by Hilarey Wojtowicz
Located in a 33-acre gated resort area, this boutique hotel (formerly Buena Vista Luxury Villas) that offers families 34 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, with kitchenettes, balconies or terraces, mini-fridges, king or queen beds, cable TV and DVD players. The beach is just steps from the villas and a swimming pool is also on the property for those who want to skip the sand and waves. Breakfast is served daily by the pool, and the restaurant also serves up lunch and dinner, with both local favorites and American fare, such as pizza, BBQ ribs and caesar salad. A spa offers services for adults, like facials and massages, and adventure tours can booked through the hotel.
Other family-friendly features include washers and dryers in some villas, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the entire resort and shuttle service around the area.
Our Editor Loves
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Large private villas
- Beach, pool and excursions
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
We took our first trip to Costa Rica in August. We stayed at Tulemar based on a recommendation from a friend.
We were not disappointed. Reading the previous review from the same timeframe, we couldn’t understand it’s poor rating. It’s funny how people can see things so differently.
The resort is set on the side of a hill overlooking the ocean. The views from the private bungalows are spectacular. Keep an eye out for the birds, monkeys and sloths because they are all over property. Watch out for the monkey mafia because they might steal your shining stuff when you’re not looking :) Even saw one Boa constrictor lounging high in the trees.
We had one of the smaller bungalows, but it was plenty of space for the four of us. The bungalow had lots of glass in the common area for constant view of the ocean and surrounding jungle.
The kitchen was small, but adequate. We didn’t cook many meals - just an occasional breakfast . The maids came everyday on our schedule and were quick to respond to any request we made during the day.
The beds, which is most important to us anyway, were very comfortable. We didn’t have a back problem the entire time.
The one thing we didn’t like about our bungalow was the couch. It was very uncomfortable. However, how much time do you spend on the couch while in costa rica? Hopefully not much.
It is set on a hill and therefore all walking is up and down hills. It’s quite walkable but be ready for a workout. But there’s so much to look at while walking that it’s no big deal. The resort even offers an onsite sloth tour. My 80 year old mother walked quite a bit and loved it.
When you get tired of walking, they have a shuttle service that is very responsive. We never waited for more than five minutes. And you can hail them them many different calling stations placed throughout the resort.
There are four pools. The adult pool we didn’t spend much time at. The other three are small but very nice. They don’t use a ton of chlorine, which we liked. The family pool has a spectacular view. There’s a pool next the restaurant, also with nice views and close to the bar!
The one thing we would recommend would be to add a small gym. It would have been nice to blast out a quick workout.
The beach on the pacific ocean has 5-8 ft surf all day long to play in. Some of the waves get bigger than that. Lots of fun and some good exercise. They provide boogey boards to help enjoy the surf.
There’s kayaking too. Just watch for those waves when launching or returning. Me and my son got dumped like a lot of other people - but it was all great fun.
The beach is not white sand like the Caribbean, it has coloring like pepper. And at high tide the surf pounds it pretty good.
They do provide service at the beach to help with towels, umbrellas, chairs, food and drinks. No complaints. It wasn’t hard to get their attention and we always had a cocktail when we needed one. And we all enjoyed the food.
Go for the Mal Thai - it’s one of best we’ve had in a while.. and we’ve had a bunch.
We ate at the onsite restaurant a lot. Maybe too much. The menu had good variety to keep it interesting. We didn’t have one bad meal there. And the people working there are super friendly. Pura Vida!
We did eat once at the Italian restaurant. Although it wasn’t bad, we weren’t that impressed with it and didn’t return. The setting was nice, and the service very good, but the menu lacked variety.
The resort is walking distance to some other very good restaurants if you want to venture out.
We have to give a shout out to Jean Carlo, the concierge. He was outstanding. He was very responsive and also proactive, checking in on us personally throughout our stay to make sure we had everything we needed. He was very helpful in helping us decide what we could for day trips to make sure we all had some fun. Believe me, it’s tough to find something a 10 year and 80 year old can do together. Sometimes that needed special arrangements, which Jean Carlo took care of for us. Pura Vida, Jean Carlo!
There is honestly not enough words I could say to recommend Tulemar. This resort is amazing, not only are you in the jungle, with your own private beach, and amazing pools with phenomenal views but you’re almost 100% guaranteed to see wildlife during your stay (we saw monkeys, sloths, whales, and macaws).We stayed in one of the jungle bungalow villas which came with our spectacular concierge Juan Carlo (JC), he legitimately arranged ANYTHING we wanted. He booked us an amazing canyoning tour at 8pm for the next morning, booked us our travel back to San Jose, recommenced great local spots for sunset dinners and great food (even though what’s better than ordering room service to your room from the properties restaurant) and pretty much made our stay stressless and seamless for us.Tulemar is breathtakingly beautiful, the staff is friendly and attentive and the views are worth every single penny! Do yourself a favor and book this resort you won’t regret it!