Manuel Antonio’s Controversial Bar and Restaurant, El Avion

While in Costa Rica not too long ago, I returned to the popular beach resort of Manuel Antonio located on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast. With its verdant jungle clad cliffs, dramatic tropical panoramas and scintillating sunsets, Manuel Antonio is probably the most picturesque and beautiful resort area in all of Costa Rica. Having last visited the resort area in Dec. 1994, Manuel Antonio hasn’t changed that much despite the addition of a number of new hotels, cafes and restaurants.

One new tourist development though has caused quite a stir in Manuel Antonio and that is ‘El Avion’ (The Plane), a restaurant built near the apex of the hill affording spectacular views of the resort area. As part of the restaurant’s facade, the American owner – I understand he’s from Texas – has propped up a Chilean bomber plane near the roadside. When I first passed this new restaurant with it’s peculiar structure, I started shaking my head and saying to myself, “What the hell is going here?” The bomber plane is totally incongruous to the mellow laid back tropical ambiance of Manuel Antonio and totally out of character in Costa Rica.

Many Costa Ricans are very upset about this new restaurant with the propped up bomber and rightfully so; you see, Costa Rica is peace-loving nation and they abolished their armed forces a long time ago. As one irate hotel owner said to me, – “the owner of The Plane is an insensitive blanco to have placed a bomber plane in my resort area; we are a peace loving country!” I have since renamed this new attraction the abomination of Manuel Antonio!