Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is for Lovers

October 2000

Qualifying Statement #2
October 3rd is my birthday. That makes me a Libra. Libras are about the beauty of everything. And, I am all about "quaint." When I lived in The United States, my idea of "quaint" was spending an evening at The Clifton Country Inn, sharing a bottle of Frog’s Leap Merlot with my girlfriend as we sat in front of a roaring fire. Then, later, making love in the king-sized, canopied, four poster bed, and drifting off to sleep chatting about what the future might hold while a light snowfall dusted the Virginia countryside. That is my idea and that is my reality.

To all of my female readers: I am writing this article from a male point of view because quite honestly, I don’t understand you all. Besides, 85% of the fun is figuring out which buttons cause which noises. And so, this is how I did it in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.


OK fellows, here is the Gentleman’s Guide to Manuel Antonio:

If it is your first trip together, which in my experience, either makes or breaks the relationship, then your hotel is:

Hotel Si Como No
It is a lively place with two restaurants, a spa, two pools, and a THX movie theater. Also, the concierge desk can help you plan anything that you might want. The owner, Jim Damalas, is an American and all of his staff are bilingual. I know him and most of his staff personally. I recommend this hotel because the views are spectacular, the rooms are fantastic and it is really a "happening" place. They cater to everybody.

Also fellows, if she isn’t what you thought that she was, then you can always send her to the spa or the movie or to the Concierge Desk to do something. If, that doesn’t work, then my advice to you: Start drinking heavily.

If you are slightly more involved, let’s say, on the verge of marriage, then you all should stay at these hotels:

Hotel Villa Nina
It is owned by the Byram family (also friends of mine). It is a bed and breakfast with only ten rooms. Quaint, with a bar and a pool and air conditioning and phones in the rooms. And, Anel Fallas, the Manager, is bilingual and a great person.

La Mariposa
Larry Sanchez (oddly enough, an acquaintance of mine), the manager, is PERFECTLY bilingual and he and his staff are eager to serve. The rooms have spectacular views. This hotel doesn’t leave much to be desired.

All of these hotels are between $75 and $250 per night in the high season. If anybody is asking: Do they have TV’s? Save your money and go to Panama City Beach, Florida. That is where you belong anyway.

There are several excellent restaurants in Manuel Antonio:

El Gato Negro
They serve Italian fare made by real Italians. Costa Rica has a very large Italian population. This is the real deal. Dimly lit and romantic.

This place has excellent seafood and steaks. Have the Mahi Mahi. Last year, I was there with that week’s flavor and ran across David Faber of CNBC fame. He was honeymooning with his new wife, I believe. So, it is one of the places to be.

Si Como No has two excellent restaurants – The Rico Tico Bar and Grill is a poolside bar and restaurant that usually has live music and the fare is typical and TexMex. They serve every drink imaginable. Go see Roger, the bartender, and tell him that I sent you. Also, the Claro Que Si, is the "sit down" Italian and seafood restaurant on the other side of the hotel.

La Mariposa also has an excellent steak and seafood restaurant. And, the view from the terrace is fantastic.

If you want that Tico flavor, then the ONLY place to go in Quepos is La Liga Bar. It is owned by Henry Fallas (also a friend of mine). He, coincidentally, is the cousin of Anel Fallas, the manager of the Villa Nina. Small world, huh? But somebody needs to be able to speak Spanish because old Henry doesn’t speak one lick of English. However, his bar is nice and he is a great guy. You should enjoy yourselves.

Well, kids, that is all for today’s lesson. Stay tuned for the next episode: Jaco, Costa Rica is for Gunslingers.




If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our Central America Insiders page.


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