Satellite TV, DVD, Microwave, 600 sq foot outdoor veranda, etc..
In addition, local certified naturalist guides can provide
fascinating jungle tours from 2-4 hours, an old time cultural tour,
sea kayaking in both fresh and saltwater, and dolphin watching
(complete list below with prices). I have done two jungle walks as
well as the dolphin trip and was thoroughly impressed by each. The
best guides for the jungle trip are organized through the
MANTguides, which is a non-profit, community based organization.
The guides all are native and speak both English and Spanish, and
are very well organized and trained, with field guide books and life-
long knowledge of the animals and birds and fruits along this walk.
It's nothing like walking around out there on your own! You'll
learn more than you could ever remember. To set up the tours or
dolphin tours, contact TDF, MANTguides, or stop in at their offices
in Manzanillo. Manzanillo is a tiny little town at the end of the
road so everything is easy to find and people are very friendly.
Traveling to Manzanillo takes 4-5 hours from the airport near
San Jose Airport (code SJO) where most flights land. Many people
rent a car and we offer a 5% discount from Adobe Rentacar which is
the only Costa Rican company in the business and also the best.
They'll bring your car to the front of the terminal so you can skip
waiting in line at the airport car rental desks, or they'll meet you
at your hotel or B&B. For those that enjoy immersion in the daily
life of the culture the bus system is excellent. The long distance
buses are large and clean, and cost about $2.50/person/hour. My
favorite part about taking the bus is that they stop for food
peddlers who ride along for a few minutes and supply the whole bus
with fresh juices, cookies, tamales and much more. When everyone is
satisfied the driver lets them off (usually in the middle of some
horrendous curve in the road) and they hop a bus going back the
other way. Just one example of how fluid their lifestyle is! There
are a handful of buses every day going to almost all parts of the
country, but there are only 2 buses per day for Manzanillo so once
you have made it to the coast taxis may be necessary for short trips
near town. Currently the morning bus from San Jose leaves at 10:30
from the Caribbean bus station (you'll need to take a taxi), but you
should be at the bus station an hour early to buy tickets. If you
opt for not renting a car, bikes work great along the coast as it is
quite flat and within 3 km you can access quite a lot of beaches.
Bikes are for rent in Manzanillo for $2.50/day at last report.
We recommend Adobe Rentacar of all the rental car companies. Book
thru us and receive a 5% discount:
You can also arrange a van to shuttle you (email Leo at the Costa
Verde B&B in San Jose, which is where we recommend staying in the
capital on either end of your trip. See 6th paragraph down).
Rental cars cost between $300-500/week with unlimited mileage after
you add on the mandatory insurance. If you are the adventurer
type, get a good guide book like The New Key to Costa Rica, Moon
Travel or Lonely Planet.
Another option for getting to Manzanillo is the Interbus system,
which works well for small groups. They run 10 passenger vans all
over the country every day, so you arrange your shuttle ahead of
time. Their web site for San Jose to Manzanillo is:
that shuttle costs $30/adult, $15/child; leaving San Jose at 10 AM
and arriving in Manzanillo at 3 PM. You probably won't get the
personal service of Leo's van and driver, but it may be cheaper.
For return schedule, go to this page and select Manzanillo from the
The surfing on the Caribbean coast is best near Puerto Viejo, which
is a half hour before you reach the Coral Reef House, and there are
also waves right near Manzanillo,. There are other spots between the
2 places, but the legendary area is the 6-foot wave called La Salsa
Brava, Dec-April. Puerto Viejo is where you want to stay if you're
looking to stay up late and dance in the bars. It's a young town
with lots of cheap places to stay, but you have to watch your stuff,
day and night. Manzanillo is secluded and quiet like most end-of-
the-road towns, and relatively safe especially if you are staying in
the Coral Reef House or the Dolphin Lodge which are slightly beyond
the end of the road and very private.
Fishing from the beach: Guests must bring your owe equipment. We
recommend spinning rod and reel with 10-12 pound test line. Buck
tail jigs, small spoons, and any small to medium lures you might
already have will work. The locals use live/small sardines and
shrimp. Ask where you can get these baits. Fishermen who wish to
fish from the beach can have Dolfi, our manager, contact Jiro, a
local fisherman, who will show people the best places to fish and
what species of fish they are most likely to caught. Clients should
tip Jiro for his services (ask Dolfi).
Snorkeling: One of the most popular activities at the Coral Reef
House is the great snorkeling right in front of the house. We have
tried to keep snorkeling gear available a the House, but in a short
time the fins are cracked and the masks leak. Therefore we suggest
that you bring your own mask and fins if you want to have good
functioning equipment. If you do not have or want to bring
equipment , there is a dive shop in the village that will rent you
mask and fins.