Our family of six (four kids ranging between 17 months and 10 years old) stayed in Casa Panorama Upper for a week. We have been back home more than a month but my delay in submitting a review is no reflection on how much we CHERISHED our holiday! We have raved about it to all our friends, still reminisce about highlights every day, and immensely enjoy watching the photos scroll by on our screensaver :) All the postcards back to family and classrooms have finally now arrived, so it is time to get typing...
We booked with Dave by email/telephone: the friendly [spot-on] advice and ease of making the arrangements just set the tone for our whole experience. Our delightful concierge Kimberly was in touch frequently prior to the trip, answering all the detail questions as well as prompting us to dream about all the delights awaiting us. The van drivers for our transfers to and from San Jose were courteous, prompt, safe, and very reasonable in cost. And there was Kim waiting to welcome us, making the kids feel at home after a long trip and my husband and I realize that there was actually someone taking care of US for a change!! From the scoop on the best burrito, to gentle steering toward adventures that were best suited for our children (including just hanging out on the beach - we never felt the pressure to buy more tours than we wanted), Kim was a wonderful host in Costa Rica without ever being the least intrusive. She is a gem.
And Tulemar itself!! The villa was beautifully appointed but still comfortable to live in for a week with children. Vanessa and Patricia took excellent care of the place daily, were patient with my very rusty Spanish, and - be still my beating heart - even did our laundry (in my defense, the washer was broken... thank goodness!). Casa Panorama truly has a breathtakingly glorious view, such that even the children watched every sunset in silence. Titis toured the veranda on the first morning, and the white-faced monkeys most days. Howlers, sloths, toucans, lizards - and those are just what we spotted on the walks to the beach. The beach was what made the property absolutely perfect for us: warm water, gentle surf (apparently more so than usual), zillions of hermit crabs, lovely staff to offer shade/towels/boogie boards/snorkeler-spotting services, and wicked smoothies.
We also enjoyed the location within walking distance of lots of family-friendly places to explore in Manuel Antonio. We were very content not to have the hassle of a vehicle. Under Kim's excellent direction, we found many great eateries both for us all to eat-in, as well as take-out to be enjoyed "after bedtime" on our insect-free veranda: the older kids loved El Avion, the baby's fave was Cafe Milagro, and the adult pick for dinners was Agua Azul.
We could easily have spent a terrific week on the beach and in the "family [infinity!] pool" at Tulemar (so convenient to Casa Panorama). We did intersperse some days with adventures further afield, all coordinated through Kim. The Canopy Safari was amazing: the older kids had a blast with their dad, and the baby and I enjoyed waiting in the butterfly house - even the ride up the mountain through the palm plantations was interesting. I took the three older children on the Vinca Falmy Horseback Riding tour, which ended up being a private tour with the very entertaining Che: a serene trip through the rainforest and then swimming in the pool at the base of a waterfall (Tom Sawyer raft, and all) - and the kids declared the lunch afterwards to be the best food they had had in Costa Rica! We all went on a guided tour through the park, and again this was a success with a guide who seemed very able to engage each child and keep adults interested too - btw, with so many monkeys and sloths seen daily at Tulemar, we found the guide's telescope coolest for seeing tiny creatures magnified.
I am running out of superlatives. The villa, the staff, the resort, the natural setting, the local amenities, the weather - it was all above reproach. Pura vida, indeed. We will be back!
[One note to parents of young children: everything about this holiday was very well suited to travel with a toddler from our perspective. Certainly no hardship to siesta in luxury while she napped, sit with a coffee and listen to the howlers when she got up early, or "stay back" in paradise while others tried adventures for which she was too small! But do note that we did not meet a single veranda at Tulemar or in any restaurant etc which had railings that would actually contain our 20 lb munchkin - different building codes than Canada, certainly. So supervision as you would always, with a heightened awareness. Casa Panorama's doors to the verandas all have locks at about five feet so those were great for when we needed peace of mind.]
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC