We stayed at Hotel Punta Leona from 21st December to 28th December 2010. We really had a super time and given the diversity of the reviews for this place, thought of writing a detailed description of what we found.
Me, my wife and our teenage son booked this all inclusive hotel through Nolitours. The reservations, flight on Air Transat, meeting their representative at San Jose International Airport and transfer to the hotel went very smoothly and efficiently. The hotel is about 100 km from San Jose (2hrs by bus), just north of Jaco Beach.
Hotel is not a luxury 4-5 star. If that is what you are looking for, don’t consider this place. The hotel is in the middle of a 750 acre private nature reservation. The location is absolutely amazing, surrounded by thick rainforest and with two fabulous beaches. One white sandy, and the other volcanic (brown sand). The place teems with wild life, birds and animals such as monkeys. Both beaches are suitable for swimming and snorkelling. This is not the place for surfing. Go to Jaco beach for that. The water is not crystal clear as in Cuba or Mexico, especially if it had rained before. However, it is not a big problem.
We stayed in a Selvamar Standard Room in the Jamaica section. The three of us had two double beds. The room was small but spotless and so was the bathroom. There was a small fridge that we did not use. The linen was changed everyday. TV has many Spanish and English channels including CNN and Fox. These rooms are not close to the beaches, 10 minute walk to the brown sandy beach and 40 minute walk to the white sandy beach. However, a shuttle operates through out the complex (between 8.00 AM and 5.00 PM) and we never had to wait more than 15 minutes for one.
There are three restaurants and a bar on the beach. The main buffet restaurant is very close to the guest rooms. One is near the brown beach and the other one at the white Sandy beach. So if you want to spend the whole day at a beach, it is not a problem with food and drinks. The food was very good in all three restaurants. Some of the more expensive dishes at the restaurants are not part of the all inclusive package and if you want to order those you will have to pay half the cost. However, there are enough items on the all inclusive menu. Also note that the Hotel is 3 Star, so don’t expect a 300 item buffet. The selection is small, but the food was generally very good. Same deal with the drinks. When ordering wine other than the house wine is extra. Some cocktails are also extra. There is one a la carte restaurant and you need reservations for that place. The restaurant at Playa Blanca, which is the white sandy beach, serves very good sea food. On days that you might go on long trips to places like Arenal volcano or the Monteverde Cloud Forest, they will provide you with bagged lunches if requested in advance. The tap water was safe to drink.
In terms of other facilities, there is computer room with free internet (I think they were only free for the people on all inclusive packages). There were signs all over which said that there is free wi-fi, but we did not use that. The reception will arrange for car rentals and taxis. Given the remote location if you want to explore near by towns, you need a car or a taxi. The hotel area is four miles from the main gate of the whole complex. There are nature tours within the complex, early morning and in the evening, conducted by knowledgeable guides who spoke good English. There are two pools (one kids and one adult) we never used those. Why use a pool when there is the whole of Pacific Ocean right in front of you? The hotel complex has its own zip-line system and the usual assortments of tennis, volleyball, ping-pong, mini golf and other activities. Some of these activities are not part of the all inclusive and you will have to pay for those.
The main attraction here is the closeness to nature. The number of different bird types that you see here are astounding. There are White-faced monkeys everywhere, especially around the restaurants. If you don’t keep a close eye, you are almost sure to lose your breakfast to a monkey. The experience of sitting under giant trees and have your meal while monkeys play around you on the trees and Coatimudis prowling under your table for any food scrapes is absolutely unique.
Playa Blanca beach here is one of the most beautiful places that I have been in. We have travelled extensively in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Asia so I have seen a lot of beaches in my time. The tide changes quiet a bit here so at low tide there are many tidal pools that you can explore. A good place for snorkelling. We say many types of fish and we even saw lobsters. Given that you are in a secure private nature reserve, no one will try to hassle you or try to sell stuff on the beach.
So we had an absolutely great time. However, keep in mind this is not a 4-5 Star luxury hotel. If you need fancy restaurants, Jacuzzi in your room, 300 item buffet, nightlife and discos, this is defiantly not the place for you. Also remember that you are in the middle of a rain forest. So there are lot of insects and creepy crawlies all over. If you are scared of those, again this is not the place for you. The room that we were in was sealed and air conditioned, so we did not get any in our room. The pathways through out the complex are all well maintained and well lit, so again there is no problem in walking anywhere even in the night. However, when walking in the night I would wear covered shoes. After all this is Costa Rican rain forest and there are poisonous snakes and frogs here. Contrary to what we were told before we left Canada, mosquitoes were not and issue (may be because of the time of the year?). We did not use even once the bug spray that we carried.
We found the staff generally very friendly and helpful.
If you are ready for a completely different experience close to nature, you will love this place. If you are into bird watching. You will be in Haven.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So take a look at my Google album at this link:
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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