A.M. Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio
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Jo Stuart
About us
This section first was published Monday, Dec. 31, 2001


A mother and baby
mono tití monkey
are members of one
of the key species
that business people
in the Manuel Antonio area seek to preserve.

Photo By Rick Little
Page One
Patricia's special report: Manuel Antonio & Quepos

Photo by Patricia Martin
Small fishing boat off to work from Quepos


Photo by Particia Martin 
Vela Bar Hotel cabinas in jungle setting

Photo by Rick Little

Quepos at a perfect time of the day
By Patricia Martin
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Hi, everyone. Patricia speaking. We´re doing Manuel Antonio this issue that beauty spot along the Central Pacific coast that´s so glorious, you´ll think you died and went to . . . Costa Rica. The celebrated National Park has just enlarged its size to almost double, adding forest land and 12 more miles of beautiful beach, where you can enjoy creatures of the wild, marine life and flora and fauna. 

Quepos, the sister community of Manuel Antonio, has long been established as a top sportfishing center, drawing enthusiasts from all over the globe for those big catches and tall tales. If you need more reasons to visit the area, look to the extensive list of activities, such as whitewater rafting, horseback riding to the rainforest, a mangrove boat trip, sunset sailing, canopy tours, jet skiing and canyoning. New and very exciting are the various tours of the Nature Farm, covering 30 acres across the road from Hotel Si Como No. 


After a very soggy rainy season, I was looking forward to the hot and dry weather for my getaway that week in December. But some nasty disturbance at sea brought heavy rain for the first few days and nights at Manuel Antonio. I do mean heavy. I busied myself building an ark and considering how to stock it with two of everything. Two margaritas, two piña coladas, two tequila sunrises. . . . 

Eventually the freak rainstorm stopped, and the sun melted all over us. Steps from the National Park entrance and the Espadilla beachfront Vela Bar turned out to be a great little stopover. Its 11 inexpensive units are set into untamed vegetation, and the restaurant under a thatched roof is enjoyed by everyone in the area. That´s thanks to Rosa Arechederra, the Spanish woman who´s been running the place for 20 years for the German owners of Vela Bar. 


Try the nachos of spicy beans and cheese after a swim. Then settle into a grilled feast of fish and pork in pineapple, or the yummy shrimp casserole in creamy sauce. Rosa´s vegetarian specialties are also very much in demand, as are the fresh rolls baked daily on the premises. She generously shares the praise with Tica sisters Mayra and Xinia for all those wonderful treats from the kitchen. Room rates at the casual little hotel run from $30-$65, and you can inquire about group prices or extended stays by calling 777-0413, or e-mailing velabar@velabar.com. For evening fun, Rosa recommends Pan y Net internet café just up the road, where there´s live music on certain nights and a $3 special of "all you can eat." 

Accommodations of every range and style exist along the beach strip. Those who prefer a swimming pool might try Cabinas Espadilla at 777-2113; e-mail cabinas@espadilla.com, where units of various types range from $68 plus tax for two people to $157 for a group of four.


Photo By Patricia Martin


Espadilla Beach is near Manuel Antonio National Park and is seen here from the steps from the Hotel Vela Bar

What we published earlier: