OK so there are some incredible things about this location and some incredibly frustrating things about this location.
The hotel is situated in several square miles of beautiful rainforest. There are scarlet macaws, toucans and white-faced monkeys in the trees literally above your chalet, and a wide variety of bird, insect and animal life to be seen. There's a butterfly farm that you are free to walk around, and huge iguanas wandering about the paths.
The beaches are beautiful - especially the white sand beach. They are private and not packed with tourists. The water is generally very calm, and if you snorkel you'll see all sorts of colourful reef fish in the rocks, such as trigger and puffer fish.
Compared to the tourists areas of Jaco and Puntarenas the resort is private, safe and relatively quiet.
THE NOT-SO GREAT
The clue is in the name. Hotel & CLUB Punta Leona is a holiday club, and it's set up to be just that. It's not set up to be an eco-destination at all. The resort is a sprawling estate comprising of vacation lets, hotel rooms, private properties and entertainment venues. There's numerous bars, a disco, loudspeakers at the pool area, rowdy guests at the weekend, and a lot of locals driving in for a day at a private beach. You have to wear a brightly-coloured, event-style, tamper-proof wristband for your entire stay. You can't remove it at any time. This allows you access to some areas but not all, and there are security checkpoints around the property to allow you entry by flashing this wristband. However if you want to go to the ice cream parlour 100 metres from the main chalet complex the guard won't let you along a road past private apartments, and you have to walk around the entire estate to get there.
By European/US standards the quality of services is mediocre at best. The buffet breakfast is good enough, by the evening a la carte meals off a laminated sheet are very poor quality at relatively expensive prices (average $70-100 for a family of four). The rooms are tiny, and although they are clean they are basic. Now this is a Central American rainforest and so you do need to adjust your expectations - however, make sure you do before you arrive.
As I said the estate is vast. It's over two miles through rainforest just to get to reception. You need a car to get to/from the estate to the nearest road/town, and even in the complex to get to the white sand beach.
There is very little access to the rainforest at all. There are no marked trails and reception recommend you don't even go there without a guide. Two escorted walks are available but spaces and scope are limited. There's ziplining and kayaking and other adventure options (at a cost) but nature is not the priority.
The majority of people are here to drink and be merry. It's upsetting to be in a rainforest and have people setting off 5-minute firework displays on a Saturday night, or letting their dogs chase the birds along the beach in the morning. People take photos as they hand feed bread and sugar sachets to the 'not so wild anymore' monkeys. The fact that you're staying in such a stunning and ecologically important location seems purely circumstantial.
That being said - IT IS STILL A STUNNING LOCATION and I'd still recommend coming here IF you can overlook the numerous, really unfortunate and serious compromises.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel And Club Punta Leona
- Punta Leona Costa Rica
- Punta Leona Jaco
- Punta Leona Hotel Costa Rica
- Hotel & Club Punta Leona Costa Rica/Jaco