Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection
What We Love
- Choose between the small crescent-shaped beach below the hotel, the swim-up bar in the main pool or the adults-only infinity pool
- The hotel contributes much of its earnings directly to the local community
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
What To Know
- Staff can arrange transfers from the airport in Liberia (from $160 each way) or San Jose ($250 each way)
- Tropical wet season runs from May to November; expect daily showers but the landscape is incredibly lush
- Secluded location but borders a small village
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Since it opened as one of Costa Rica’s first eco-resorts in 1994, the Punta Islita has been a leader in Central America’s sustainability revolution. After a complete remodeling in 2008, the property — which consists of suites, bungalows and villas spread across 80 hillside acres — remains true to its environmentalist core but now offers most of the amenities that modern travelers expect.
Bed & Bath
Deluxe Rooms are a spacious 412 square feet, done up with tile floors, blonde-wood furnishings and white linens, but Suites are worth the splurge for separate seating areas, handcrafted canopy beds, plus outdoor whirlpools positioned on the private decks overlooking the Pacific Ocean. All rooms have sparkling marble bathrooms, TVs, ceiling fans and colorful local artwork.
Beneath a fifty-foot thatched palm ceiling, the poolside 1492 Restaurant serves a daily breakfast of tropical fruit salads, eggs and strong Costa Rican coffee, while lunch and dinner menus are rightly dominated by fresh seafood dishes, including a must-try ceviche and octopus carpaccio. Down on the dark sand beach, the Borrancho Beach Club is an indoor/outdoor dining room for light bites between surfing lessons, dips in the pool or lounging beneath the towering palm trees. Punta Islita’s modest Casa Spa offers nature-inspired treatments, often founded on the wellness beliefs of the local Chorotega culture. The Miracle Mud and Chorotega Arts massages are especially relaxing.
In the Area
Not surprisingly, the area is a hub for lots of adventurous activities, including surfing, hiking, kayaking, sea turtle spotting, horseback riding and ziplining, but set aside some time to visit the on-site Open-Air Contemporary Art Museum, which displays the work (murals, sculpture, paintings) of local artists. Take in the local flora and fauna as you journey down the Ora River on a kayak tour (May–December), and Punta Islita can arrange visits to the nearby Camaronal Wildlife Refuge, the center of Costa Rica’s sea turtle conservation movement. From May through November, four of the world’s seven sea turtle species come here to nest: the Olive Ridley, the Atlantic leatherback, the hawksbill and the black sea turtle.
How to Get There
This hotel was built 25 years ago. It is showing some signs of age. When we first arrived at 2pm we were disappointed that our room was already rather dark with minimal lights that we could turn on. (that may be part of the whole eco-lodge plan.) The shower and the bathroom badly need to be updated. But the place grew on us during our stay. Here are some of the pluses and minuses:
+: included with the cost of your room are quite a variety of classes and activities. These include zip lining, a cooking class, a mixology class, monkey hike, horseback riding, the ever present yoga class and a variety of others. There is a private beach that is well worth visiting. We took a walk along the ocean, lounged on some comfortable chairs, and had quite a nice lunch right on the beach. Also you can get a ride down to the beach, or more importantly, back up from it in one of the hotels vans. While the room prices are fairly expensive, the meals, drinks, and activities are reasonably priced. An example: local beer from your in room refrigerator is four dollars and a small can of potato chips is two dollars. In our backyard we had a hammock and our own 12‘ x 6‘ swimming pool. The location on a hill overlooking the Pacific ocean is stellar. Wi-Fi is surprisingly good in this remote location on the edge of the ocean.
-: several of our meals were average. For example, we had a red snapper entrée at dinner one night and the fish was overcooked. The mahi-mahi plates we had for lunch were just OK, with the fish being a little bit “fishy” tasting rather than perfectly fresh and well prepared. We asked our host for a second room key. He said it would be delivered promptly, but it never happened until we walked up to the desk and picked it up ourselves. We were able to get that key without showing any ID. The tour guide on the monkey hike was about 22 years old and took off in a big rush into the jungle, leaving us far behind and trying to catch our breath going up and down very steep slopes. We eventually gave up and turned back. The air-conditioner hung on the wall and was effective at cooling about 2/3 of our room once we did figure out how to turn it on. The music played at the main restaurant and bar is piped in elevator music derived from popular/old American pop songs. I wonder why a Costa Rican hotel would not play local music. At times the generally friendly staff seemed overwhelmed with too much to do. The checkout process was a 20 minute ordeal and we had to ask several times for our luggage to be brought up for transport.
Add it all up and what do you get? In my estimation this is not a five-star resort. It may be closer to 3.5 stars, but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and call it 4.
Located about 21/2 hours from Liberia airport , this resort hotel is AMAZING!! Why? Excellent location in a non hurried somewhat secluded area , beautiful rooms, dining, and great amenities including the activities such as ZIP LINING, HORSEBACK RIDING< YOGA CLASSES, and others!
Most important is the staff that is second to none anywhere! Marco, Antonio, Tito, Diego, Randy, and many others were the most friendly people I have ever experienced at a hotel anywhere. Just an amazing group of people who I have become friends and cannot wait to see next year. My wife, daughter, and myself visited from 1-16 19 - 1-26-19 and had wonderful weather, room with fantastic view, beautiful property, and wonderful food!! I just cannot say enough how much of a great experience we had but other guests we spoke with felt the same way!!!
We were treated like special guests when we arrived. The welcome cocktail and personal service were lovely. Our room was perfect and spotless. The grounds and views are truly a tropical paradise. The complimentary activities are as good or better than comparable guides that you would pay hundreds for. Luis is an excellent birding guide. We saw so many colourful and exotic birds. The monkey safari with Jaito was like something from National Geographic! These guides are super nice and helped us get some show-stopping photos. I definitely recommend the mixology class with Gabriel. He makes drink mixing so much fun. We really appreciated our shuttle driver, Ronald. He is attentive and accommodating with that wonderfully nice Costa Rican personality. He made the 2-3 hour rides to and from the airport seem like more of an introduction to Costa Rica. Ronald should be recognized as an ambassador for newcomers. We also enjoyed the candle and key chain making at the Art Museum in town (Islita).
Even considering all the beauty and tranquillity at this hotel, the staff are our fondest memory. All so nice and pleasant. Thank you all for one of life's great memories!!
Great service, Friday night reception and sunset wedding facing the ocean! The food, decorations, facilities were outstanding. My son and his new bride had the tropical setting they planned and the guests were all pleased with their rooms, facilities and service. Off the grid and a tad difficult to reach but worth the trip. Liberia airport 2.5 hrs. trip.
Just returned from a week in Costa Rica and had the chance to stay at this gorgeous hotel for 3 nights. Don't let the dirt road scare you after turning off the main road, its not too bad and definitely worth the drive to the beach and hotel. We were greeted with cold towels and water and received a refreshing fresh juice drink while waiting to check in. Everyone was so pleasant and accommodating. Our bungalow was awesome and the backyard, with ocean views and private plunge pool, was spectacular. Be sure to take advantage of the activities offered for free. Zip lines, horseback riding, mixology class at the swim up bar in the beach club, monkey walk. Also you can't miss the gorgeous scarlet macaws flying around. These birds are a national treasure and thanks to the Ara project, are making a comeback in the area.
Thanks to the staff for a wonderful stay, it was too short so will definitely be back in the near future.