We just returned from a weeks vacation at Las Casitas/El Conquistador. As every review states, the grounds and views are absolutely beautiful. We stayed in a one bedroom garden view casita in the North Village. We were able to walk to everthing including the El Con amenities, golf course, all pools, restaurants, etc. We did not rent a car but if we were to go back, I believe we would next time. The shuttle to and from the airport was costly ($155 each way for 5 people- 2 adults and 3 children).
A couple of things really bothered us about this resort. Namely, the common areas around the pool were full of empty cups, plates, garbage wrappers consistently. Yes, the breeze picks up which causes things to blow around but none of the workers seemed to care to pick trash up. (Neither did the guests which isn't right either!). One afternoon, a little girl vomited pool side. The owners didn't clean it up which we found pretty rude but when I complained about it hours later to the pool attendant, he didnt seem to act quickly either. We went to dinner and finally 5 hours after the vomit had occurred, it was cleaned up.
The beach at Palomino Island is gorgeous and very entertaining for kids. There are a lot of no-cost activities to pass the time out of the sun. (Chess, soccer, basketball, corn hole, etc) The restaurant there is decent for lunch but be aware of the wildlife! You will see large iguanas roaming around the restaurant, birds flying everywhere-landing on vacated tables to eat the leftovers and also leave their droppings on your chairs and tables!! (GROSS-staff doesn't seem to care and therefore they don't clean any of it either-) chickens and horses and again BIRDS.
We really did have a wonderful vacation and I do recommend this place for families and I do think we will go back again. However, I wish the cleaning crew would scrub down the pool decks, chairs and tables daily. Having to watch for bird feces everywhere got to be annoying! I've never seen this problem at any other resort...not sure why the hotel management can't prevent this from happening.
Oh, one more thing....be prepared to pay extra fees. There are 2 tax charges along with the resort charge per person. For us, it added up to $400 per night for one bedroom garden view casita!