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Hotels in town are about a 20-minute bus or taxi ride from Manuel Antonio park; the mountain road over the hill to the park is lined with more upscale hotels than available in Quepos. Staying in town is cheaper and offers the benefit of services close at hand but is invariably noisy.
In the budget category try the spic-and-span family-run Hotel Mar y Luna (tel. 506/2777-0394, $13 pp shared bath, $25–35 s/d private bath), with 17 small, basic upper-floor rooms with fans and shared baths; ground-floor rooms have private baths (some with hot water) but no windows.
Who could resist a place called Wide Mouth Frog (tel. 506/2777-2798, www.widemouthfrog.org, $12 pp dorm, $35 s/d room with shared bath, $50 s/d private bath)? Two blocks east of the bus station, this clean backpackers’ haven—run to high standards by a Kiwi and a Brit—is a hip option, with pool, kitchen, games, parking, and more. It has two dorms and 22 private rooms, all with beautiful tiled showers; four more rooms were to be added. It charges $10 extra for air-conditioning. There’s a TV room, Internet, laundry, and peaceful gardens. No credit cards are accepted.
Hotel Ramus (tel. 506/2777-0245), 50 meters west of the bank, and Hotel Melissa (across the street, tel. 506/2777-0025) both have clean rooms with ceiling fans and private baths with hot water for about $12 per person, and the latter has secure parking. Handy for an early-morning bus, the uninspired Hotel Pueblo (tel. 506/2777-1003, $12 pp with fans, $35 s/d with a/c and TV), on the west side of the bus station, has eight simple but adequate rooms with private bath.
Cabinas El Cisne (tel. 506/2777-0719, $25 s or $35 d with fan, $35 s or $45 d with a/c), with secure parking, has 12 cabins with fans, private baths, and hot water; plus 12 newer, more spacious air-conditioned rooms in a three-story unit. The same owner operates the identical 50-room Le Priss Inn (tel. 506/2777-0719, www.lepriss.com, $50 s or $65 d low season, $65 s or $75 d high season) across the street; it has an incredible rooftop pool landscaped to resemble a grotto. Almost identical, and catercorner to El Cisne, Cabinas Ramace (tel. 506/2777-0590, $30 s/d with fans, $35 s/d with a/c) offers an alternative.
The best bargain in town is the two-story white-and-blue Hotel Sirena (tel. 506/2777-0572 or 800/493-8426, www.lasirenahotel.com, $55–85 s/d low season, $60–95 s/d high season), with 10 double rooms (most with a/c) with ceiling fans and modern bathrooms. Owner Rob Hodel totally remodeled the rooms with whitewashed walls and a delightful contemporary aesthetic, including bathrooms with glass-brick showers and coral-stone floors. The courtyard dining area has a sundeck and pool. The price is a bargain, and it’s perfectly located in the heart of town.
If Sirena is full, try the Hotel Villa Romántica (tel. 506/2777-0037 or 888/790-5264, www.villaromantica.com, $65 s or $85 d low season, $68 s or $98 d high season), on the southeast edge of town. This two-tiered Mediterranean-style building is set in landscaped grounds. Sixteen simply but nicely appointed rooms have spacious bathrooms and heaps of light, plus fans (some have a/c), and balconies overlooking a swimming pool.
Alternatively, consider the modestly classy Best Western Hotel Kamuk (tel. 506/2777-t0811, www.kamuk.co.cr, $50–100 s/d low season, $90–125 high season). It has 44 spacious and elegant nicely furnished air-conditioned rooms, some with balconies, all with TVs and telephones, all beautifully decorated in light pastels. The Miraolas Bar and Restaurant on the 3rd floor has vistas. There’s a small boutique, a pool, a classy bar, and small casino. Rates include continental breakfast.
Nature lovers might consider La Foresta Nature Resort (tel. 506/2777-3130, www.laforestanatureresort.com, $88–193 s/d low season, $105–248 s/d high season), about four kilometers northeast from town on the road to the Quepos airport. Set in 73 hectares, the former Hotel Rancho Casa Grande has 14 modestly furnished air-conditioned rooms and 10 fully equipped bungalows (with king-size beds) amid sprawling lawns. Highlights include a pool, whirlpool tub, horseback riding, and nature trails, plus it hosts the Titi Canopy Tour zip line.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition