I just returned home from a month in Costa Rica with my partner – including two weeks at Agua Dulce. I had seen the resort as it was being built a couple of years ago (side note: as we were driving down the beach in front of the property to sit and watch a treeful of scarlet macaws – these birds, among others such as parrots and hummingbirds - are plentiful around the property.) As we drove by what was soon to be Agua Dulce – I said to my companion, “I hope this place is a hotel and not a condo – because I’d love to stay here when it opens.” Well, when making plans to visit Costa Rica again this year (my 16th trip here) – I was happy to see that Agua Dulce was finished, and is a hotel. I immediately booked our room. I’m not saying this as a cliché: it truly was everything I had hoped for – and more. This is the PERFECT location for people looking for a vacation location that is a great fit for many types of travelers. Agua Dulce is fun, friendly, clean, safe – located directly on a swimmable beach (great for boogie boarding!) - with a nice clean pool and Jacuzzi. It has numerous types of accommodations to fit any size group.
The staff is comprised of FRIENDLY, professional Costa Ricans (most are locals) – who really know the area – speak English – and have significant experience in the hotel/tourism industry as they’ve worked at some of the lodges further out on Osa. (Dulce means “SWEET” – the people who work at Agua Dulce put the “sweet” into this resort.) There are a few ex-pat Americans on staff as well - part of the whole team.
I highly recommend this hotel to:
- People who want to experience Costa Rica, see and hear the wildlife, be in a location that IS NOT teeming with high rises, hundreds of condos, thousands of tourists – yet, is a location that has what you need – the town has banks, supermarkets, tour companies – and the hotel is the perfect place to be your home base for anything you would want to do on Osa – or, you can spend your days on the beach, at the pool – and finally read (or write) that novel or memoir, paint that masterpiece, meditate under a palm - whatever it is that’s been waiting for you to disconnect from the intense pace that most of us now live with.
The resort is a perfect fit for all types of people as there's truly something for everyone – I met older couples who were on their first trip to Costa Rica, honeymooners, families with children. I met people from all over the world – mostly from the US, as well as Canada, S. America and Europe.
- Of course, it’s fantastic for people who love to fish. Does that need to be said when talking about Osa? Just in case – Agua Dulce is connected with a great charter boat, as the boat company is one of the owners.
- It’s also great for people traveling with fisherman – spouses, kids, friends – because even if you don’t fish – there’s sooooooo much to see and do (or see and not do : )
- If you’re traveling to or from Corcovado – this is the PERFECT stopover. But don’t just stay for 1 night – this is a vacation location in and of itself.
- If you’re looking for amazing value – stay at Agua Dulce. The price is great – especially compared to the numerous lodges outside of Pto Jimenez (on the way to Corcovado). You can use your money wisely by staying at Agua Dulce – and then, if you want to visit one of the Eco-lodges, take a ride and have lunch, walk around the property – but, having stayed at these other lodges more than once, I would rather spend my money on other things. Agua Dulce has the best overall value – by far – of all the hotels that I’ve stayed at in the area (including Lapa Rios, Bosque Del Cabo, Tortuga Negra, etc.)
Agua Dulce is in a perfect location.
- The resort is built on the beach in Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula - just a few miles from the town and business area of Puerto Jimenez. Scarlet macaws fly through the property and hang out in the trees along the beach. We saw them every day (for 14 days).
- It is one of the few resorts in this area of Costa Rica that has ocean front with a swimmable beach, a beautiful pool - and air conditioning. (I don’t know of any others.)
- There are 3 cottages/bungalows that sit directly on the beach and face the Golfo Dulce.
- Between the front 3 cottages and the main buildings of the hotel is the pool and Jacuzzi area.
- The hotel office is located below a spacious bar/restaurant that is upstairs on the second floor – with a nice view of the Golfo to the front and pool area to the side.
- The beach is swimmable. Wave size and strength variable – often it is swimmable for everyone; at times recommend stronger swimmers. Keep in mind that there is no lifeguard at the beach – so if it’s really wavy, don’t let the kids or people who aren’t strong swimmers use the main beach, there are often rip currents. Many beaches in Costa Rica post signs warning of Rip Currents, but no signs on Osa. If it looks rough, go to the pool or to the tip of the peninsula past the hotel.
- The beach is excellent for boogie boarding and can also be good for surfing. We went boogie boarding every day and never tired of it.
- You can also get to a beautiful bay beach with no waves (need 4wd if you’re driving – available right in Pto Jimenez; you can also walk – but walking not recommended for a family, as it is about 2 miles and can be very hot at midday). This bay beach is a hotspot for fishing – especially by the locals – and you can drive down and park seemingly remote as it is on a small peninsula across from Puerto Jimenez harbor.
- The beach sand in this area of CR is a mix of volcanic rock and shells….soft, not gritty. Note that during midday, the sand can get very hot, so wear your sandals to the beach.
- Speaking of hot sand, beachgoers have many options for shade – from palm trees (don’t sit directly under coconuts) and other local trees
NOTE: In addition to providing us with shade, the trees play host to numerous birds – including scarlet macaws which we saw every day, along with hummingbirds and other varieties. In the town of Puerto Jimenez by the harbor – flocks of parrots fly back to their home trees each evening at dusk, and scarlet macaws are often found in the trees by the Los Delfines restaurant.
Agua Dulce has a very nice pool that is accompanied by a Jacuzzi. The pool is at the front of the hotel – and leads directly to the beach. There are several bungalows between the pool and the other hotel buildings – but the design allows you to see the Golfo Dulce from the pool area as well as some of the hotel rooms.
- The rooms come in several configurations; usually 2 queens – and the actual hotel rooms are used primarily for sleeping; so, if you need a refrigerator and/or extra space – you can get a “suite” which is a hotel room PLUS a room that serves as a living room with refrigerator and coffee maker. (You can also use a cooler.)
- If you have a larger group – you can get an extended suite – which is 2 hotel rooms that “sandwich” the living room in the middle.
- The reservations staff and managers do a great job of explaining the options and walked me through the floor plans on the web to make sure that I chose the accommodation that best met our needs.
- The rooms were very clean. We never saw even 1 insect in our room… even at dusk and at night, we encountered very few bugs (including mosquitoes).
- The rooms have great air conditioners (new and no mold)
- The hotel has wireless – sometimes Internet access is spotty – but this is due to ISP issues, not the hotel. Agua Dulce has numerous wireless routers set up around the property to ensure a strong signal.
- Rooms don’t have tvs – but if you can’t live without seeing something, the bar/restaurant has 4 tvs, and was happy to oblige when we asked to see something, i.e. watch CNN to see the blizzard back home. But during a month in Costa Rica, I didn’t see a TV for the first 3 weeks except for at the bar/restaurant.
- The hotel rooms have front decks that are furnished with 2 wood and leather rockers – very comfortable and nice to hang out on.
- The second floor rooms of the front buildings have some views of the Golfo. I stayed in 5B. These front rooms overlook the pool, and the pool is open from early in the morning to night time – so if you want a room that’s very quiet, request a room further back. As you can imagine, sometimes when people are in the pool, and they’re so happy to be on vacation in such a beautiful place, you can hear them… however, there was never noise at night – so I would recommend a front room with pool view if you want to be closer to the beach.
Delicious. Efficient. Great staff. We had a vehicle during our stay and initially intended to go out to dinner in Pto Jimenez every night. But after a few nights doing so, we started coming back to Agua Dulce’s restaurant – because it was very good, so convenient, with the right price. Enough said. You should eat there – whether or not you’re staying there.
Staff: they put the “Dulce” in Agua Dulce!!!!
- There were many positives about Agua Dulce – yet the #1 item that sticks out in my mind is the phenomenal customer service provided by the staff. After traveling to Costa Rica approximately 16 times in 12 years, I’ve observed and interacted with many staff of hotels. The group at Agua Dulce are the friendliest and most professional by far. Most of the staff have worked in the travel/tourism/hospitality industry for many years – at many of the higher end (and higher priced) eco lodges between Puerto Jimenez and Corcovado.
- We met and talked with many of the team – if you’re lucky enough to go to Agua Dulce, I hope you get a chance to do more than check-in with them or order your meal. Seriously nice, nice people. Be on the lookout for Vilma, Carlos, Chris, Brian, Harry, Minor, Joann, Sara, the chefs (who I finally spoke with the day before we left because they were always so busy cooking!) and the rest of the staff. They are sooooooo nice! (Dulce means “SWEET” – the people who work at Agua Dulce put the “sweet” into this resort.)
A few more thoughts:
Staying here for two weeks gave me a much better perspective on this resort hotel than if we had just stayed for a few nights. It was interesting to see management make changes and improvements on the fly – they view this resort as a place where they will continuously try and make changes that enhance their guests’ experience. For example, they got bikes while we were there, so guests can ride to the town or bay beach or just around the neighborhood to see birds and other wildlife.
I’m already making plans to return to Agua Dulce in the near future – yes, that’s how much we loved it. I highly recommend it to all travelers to Costa Rica – except, of course, for those who need a 5 star golf resort and other related amenities – I’ve stayed at those as well – during my first visits to Costa Rica, before I realized that I couldn’t tell the difference from similar hotels that I’d stayed at in Miami, Las Vegas, Cancun…. (most of these were either free vacations with points or when I was attending or presenting at conventions as VP Marketing for high tech companies.) I'd rather know where I am - especially when I'm in Costa Rica! It’s also not perfect for those who need to stay in one of the exorbitantly-priced lodges (marketed as Eco-lodges) outside of Pto Jimenez on the way to Corcovado).
So now that it’s my own experience, and on “my own dime” so to speak – and I look forward to staying at Agua Dulce - it is “sweet”!
Room 5B or the Bungalows on the beach. If not available, the reservation staff will help you pick t...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.