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Reviewed 20 September 2017

As a first time visitor to latin-america & the first time my children had been to the tropics this was a big trip for us and we were instantly enamoured! My children aged 10 & 8 and I spent six days at Golf Dulce Retreat and had literally the best holiday ever!

We were collected at Golfito Airport (a very short 35mins hop from San José) by our hosts and driven to the jetty where we were taken by private boat on a stunning trip across calm blue waters passing shores lined with palm trees until reaching Golfo Dulce Retreat's private beach. Upon stepping off the boat we immediately found ourselves immersed in the stunning nature of the jungle. Make sure to bring open shoes as you might need to step into shallow waters. We were greeted by parakeets flying above, scarlet macaws, toucans, incredible blue morpho butterflies and of course the wonderful Chantelle and Simon who recently moved from the hustle of London to live the dream out in the tropics.

The accommodation was in a stunning wood cabin, beautifully decorated, very light and airy and in total harmony with nature. We absolutely loved the open air shower!

Over the duration of our stay we went on several tours run by the retreat - boat trips to nearby natural beaches, snorkelling by the rocks, the boat through the mangroves, so serene, mysterious and beautiful; a night trip to see the bio-luminescence, incredible natural phenomena which looks like the sea is being lit up by stars - the children loved jumping off the boat into it with snorkels watching the sea light up as we swam! In addition, we went on a guided walk into the jungle, a real learning experience and fascinating to see such majestic trees that are literally hundreds of years old towering high above our heads or relaxing in the crystal clear waterfalls.

The cuisine, is incredible. The food is very varied, authentic Italian mixed with homegrown vegetables of the tropics, line caught fish, the very best coffee, home baked bread, homemade granola, Simon's ice cream, zero km bananas, pineapples - all organic, naturally!

Literally a holiday of a lifetime, having said that I would love to return soon. Back in London I'm missing the pure blue sky, the peaceful shade of the palm trees, the sounds of nature, the drama and sheer delight of a tropical downpour, relaxing in the calm waters of Golfo Dulce, and swimming in the infinity pool... Very highly recommended!

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Melinda D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2017

My husband and I stayed at Golfo Dulce Retreat for a week with our three children aged 6, 9 and 11. We must have been some of their first guests as the retreat has just undergone a total renovation with their new owners, Chantelle and Simon. We loved our time there and couldn't recommend it more for families with children. The highlight was definitely the times we saw dolphins during boat excursions and a small group of humpback whales with a calf. Our cabin was light and airy and different from any other place we've been to while visiting Costa Rica. It was very stylish and we loved the outdoor shower which provided lots of privacy but was fully immersed in the amazing surrounding nature. The food Chantelle and Simon serve is authentic Italian food, simply delicious - freshly caught fish dishes were definitely our favorites. The kids were always given the choice of eating simple dishes if they wanted, which made them very at ease.

There was no shortage of adventures to be had during our stay! We had an awesome experience exploring the mangrove canals, which is only a short boat ride away to the estuary of the Rio Esquinas. Our guides, a lovely visiting biologist from England and the friendly boatman, had a good eye for finding wildlife and were very knowledgeable about the different varieties of mangroves, wildlife and the ecology of the mangrove biosystem. We stopped at a beautiful and deserted beach on the way back and were fortunate to watch Capuchin monkeys playing in the trees directly above us. We spent some time kayaking on the crystal clear waters of Golfo Dulce and it was amazing looking across at the beautiful tropical coast so natural and undeveloped, with the rainforest canopy in the background, scarlet macaws flying overhead, jumping fish and dolphins playing in the distance.

The guided and self-guided hikes from Golfo Dulce Retreat are a must. You get a real taste of primary rainforest. We walked on our own along the shorter forest trail, which had some incredibly large trees, including a gigantic Ceiba tree, which, according to the owners, is hundreds of years old. We also took a guided walk to the property waterfall, and our kids loved swimming there and looking for the Poison-dart Frog, which can only be found around there. We were really lucky during our hikes and saw peccaries and spider monkeys, which we were told are very rare.

Throughout our stay we were accompanied by the howls of the howler monkeys and melodic sounds of toucans somewhere up above.

We got close to sloths, ocelots and even got to scratch the potbelly of a spider monkey at the nearby Osa Wildlife Sanctuary, where animals are rehabilitated before released back into the wild.

Really the best trip ever and we hope to be back soon!

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
1  Thank wallfamilytravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
chantelleYsimon, Owner at Golfo Dulce Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 21 September 2017

Thank you for your wonderful comments! Simon and I are really pleased you had such a great time with us. We are very happy you liked your accommodation, we have put a lot of effort to make our cabins as bright and airy as possible and keep them in total harmony with the rainforest by using local reclaimed woods. And yes, we agree, the humpback whales encounter was truly special.
We surely hope to see you back soon!

Chantelle y Simon
Owners of Golfo Dulce Retreat

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2018
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  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2018
Google Translation

Room Tip: The Laurel Tree Cabina mit Plunge Pool, es sind aber alle 3 Zimmer wunderschön und gut gelegen!
Stayed: April 2018, travelled as a couple
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2018 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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