Quepos, Costa Rica
Nestled along an inlet teeming with tropical life, Quepos is a Costa Rican treasure, a once-sleepy seaside town that has blossomed into one of the most exciting Royal Holiday destinations on the South American Pacific coast. With its charming village, welcoming locals, and gorgeous seaside vistas, Quepos provides a wonderful vacation for those looking to get away from urban sprawl and reconnect with nature. The region’s major attraction, Manuel Antonio National Park, features world-class beaches, incredible wildlife, and some of the most exciting adventures Royal Holiday has to offer its members.
When visiting Quepos, Royal Holiday members can stay at Pueblo Real, one of the top ecological destinations in the Americas. A 300-acre resort bordering sanctuaries for local animals and a mangrove preserve, Pueblo Real’s Royal suites are a delight, housed in picturesque villas complete with full kitchens and balconies, as well as an on-site pool and gorgeous, walkable grounds. Just a quick drive to downtown Quepos and the National Park alike, Pueblo Real also sits just 2 miles from the beach, thus making it an easy sun-strewn walk to the waves.
About 120 miles from the capital in San Jose, Quepos formerly served as the home of banana plantations and, after a disease wiped out the harvest, African Palm growers. Today, Quepos has refocused on tourism, and the people of the region, the Quepeños, strive to welcome all comers with open arms. Visitors who arrive in February will find themselves thrust into the excitement of the Festival del Mar, a massive month-long event with street carnivals and concerts every day. In fact, arriving any time during the December-through-April dry season will mean arriving to a great party. Whether Royal Holiday members prefer a stroll through quiet art galleries or a night on the town, Quepos does not disappoint.
However, few people come to Quepos for its urban pleasures; instead, the main draw remains Manuel Antonio National Park, an internationally renowned ecological reserve that spans more than 7,500 acres of tropical forests and glimmering lagoons. While it’s important to plan ahead for visiting the park—the park only allows a limited number of visitors per day—its myriad delights are not to be missed. The park features four of the Americas’ Pacific Coast’s best beaches, each of which holds its own unique attractions. Playa Espandilla Sur offers crystal clear water throughout the dry season, thus making it the perfect place for snorkeling, while Playa Manuel Antonio’s pre-Columbian stone turtle traps are well worth seeing. With perfect water and secluded beaches, the park is the best place for Royal Holiday members relax and catch some sun.
Naturally, Manuel Antonio also offers plenty of fun away from the beach. Guests can take an ocean kayaking expedition to find secluded isles or join a tour to the Damas Island estuary. Whitewater rafting enthusiasts will enjoy the Naranjo and Savegre Rivers, while anglers will delight in the excellent sport-fishing opportunities, whether at the dock or on a chartered catamaran. For a ground’s eye view of the many Costa Rican wonders present in the tropical forests, visitors can enjoy a hiking tour of the national park. Those wanting a bird’s eye view should explore the area from a zip line strung about the rainforest canopy or on the modern Aerial Tram. Royal Holiday members will find no shortage of ecological fun in Quepos.