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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
Hotel Punta Islita was amazing! We had 9 adults on a fun extended weekend get away. The 3 bedroom and 2 bedroom villas were beautiful and private. Our concierge Marvin took care of our every wish. The restaurant was always delicious and the staff were extremely friendly.
My perception of Hotel Punta Islita was varied throughout my stay.
Friendly Staff / Service
Tasty, Creative Meals
View & Atmosphere
Rugged Terrain (could be a good thing too)
Pathway to Beach (lighting & stairs)
The drive into the area does indeed require a 4x4 capable vehicle. It's great for those seeking adventure and a build up to the remote vibe of the destination. If you are not using a transfer service, make sure to drive during daylight hours as road conditions can vary quickly.
Arrival at the hotel provides a tremendous view of the shore and hills. The sky is dotted with flying macaws and hummingbirds which made the landscape beautiful and unique. The actual check-in process was a bit cumbersome and could be improved. Although, we were provided with refreshments and the bags got to our room without major issues/delays.
I was shocked by how few people were at the hotel. A little unnerving at first until you realize how peaceful the grounds are as a result.
The meals at the hotel were great and the service was impeccable. I really enjoyed all of the staff during my entire stay. Super friendly and courteous. Pura Vida! During one of the dinners, there was some great live music by a very talented musician. I found the food, service and entertainment to be extremely impressive. Even more so given the remote location.
Everything tends to follow the sun, so nightly activities are limited. The beach area closes around 6 I think. And everything outside of the hotel requires conquering unfamiliar roads. While I had no problem having a good time after hours, the options are somewhat limited.
The room had an absolutely amazing view and its own small, private pool. The cherry on top was the hammock. I spent a good part of one day swinging in the hammock watching the waves crash while macaws flew overhead and landed nearby.
The biggest concern with the hotel was the security of the rooms. The sliding door lock allows for the door to be opened just enough to allow someone to lift the door chain off and allow entry. I remediated this by using the ironing board as a door brace. Also, no card keys for the front door. So, everything requires your typical physical key which is easy to lose and tough to replace.
A lessor concern was the path to the beach. The path down to the beach traverses a significant number of stairs toward an unlit path through a golf course. I highly recommend either driving or making use of the regular shuttle service to the beach as a result.
The beach area has a swim up bar and cabanas just off the sand. The beach is fairly rocky, but accessible and swimmable.
This hotel is a very unique experience with top notch service and excellent grounds. It matches what I would expect for a trip to a Costa Rican beach teaming with wildlife. If you want something different, beautiful and adventurous this may be the spot for you.
My daughter and I just enjoyed a week at Hotel Punta Islita and absolutely loved it. From the moment we were met at the Liberia Airport to the moment we were dropped back there, EVERY member of the Islita staff was helpful, pleasant, and genuinely seemed to enjoy their work. Many staff told us they had worked there more than 10 or 20 years which is a testament to the hotel's corporate culture.
The location is as beautiful (even morsoe) as the pictures suggest. Rooms are generous in size and well appointed. The attached photo was shot from our bed in room 10 looking over our hammock and plunge pool straight to a view of the ocean.
The food was excellent at every meal, whether we were up top at Pacifico or down at Los Cocos beach club. Delicious, with many, many local ingredients and always beautifully presented. In general, portions were a little too large for me and thus I never had room for dessert!
Don't think for one second that the included activites are a cheap enticement: they are excellent in every way. We took part in yoga, birdwatching, monkey walks, crafts, ziplining, mixology, and did extras like surfing, kayaking and boogie boarding. Every single guide we had (Hi Roberto!l was knowledgeable and enthusiastic: when certain birds were spotted their enthusiasm was contagious! I think we saw 13 different species in our hour-long walk. Just incredible. We wish we had done the dusk walk to see scorpions and tarantulas, but we simply ran out of time.
With all of that we still had time to simply relax and read on the beach or by the pool. We also trekked out to the namesake Islita at low tide and marvelled at the crashing surf and abundant crabs. We also enjoyed the ARA Macaw rescue where we learned more about how these stunning birds were being introduced back into the Nicoya Peninsula. Full disclosure: at breakfast the first day two flew over the pool and I actually burst into tears. They are MAGNIFICENT!
This is a quiet and inspiring resort. Definitely not the place if you are seeking nightlife or a party atmosphere. The staff and guests all enjoyed the active days and quiet evenings.
We will return with friends and family!
Note: the 9 hole golf course was closed when we were there, but should it reopen that will be a nice addition. Also, the tide carries a lot of pebbles to the beach so water shoes are a good idea although by means a requirement.