The Shana Residences Manuel Antonio are centrally located on Quepos Point, near Manuel Antonio national park. The area is best described as the hilly, 5-mile stretch between Quepos and Manuel Antonio national park. Most of the population and commercial areas reside in Quepos to the north. The primary public beach, Playa Espadilla, is a 2-mile long beach stretching from the national park to Quepos Point, where most of the luxury Manuel Antonio resorts are located. The southeast end, near the national park, has an enclave of shops, restaurants and other businesses, and is generally much busier than the northwest end--called 'Playitas' by the locals--which is more remote and devoid of any services. Playitas is also the most popular surf break in Manuel Antonio, with the biggest waves.
Quepos was once the primary Pacific port for banana exportation in the days of the United Fruit Company. Today it is a compact, bustling hub for the area. The northwest end along the waterfront is the commercial area, just 4 blocks square. At the center is the bus station, central market--including vegetables, meats and fish vendors--and major supermarket, SuperMas. Heading south from the waterfront takes you to the new Pez Vela Marina--port to most of the ocean-based tours and activities--as well as Parque Nahomi, a run-down but beautiful seaside park little visited by tourists.
In 2012, Manuel Antonio national park was rated by Forbes magazine as one of the twelve 'Most Beautiful Parks of the World'. With 4014 acres, it is Costa Rica's smallest national park, and also one of its most visited. Few parks in the world harbor such biodiversity, and it is common to see at least one of the three local species of monkeys, two species of sloths, iguanas, toucans and other wildlife.
The entrance is located a three minute walk from the beach, and is often bustling with people. Best to purchase your tickets ahead of time--the day prior at CoopeAlianza in Quepos. Park guides at the entrance vie for business. Hiring a guide isn't necessary--you won't get lost--but if your interest is educational, they are also great at spotting the wildlife, and carry telescopes to get a better view. A guided tour of Manuel Antonio national park is $51 per person, and includes transportation, a licensed, bilingual guide, snacks, water and the park entrance fee ($16).