Manuel Antonio & Jaco

Manuel Antonio National Park, Waterfall Tour (ft. Nauyaca Waterfall), and 2 nights in Jaco

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Manuel Antonio National Park
Adam and I visited here in 2014 on our first trip to CR. We loved it! It was easy to drive here, and we made it a day trip since we were staying in Jaco overnight. There is no official parking lot for the park, but there are several private lots near the entrance. Be prepared/have cash to pay about 5,000 CRC to park here for the day. The park’s website also warns of scammers trying to sell overpriced tours for the park. Don’t be mistaken- having a tour guide here would be a good thing! They are very knowledgeable and can point out many animals and plants that you may otherwise miss (we went on our own and still had a great time). Just set the tour up ahead of time if you want to have a guide. The park offers tours, or you can find another tour outfitter to book through; most will offer transportation, entrance fees, and lunch. This tour company was great to us on our waterfall tour (see below), so I would definitely recommend them if you aren’t driving yourself!
Note: NO food is allowed to be brought into the park. Beverages may be brought in, but NO single use plastics are allowed.
Price: Adults 12+ $18, Children 2-11 $6; tickets must be purchased online
Official park website here.
🚼Most trails would accommodate a stroller

If you look closely, you can see Adam following our guide at the top, between the two (lower) falls.

Waterfall Tour
This was probably the highlight of our 2014 Costa Rica trip! The tour visited 3 different waterfalls: the first was in Domincal and had a rope swing, the second was in Uvita and had a 33 foot natural water slide(!) as well as ledges at 15 and 40 feet to jump from. The final waterfall we stopped at was Nauyaca Falls, with options to cliff jump from 25 or 33 feet… and this is where Adam did a 75ft cliff jump (with the help of our guide, who was very experienced in scaling the waterfall to get to the ledge)! That was back when we were young and fearless, though. We did the tour through Costa Rica Waterfall Tours, and this particular tour is called the Extreme Adventurer (price in 2021 is $175pp- it’s an all day excursion, 7am to 5pm and includes lunch)
🚼 This would be a fun tour for older kids/teens. It’s a very long day and you’re constantly moving.

!!! Adam, cliff-jumping from 75 feet !!!

We used Jaco as a base for Manuel Antonio and our waterfall tour. I honestly didn’t do much research on this part of the trip before we left, besides booking our tours. If I were to do this again, I would probably stay in Uvita or Quepos. Jaco’s beach is huge though, and well known for surfing and the sunsets! It was beautiful there, but we didn’t explore the town much. Our hostel was cheap (the pictures below will show you…) and we were young. So, I have no recommendations on lodging here.

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