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“Authentic Travel Experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel & Club Punta Leona

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Hotel & Club Punta Leona
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Playa Blanca | Punta Leona, Jaco 1000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #20 of 43 Hotels in Jaco
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Authentic Travel Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2011

Firstly, a note about the tour company: I travelled with Air Transat/ Nolitours out of Toronto for the first time. I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought the air and hotel package was a great deal, so I wondered what "compromises" I might have to endure as a result of the price. (I am a frequent international business traveller, so I think I've experienced the full range of possibilities.) I was so surprised to find the travel to be comfortable and well-organized (from check-in, to courtesy sparkling wine on take-off, to good food, entertainment, and service on the flight, to efficient ground transfers on arrival). All representatives of the company were courteous, professional, and competent as well. Congratulations on the excellent service. I hope Air Canada is paying attention!

As far as the resort is concerned, it felt like an authentic insight into Costa Rican culture to me. (The resort is obviously a destination for Costa Ricans, since on the weekend, it was full of families we guessed had come to the coast from San Jose.) If you're looking for a 4-5 star hotel or gourmet food, this is not the place for you. You should be planning a trip to Europe. If you're looking for an unique experience in the thick of the rainforest; teeming with wildlife, with lots of options for outdoor activities, and basic, clean, and affordable accommodations, you will be very pleased with this resort.

We stayed in one of the stand-alone chalets, as we weren't on the all-inclusive package. These are basic and a little worn, but they include full kitchens and sitting areas, so we were able to cook for ourselves and relax in our rooms at the end of a full day.

The beaches and amenities at the resort are great and offer something for everyone, the staff is very friendly and helpful, and overall the resort feels safe and well-maintained. The beaches are about a 20-minute walk from most of the rooms. We enjoyed the opportunity to experience the outdoors in this part of the world and didn't use the shuttles once over the course of a week.

All in all, if you're interested in exploring Costa Rican landscape and culture, you will enjoy Punta Leona. We will be returning.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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560 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2011

We stayed as this hotel for its convenient location on the highway. The property is sprawling, but there are two beaches within walking distance.
The rooms were very expensive, but small. The check-in desk was understaffed and slow. When we arrived there was no parking space for our car. Perhaps this is a good place to stay for families with young children, but we were not impressed. Every other hotel we stayed in during our month-long trip gave better value than this hotel.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sibolga, Indonesia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2011

Playa Blanca is incredible and makes you forgive all else about the "resort". Arrive early for a chair (free!). Beach disappears at high tide. Bring your own food/drink and stay in a condo with a kitchen. Arenas apartments were well located, but rooms back up to parking lot so it can be noisy if you don't use the room air conditioner. Played "musical cars" each night as front desk hands out multiple parking slips per unit, but there is only one (assigned) spot per unit. Family of loud (at night) lizards live in unit 3 (behind lower cabinets and banana picture) so request a different unit. You need a pass ("letters of transit" for Casablanca fans) to exit the facility at any time so stop at the desk before dining in Jaco or Hermosa.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2011

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:

http://picasaweb.google.com/laviniam09/CostaRica#

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2011

Definitely one of the worst hotels I have ever visited. Don't know why people on this site are so jazzed up on the beach (playa Blanca had a Severe riptide and the lifeguards would only allow you to swim in a 30 foot channel) otherwise they would blow their whistle and make a fuss, god forbid you were 5 feet out of their pathetic swimming zone...!

My son, who is 4, quickly developed an itchy rash all over his body-- we asked the hotel if we could leave early and they refused us a partial refund and their medic claimed it was a sun rash!!!! We left anyway and When we got back to New York, the pediatrician pointed out that they were bedbugs bites. Totally scary!!

I would definitely not recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a clean, relaxing place...

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2011

We are a small family from Brooklyn (4.5 yr-old son). Well-travelled. Usually stay in small boutique-type (tablet style) hotels.

This hotel is pehaps better for more middle class families who don't really mind cafeteria style food, apathetic service & "kid's activities" (half-hearted affairs in spanish... if they happen at all), an army of bored security guards who are always cooking up ways to hassle/perster you throughout your trip, holiday inn-style rooms, etc., but aside from the monkey breakfast and playa blanca, we couldn't wait to leave.

With the exception of breakfast, the food is almost totally inedible.

Most of the front desk are more than vaguely annoyed that you are coming to them and making them work. They don't really care if they give you the right answer or if they book you on the right walk, they just want you to leave them alone (thanks, for instance, Rita Jiron, for telling us that a kids tour was at 9PM when it was actually at 9AM... and after being corrected by a colleague not even telling us that she had made a mistake).

The staff of security guards are bored, feckless individuals who spend their days looking for ways to exert a show of authority. One gave me a lesson on how to park. 2 or 3 made me wait 10 minutes at the front gate while they talked to friends, attended to other tasks, etc in the gatehouse before they could let us back into the premises. All of them sit there and watch you and are a total invasion of privacy.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
43 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2010

Couple - 2
Date: December 2010 (Christmas)

We were looking for an all inclusive resort in Jaco beach for rainforest hopping and surfing. Having stayed in 4-5 star typical resorts in Dominican, Cuban and Mexican resorts, we knew that booking a 3-star would be a dip in our expectations. Being that this was the ONLY all inclusive we could find in the Jaco area, in a country known for its rainforests and non-commercial living we knew it would be out of the ordinary.

What we didnt expect was the fact that the hotel was no where close to Jaco beach (a good 30 minute bus from the gate or $25 US cab ride - one way) and also required a 10 minute shuttle to their 'white beach' (albeit, the best one in the area). But once you figured out the 'system' it wasn't a big deal.

A few key things to watch out for -

* ONLY ONE bar at the main resort/beach/reception wing. You MUST order off their short drink list or will be given the bill. I was charged 10 bucks for margaritas, even though I had the All Inclusive wrist band

* no bar at reception

* barely anyone speaks english except for the reception and maybe a few waiters

* ONLY one restaurant - as opposed to the usual 3, and snack bars

* buffet is EXTREMELY small and limited

* breakfast, lunch and dinner are at SET times - you miss it you must walk to the beach to get their 'order' menu and wait a good 20 minutes for them to make the food for you. Its decent (pizza, burgers, etc) but its a hassle otherwise.

* you MUST show your band and declare your room number at all times, or else you are given a bill for the drinks and food - once you do, its no big deal - but a hassle when you have to hop around looking for food at say, 4pm and the main buffet is closed

* the BEACH ( there are two of them) require quite a jaunt - one 'WHITE beach "Playa Blanca" is a good 20 minute 'shuttle' away, but you can jog/walk for about 15 minutes from the hotel lodges. The darker rockier beach is closer, about 10 minutes from the rooms

* 10 minutes from the gate - you will need to wait for the shuttle (comes twice a day) or pay $5 per person to get a ride to the gate.


Positives -

* Playa Blanca "white beach" is pretty awesome if you make the trek early in the morning and get a spot. You can stay there all day and order drinks and food off their priced menu for free. Drawback is you will need to walk the windy and rocky trail or wait for the shuttle (every 30 minutes)

* Landscaping and Lodgings are incredible. The trees, animals and views are amazing. You feel like you are a guest of the jungle...the animals definately take over the place (e.g. capucin monkeys at breakfast steal sugar off the tables)

* animals and wildlife everywhere! Better than the tours to Monteverde!

* Location of rooms to restaurant is fantastic. Right next door!


Overall, considering that we were able to get week's stay for under $1500 per person (including taxes and surcharges) during Christmas in a country full of vocanos, rainforests, surfing and wild life it sure beats a typical dominican cookie cutter vacation.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel & Club Punta Leona

Address: Playa Blanca | Punta Leona, Jaco 1000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Jaco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Spa Hotel in Jaco
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Jaco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel & Club Punta Leona 3*
Number of rooms: 108
Reservation Options:
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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

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