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Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

San Francisco...
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Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

Hi All,

We will be in MA for 4 nights in December, including Christmas eve and night. We know we want to do the MA NP tour. But not sure whom to book with? We are booking our airport (and MA to Arenal) transportation with Pacific trade winds. But not sure if we should book the day tours with them or somewhere else. Any suggestions?

1. National park tour- whom to go with, any particular time of day should go head out to ensure we see lot of wildlife?, will it include spending time at beach or should we go some other day?

2. Any river rafting tour suggestion? We have two kids (8 and 10), so something they can do. Is Rafting better in this area or Arenal area? We will be heading there for 4 days thereafter.

3. Any ziplining tour?

4. Anything else?

Normally, we have some plans made ahead of time but finalize only upon reaching. But I was told it can get booked since it is a peak season.

Thank you all in advance.

12 replies to this topic
Manuel Antonio...
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1. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

Hi PattySh......you are right....for those dates....you need to book most of your activities in advance......they do fill up......for these tours/activities.....I would talk to the concierge or house manager of where you are staying.....they will have preferred vendors......they will come and pick you up.....and get you back...they know which ones are safe....which ones have "issues"......after talking about what you are looking for.....they can provide options.....(active tours/passive tours)......they can help you organize them too.....many people book too many things too close together and then end up cancelling as they are just too tired to get up early another day and go on a tour......the hotel or villa conicerge do this every day....they know what works and what doesn't.

Tulemar Dave

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Tulemar Bungalows & Villas
Tulemar Bungalows...
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Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
San Francisco...
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2. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

Thank you TulemarDave.

So, I was thinking what are the opinion of booking the tour directly through the MA NP website? Are these good?

I have a list from my hotel also, but wanted to get a general idea from rest of the TA members if they have had a good experience with any other company.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

MOst of the time tours run by NP guides are a lot better…some concierge will of course try to sell you everything they make a fortune with commissions sometimes up to 30%…just shop around and ask for walk in discounts

roadadvicor

Manuel Antonio...
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4. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

Better safe than sorry.....we see and hear too many stories of guests buying tours from vendors at little booths on the street......paying a deposit to book.....then the tours never materializing or the deposits never making it to the tour operator.....or worse yet.....a tour operator not licensed or insured......read the reviews of the tour operators.....ask your concierge too......and check the prices.......the professional operators all charge the same price whether you book direct or thru your hotel......if a hotel is trying to over sell you tours or over charge you.....shame on them.......reputation and repeat guests should be the most important factors for hotels......if it is not....choose a different hotel.

Tulemar Dave

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Tulemar Bungalows & Villas
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Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
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5. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

>>>>>o, I was thinking what are the opinion of booking the tour directly through the MA NP website? Are these good?>>>>>

There is no official MA NP site where you can book tours. If you are referring to a web site that has the domain manuelantoniopark dot com, someone managed to scoop up that domain. But it is just a commercial venture. They are trying to make you think it is related to the park but not.... so just out of principal, I would avoid that one.

There are some very good guides around and some not so.... i personally would go with someone for whom you have got good recommendations or someone your hotel or villa concierge recommends. Or contact some that have excellent reviews...

I agree with what Dave has said.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

Thank you so much, i was doubting the website but could not find any other website. but it is strange that there is no official website for a national park.

Ontario, Canada
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7. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

Just remember that the Monday (when you are near the MA park), the park is closed.

IMO, you do not absolutely need a guide in this very touristy and crowded park. There will likely be so many ppl on the trails that if you see a group or a crowd standing looking somewhere, they are probably taking pictures of a sloth or a cayman, or a raccoon or smth else. (If a family has paid for their guide, i would never recommend to impose. I am talking about random crowds assembling everywhere.) In an ideal world, if you go hiking early, not in the rain, with a good guide, you will receive more info about the animals and plants they point out to you.

You need about 3-4 hrs for the trails, more time on the beaches after. In addition to your travel being in the peak holiday season, remember that foreigners pay US$16 pp to access the trails and beaches inside the park, but locals - much, much less, so you will likely find the beaches very crowded all day long. I have read forum posts where ppl suggest reversing what they called a more typical order and going to the beach first, then onto the trails. I do not think it would make a difference, both the beaches and trails will likely be full of visitors. BTW, there is a long public beach outside of the park, too.

There may be long line ups to the 2 windows to purchase entrance tickets. When we were there, one line was way longer than the other. We talked to the ppl around, no one knew why and the signs on both the windows did not point at any difference. We decided to leave the long roped in line and asked at the other window if we could pay there. Turned out the shorter line was for cash payments, the long one - by credit card, and most ppl either needed to use credit cards or assumed they had to stand in the bigger line. Have cash.

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8. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

Thank you for the info about it being close on Monday. Since (now that I’ve learnt) there is no official website (I still can’t believe that), I would never have known.

I booked with a supposedly good guide (can only comment once we come back) a 7:00 am tour. But since we are there for 4 days we might go back again to the beach (depending on whether we liked it inside).

I’m still looking for other activities to do with kids. Wondering if the Damas mangrove tour is good and worth doing after the MA tour.

9. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

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Ontario, Canada
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10. Re: Manuel Antonio in Christmas-tours/excursions?

@8,

For other ideas, see https:/… and https:/… . -Lots of ideas of what to do in the area!

We took what was sold to us as "a whale watching tour", recommended by our Tico BnB owner, as we were there in the peak whale season, but it turned out to be an awful booze cruise, total waste of a lot of money and we had been very misled, saw zero whale or dolphins, as the crew was not even looking, just serving drinks and partying, absolutely not recommended.

Edited: 08 December 2017, 13:05
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