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Puntarenas

Location : Southern Nicoya Peninsula, 2 miles (3 km) SW of Tambor toward Cóbano. Information / Reservations : in Escazú, (506)289-9328, fax (506)289-8218. At Tango Mar, (506)683-0001/2, fax (506)683-0003; web site www.tangomar.com.

Long recognized as a deluxe destination, Tango Mar is enhancing its offerings as a natural history destination. Reforestation with native species, creation of forest corridors between forest patches, and maintenance of a small artificial lake as a sanctuary for aquatic birds are part of a well-formulated plan to make 25 acres (10 ha) of the 121-acre (49-ha) property a private wildlife refuge. The plan encompasses protection of two troops of howler monkeys and the white-tailed deer who move through here, reproduction of scarlet macaws and green iguanas in their natural habitat, and protection of olive ridley turtles who nest on Tango Mar’s beach – heaviest arrivals in October and November.

Almost 2 miles (3km) of nature trails already exist. The bird list numbers about 100, with species such as the white-fronted and yellow-naped parrot, black-headed trogon, long-tailed manakin, and turquoise-browed motmot. Water birds include the roseate spoonbill, black-crowned night-heron, northern jacana, lesser scaup, black-bellied whistling duck, and brown pelican. Mammals, in addition to howlers and deer, include white-faced monkeys, armadillos, anteaters, agoutis, coatis, porcupines and kinkajous.

Tango Mar offers horseback riding, snorkeling, fishing, golf (nine-hole, par three and four), and tennis. A day trip goes to Tortuga Island for snorkeling, to Curú for a guided hike, and through the Pochote mangrove estuary. A visit to Montezuma and its waterfalls is. Try the sunset champagne cruise for two, jeep jungle safaris, and massage therapy. Visit the 40-foot (12-m) waterfall; at low tide a natural pool at the bottom is great for swimming.

In a jungle setting, the hotel’s pool is fed by natural mineral water. The open-air restaurant is surrounded by lush tropical plants; food and service are excellent and the evening ambiance romantic. All accommodations have satellite TV, air conditioning, ceiling fans, and baths with big towels. Sixteen large, elegantly simple oceanfront rooms have cool floors of reddish-brown polished tiles, two queen-size beds (some king-size), rattan furniture (including desk and long benches), folk art and original paintings, fresh flowers, reading lamps, and ample closets. A private balcony faces the sea.

Twelve hillside Tropical Suites feature hand-carved four-poster canopy beds, minibars, etched-glass windows, and in-room Jacuzzis. Outdoor patios, secluded in tropical foliage, afford ocean views; monkeys pass by every day. Five tiki Suites near the dining room are fun, with lots of glass and caña brava (a wild cane that resembles bamboo) as structural decoration. Cabaña-style, raised off the ground, each has an in-room Jacuzzi, king-size bed, living area, and refrigerator and light-cooking facilities. Two-bedroom, two-bath villas include kitchenettes and sitting areas. The property also has a residential area of stylish homes.

Getting there by car : take the ferry to Playa Naranjo or Paquera and continue past Tambor. By air : SANSA and Travelair have flights to Tambor.

Source: Costa Rica Adventures in Nature by Ree Strange Sheck, John Muir Publications, Santa Fee, New Mexico. 

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