Quepos, Costa Rica
The city and port of Quepos hugs up inside a tropical inlet nested against primary rainforest. Quepos center is a lovely six blocks square of restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, and hotels, but the main attraction is certainly the beach front and sportfishing fleet. Quepos is for many visitors, exactly what they imagine Costa Rica to be…..colorful, green, flavorful restaurants, festive locals, with just the right balance between sleepy tropical beach town and sportfishing destination of the rich and famous.
The high season runs from December to April, and peaks in February with the Festival del Mar, a month long party featuring concerts, sporting events, fishing competitions, parades, dancing in the streets, and incoming crowds from around the globe.
Accomodations in Quepos range from exclusive enclaves for the ultra famous looking for privacy without sacrificing comfort, all the way down to backpacker hostels and no-tell motels. Ever-friendly, the locals are a model of Costa Rican adaptability and good nature, taking pride in the diversity of visitors they receive, making sure everyone will have a good time and return home remembering Quepos as the special and beautiful destination that it has grown to become.
Quepos is probably the sportfishing base of Costa Rica, with a fleet of vessels, captains, gear, and shops to fulfill any sportfishing budget. The waters off Quepos are loaded with sailfish, billfish, tuna, grouper, snapper, giant marlin, and more, and fishing is good year around. Area restaurants will gladly cook your catch for you upon request. Celebrity tournaments are a common occurrence in Quepos, but paparazzi are rare, making Quepos a favorite for the famous tourist. Rafting and biking are popular tour runs from Quepos, with bicycles easily available to rent in the village for scenic rambling through the wilds outside of town, and Class II through Class V rafting available from late August to early November. Surfers will also use Quepos as a centrally located base, with Playa del Rey, Dominical, Hermosa, Jaco, and Esterillos close by. There are a couple of excellent breaks just outside Quepos, within walking distance, with the biggest waves found between June and August.
No mention of Quepos would be complete without noting that Manuel Antonio National Park lies just minutes from Quepos to the south. Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s smallest national park, and is considered a tiny glittering jewel of thriving wildlife and gleaming beaches, a must-see for anyone wanting to witness the best that Costa Rica has to offer.
The area was once dependent on banana plantations which used to line the surrounding area. After disease infiltrated the harvest, interest transferred to African Palms as the prominent crop. Now, tourism has deemed itself the major economic factor, contributing to just about everything in the area.
Under development for several years, Rainmaker Mountain Nature Refuge covers 1,500 acres of virgin mountain and primary rainforest near Parrita, 40 minutes north of town. The panorama of wildlife, butterflies, birds, poison frogs and snakes, and medicinal plants is described by guides on the 4-hour tour.
Quepos pulls some of its spotlight based on its closeness to Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica, sitting only 7 kilometers south. Besides the large tourist draw, Quepos is also frequented by many international scientists and naturalists, who come to study this region’s fantastic diversity of flora and fauna. Manuel Antonio National Park consists of seven beaches, all more private than the free beach and featuring a more exotic, tropical setting.
If you’re coming from the capital city of San Jose, Quepos is located around 160 kilometers away. Whether you’re visiting to reel in the catch of lifetime or simply to hang out on the beach, this is a beautiful place to enjoy a relaxing getaway. For drivers from San Jose, you will need to pass through the towns of Escazu, Orotina, Jaco and Parrita on the way. A faster option would be to take a domestic flight from the Juan Santa Maria International Airport, and then make the quick drive / taxi ride to Quepos.
Summary: The central Pacific’s sport fishing hub and gateway to Manuel Antonio
Landscape: Beaches, Rainforest
Attractions: Damas Island, Manuel Antonio National Park, Sport Fishing
Activities: Nature Tours, Shopping, Waterfall Rappelling
Caters to: Budget Travelers, Couples/Honeymooners, Families, Nature Lovers
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