mangroves. Kayaking through this unique and protected inland waterway is truly a great adventure. You will combine adventure with education, as the Damas Island Mangroves is the perfect place to learn about one of the most important ecosystems in the world, the Mangrove Forest. Enjoy the enchanting, primordial mangrove estuary and observe fascinating wildlife such as the whiteface capuchin monkeys and a vast array of birds. Board your kayak for a relaxing enjoyable trip exploring wild jungle waterways, which you cannot normally reach. You will paddle in a sit-on-top kayak, under the shade of the tall mangroves, but if you prefer you can travel by motor boat instead of a kayak.

What to bring: Cool comfortable clothes and shoes, sun block, insects repellent, hat, binoculars and camera
Departure time: Depending on tides schedule
Arrival time: Depends on departure
Driving time: 30 min
Length of tour: Half day
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: Transportation, bilingual guide, equipment and tropical fruit buffet.

CANOPY TOUR

Canopy TourSail high above the rainforest canopy and experience the jungle from its richest perspective. Drive for approximately one hour to the ranch house, snugly set beside a freshwater stream at the base of a mountain, where you’ll be served a delicious typical breakfast or lunch (depending on tour time). You will be led through magical trails that gently wind through the forest, where you can see poison dart frogs, toucans, squirrel monkeys and more tropical plants than you can believe! Then you will have the adventure of your life, flying from platform to platform at the very top of the rainforest canopy. Featuring: 21 Platforms, 9 zip lines, 2 repel lines, one suspension bridge, and one “Tarzan Swing.”

What to bring: Long pants, sun block. comfortable shoes or tennis shoes, camera, insect repellent
Departure time: 6:50 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.
Arrival time: 12:30 p.m – 3:30 p.m
Driving time: 45 min
Length of tour: Half day
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: Breakfast or lunch, air conditioned transportation, equipment and bilingual guide

SPICES, GARDEN & FLAVORS TOUR

Spices, Garden & Flavors TourVilla Vanilla is located 10 miles east in the foothills overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park. The farm consists of 27 acres in tropical agriculture production surrounded by 125 acres of primary and secondary rainforest. This farm is certified organic/biodynamic by Demeter USA. This tour offers you the opportunity to experience the sights, tastes and aromas of tropical spices, essential oil plants, sustainable farming practices, spice drying and packaging. Crops include vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, black pepper, allspice plus a variety of exotic fruits, essential oil and medicinal plants. Tour begins in the post harvest/warehouse where you will observe spice drying, processing and packaging. Then you will enter the plantation by way of our unique “Epiphyte Trail”, (Orchids, Bromeliads & Tilandsias) where you will smell and taste aromatic spices and herbs. Then we continue past our pasture and fishpond on to savor vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate treats and mountain vistas.

What to bring: Comfortable clothes, tennis or hiking shoes, sun block, insect repellent, cash for shopping vanilla beans and extracts (they don’t take credit cards).
Departure time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Arrival time: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m
Driving time: 45 min
Length of tour: 3 hours
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: Transport, spices testing, bilingual guide

WHALE WATCHING TOUR

Whale Watching TourIn the Whale Watching Tour you will experience one of the greatest moments of nature. This tour will bring you to some of the most beautiful spots along the pacific coast of Costa Rica, which includes the Marino Bahia Ballena National Park. If the conditions are safe to do so, you will be able to get off the boat to swim around, where you may be able to listen the whale sounds and you could also have the opportunity to see dolphins swimming close by. The whales can be normally seen from November to March and from July to September. In this tour you can usually see Humpback and Pilot Whales. Dolphins are seen all year around. Our recommendation is to visit between December and February and during August and September, as this has been the time when whales have been mostly seen. However, please always have in mind that this is nature and it may vary without notice.

What to bring: Sunblock, hat or cap, shorts, sandals, swimsuit, camera, towel, extra changing of clothes
Departure time: Available upon request.
Arrival time: Depends on departure
Driving time: 1 hour
Length of tour: Full day
Difficulty Level: Low
Includes: Lunch, transportation, bilingual guide, snack, snorkel equipment.