Safety in Manuel Antonio, a short but essential guide

It is a concern for all our community and country that every single visitor is safe and will go back home with a smile and great memories. So, please read on and be safe.

Safety in Manuel Antonio

None knows better about safety in Manuel Antonio than a local. However, it is a concern for all our community and country that every single visitor is safe and will go back home with a smile and great memories. So, please read on and be safe.

Safety in Manuel Antonio

Safety in Manuel Antonio goes, of course, beyond the national park and even our region, as your vacations as a whole are our concern. However, we will address your trip into our area

Manuel Antonio is as safe as any other tourist destination in the World. It is NOT dangerous. But you have to, as anywhere else on the planet, use your common sense.

I am creating a list here of some precautions you should have when vacationing in Manuel Antonio or Quepos.

You may find them useful if you are traveling with a group, or a travel agency as much as if you are renting a car. Renting a car- Take these into account.

At the Airport:

As you get out of any of the international airports of Costa Rica, you will find a multitude of signs and people calling names looking for their relatives or clients.

It is difficult and can be intimidating.

Our first recco is: Arrange transportation with us. We will be there, with our sign, waiting for you. 

However, if for any reason you’d instead arrive and get to your hotel or Manuel Antonio on your own, here are some tips for you:

  • Arrange transportation beforehand.
  • If you are coming after 4 p.m. into Costa Rica and driving, get a hotel room in San Jose, or close to the airport and travel early in the morning.
  • Have our emergency number close by.
  • Don’t leave your luggage unattended
  • It often happens that a person may offer you a phone for you to call. You may thank him or her and use it (It is a common thing to do) but keep the alert. If you decide to use someone else’s phone, stay in a visible spot, and watch after your belongings at all times.

If you are driving into Manuel Antonio

  • Don’t drive after sunset. Sunset is from 5:30 6:20 p.m. throughout the year. No seasonal differences (Remember this is the tropics, and it happens fast).
  • The road between Manuel Antonio and Quepos is very winding and can be tricky. Go slowly; there are complete parts if it without sidewalks, and it is quite common to see people walking at the edge.  Also, animals sometimes go across monkeys, coatimundis, and even sloths.
  • Around the area of Quepos and Manuel Antonio, you may find potholes. When you are driving around here, be mindful of them. Some may be quite deep.
  • Do not leave anything unattended in the car, locked or not locked!
  • Do not pick hitchhikers. In the area is quite frequent to find surfers and young travelers hitchhiking. However, it is dangerous. Even if criminality in the region is low, picking hitchhikers is connected with theft and other more violent crimes.

Safety in Manuel AntonioAvoid the beach after dark or before sunrise.

  • Beaches are charming at night. You want to see the milky way in all its splendor, and the surf, especially if there is bioluminescence. But listen to your common sense: Beaches in Manuel Antonio are dark, and even in a group, a walk in the dark makes you extremely vulnerable.
  • If you are caught at the beach after dark, get to the road and get a taxi to go back to your hotel.
  • Don’t go to the forest at night (unless you are with a tour guide and on tour). This is the time for snakes and similar creatures to find food. Besides, it is extremely easy to get lost.
  • Avoid swimming at night. Manuel Antonio is a safe place for swimming, but there are currents, and if you are not visible, nobody will notice if you are struggling in the water.

At the beach

  • Please ask the locals about the areas where there are rip tides.
  • Do not leave things unattended to go in the water. From humans to animals, there might be scavengers in the sand while you are having fun in the waves. (Our advice is not to take anything valuable to the beach if you are planning to go in the water and are alone)
  • There are several vendors in the beach at Manuel Antonio, Mostly all of them are harmless and are just trying to get a dollar for an ice cone or a coconut juice. However, be alert when someone comes to talk to you.
  • People may come to talk to you about offering tours and activities. Do not buy any trips unless they come from a serious, known company.
  • Never mind it is overcast, use sunscreen. Never mind if you are never bitten or you haven’t seen one mosquito: Use bug repellent.


Spanish Key Phrases:

Keep a list of essential phrases to know in Spanish, just in case- An app on your phone is not enough. Have it in paper with you at all times. It may prove so useful.

  • ¿Dónde está el baño? (Where is the bathroom?)
  • ¿Cómo llego a ___? (How do I get to…?)
  • Soy alérgico a ___ (I am allergic to ___)
  • ¿Dónde está el restaurante ___? (Where is the ___ restaurant?)
  • ¿Dónde está el hotel ___? (Where is the ___ hotel?)
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo se dura en ___? (How long does it take to ___?)
  • No puedo comer ___ (I cannot eat ___)
  • No puedo ___ (I cannot ___)
  • ¿Esto tiene ___? (Does this have ___?)
  • Me siento mal (I feel sick)
  • Tengo ganas de vomitar (I feel like throwing up)

Safety in Manuel Antonio
Your passport

  • Get some photocopies of your passport and put them in separate areas in your baggage.
  • And always put your passport in the safety box in your hotel (Don’t forget it when checking out!) If you lose it, it will be much easier if you have a copy.

Your money

  • Call your banks before leaving home to clear any international travel prohibitions on your account.  It’s terrible to find you cannot get money from your account once on vacation.
  • Don’t bring traveler’s checks. They are not taken anywhere now.
  • Don’t buy any tours that seem to be shady in any particular way. Ask Epic Adventures! We are are a serious company, and you can find our reviews and credentials anywhere.  It is not about getting two more dollars; it concerns your security.
  • Check And double-check currency conversion. It can vary dramatically from one hotel to another. Go for the banks if you want to change. You can find several in Quepos and even in Manuel Antonio town, up the hill.
    Remember that U.S. dollars are accepted throughout Manuel Antonio and Quepos as well as the surrounding areas.
  • Bring $20’s. Forget about $50-100 bills, due to frauds; they are not taken.
  • Euros are not easy to change. Better to turn them into US Dollars.
  • Split your cash and cards into various areas in your luggage.

To wrap it up

Your safety is our prime concern. If you leave happy and safe from Manuel Antonio, most likely you will return, and advise others to come.

Please let us know when you are coming, the safest thing you can do is to have a good Manuel Antonio friend who is honest and straightforward with you. Contact us! And we will be there for you, at all times.


Written by Olga Sáenz for Epic Adventures, Costa Rica 

If you want to reproduce this article as a whole or in part, please use the following reference:

Saenz, Olga. Epic Adventures.  Safety in Manuel Antonio, a short but essential guide. (2019). Epic Adventures Costa Rica. Retrieved on (DATE)___________, from


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