Quepos is located in the province of Puntarenas. The name of the town comes from the Quepoa, a faction of the Boruca Indians, which inhabited the region at the time of the conquistadors’ arrival to Costa Rica.
This was a company town for much of the early 1900’s, as Dole established a port for banana exportation, providing job opportunities for locals and also for many outsiders.
This lasted for about a decade, when the Panama Disease attacked the plantations, forcing the Standard Fruit Company to switch to the cultivation of African Palm (for oil), which was less lucrative, and a reason for the subsequent decline in the local economy.
It wasn’t until the eighties, when ecotourism started to boom in the area, that the city started to flourish; and Quepos is now the gateway for Manuel Antonio; and the place where tourists can find the cheapest accommodation and important services such as banks and supermarkets.
Although development hasn’t stopped in Quepos (especially in Manuel Antonio); the local authorities have enforced the protection of the maritime zone; preventing the construction of hotels near the beach.
And such efforts focused on the preservation of natural resources has been the key to the good reputation of the city.
There are also plans on building a new Marina here, which means that Cruise Liners will most likely be docking here rather than in Puntarenas in the future.
Getting to Quepos
Quepos is a 3-hour drive away from San Jose. Just take the new Caldera Highway and follow it until you see the exit to Jaco, follow that route and then keep up with the signs, which are abundant and won’t let you get lost.
You can also pick up a bus at the Coca-Cola Market in downtown San Jose, or alternatively, you can also take a flight using a domestic charter company such as NatureAir or SANSA at either the Juan Santamaria Airport (Alajuela) or at the Tobias Bolaños Airport (Pavas).
What to Do in Quepos
Since Manuel Antonio is really close, there are many tour operators based in Quepos. You can get in touch with any of them in order to help you with any adventure plans you might have in mind.
Among the things you can do at or nearby Quepos are Sports Fishing, Canopying, Kayaking, and Rafting. It is recommended to ask around for the best deals on one-day trips.
The nightlife is quite active in the area, with a lot of bars that are always full of locals, and more expensive options, including fine dining restaurants, all along the hill to Manuel Antonio.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park: It is located south of the city, and it opens from 8 am to 4 pm every day except Mondays. There is a local bus from Quepos to Manuel Antonio that rides all day long every 30 minutes and will leave you really close to the entrance of the park.
The park is not very large, but it is quite rich in nature, which is why it is a good idea to take a guided hike to know exactly where to watch for:
Monkeys (there are 3 species: Howler Monkey, Squirrel Monkey, and White Headed Monkey); Toucans, Iguanas, Coatis, Motmots, Sloths and the rest of the 184 species of birds and 109 species of mammals.
There are also two beaches inside the park where you can sit under a tree and relax, practice surf, or taking a swim, they are Manuel Antonio Beach and Espadilla Sur Beach.
This beach is a paradise for surfers due to its large waves and laid back environment, and it is mostly inhabited by foreigners.
Although this place is not very developed, there are enough bars, restaurants and accommodation options to choose from.
It is a 26-mile trip and you can take the bus at the Quepos terminal (buses are departing from here to a lot of different places).
Important Numbers and Websites for Quepos:
- Municipalidad: 2777-2214
- Máx Terán Hospital: 2777-0922
- Buses: 2223-5567