“Family: Like branches in a tree we all grow in different directions but our roots remain as one.” – Unknown
After a fabulous morning exploring Manuel Antonio National Park, it was time to head back to our villa at Tulemar, a thirty-three acre residential resort located right in the heart of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. After thorough research of all the options of where to stay with a family of four near the park, we chose to rent a villa on the Tulemar property and we could not have been more pleased. The beautiful property is home to its own private reserve of all sorts of wildlife, has its own private beach, several pools and a wide variety of accommodation choices depending upon your needs. It is the perfect place to create beloved family memories for our first big adventure abroad.
We selected a two-room villa that was perched high above the jungle overlooking the ocean below and not a far walk from the beach. It was a cozy home away from home and perhaps one of the most lovely accommodations we have ever stayed at. My kids were going to get a little spoiled having the best accommodations first however each place we stayed at during our week in Costa Rica proved to be special and unique.
The Tulemar resort is so large that they offer a free shuttle service to get around and as much as I love to walk, the paved roads are very steep so we appreciated the van service. Thankfully we were not a very far walk from the best place of all on the property, the beach. Having a private beach was one of the main reasons why we chose to stay here. The beaches at Manuel Antonio are quite crowded and after our three hour morning tour, we were so hungry and tired that the last thing we wanted to do was hang out at the beach. Instead, we grabbed lunch at a local restaurant and then went back to relax a bit at Tulemar. We could visit the beach on our own time and best of all, watch the sunset there each night.
There are three ways to get to the beach. You can either take the shuttle, walk down the paved road or else explore the jungle trail that leads down to the beach. Dressed in our swim suits, sun hats and flip-flops, me and my daughter Sophia of course chose the more scenic, adventurous route. We didn’t see any of the resident monkeys or sloths but we heard lots of birds and kept our eyes out for snakes.
The property has its own reserve where monkeys, sloths, and other wildlife live within the high canopy of the trees. In June of 2015, the Board of Directors of Tulemar approved a partnership with the Sloth Institute of Costa Rica (TSI), a non-profit organization based in town whose mission is to enhance the well-being and conservation of wild and captive sloths through research and education. TSI staff live on the grounds of Tulemar where they work with injured or orphaned sloths on a rescue, release and research program. Since the onset of the program, Tulemar has seen a healthy increase in its sloth population and guests can sign up for a one-hour sloth walk throughout the property. We did the sloth walk and saw over 10 sloths!
However, you don’t need to do the sloth walk to see them in the wild. All you need to do is keep alert and look up in the trees and you may find a surprise like we did: A mama and baby sloth literally only ten feet above me resting in a tree right on the beach!
They were only there for a day so we were so lucky to see them. I couldn’t resist taking a short video of the mama and baby sloth resting near the beach.
As a conscious and sustainable traveler, I was a little concerned about how the property manages to coexist with the wildlife. I contacted a member of the Tulemar Board of Directors who told me that the resort follows very strict building guidelines and consults with wildlife, forestry and other groups to help with conservation of the property. Manuel Antonio and the surrounding town of Quepos has exploded with growth and development over the past 20 years and resorts like Tulemar are working hard to maintain a good balance between growth and conservation. Only time will tell if their efforts pay off.
By far, the beach was one of my favorite things about Tulemar. The jungle literally tumbles down the hill to the edge of the sea. There are monkeys, sloths, scarlet macaws and tons of hermit crabs to see moving slowly across the sand. Guests have access to all sorts of water toys such as paddleboards, kayaks and boogie boards. There is also a bar and small restaurant if you want to grab a bite to eat.
My children had never been to an ocean beach before and loved playing in the waves. My son could have spent hours riding the boogie board but we had to check out the pool as well. There are four pools at Tulemar and each one has a different purpose (there is even an adult-only pool). We spent most of our time at the kids pool which felt like bath water and afforded a stunning sunset.
As soon as the sun began to dip below the horizon, I couldn’t stand being up at the pool any longer as I knew that the sunset on the beach would be spectacular. We jumped in the shuttle and rushed down to the beach just in time for the sunset. The tide had come in, the waves were immense and it was the most insanely gorgeous sunset I have ever seen. Purely magical.
I resisted the urge to play in the water and instead stood on the beach and snapped away. It was way too beautiful to not capture it all on film. The joy I felt at seeing so much beauty and the love I felt for my family was overwhelming. It was a beautiful moment in time that I will never forget.
If you go:
Tulemar Vacation Rentals offers a wide variety of accommodations and they also can help set up activities in advance. We booked our private tour of Manuel Antonio through Tulemar and also did an unforgettable zip lining and waterfall rappelling tour with Quepos Canyoning, all scheduled a few weeks before our trip by Tulemar.
Here is a short video on Tulemar with great aerial views of the property (Oh how I want to go back!).