10 Best Place to Visit in Manzanillo Costa Rica

manzanillo costa rica

The best tours in Costa Rica offer a chance to explore the country’s diverse beauty. It is advisable to book these tours in advance due to Costa Rica’s popularity. With air-conditioned transport, hotel pick-up, certified guides, and sometimes lunch and entrance fees included, these tours provide a convenient and comprehensive experience. You can reserve now and pay later, with a full refund available for cancellations up to 24 hours in advance.

Manzanillo, Costa Rica, is one of the best places to visit, boasting secluded beaches and a Caribbean coast that provides abundant sunshine to escape gloomy weather and replenish Vitamin D levels. The tranquil town of Manzanillo, easily reachable from San Jose airport, offers stunning Caribbean waters, sun-drenched beaches, and a peaceful atmosphere with fewer tourists.

For a unique and special stay, consider booking an AirBnB made from reclaimed wood, featuring an open-air design to enjoy innovative architecture and wake up to the delightful sounds of howler monkeys, creating a truly memorable experience.

Places to Visit in Manzanillo Costa Rica

Manzanillo, Costa Rica, is a beautiful destination known for its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant wildlife. Here are 10 of the best places to visit in Manzanillo:

1. Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge:

Address: J869+WPR, 36, Limón Province, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2759 9100


  • The Jairo Mora Sandoval Gandoca-Manzanillo Mixed Wildlife Refuge is a protected area on Costa Rica’s southernmost Atlantic coast. It safeguards diverse habitats, including beaches, tropical forests, and coral reefs, and is home to various plant and animal species like manatees, tamanduas, and palm trees.
  • The refuge offers nesting grounds for sea turtles and features beautiful beaches, mangroves, and estuaries. While it once included fishing villages, some were removed to allow for local development.

With its ecological significance and conservation centers nearby, it’s a must-visit destination for nature lovers and eco-tourists.

2. Punta Uva Beach:

Address: Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast


  • Punta Uva Beach is a stunning white sand beach surrounded by palm trees and clear waters. It’s a well-preserved area, with buildings kept 50 meters from high tide to maintain its pristine condition. The beach is named after the sea grape trees that grow along the shore.
  • Punta Uva includes relaxing on the peaceful beach, beach hopping to nearby spots like Playa Chiquita and Playa Cocles, and visiting the Jaguar Rescue Center, where rescued animals are rehabilitated.
  • Cahuita National Park, known for its diverse wildlife and coral reefs, is also a must-visit destination nearby. Another attraction is the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, which protects endangered species and valuable flora and fauna.
  • Punta Uva offers a more secluded and natural experience compared to larger resorts, providing visitors with the true essence of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. It’s a perfect destination for beach lovers, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a tranquil and authentic getaway.

3. Cocles Beach:

Address: Cocles Beach Costa Rica’s


  • Playa Cocles is a spectacular surf beach located on Costa Rica’s stunning Caribbean coast, just south of Puerto Viejo. It’s a long and beautiful beach with waves suitable for both novice and advanced surfers.
  • This peaceful destination offers an escape from tourist crowds, and though the small beach town has limited amenities, you can find restaurants and tourist facilities in nearby Puerto Viejo.
  • It’s an ideal place to experience the legendary surf community of Costa Rica and enjoy a tranquil day with a beach picnic.

4. Jaguar Rescue Center:

Address: In front of Villas del Caribe, Limón, Punta Cocles, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2750 0710


  • The Jaguar Rescue Center, located near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in Costa Rica, is an animal rescue center dedicated to rehabilitating mistreated, injured, orphaned, and confiscated animals.
  • Founded by Sandro Alviani and Encar García, the center relies on community support, donations, and entrance fees for tours since it doesn’t receive government funding.
  • It houses a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, and visitors can observe the animals at specific times each day.

5.Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo:

Address: Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo, Costa Rica’s


  • The Jairo Mora Sandoval Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, located on Costa Rica’s southernmost Atlantic coast, is a protected area established in 1986 to preserve diverse wildlife and coastal landscapes.
  • Named in honor of the environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval, it offers opportunities to spot manatees and a rich variety of flora and fauna.
  • Despite challenges with strict building codes and maritime laws, it remains a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, providing a unique experience of Costa Rica’s Atlantic coast.

6.Cahuita National Park:

Address: Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica
Nearest city: Cahuita


  • Cahuita National Park, located on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, is a terrestrial and marine park known for its pristine beaches and protected marine area with coral reefs and sea turtle nesting grounds.
  • It covers a land area of 2,732 acres and a marine area of 55,200 acres. The park offers excellent snorkeling opportunities, with the best underwater visibility typically from February to April.
  • Visitors can enjoy diverse wildlife, including various animal species like tamanduas, raccoons, and howler monkeys, along with a variety of bird species. Marine mammals like orcas can also be spotted.
  • Due to its proximity to Cahuita town, the park’s facilities, and roads are well developed. It can be accessed on foot via Kelly Creek, south of Cahuita. The park was created as Cahuita National Monument in 1970 and reformed as a National Park in 1978, becoming the only national park in Costa Rica that doesn’t charge an admission fee, relying instead on donations.

7. Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center:

Address: Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center, Costa Rica.
Phone: +506 8317 0325


  • The Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center in Manzanillo, Costa Rica, is a sanctuary dedicated to caring for injured, orphaned, and displaced animals.
  • They offer guided tours for visitors to learn about their important work in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. It’s a great place to visit for those interested in wildlife and eco-tourism, as you can witness firsthand the efforts to protect and rehabilitate the diverse animal species of the region.
  • The center’s mission and dedication to animal welfare make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers in Manzanillo.

8. Nature Observatorio

Address: Manzanillo, Limón, Costa Rica
Phone: Chat on WhatsApp at +1 213-314-3400


  • Nature Observatorio is an enchanting treehouse suspended 25 meters above the ground within the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on Costa Rica Caribbean coast.
  • It offers a thrilling 3-in-1 adventure for nature enthusiasts: a genuine rainforest hike, an exciting 25-meter climb using safe ropes, and a unique overnight stay in the middle of the jungle.
  • It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to connect with nature and feel like Tarzan and Jane. Check their website for more details.

9. Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica:

Address: Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, Route 36, 30 km South of Limón Limon, Limón Province, 7302, Costa Rica.
Phone: +506 6450 0312


  • The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, also known as Santuario de Perezosos de Costa Rica, is a privately owned animal rescue center near Cahuita.
  • Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, research, and release injured or orphaned sloths. The Sanctuary offers public tours, allowing visitors to learn about these unique creatures and their conservation efforts.
  • It’s a must-visit place for animal lovers and those interested in sloth rehabilitation in the Manzanillo area.

10. Manzanillo Beach:

Address: Manzanillo Beach Colima, Mexico


  • Manzanillo, in the state of Colima, Mexico, is a bustling city with a busy port and thriving tourism. Known as the “sailfish capital of the world,” it hosts fishing competitions and serves as Mexico’s primary cargo port for Mexico City.
  • With a history dating back to the 16th century, it was a crucial departure point for expeditions, overcoming challenges from pirates.
  • Today, it offers beautiful beaches, water sports, and a rich cultural heritage, making it an exciting destination for international tourists and a significant trade hub.

Things to do in Manzanillo Costa Rica

  • Enjoy the secluded beaches for long, lazy days and serene surroundings.
  • Take an ethical dolphin tour with local fishermen to see dolphins in their natural habitat.
  • Visit the Jaguar Rescue Center to get close to a variety of wildlife, from sloths to toucans.
  • Hike to the Nature Observatorio, a luxurious treehouse observatory in the rainforest.
  • Bond with baby monkeys and support wildlife rehabilitation at the Jaguar Rescue Center.
  • Experience the extraordinary views from the treehouse observatory and stay overnight for an unforgettable experience.
  • Explore the lush forests meeting the beach, providing shady spots to relax.
  • Book a unique AirBnB built with reclaimed wood, waking up to the sounds of howler monkeys.
  • Interact with friendly animals at the Jaguar Rescue Center and learn their backstories.
  • Take a private tour at the Jaguar Rescue Center to get up close to Costa Rica’s wildlife.


The best way to reach Manzanillo in the Limon province of Costa Rica is by rental car, which takes about 4 hours from San Jose. Alternatively, you can take a bus from San Jose or nearby towns like Cahuita and Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo, where you can explore the beautiful beaches and visit the Gandoca Manzanillo Costa Rica Wildlife Refuge.

The best time to visit Manzanillo, Costa Rica, is during the dry season when you can expect temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius year-round. Avoid visiting in December, which is the wettest month. March is the driest month, but there is a chance of rainfall in other months.

To make the most of your visit, try to avoid weekends and Costa Rican holidays when the locals often head to the beaches with their families for barbecues and to enjoy the stunning coastline.


Yes, Manzanillo, Costa Rica, is worth visiting. Playa Manzanillo, located in Limon, offers some of the most picturesque and beautiful beaches in the entire country. The golden sand, palm trees, and clear blue water make it an absolute must-visit destination on any Central American itinerary. The breathtaking beauty of the beach is enough to attract beach lovers from miles around.

Visit Manzanillo, Costa Rica, for exceptional snorkeling and scuba diving experiences. The region is home to the country’s only two living coral reefs, boasting over 35 coral species and an incredible diversity of marine life, including more than 400 fish species. The waters off Manzanillo offer the best visibility for exploring these vibrant underwater ecosystems, while both Cahuita and Manzanillo benefit from calm surf, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable diving and snorkeling adventure.

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