Walk on the Wild Side

sunset lake
Tulemar Resort is located on the west coast of Costa Rica, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

In Exotic Costa Rica

Waking to the sounds of monkey and bird calls and being surrounded by the vivid colours of the jungle were top of the list of things that Brian Gent appreciated about his time in Costa Rica. He and a group of friends from London recently stayed at Tulemar Resort, along the west coast of this lush Central American country.

Capuchin monkeys charm visitors with their masked faces and friendly demeanor.

This 33-acre resort has a private beach, four pools and 40 rental properties that range from one-bedroom suites to private villas. These are all fully furnished, each with an on-call English-speaking concierge to make reservations and recommendations.

backyard pool shelter
Towels are supplied at the four pools at the resort.

Gent, as part of a group of three couples, rented a private villa, with its own pool and hot tub. Their concierge arranged for several tours and a private chef to come in to cook twice during their week-long stay. “It was a modern, concrete and glass house that was spacious and really well done. We overlooked the bay and the beach,” he says, adding that they couldn’t see any other units, enhancing the sense of privacy of this luxurious villa.

Rehabilitated sloths are released on the property, so there’s a good chance of seeing one.

The property houses the Sloth Institute of Costa Rica on its grounds, according to Jules Scalisi, who manages it with her husband Glen Ferguson. Originally from Florida, the couple fell in love with Costa Rica, were married there 12 years ago and now own three properties in Tulemar.

foliage view of ocean
During the migration season, there’s a good likelihood of seeing whales from Tulemar’s beach.

Scalisi says the luxurious accommodations, set in a lush exotic venue, make it popular with many North American guests. “They release rehabilitated sloths on the property, so there’s a good chance to see them. We have both two-toed and three-toed sloths,” she explains. She adds that the resort also has three types of monkeys (howlers, capuchin and squirrel monkeys), as well as scarlet macaws, toucans and iguanas. Though they enjoyed their walk through the renowned nearby Manuel Antonio National Park, Gent reports that “we saw as many animals on the property as we did on our walk through the park.”

bedroom view
Bright contemporary spaces with large windows allow guests to appreciate views from all rooms.

As the resort overlooks the Pacific Ocean, the group enjoyed time on its private beach. “It’s a steep hike to get to the beach, but it’s good exercise,” says Gent. There is a shuttle for guests who don’t want to make the climb. Towels are supplied, as are paddle boards and kayaks. “There’s nice surf to play in,” says Gent.

aerial view of deck
Enjoy relaxing in well-equipped outdoor spaces.

They also went zip lining, took a sunset catamaran cruise with snorkeling and went on a jungle night walk to see different animals than the ones they saw during the day. Sensitive to the group’s anathema to snakes, the guide showed them frogs, centipedes, spiders and many dark-dwelling creations. Concierge Raphael made their excursion reservations and arranged for transportation, which pleased Gent. “We hadn’t thought about renting a vehicle because driving there is something we don’t want to do,” he adds. Costa Ricans have a different approach to driving the steep slopes in this mountainous region, often passing on curves at high speeds.

night time modern building
Several of the villas have private pools.

According to Scalisi, other excursions that are guest favourites include whale watching, white water rafting and tours of coffee and chocolate farms. Some opt for cooking classes from one of the private chefs in their villas. “They can teach you how to make a typical Costa Rican meal,” she says, with all the fresh ingredients immediately available.

Toucans are among the birds seen on the resort grounds.

The villa had a fully equipped chef’s kitchen for evenings when they had a chef do the cooking. They opted to visit the resort’s restaurants and a nearby breakfast spot – Agua Azul – for the rest of their meals. “We’re all foodies and were always happy with the meals we had,” says Gent. “We felt pampered.”

Tulemar Resort's private beach.

Scalisi says that this type of personalized service is one of the things that sets Tulemar Resort apart. From reserving the right type of accommodation to picking you up at the airport, English-speaking service agents and on-site staff walk guests through the process. Rates are more favourable during the rainy season, between May and November each year. The high season starts in December, which coincides with the holidays, so things get busier. Reserving well ahead is advisable she adds.

modern building on hill
Each of the villas has its own concierge to arrange for private chefs and make restaurant and excursion reservations.

“We would definitely recommend visiting Costa Rica and Tulemar Resort,” says Gent.