The vibrant harbor town of Quepos is widely considered Costa Rica’s favorite one-stop vacation destination. Located on the Central Pacific Coast in Puntarenas Province, the little piece of paradise is easy to get to, and even easier to stay. Whether for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation with friends and family.
Quepos offers something for everybody and getting around is easy. Adobe Rent a Car has a full-service office close to the Correos de Costa Rica in the center of town. And an in-country airport with daily domestic flights from San José to Quepos is nearby.
Most people visit Quepos for two principal reasons: sport fishing from the Quepos Marina and a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park. Rest assured, however, there are plenty of other adventures to be had. Snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, surfing, hiking, and horseback riding being just a few of the many options.
Getting to Quepos with Adobe Rent a Car
Driving to Quepos from San José takes between 2.5 and 3 hours and covers just over 160 km. From the Capital and SJO International Airport, take Route 27 west towards Caldera. Highway 27 is a toll road and the trip will require approximately $7 in local currency.
Just after the fourth toll on Route 27 (Coyolar), take Route 34, which is marked with signs for Jaco and Quepos. The highway is known as the Costanera, or coastal highway, and is well paved and scenic. From 34, follow the signs to Route 235, over the renowned Quepos bridge and into Quepos and Manuel Antonio.
It isn’t necessary to rent a 4×4 vehicle to get to Quepos. If you plan on doing any off-roading, however, then it’s always best to play it safe and rent a 4WD. Adobe Rent a Car has the largest fleet of rental cars in Costa Rica. Your Adobe agent will make sure you get the best vehicle for your trip itinerary.
Quepos Costa Rica Weather
Costa Rica’s weather is dominated by two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. In general the best time to visit Quepos and the surrounding area is during the dry season between December and April.
Rainy season weather isn’t bad, however. Clear sunny mornings are common, with rains usually starting in the late afternoon and lasting for a couple of hours. The weather in July and August is often drier than other rainy-season months and many North American and European tourists take advantage of their summer vacations to visit.
September and October are the rainiest months along the Pacific Coast and some businesses and hotels close during this period.
Things to do in Quepos
The lively town of Quepos is condensed into six-square blocks nestled between Quepos beach and a backdrop of steep rainforested mountains. Stroll through the streets and you’ll find a plethora of quaint restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques, souvenir shops, and art galleries. Regular amenities like pharmacies, banks, and grocery stores as well.
Sport Fishing and Catamaran Cruises
The port of Quepos is most famous for its Marina Pez Vela located south of town in front of the old Quepos banana plantation. The recently inaugurated marina makes Quepos a popular destination for world-class sport-fishing. Numerous fishing outfits, many with bilingual staff, run daily tour excursions into the blue Pacific waters year-round.
Both inshore and offshore big-game sport fishing are offered, and the town hosts numerous international sport-fishing competitions annually. Anglers fish for trophy-winning species like marlin, sailfish, and mahi mahi, as well as red snapper, amberjack, wahoo, dorado, yellowfin tuna, and roosterfish.
For those not interested in fishing, there are catamaran, sailboat, and yacht outings to choose from. Dolphin and whale watching tours are especially popular, as are snorkeling and scuba diving trips, and of course, the infamous Catamaran Sunset Cruise. Many of the larger boats serve lunch and cocktails onboard.
The peak fishing season for the Pacific Central Coast runs from November to April. While whale watching is best from July through October and December through March. Humpback Whales and other species frequently visit the warm coastal waters to feed and nurture their young.
Things to do in Manuel Antonio and the surrounding area
Manuel Antonio National Park
In addition to its lively charm, Quepos is known as the gateway to the Manuel Antonio National Park, only 7km away.
Manuel Antonio National Park is considered the jewel of Costa Rica’s national park system. In 2011, Forbes Magazine listed it as one of the most beautiful national parks in Costa Rica – and the world!
There’s an abundance of rare flora and fauna to discover. Visitors can hire a professional naturalist guide to point out the fascinating species living within the dense foliage and the tree-top canopy.
Despite its small size— just under 8 square miles—the park is extremely rich in plant, animal, and marine biodiversity. In all, Manuel Antonio National Park is home to 109 species of mammals, 180 species of birds, and myriad reptiles and insects.
Both white-faced and howler monkeys are prolific in and around the park. Dozens of the furry creatures are often seen lounging in the shady branches above resting tourists, sharing the cool ocean breezes.
Raccoons and several bird species are also known to mingle with park visitors in search of food scraps.Some of the park’s shyer inhabitants include, sloths, coatis, agoutis, deer, iguanas, snakes, and frogs. Keep in mind that feeding the wildlife is strictly prohibited and enforced.
An elaborate trail system leads visitors through the park’s verdant depths to four pristine beaches:Puerto Escondido, Gemelas, Manuel Antonio, and Playa Espadilla Sur. Each has a distinct charm and space for picnicking, swimming, and one-of-a-kind photo opps.
Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches
Espadilla Norte Beach, also known as playa Manuel Antonio, is the main public beach in town and connects to the park. Small coastal islands and clear turquoise water make the area a true tropical paradise. The water is perfect for surfing and swimming. Sunbeds, umbrellas, surfboards, and kayaks are all available for rent, as well as jet skis or a wild “banana boat” ride.
There are a few hidden beaches reachable only by car and a short walk through the coastal forest. Ask for directions to Biesanz Bay where you can swim or rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard and explore the calm waters and hidden coves.
Head inland and experience the thrill of zipline and canopy tours, as well as horseback riding, and ATV adventures. Experienced tour operators are plentiful and offer a menu of activities to please every outdoor appetite.
The town of Manuel Antonio is also a mecca of boutique hotels, resorts, international and local dining, and colorful nightlife. All hugging the steep mountain backdrop with unforgettable views of the coastal treasures below.