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Reviewed August 5, 2019

Describing this place is quite difficult..is kind of been in heaven..so connected to what is real.. to a source of energy.. and true beauty...You can breath pure air.. you can smell the jungle.. you understand that you are truly the guest of a place that belongs to nature. Is easy to notice how all work in syn crony there..the sounds of the jungle make you love the place more.. appreciation for the simplest things is permeated to your body as soon as you walk there. But of course, no place is so special and beautiful if their hosts are not as magical and pure as the jungle itself.
Well, that is when Shantal, her husband Simon and her entire family come in to place.
As soon as you check in Puerto Jimenez the hospitality and the magic of them shine all thru...they welcome you like an extension of their family.. The magic of Shantal can be seen in every detail around this place.. the decor of the place.. the china she used to offer us tea every afternoon, the amazing soft linen carefully chosen by her, every hamac, the wood color and texture used for the construction of this place.. the pool.. everything looks like coming out of the most exquisite decor magazine, still reflecting the simplicity of the way of living they so preciously choose to live. Shantal as the soul and glue of this place, put together along Simon the most amazing hard working Team.. Trina,Noemi,Tatiana Steve, Marjorie, Augustin, and many others I cant remember their names are the ones who showed us the best of Costa Rica.. HIS PEOPLE. They truly love their land.. their country, they are humble, hospitable and the most nicest people period. Alone with them, Shantal had three fantastic smart students from Cambrigde University who are mostly majoring as Biologist joining them by season to help them home-schooling their kids but at the same time making us more knowledgeable of what that magical place has to offer. I have to say we were captivated by Roxy. She was sweet, smart, and jump right into teaching us everything she could possible do in the most honest and simple way.. In so many ways, visiting this place will not only and certainly bring you to relax, and connect you with nature, it will hopefully make you question a bit what we are doing to take care of our planet, our Ocean, our air, with your own life.
For me, the highlight of this trip was listening to my son telling me that he came to realized he was kind of a "spoil kid" but that there he felt so happy and content with so little.. it is the first time he could see that HAPPINESS does not come from money. or possessions..or his electronics.. it comes from within.. He was a animal lover before our trip, and after we came back he got truly inspire to be more in tune with nature in all his forms...
GRACIAS GOLFO DULCE.. GRACIAS COSTA RICA.. PURA VIDA!!!

Date of stay: July 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Anamary73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2019 via mobile

This hotel is outstanding in every sense: location, lodge, food, experience with the wild. it felt like you were in heaven as our daughter said. Although we would feel like keeping it for us as a hidden gem, we realize that we must recommend it to everyone. Simon and Chantal, the owners deserve it. The way you could see the wild Ara makao and other animals so closely was an experience that we will never forget! This is by far the best hotel we have been too!

Date of stay: July 2019
Trip type: Traveled with family
1  Thank 438agn_sl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2019 via mobile

Gulfo dulce retreat is the kind of oasis I'm always on the hunt for. It's the kind of place I dream of going. It's a place I expect to have a long waitlist in years to come.

When first booking dolce, I almost thought it was a scam because the reviews were perfect. I literally checked to see if other reviewers wrote negative reviews for other places in the world. After going, I hope this little haven will do exceptionally well because it truly deserves accolades (even though a part of me doesn't want the world to discover this gem!)

Golfo Dulce retreat perfectly combines a remote individualized, luxurious vacation in a beautiful, tranquil natural setting. It really felt magical and personal. Chantelle and Simon are the consummate hosts, always warm/welcoming and extremely informative. They genuinely wanted to maximize our experience.

Simon makes the best cocktails and delicious homemade gelatos and sorbets. I live in Los Angeles and would say I'm extremely critical of food. Simon's passion fruit Ice-cream is something I will crave indefinitely. The fresh juices! Iced lattes! Farm raised eggs, bean and rice! Fresh sourdough bread and pastas! Homemade yogurt! Afternoon tea and pastries! Coffee delivered to your casita in the morning! Food was fresh, perfectly portioned and tasty! Probably the best we had in Costa Rica (better than Silvestre which is on the Eater "Best of Costa Rica list" and #3 in San Jose on trip advisor). We stayed at the 5-star Nayara resort in Arenal, but loved our experience at Golfo dulce much, much more! We wished we booked more days at GDR instead. Worth every penny!

The boat ride to Golfo Dulce was an experience on its own, we saw probably 10 dolphins swimming just on our way there! The driver was so patient and Channing(sp?) took his time giving us a very long encounter viewing the dolphins. The mangroves were amazing. The whole time in Golfo dulce, we felt alone and we we were! I was amazed by the lack of other travelers. I rarely saw another boat in the gulf and we were essentially alone on all the tours, with the exception of brilliant Cambridge botanists (the resort provided guides) who would educate us about the rainforest, mangroves, and bioluminescence.

We could see the milky way with our naked eye and the bioluminescence below us. It was truly so memorable.

The pool is amazing -very refreshing and clean. The casitas look exactly like the photos and are impeccably designed. Chantelle has style! The persian rugs, romantic lighting and modern facilities (hot showers! Wifi! In the jungle) were not lost on us.

There were several large thunderstorms in which the power (or wifi) did not go out. There's no AC but the nights were cool. Bed is comfy. If you want AC, it does get very hot and humid but the outdoor shower/pool and organic soaps kept me super content. The property is sustainable and uses hydroelectricity, and the shower/toilets were immaculate given that you're in the middle of the rainforest!

We saw tons of wildlife, lots of cool bugs (in our room too!- but there was netting around our bed so it wasn't a big deal, and it's sooo a part of the experience), monkeys, toucans, flocks of macaws, dolphins, caimans, snakes, spiders, frogs and a ton of butterflies (migrating in the gulf) etc!

Thank you so much Golfo dulce, you have a very special place in our hearts. We will be forever thankful for our experience. Pura vida!!

Date of stay: July 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank geauxaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2019

simon and shontal are the best hosts !! they make wonderfull food and great afternoon cocktails !
the resort is super clean and the details are noticable all arownd
very peacefull and calm, and the beautifull nature is all over

Date of stay: April 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank yarivbl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2019

If you want to see wildlife this lodge is ideally located in its own reserve which itself sits in the middle of piedra blanca national park. we saw lots of interesting species while at the retreat including scarlet macaws, toucans, toucanettes, several guans, a wild sort of large pheasant (curacao?), white faced, squirrel and howler monkeys, a tamandua as well as many agouties, coatis and wild peccaries. On a self guided walk to the nearby ceiba tree we even found the remains of what looked like a young dear and the owners explained to us that a puma must have had a meal recently. During the night tour with one of the resident biologists we saw many frogs and toads, a parrot snake feasting on a frog, a family of kinkajous and several opossums. The best experience though was during the night bioluminescent boat trip where we were lucky enough to see dolphins zooming… very special.

Date of stay: June 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank paolaaltamirez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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