by Courtney Elko
Located next to Manual Antonio National Park (it’s the closest hotel to the park) and in the small beach town of Quepos, Hotel San Bada is everything you want your Costa Rican hotel to be. It has an open-air feel, and wildlife can always be spotted.
There is a large family pool visible as soon as you enter the property, and kids will love the waterslide and waterfall splash pad. Keep an eye out for roaming lizards, birds or monkeys that may be passing through as well. Parents will love the adults-only pool and bar area on the sixth floor, and the hotel offers a family adventure tour that includes riding an ATV, horseback riding and swimming in a waterfall. With Manual Antonio National Park only steps away, kids will love searching the jungle for slothes, monkeys, birds and other wildlife as they walk the long trail to the private park beach with calm waters and soft sand. A public beach is also only a short distance away from the hotel and offers more surfing opportunities, as the waters are more rough there.
The guestrooms feature wood dÃ©cor, air conditioning and balconies overlooking the jungle or Pacific Ocean. The open-air restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and no one will be disappointed at meals.
Our Editor Loves
- Waterslide at the family pool
- Next to Manual Antonio National Park
- Walk to the beach
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
All of the guestrooms feature air conditioning, a balcony, mini-fridge and free Wi-Fi. Because of your promxitity to the rainforest, the area is humid and wet clothes can have difficulty drying in the guestrooms, even with the air conditioning on.
Two queen beds are featured in these guestrooms, along with a mini-fridge and a balcony with garden or jungle views. Rocking chairs can be found on the balcony, too. Electronic outlets (American standard) are also easily accessible next to the beds. The large bathrooms feature a stand-up rain shower. No bathtub.
Pacific Ocean views are featured in the deluxe guestrooms, which have two queens or one king bed. The large bathroom features a rain shower and a Jacuzzi tub.
Partial Pacific Ocean and jungle views are featured in these guestrooms with two double beds or a king bed. Bathtubs are available in some of these guestrooms.
The suites, which are most suitable for couples (great for grandparents traveling with the family), feature a king bed, large sofa and Jacuzzi tub.
I stayed 2 nights here May 10-12 after leaving the beautiful Arenal/La Fortuna area. Hi honestly would have left after the first night if I hadn’t paid so much for this hotel.
Full disclaimer: rainy season (winter) has just started so it is not busy at all.
Location: I feel like I drove past all of the action in Manuel Antonio. It’s literally at the end of the road, turn left on the last side street, and drive past a few other hotels to get there. It borders the national park.
Exterior: I was confused — It looks like it’s Asian themed but with a Spanish name. The pool area was nice. It looks like they tried but are still missing the mark. I think there are 4-5 floors and only 1 elevator.
View from Room: I booked a Superior Room which was supposed to have a partial ocean view. I could hear the ocean but the only view I had was trees and a local residential dwelling. Definitely an undesirable view and not worth sitting on the patio for.
Interior: Room size was sufficient. Room was clean. King bed was comfortable. Soft sheets. Everything else was outdated. The recliner was dirty. The bench at the foot of the bed looked as though it would break when I sat on it (I’m 5’2” & 150 lbs). One of the curtains looked as if it were falling. Old coffeemaker. Old telephones. Mini fridge was missing. I called and asked about it and the mini bar but they brought it to me empty. Not even drinking water. One of the lights by the bed wasn’t working. The light switches were far from the bed. I had to get out of bed to turn them off. Bathroom size was good. Stand alone shower. Nice shower head - but if you’re not wetting your hair (like me) it’s awkward because of the angle. No bathtub. Vanity mirror light was mediocre. The tv was nice but none of the channels were in English like the hotel TV guide stated.
Beach Access: There’s a tunnel that goes under the hotel that leads to gravel road with no signs. Luckily, I saw a couple who was able to tell me which way to walk. Left, then right, across a small bridge, down more gravel, across the main road. Kinda skeptical because I was alone and it was nearing sunset but I wanted to see the ocean. On the beach, I noticed that someone was following me. He almost followed me all the way back but I was able to walk with a family staying at the same hotel. Very scary feeling.
Food: Because of my scary encounter, I decided to eat dinner at the hotel. Congo Restaurant is on the main floor. The menu didn’t move me. Typical expensive hotel prices. I decided to go to Rooftop Sushi Bar. Nice setup. I was the only person there. I ordered fried dumplings, edamame, and miso soup. It was edible and overpriced. I decided to eat elsewhere for the remainder of my stay.
Pools: Main pool has a waterfall, swim up bar, bridge, and hot tub. Old lounge chairs. It was so empty. I saw a couple with their child. That was it. Adult only pool is on the rooftop. Amazing views from every angle!! Also, empty. Only one other couple there. Surprisingly, I was never approached by the bartender to see if I wanted a drink or food. I sat up there for about 45 minutes. Never approached. You’d think you’d want to make your only 3 customers happy especially during slow season.
Service: except for the rooftop bar, service was good overall.
Later that night, I got a taxi ride to dinner at 4:45 p.m., approximately 2 km away. The front desk arranged it for me. Cost: CRC 8000 ($13.33)! Cost to return to hotel in local red taxi: CRC 3000 ($5). So ridiculous! Anyway, I had a better time that night away from the hotel.
I would not recommend this hotel. I will not ever stay here again. I paid double the cost of the hotel in La Fortuna and enjoyed it half as much. Craziest part was looking at the Trip Advisor that day and seeing the price for the same nights I stayed at half the cost. So much for booking in advance and thinking you’re saving.
by frank a
Hotel San Bada is located, literally, next to the rainforest - aka Manuel Antonio
National Park. Entrance to the park is just a few yards from the hotel. From
the fourth floor level - rainforest. From my room - rainforest. One will not see
a volcano, but the rainforest is breathtaking. Admission is only $16; no point
in coming here if one is not going to experience Costa Rica's most popular
national park. Access road leads from hotel to public beaches. Beautiful
Manuel Antonio beach, as well as Espadilla Playa, accessible from trail inside
park. Bring sunscreen and, definitely, mosquito repellent.
The hotel is mid-range, about $334 for two days, single room, including VAT &
tasty, full buffet breakfast. Bar on the 6th floor has a lounge area with great
view, as well as a small pool while one enjoys one's drink. It isn't cheap, but if
one wants to see Costa Rica at its best, save your money; this is the place to
be. Pura Vida!
The main outdoor pool located on the ground level features a waterslide and bridge that kids will love. Lounge chairs and tables with umbrellas surround the pool area, which you'll see as soon as you enter the hotel. A splash pad waterfall is also great fun for the kids. An adults-only, outdoor pool is available on the sixth floor.
A public beach with ocean waves and white sands is located a short walk away from the hotel. There is hotel access to the beach trail which runs behind a few buildings before you have to cross a street to reach the sand. Food and beach vendors can also be found on the public beach if you wanted to rent an umbrella or purchase a snack.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The national park enterance is literally next door to the hotel and allows for exceptional access. The hotel and park entrance are feet away from each other. Families can take a guided tour inside the park, or walk through the rainforest yourself while keeping an eye out for monkeys, sloth, deer, crab, birds, raccoons and so much more. The trail to the private beach area can be rocky at times and there is a wooded plank portion to the trail as well.
It is a bit of a walk to the beach, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Or it could take an hour or two depending how many times you stop along the way to see the wildlife. The private beach, which closes at 4 p.m., features white sands and calm waters that are perfect for families. There are picnic tables shaded by trees and restrooms and changing rooms are nearby. Be mindful of leaving your bags unattended on the beach, as curious monkeys are known to steal bags and take them high into the trees looking for food. They throw anything that's not food.
This 1.5-hour horseback riding and waterfalls tour is fully operated by the hotel. An experienced guide will take families through the jungle on an ATV through small villages and back country. Hop on a horse or continue on with the ATV and visit four waterfalls where you can swim. Enjoy a traditional Costa Rican lunch before heading back to the hotel. The Mulguri Adventure is an additional cost of $100 for adults and $50 for children under 11 years old. Other tours like zip-lining, snorkeling, jet skiing, fishing, surfing, rafting and tours of Manual Antonio Park can also be set up by the hotel.
This open-air restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The buffet breakfast of fruit, eggs, pancakes, breads and other items is included in your room rate. Families will love the local food options like rice and beans and seafood on the lunch and dinner menus, as well.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available to guests.
Complimentary parking is available to guests in an open lot.
A large percentage of the staff speak English at Hotel San Bada.
A small fitness center is located on the second floor. Guests will find cardio and weight machines.
The Art of Smart Timing
Tourist season is in December. Rainy or green season for Quepos, where Hotel San Bada is located, runs from about April to mid-November. Dry season runs from December to March.
San Jose International Airport is about two and half hours away from Hotel San Bada and Daniel Oduber International Airport in the Guanacaste region is about four hours away from the hotel. A car is needed to reach the hotel from either of the international airports, however, the hotel will provide transportation to and from the airport for a fee.
Once you've arrived, families can easily walk to town, the beach, restaurants and shops in the small town of Quepos. But if you plan to venture further outside of town or would like to see other parts of Costa Rica, a rental car is needed. Taxis are also easily accessible.
For Mom and Dad
The sixth floor offers a beautiful outdoor, adults-only pool overlooking Manual Antontio National Park.
Perezoso Snack Bar
Located on the adults-only sixth floor, light snacks and cocktails are offered at this open-air bar located next to the adults-only pool. Parents can enjoy a cocktail while overlooking the breathtaking views of Manual Antonio National Park directly below.
Sana Spa features a sauna and steam room, couple's massage room and a manicure and pedicure room.