My boyfriend and I stayed at Tulemar from May 20-28 and from the initial planning stages of the trip to the end, it was a delight. I teared up as we left the resort last Wednesday...definitely did not want to leave!!! We fell in love with the resort, the people, and the experience. I booked this location pretty much blind and kept my fingers crossed prior to arrival that it was good. It surpassed all expectations and we will definitely be returning there. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, staying at Tulemar was key in making this trip to Costa Rica special and memorable for me and my boyfriend. We are so thankful to have stayed here and experienced what we did.
As I was attempting to plan the trip, Alvaro was my first point of contact. He was very helpful and was very easy to work with in regards to the dates and locations to stay. I must have sent him 15 different emails in the beginning trying to get everything worked out. :) Once things were finally booked, Ashley took over from there as our personal concierge. Ashley was an absolute godsend. She answered any and every question I had prior to the trip and during. She was so sweet and EXTREMELY helpful. She took care of the booking of the tours for us and upon arrival, it was so nice to know that everything was taken care of. She made herself available at all hours and we thought she was great. We couldn't have asked for better service from her. Kudos to you Ashley!
Tulemar offered a private shuttle from the airport for $160 (US) and we took advantage of this. Not sure if that is a bit high in comparison to other modes of transportation from the airport, but in all reality, it was worth it for us. It took all of the guess work out of it. Our driver was awesome. He was right there as we walked out of the airport door. He brought a cooler and we stopped at a store along the way and loaded it up with ice and Imperial. Good times for sure. He stopped a couple of spots along the way for us to get out, see alligators, use the bathroom, etc.
Once we arrived at the resort, Ashley greeted us. Again, she was awesome. She took us to Bungalow 116 and..holy crap, we were so happy. Amazing. It was close to the restaurant and bar, yet not so close as to be disturbed. Full height windows around the entire bungalow, an amazing view, a mini fridge and kitchenette, a huge bathroom...it had everything we needed. The view at any time of day was breathtaking. It felt like we were in a treehouse when we looked out the windows because when we looked down, all we could see was the lush green trees and plants. It took my breath away. It was perfect for us and when we return, I'd stay there again in an instant. In fact, I'll try to request it. Oh, I can't find the words to describe how much we loved it. Trust me when I say it was freaking incredible. :)
The beach is a nice additional amenity. I agree with other reviews that swim shoes are a good idea...very rocky at times and if you aren't paying attention, you get a jab right in the bottom of your feet. No big deal though...walking gingerly over the rocks is also an option...it is the ocean after all. There is a small bar and many places to relax there. They offer boogie boards and kayaks free of charge which are fun to mess around with. My only less than positive review here is that the boards were given out seemingly without regard for the conditions in the water or the people asking for them. I understand about liability and such, but still, it wasn't the most responsible action. One day when it was high tide, the waves got big and were breaking right on the shore. We witnessed boogie boards being given to a father and son who had absolutely no business being in the water with them at that time. Honestly, the father and especially his young son were lucky they didn't get hurt. Again, whether the liability falls with the resort or the parent, if you decide to get a boogie board, make sure you have knowledge of the ocean and how to use the boards in all conditions.
There are a couple of trails by the beach that are definitely worth trekking on if you have the time. Walking on trails through a jungle like setting overlooking the ocean in Costa Rica...it doesn't get much better than that.
The overall property was massive. Thank goodness for shuttles that are available all over the resort. But, if you want a good workout, hiking up and down the hills there is the way to do it. Don't do like I did and attempt to do it wearing sandals walking up that hill from the beach...my feet were less than pleased. :) Wear shoes and get ready for a good thigh burn! Everywhere on the property was breathtakingly beautiful. So green and well maintained. The restaurant/bar was close to our bungalow and we made a few stops there. :) The pool at the restaurant was a great perk and a nice way to chill after a day of activity. One morning, monkeys were playing in the trees outside the restaurant. Very cool. The sunset from the pool area was beautiful. If you go to the bar, my advice is to pay attention to the prices of the drinks...my boyfriend had 3 Jack and Cokes and the total was $47. Live and learn, no big thing. That said, the other mixed drinks were about $9 and for the location and the taste, they were worth it. We loved the Pura Vida drink...yummy!
I'm going to take a detour here to tell a bit more about the staff...
Daniella was our main bartender. We liked her from the second we met her. She had a great personality and always had a smile on her face and greeted us warmly every time. She really made a sincere attempt to get to know my boyfriend Josh and myself. That kind of personal attention and connection is key in providing quality customer service. Daniella is truly an asset to the Tulemar resort. Pura vida Daniella.
Luis was our shuttle driver the majority of the time. We never saw him without a smile on his face. Such a great guy...funny, helpful. We thought he was awesome and the way he can manuever that shuttle van was impressive. :) Danny was another driver that we loved. Much like Luis, his lively personality and smile made him another one of our favorites. Danny was sometimes at the front desk as well and always willing to help out at a moments notice. Both Danny and Luis are two valuable members of the Tulemar team for sure. Their personalities and willingness to help are just a couple of the reasons we enjoyed them so much.
We enjoyed all of the staff that we interacted with. Xavier was very polite and even went out of his way to help us book a parasailing trip. Alberto was also great. He was always very cordial and made my "cafe con mucho leche" perfect every time. :) Arlin was another lively personality there at the resort...smiled and laughed a lot. My boyfriend thought he was great. Eric was yet another server we had there and, like the others, was awesome. He helped me with my broken spanish and he had a very nice disposition. There are a few others there whose faces I can see clearly, but whose names I can't remember right now. Please know that we thought all the staff at Tulemar were great and they helped to make our time at Tulemar that much more entertaining and memorable.
The restaurants around the area are fantastic and within walking distance. If we had more time and money and didn't care about our waistlines, we would have visited all of them three times. We LOVED Barba Roja. The manager and staff there are amazing. We went back 3 times and felt like we were more than well taken care of every time. One of the waiters, Steven, even took us on a drive one day to Dominical and a waterfall just because he wanted to show us more of Costa Rica. Another favorite restaurant was Agua Azul. Food was tasty and the view is nice. Cafe Milagro was a nice little stop to chill and have a nice cup of coffee.
As far as the excursions are concerned, Ashley (thank you to her again) helped us book ziplining (Quepo Canyoning), a sailboat tour (Sunset Sails - not super impressed but made for a good story), and white water rafting (Amigos del Rio). Hands down, rafting was the most fun we had on a tour while there. It was great that our tours were already booked when we got there. It was so good to be at Tulemar and not have to worry about scrambling to find/book things when there. Of course, it is still very easy to book things on the fly but having your concierge do the work for you is great. Plus, every tour picked us up in a shuttle right outside our door and fed us lunch. We took a taxi to the main beach in Manuel Antonio one day, hung out, and went parasailing. Tulemar was in a decent location for us to accomplish all we had wanted to do. We would have done more but we ran out of time.
I can't express in words how much we loved Tulemar. It was probably the best place we've stayed in while on a vacation. I do not believe that we would have had the same amazing Costa Rica experience if we hadn't stayed at Tulemar. It is truly a beautiful resort with a friendly and helpful staff. Remember how I said I teared up when we left?! There is a reason...the place warmed our hearts and we are counting the days and saving up the dollars until we return. Our heartfelt thanks to all the staff there for making our trip one we will never forget.
Kim and Josh
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tulemar is the premier resort development in Manuel Antonio. Gated and secure, the 33 acre jungle resort is perched on the hillside overlooking the Pacific, but continues down all the way to our own beach. It includes the Tulemar Bungalows and our special and unique villas such as Villa Mot Mot, Casa Panorama, Casa de Frutas, Casa Las Nubes, Villa Kiskadee and the new Tulemar Bamboo Villas just for couples. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tulemar Bungalows And Villas
- Tulemar Bungalows & Villas Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
- Tulemar Hotel
- Tulemar Bungalows & Villas Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio National Park