My number 1 recommendation would easily be Hostel Plinio. This place is almost out of a dream! It is basically a massive tree house hostel, with free breakfast, a pool, a huge lounging area overlooking the jungle, and amazing views! I have very found memories of sitting on the balcony, reading a book and watching the little monkeys playing in the trees. To get to Hostel Plinio, you need to catch the bus that runs every half hour from Quepos to Manuel Antonio (just look for the bus area that says ‘Manuel Antonio when you arrive in Quepos), and get off after about 5 minutes when you see a hostel on your left hand side. It is entirely possible to walk to the hostel from Quepos however there is no path so you must walk on the road, so be very very careful if you choose to walk (it is uphill from Quepos to the Hostel, and downhill from the Hostel to Quepos).
Hostel Plinio offers a delicious breakfast of Gallo Pinto (you may dislike eating this rice/egg/bean/banana breakfast when you first arrive in Costa Rica, but if you are like me you will fall in love with it pretty quickly). Manuel Antonio is more expensive than Quepos, so I would recommend eating in Quepos, at one of the local restaurants around.
The Brooklyn Bakery is a great option for lunch as it is affordable and has an extensive range of delicious foods, savory and sweet, and a lovely little area to eat them at.
For a cheaper bakery option, check out the local Musmanni Bakery. This place has some delicious treats at super cheap prices, just grab a tray and load up with tongs! Take more than you think you can eat, or you’ll end up like me who had to keep going back daily to get more yummy treats.
I found Quepos and Manuel Antonio as more of a quiet, relaxing adventure than a nightlife destination. I found myself just getting a bottle of wine from the supermarket in Quepos and drinking with new found friends at the hostel each night, sometimes with the guitar! There were a range of bars advertised on the chalk board at Hostel Plinio though, so check that out and ask the awesome staff if they can recommend somewhere for a drink.
The Manuel Antonio National Park is an excellent way to spend the day! I would head here in the morning and spend the day taking leisurely walks throughout the park, trying to spot the various animals! The park is called home by animals including the two toed sloth, the squirrel monkey, and the white headed Capuchin monkey. There is 180 species of birds living in Manuel Antonio, including toucans and woodpeckers! I would recommend to eat a hearty breakfast, as they do not permit much food into the park, in case the local wildlife steals it (which is more common than you would expect!). Don’t expect the park officers to keep your food for you until you return either, because unfortunately they won’t. I would bring some fruit, as this should be allowed into the park. Pack your bathers though and a good pair of walking shoes to make the most of the beautiful beaches inside the park.
There are many Waterfalls around the Quepos and Manuel Antonio area, and while I was too lazy to find them (which I seriously regret now) maybe you will have more motivation! The staff at Plinito gave us great directions on how to find all the hidden waterfalls, and while they may be hard to get to, they are apparently worth the effort!
The Quepos Markets are open from 4pm on Friday and again Saturday morning. While they are not huge, it is a great way to get out and see what the locals are selling, from fresh fruits and vegetables to jewelry and souvenirs.
-Be super careful if you decide to walk between the hostel and Quepos, make sure to listen out for traffic and stop and step to the side when it comes. The bus will not pick you up if you are walking, you will need to be at a designated stop (just outside the hostel it stops but I enjoyed the walk most days).