“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.

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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.

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Taking the scenic trail down to the beach

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!

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Mama and baby sloth only a few feet up above in the tree 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.

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa RicaTulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

My son riding a wave

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
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.

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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.

 Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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.

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Tulemar Vacation Rentals, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Park Costa RicaIt was sure going to be hard to leave this place.

Manuel Antonio Park Costa Rica

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!). 


    1. Thanks Louise! Yes it was a very special trip. Hope to enjoy more family trips together down the road! Kids are growing up way too fast!

    1. I do really love it there Lisa. I see myself spending some winters with the hubby south of the border down the road. I love Central and south America and have yet to see Ecuador!

  1. Tulemar looks and sounds absolutely wonderful. What a spectacular place to create memories with your family. And that sunset, truly magical. 💥 Inspiring as always Nicole.

    1. Thanks Miriam. It feels like the trip was so long ago now. That is what is so fun writing about my travels. I get to relive it in a sense. 🙂

  2. I absolutely LOVE the idea of an official sloth institute! (Are they hiring, I wonder? 🙂 All joking aside, it’s reassuring to read that the Tulemar resort is being so conscious about respecting nature and wildlife. A lot of resorts might have put fences along the forest to keep animals off the beach, for instance. I hope they will be rewarded with a steady clientele of equally respectful visitors — just as I hope your kids will be rewarded with lessons and happy memories that will serve them for the rest of their lives! Thank you for another breathtaking post.

    1. Actually they do take workers! So if you get some training in biology then you can certainly go! 🙂 Yes being aware and careful with the environment is so critically important especially given the boom in development this area has experienced. I was glad to learn that they are employing conservation efforts.

  3. Once again, you are triggering all sorts of fun memories of our Costa Rican vacation with the kids. Your place looks great. We loved ours, too; it was a smaller eco-resort very close to your place, I think! I’m glad your first bog trip with the kids was a successful one; now they will want to keep traveling with you!

  4. Such an exotic place Nicole. Tulemar seems like an eternity from anything I know. It’s wonderful to read about and also see images of this place that has captured your heart 💐🌟

      1. Oh there are Nicole. But as you may appreciate, there is always a special magic in far off lands…. Hope to welcome you back here one day, my dear friend 🙋🏻🌟🌟

      2. Yes that is true! There is so much beauty here where I live but I think after so many years you can forget. 🙂 Yes I would LOVE to visit Australia again someday and meet you in person! Imagine how amazing that would be Di! Looking forward to your next piece of inspiration my dear!

      3. I agree Nicole… you don’t notice your own beauty until someone from outside sees it with fresh eyes… I’m the same.
        Yes, that will be wonderful. I’m saying it like its going to be a reality, Nicole 😍
        Thank you, but you inspire me with your social enterprise in blogging. It’s awesome 🙋🏻💕

  5. The Tulemar resort sounds amazing Nicole, so close to the jungle reserve and the beach. The sunsets are indeed spectacular. Bookmarking for a future visit.

    1. Thanks Madhu! I fell in love with Costa Rica and loved this place so much. I wish we spent an entire week here but we moved around quite a bit to show the kids different parts of the country.

    1. “Fantastic and great views of the sunset at this beach. Glorious.
      Thank you very much” – I love Google Translate Ernst. Thanks for your comment! Nicole “Ich liebe Google Übersetzer Ernst. Vielen Dank für Ihren Kommentar!”

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