With New Initiatives, this Costa Rican Resort Brings the Blue Zone Lifestyle to Guests and Locals
More than just a Pacific Coast paradise, Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula is one of the world’s five original Blue Zones. If you’ve read the books or watched the Netflix series, you already know that these are the places in the world where locals live healthier lives longer, staying vibrant into their 90s and beyond.
Located in the Nicoya Peninsula, Punta Islita, Autograph Collection, celebrates the Blue Zone lifestyle by bringing Blue Zone principles to its guests, and supporting the local community which developed them in the first place. Since opening its doors in 1994, the Hotel Punta Islita set the standard in integrating human and planetary well-being into business. Today, the hotel is a thriving destination exemplifying a harmonious symbiosis of hotel, community and planet—and the ideal place to go live that Blue Zone lifestyle. Here’s how Punta Islita is bringing Blue Zone living to its guests and neighbors:
Eating Wisely with a “Plant Slant”
In the Blue Zones, locals are largely vegetarian, with a diet heavy on beans and legumes, and peppered sparingly with local fish and meat. With a commitment to sustainable gastronomy, Punta Islita embraces the Zero Kilometer philosophy, serving food that is produced ecologically, organically, and locally, having traveled no more than 100km to arrive at the resort. Displaying an unwavering commitment to social responsibility, Hotel Punta Islita has cultivated an Agro-Marine gastronomy concept that stands as a testament to sustainability and local empowerment. Bolstering the local economy, the hotel has forged a robust alliance with community producers deeply entrenched in the principles of organic farming and responsible, sustainable fishing. This synergy guarantees a continuous supply of local, seasonal ingredients, elevating the hotel’s culinary experiences to new heights.
And the hotel’s commitment to local food keeps growing stronger. This year, Hotel Punta Islita launched its Permaculture Project. At its core, this communal farming endeavor aims to weave the community into the fabric of a sustainable agricultural ecosystem, fostering empowerment, revitalizing local food systems, strengthening the local economy, and advancing food sovereignty. This visionary endeavor serves a threefold purpose:
- To cultivate farm-to-table ingredients for the hotel’s exquisite offerings
- To establish a channel for local products to grace the hotel’s tables, and
- To bring nourishing, affordable fare to the very heart of the local communities.
Belonging, Connecting, and Having a Sense of Purpose
Other tenets of Blue Zones Living involve belonging to a strong community, connecting with others, and having a sense of Purpose. Punta Islita’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovators and Change Makers (EPIC) program does all three. It empowers local entrepreneurs to drive change through innovative thinking, raising awareness of community needs, and catalyzing cultural and economic transformation. Launched in 2022 through a partnership between Hotel Punta Islita, Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Lincoln School in Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica, this initiative engaged 28 students between the ages of 13 and 18 from Colonia del Valle Rural High School, San Francisco de Coyote High School, and El Carmen High School. Together, they embarked on a journey of positive impact and growth toward local transformation.
Hotel Punta Islita’s commitment to community harmony also shines at its vibrant Islita Museum, Costa Rica’s sole open-air contemporary art museum. Led by a group of about 50 local artists, Islita Museum pairs leading Costa Rican and international contemporary artists with emerging talent from local communities. Together, they have created 28 works of outdoor art, dozens of temporary exhibitions in the Museum House (Casa Museo), and countless workshops dedicated to a wide variety of artistic techniques and ideas promoting creativity, self-expression and local identity while simultaneously bolstering the esteem and productivity of local artists. The museum provides continuous support to Guanarte, the collective of five local artist groups consisting of nearly 60 artists (mostly women): Papaturras, Cantarrias, PintArte (previously the Young Artists), BosqueMar, and Matrices. At the Museum House, artists teach various workshops and develop activities for San Jose in coordination with the Costa Rican Art Museum.
Also cultivating purpose and community is Punta Islita’s recent partnership with the Melico Salazar National Theater Workshop.
Reflecting both a sense of purpose and a commitment to preserving the natural environment for the community, Hotel Punta Islita has been a steadfast supporter of the Corozalito Neighborhood Association‘s efforts in the protection and preservation of sea turtles. And while this is a community effort, hotel guests can participate as well, witnessing sea turtles emerging from the depths of the ocean to grace the shore and build their nest along the 3km stretch of Camaronal Beach in the Camaronal Wild Refuge. The immersive experience fosters a deeper appreciation and understanding for the remarkable resilience of these magnificent creatures and underscores the urgent need to protect their delicate ecosystems, ensuring their existence for generations yet to come. It reminds guests and locals alike that we are all part of a greater community. Coupled with enhancing awareness of the need to protect and conserve sea turtles, the initiative generates funds for the sea turtle conservation project.