Hotel Punta Islita, a terraced getaway on Costa Rica’s remote Nicoya Peninsula, makes for a tranquil counterpoint to the adventurous jungle regions of Arenal and Monteverde. Nearby Playa Carrillo’s palm-lined cove is an ideal spot to string a hammock and enjoy a sunset after an afternoon spent nursing Guaro Sours at a beachfront café.
We suggest booking a casita or a villa here. Casitas offer private plunge pools, decks with plush outdoor chairs and a hammock, and cool terra-cotta floors (202-206 offer the best views). The larger villas have expansive decks with infinity plunge pools. Check the property map before reserving a villa, however, as some are a good distance from the main facilities.
As for dining, ask at breakfast if you can make a dinner reservation, since poolside tables book up first thing in the morning. Request the table to the far right of the restaurant as you enter, beneath the overhanging mango tree, for a bit more privacy. It’s also an excellent place to enjoy the property’s magnificent evening display of fireflies.
The property hosts a romantic beach buffet on Saturday evenings, rife with tree-strung lanterns and guitar serenades. For excellent local food, try the Cambute down the road. The restaurant serves platos típicos (a local dish consisting of meat, rice, beans and salad) and ice-cold Imperials. Keep an eye out for the tame deer that wander the grounds.
Punta Islita is about a three-hour drive from the new Liberia International Airport (or a 40-minute private plane ride). The hotel offers personal golf carts for cruising the grounds at a rate of $50 a day, and 4x4s can be rented for $60 a day, offering you the freedom to explore the nearby beaches of Carillo and Samara.
Hotel Punta Islita Casita, from $542; Two-bedroom villa, from $775. Islita Beach, Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Tel. +(506) 2656-3036.