February 9, 2024 CCoriano

Punta Islita, Costa Rica: The Art of Living Well

Where Nature, Culture, and Sustainability Converge 


Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula is one of the world’s five original Blue Zones, where people live significantly longer, healthier lives than average. A strong sense of purpose (plan de vida), vibrant social networks, and a Mesoamerican diet consisting of the “three sisters” of agriculture—squash, corn, and beans—are core characteristics of Nicoyan centenarians’ secret to longevity.

Located in a remote, secluded corner of the province of Guanacaste, the town of Punta Islita—named for a tiny tuft of land that becomes an island at high tide—is synonymous with Hotel Punta Islita. Since its inception in 1994, the hotel grew in complete harmony with its local community and natural surroundings, integrating sustainable development into the core of its business DNA by supporting initiatives including reforestation, wildlife conservation, and the socio-economic development of the Punta Islita community.

Today, Punta Islita, Autograph Collection offers guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in this Blue Zone paradise while promoting a beautiful future for the local community—and the land itself. With new initiatives including permaculture farming and a community art program, the Hotel Punta Islita brings together Blue Zone principles and Pura Vida living for the benefit of visitors, locals, and the natural surroundings. Read on to discover how Hotel Punta Islita’s exemplifies, and empowers, the Art of Living Well.



Blue Zone Diet – Physical Activity – Sense of Purpose
Hotel Punta Islita’s new Permaculture Farm—with over 30 species of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and herbs—serves the dual purpose of supplying 100% of the produce for the hotel, the Bar, and the Nanku Wellbeing Center while providing nutritious, accessible food to the local community. The farm also functions as an educational space where guests learn sustainable farming practices they can take home.

Maintaining Social Networks – Embracing Culture
Close to the hotel, the quaint town of Punta Islita, with about 150 residents, is a living open-air museum featuring colorful mosaics and murals, sculptures, a school, a soccer field, a church, a technology center, a day care center. Visitors and locals mingle at the Pulperia (a traditional small convenience store) and the Islita Museum (Casa Museo)—Costa Rica’s sole open-air contemporary art museum comprising an open-air theater and a dedicated space for offering art workshops.

On the third Sunday of every month, hotel guests are invited to enjoy a traditional Guanacasteco Breakfast within the outdoor space of the Islita Museum. There, they have the opportunity to watch and learn from local residents cooking traditional dishes from the Guanacaste region using fresh ingredients from the hotel’s Permaculture Farm. Breads are freshly baked in a traditional stone oven, and breakfast is served outdoors on the premises of the Casa Museo, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the local culture and cuisine at an authentic cultural experience.


Sense of Purpose – Artful Living
Near Hotel Punta Islita, the Islita Museum exemplifies empowering local women artists. Through creating and teaching art workshops to the local community and visitors, these women have not only realized their artistic potential but have also opened new avenues for generating income for their families. This initiative initially faced resistance from the artists’ husbands, who expected them to remain at home following the local custom. But as the years passed, the men began to recognize and appreciate the vital contribution of their wives to both the community’s cultural richness and the family’s financial stability.

In 2023 alone, local women artisans generated substantial revenue: US $18,000 from producing and selling art, and an additional US $10,000 from conducting art and cooking classes. Women artisans craft their art, which is then displayed in the museum’s gallery. Revenue is split, with 70% going to the artist and 30% to the museum’s administrative fees. In addition, the artists receive a direct fee for each class they conduct—$35 for a cooking class and $12 for an art class. Sales generated by the museum foster financial independence among local women and ensure the sustainability of the museum and the continued enrichment of the community’s cultural landscape. The initiative also offers visitors an opportunity to support local artists and return with meaningful souvenirs of their time in this Blue Zone paradise—handmade artworks that remind them to practice the art of living well.

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