Saturday, February 29
Today we said goodbye to Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula. We gathered our things and Erik drove us down to the restaurant where we had our breakfast each morning. It is right on the beach so we could wait here for the ferry that would take us back to Sierpe.
Again the ferry ride was more like a tour. During the hour long ride the captain stopped a few times to point out monkeys as well as the owl on the tree stump that we saw when we were heading to Jaguar’s Jungle. I started to wonder if it was actually real but it moved it’s head so I knew it was. The captain drove the boat quite fast for the ocean portion of the ride but then went slowly through the mangroves. Some of the channels are quite narrow so big waves from the boat would have disturbed the wildlife. We really enjoyed the slower pace so we could take in the scenery.
Our favourite driver was at the dock waiting for us when we arrived. We were excited to be heading to our final destination – The Tulemar Resort. http://tulemarresort.com This hotel consistently ranks as one of the top 3 hotels in the world on Trip Advisor. I read many great reviews and decided we would splurge a bit for our last three nights. The room we chose was their standard villa and wasn’t super expensive at about $260 a night.
Tulemar also has the Sloth Institute on their property. They study sloths and have a release program on their 33 acre grounds. As a resort guest you can sign up for the “Sloth Walk” and tour the grounds with one of their researchers.
Our driver didn’t rush to get us to our hotel. Check in wasn’t until 2 so we were able to relax and take our time. He wanted to show us Ventanas beach. I mentioned that we had already been there but I’m not sure he heard me. I didn’t have the heart to say we didn’t want to stop because he seemed quite excited to show it to us. We stopped there for a short break and checked out the caves again. The tide was out this time so we were able to walk deeper into the caves.
We really enjoyed having a driver. Today’s 2 hour drive didn’t feel long as he told us stories about his family and answered questions we had about his country. I was very glad I wasn’t navigating for Mike because once we got off the main road, we made many turns. With no street names it would have been quite confusing. Once we arrived at Tulemar our driver helped us bring our bags into the lobby.
While they were checking us in, I checked out the gift shop. They didn’t have much in the way of souvenirs but I found some really cute books for our 3 granddaughters. We both got a hat as well. Our room was ready at 11:30 so they delivered our bags via golf cart to our room. We got in the shuttle van to drive to our room.
Tulemar has several vans that circulate the grounds. There are phones beside the road in many places so you can call to be picked up. They will take you to your room, the beach, the restaurant or the office. The resort is spread out over a fairly steep mountain. This ensures privacy in your room but it also makes walking up towards the office a bit challenging. Mike and I are very fit so we only called for a drive when we were in a hurry. Our room location was perfect – an easy uphill walk to the restaurant and a longer downhill walk to the beach .
Our room was beautiful and so was the view! You can lie on the bed and gaze out at the ocean through the floor to ceiling windows. No one can see in unless they are standing right at your door. We loved sitting on our deck but unfortunately the hammock wasn’t very comfortable.
After checking out our room and unpacking a bit, we walked up to the restaurant for lunch. We ended up having almost all our meals there because no matter what we ordered it was excellent and the service was outstanding. The staff were very friendly. They noticed our Ironman tattoos and mentioned that one of the other waiters was an Ironman as well. We kept hoping to meet him but unfortunately his shifts didn’t match up with when we were there.
When we finished lunch we went pool hopping. There are four pools on the property. They are all different and there for all guests to enjoy. We decided to start at the top and work our way down to the beach. We managed to get lost a couple of times – because the paths are on a steep hill and there is a lot of foliage, you can’t really see where you are going.
The first pool we went in was the adults only pool and spa area. There was no one there the entire time we were there. It was very tropical and serene.
Now we began our walk down towards the beach. There were a few people in the next pool.
The third pool was beside the restaurant. This tended to be the busier pool because parents could get food and drinks while their children played in the water. Even though we didn’t have children with us the children there never disturbed us.
This was one of two infinity pools. It’s always fun to sit at the edge and admire the view.
The fourth and final pool was the closest one to our room. It also had a small bar. There were several people playing in the water at this pool. This was the second infinity pool.
On our walk through the property we saw lots of interesting things. There are ropes connecting the trees so that the monkeys and sloths can make their way all over the property without climbing on the buildings. We also saw all the different kinds of accommodations here. There are quite a few large houses for rent as well as different villas. One of the houses looked very interesting – inside the house by the front door there was a walkway surrounded by water. Families with very small children are not allowed to rent that one.
I also liked that they had several signs identifying some of the plant life.
Next up was the beach! All beaches in Costa Rica are public but this one can only be accessed from the hotel property. Because of this it was never crowded. It’s in a small bay so the water is calm enough to swim safely. They also had kayaks for guests to borrow.
The sand here is much whiter than the sand around the Osa Peninsula region. We liked this beach because it had some trees so you could get out of the sun. There was also a nice picnic area in a treed area. The only downside was that the restrooms were a bit of a walk up the hill. There is no access to plumbing this far down the hill and also no electricity. Costa Rica has a regulation about the distance that plumbing and electricity has to be from the water.
This beach also had a fun surprise – a sloth hanging out in a tree!
We played in the small waves for a while and then started the climb back up to our room. We had to get ready for our evening activity – a sunset stand-up paddle tour that we had arranged through the hotel.
We were driven down to the pier where we met our paddle guide. We were the only ones on the tour. The water looked a bit rough and there was a lot of rock where we were entering the water so I was a bit nervous. This was the roughest water we have paddled on and I had a hard time relaxing on my board because of it. There was also an area where we had to pass between some rock outcroppings and the waves were larger there. Amazingly, Mike and I both made it through the whole tour without falling off our boards.
We paddled out of the small bay and waited for the sun to go down. The plan was to sit and watch the sunset from our boards.
We paddled around for a while waiting for the sun to go down. Our guide took our camera and took lots of pictures for us. Then it was time to sit and relax.
Once the sun was down we headed back into the bay. We paddled close to the shore. Our boards had lights under them so we could see a bit under the water. They didn’t work super well but we did see a few small fish.
To finish the tour we lay down on our boards to gaze at the stars. It was very relaxing and peaceful with the sound of the ocean and the gentle rocking of our boards.
After a quick snack of pineapple we were driven back to Tulemar. We spotted this mom and her baby Sloth crossing the road on our way to TuleCafe Restaurant.
We enjoyed a late dinner. We were pretty hungry so I forgot to take a picture of our meal until we had gobbled up most of the vegetables. The dinner was excellent!
With help from a flashlight we made our way back to our room.
Fun Fact: Costa Rica has two main airports. One is in Liberia and the other is in San Jose. You can choose the one closest to your destination or if you are moving around the country you can fly into one and out of the other.