One of my favorite beaches and still a very popular destination. Manuel Antonio is located approximately 5 hours from San Jose. If you take the route through “la costanera” (Pacific highway) it should be a smooth ride all the way there.
Once in Manuel Antonio you’ll find a wide variety of hotels to fit your preference and budget. I do recommend Kayak lodge. Even if it is in Quepos, the distance is not that bad and the staff is very friendly. Rooms are very clean and they have private bathrooms. They also offer kayak Tours through the man groove. Another option is the Blue Monkey. It is operated by very friendly American owners. It has a pool and a very good restaurant.
In Quepos, you’ll find anything you need. All the groceries are located in this area, so if you want to do shopping, this would be the place to do so.
La Marina Pez Vela offers very good restaurants. There is a wide variety and the place is very neat. Although, this would not be the cheapest option. You should make some space in the budget for it.
The best thing about visiting Manuel Antonio is the wildlife. While I was there I was able to see a deer, lizards and many monkeys. Remember not to give them any of your food since this could make them really sick.