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Hotel Punta Islita

Sacramento
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18 posts
7 reviews
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Hotel Punta Islita

We are staying at Hotel Punta Islita in a little over a week. We will be bringing a 4-month old and a 3 1/2 year old. Can anyone tell us how far the "town" is and what we can expect to find at the local store? We are wondering if diapers and such are likely to be available.

Also, does anyone know if mosquitos should be any sort of a problem and whether we would be advised to bring a mosquito net for the infant, or not?

Any thoughts about whether a stroller would be helpful to get around at the hotel or going into town?

How about issues of vehicle safety and car seats for getting to the hotel from the airport with kids?

Any other suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. We've been to Manuel Antonio a couple of times, but this will be our first visit to the Nicoya Peninsula. We are flying in to SJO and then switching airports to make the Nature Air flight to Punta Islita.

Thanks!

Panajachel...
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1. Re: Hotel Punta Islita

I've just returned from other parts of CR but I stayed at Punta Islita four years ago. I doubt much has changed in the area. There is almost nothing you could call a "town" but I do remember there was a pulperia or something a half mile or so down the road. Otherwise it is very remote. Chances are the local store will have diapers and there are probably a couple of other small stores within a few miles.

Mosquitos should not be a problem.

There really isn't anyplace much to use a stroller. The hotel itself has a lot of up and down with many steps. I remember a long series of steps and some sidewalks leading down to the beach.

If you are flying into the local airport it is only a couple of miles from the hotel and they certainly provide the transport. If you are flying into Liberia and driving from their you will want car seats. The drive will be long and "interesting". Expect thousands of potholes and some very rough going. In the area close to the hotel bridges are just a dream. I would be very surprised if the roads are any better than when I was there. Everything I hear points to them being worse. The hotel is only six miles from Playa Carillo where there are things associated with a "town" but the road is extreme even when it is dry. When it is rainy there are several stretches where vehicles are routinely hoisted up by long cables attached to tractors and several stream crossings with no bridge. The hotel advises not even trying it when the tide is high. If you are adventure travellers you will love it.

Safety from thieves is minimal but safety from bad roads, wild drivers,etc. is another matter. Some of the few bridges are "Jesus Christ" bridges with no rails and rotting structure.

After all that negative stuff. . . I loved the hotel and think it is one of the best in CR. It is very quiet and very remote. The rooms/casitas are wonderful. The restaurant is great. The beach is good. This is primarily a honeymooner's place. If you have a car drive to the south where there are beautiful deserted beaches. I remember a couple of very quiet places to eat and a community of expats enjoying solitude.

Sacramento
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18 posts
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2. Re: Hotel Punta Islita

GROUCHO123 -

Thanks for the response! That was quite helpful. You confirmed what I had thought was probably the case on all of the issues. We are flying into the local Punta Islita airport and won't be getting a car. We are staying in a 2 bedroom villa while there. We've been to M.A. a couple of times, the last being in 2004, so the country is not new to us, just this particular destination. My biggest worry is packing, given we have the 2 little ones. We are trying to bring as little as possible, but those infants in particular go through lots of diapers and changes of clothes. We need to make an airport transfer by taxi in San Jose (transfer from the Intl' airport to Pavas, I believe), and I'm hoping that this isn't too much of a hassle.

Des Moines, Iowa
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3. Re: Hotel Punta Islita

We were in CR last year (Tambor area) with a 3 1/2 year old and a 6 month old. We did bring lots of bug repellent, especially for the 3 1/2 year old who tends to get bitten A LOT! Our pediatrician recommended using something with DEET, even for kids, because the risk of contracting something from a bug bite is greater than the risk posed by the DEET itself. That being said, we used the spray sparingly and got very few bites.

As for diapers, finding them in the local stores in outlying areas can be hit and miss. If you have time on your trip from one airport to the other in San Jose, I would have your cab driver stop by a major grocery store to pick up diapers, etc. We stopped at several stores in San Jose and all of them had diapers. However, around Tambor we only saw a limited selection in the various stores. I suspect the same is true, if not worse, around Punta Islita as that is even more remote than Tambor.

On the car seat issue, we always rent a car when we are in CR and we have found that most of the cars have seatbelts to hold in the car seats but that the bigger vans don't always have seatbelts in the rear seats. 3 years ago we had to take off our own belts in order to fasten a car seat into a van when we found that it didn't have seat belts. So, though I don't know what kind of vehicle will shuttle you from the airport to Punta Islita, my guess is it will be a van. Thus, it may or may not have seatbelts that can be used to secure a car seat. For the short ride from the airport to Punta Islita I would simply hold the baby on your lap (very tightly!) and leave the carseat at home.

Sacramento
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4. Re: Hotel Punta Islita

Husker7028:

Thanks for the reply. Someone at the hotel had also suggested stopping at a store in San Jose between the airports, as well. Not sure whether that is easier or simply packing them from home, however. Really appreciate the thoughts on the car seats issue. For the 2 mile or so ride between the local airport and the hotel, I was inclined not to worry about it too much. I think that the Hotel told me that they had one car seat that they would ensure would be in the vehicle to pick us up. We have a really compact portable seat that is sort of like a backboard that a larger child is strapped into. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a hassle to install for a single short ride, so we'll have to see how much space we have. We've also got the ride between the two airports in San Jose, which I am told is about 6 miles, or so. Probably more likely to have an accident there than out in the middle of nowhere in Punta Islita!

On the diapers, your experience has been my experience. Probably can find some Central American brand or even a familiar US brand at the local store, but maybe not the right size!

Thanks again!

NY
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5. Re: Hotel Punta Islita

What are you doing about car seats for the airplanes?

There is a huge supermarket (Mas x Menos) in Alajuela, just 5 minutes from the international airport, so if you have enough time have the taxi stop there. Or, to save time and not have to worry about it just pack them from home. Remember that the domestic flights have a 25 lb. luggage per person limit. The domestic flights might be bumpy, so I would suggest you bring motion sickness medication for the kids. Bring a good carrier for the baby instead of the stroller - for the airports and the resort.

Sacramento
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6. Re: Hotel Punta Islita

travel 10000: The older child has his own seat on the plane and the infant will be a "lap child".

We are bringing a Baby Bjorn for the infant regardless of whether we bring a stroller. However, for the older child, a stroller would allow us carry other things other than just the 2 kids, especially if the older one is sleeping. I have a Kelty Carrier, but last time I took it to Costa Rica I didn't get enough use out of it to make it worth the hassle. The Kelty carrier also isn't too good if the kid is asleep and you need to get the kid into it or out of it.

I'm leaning towards just packing everything from home. I know about the weight limit. We've just paid the extra charge for the additional weight in the past.

Thanks again for the comments!