We had been to Costa Rica in 2019 only from on a cruise ship and felt it needed more discovering, so we went February 14- March 1, 2022. Covid was rampant there and everyone wore masks including outdoors. The week before we got there, they had 40,000 cases in one week in a country of 5 million people. We were nervous but decided we could be safe and wore our mask too. We brought our own test kits and 24 hours before our flight home we took them and were negative. It proved to be one of my favorite vacations. I grew up wanting to work at on an animal farm liked Doctori on tv. Every day we had animals visit us. Monkeys, sloughs, agouti, macaws, racoons (not my favorite) big Iguanas.
We spent a week at this resort and stayed in Mott Mott 307. It was a small unit for two people. Many of the homes are individually owned and all are a bit different. Our unit was the smallest in the area. We had all the living, dining and cooking outdoors under a roof. The inside was where the bedroom and bathroom and air-conditioning were located. I cannot tell you how wonderful this place was to visit. We loved just lying in the hammock and watching the view and the daily parade of animals that came to visit us. We took many nature and birding tours off site, but the best was on site. They have a sloth institute and for $30 a piece we walked all around and saw more birds and animals that in the big national parks. So even if you are not staying at the Tulemar you need to go on this tour.
What we liked about Tulemar was our own personal concierge person. You need anything and they handle it, including filling up our refrigerator from the grocery store before we got there with items we selected. Making reservations at local restaurants and arranging all transportation to the beach and anywhere on the resort with just a phone call.
We went to a wonderful cooking class where we learned about the green squash that tasted like a cross between a pear and a squash. We also learned a cooking tip that no one had ever taught us before about onions. Apparently, the reason onions make you cry when you are cutting them is that they need a source of water to attach to and your eyes usually are the closest thing. So, the cook put a little bowl of water right next to the onions I was chopping and no more tears!! This was a huge help to me. We made a delicious meal and learned all about growing vanilla and cocoa.
We also learned that this host as many other Costa Ricans really had a hard time during pandemic. They told us stories of such struggle without the tourists. This cook decided since there were no tourists, and he was very good at making pastries that he and his wife would make pastries to sell to the locals. They did ok for a few months but one day no one came to buy pastries because no one had any money. They ate less and grew some strawberries but rapidly they went through all their savings.
You need to get up real early and go birding or hiking with a tour guide. We would also go to the pool about lunch time as that is when the parade of monkeys came through. They are so cute, but they well steal your food. First one monkey comes up and looks at you then goes behind you. Here comes 5-10 more monkeys to entertain you while the first one slipped behind my back and stole my pineapple off my drink. They are so smart.
Things I liked about the resort other than the constant animals, was the food( was delicious )the maids were great, and I felt very safe. I would even return by myself it felt so safe.
Another thing we liked was you could daily laundry for free or just a tip. Put it out in morning and back by the afternoon. We loved the hammock and the daily view of the sunset. We loved the beach, and the food down there was terrific too. Loved the pool and nightly singers. We just really loved the people too. Everyone is so friendly, and boy do they need some business to return.
The things I did not like about Costa Rica were the heat! 77-97 every day. You have to get up and go birding by about 6:30 and finish by 11. Just too hot.
Several nights we were raided by racoons. Since all the cooking was outdoors and the trash was outdoors, if we cooked and did not clean up everything they would come and open all drawers trying to get to trash. One morning we had been slimed by a whole family of raccoons. It was gross. We called our concierge and within an hour everything was back up. We had forgotten to lock the trash can.
I did not like that there are hilly streets in Tulemar. Everything is up a hill. You can request a van at anytime to take you anywhere, but it made it difficult to just take a walk.
Quepos has been experiencing a red tide for months. Red tide kills fish.
One night I had a mama racoon and 4 babies on our deck. I went out to shoo them away and the babies left but she growled at me. I think next time we will rent the unit above us that has the cooking inside.
We belong to the Georgia Audubon society. They had a trip to this resort to see the famous quetzal. When they came back and gave us a recap of where they had gone birding this was one of the small hotels they stayed at in the mountains. We decided to recreate part of their trip and it was well worth it. This is a small little hotel with maybe 10 different little houses for rent. Just walking the grounds is a horticultural delight. Flowers everywhere, birds everywhere, hummingbirds everywhere. Good food, just a basic room with a fireplace and no heat. We did use that fireplace to stay warm. We hired a local guide who took us to find the quetzal. Probably the most beautiful bird in the world. The birders in Costa Rica started working with the local farmers that had white avocado trees. White avocados are so small and not really good for human consumption so many of the farmers just cut them down. This is a delicacy to the quetzal. So, the birders made a deal with the farmers that every time they brought someone onto their property to see the quetzals that the birders would pay them a small sum of money to keep the white avocado trees and make it a little easier for the tourist to visit the tree. This worked out very well for both the birders and the farmers. Many of the farmers are older now and not farming so much so this becomes their pension and their interactions with people in old age.
Costa Rica is about flowers everywhere!
Now let’s talk about the fishing! It was marvelous. You have to go early in morning, but we caught over 10 fish, saw a Dolphin and a mama whale and baby. The coolest thing I have ever seen was a school of red herring with the sun shining through them. Looked like little red parasols you get in a drink. Tiny and spinning right before the big fish came and gobbled them up.