While some countries safely reopen and others continue to outline health-focused strategies, buyouts have become an innovative way of promoting social distancing while allowing groups to make up for lost times or opportunities. In situations where destination weddings, honeymoons and important milestone celebrations, like anniversaries and birthdays, have been canceled or postponed due to the impact of Covid-19, resort and private island buyouts emerged as ways to save those events and salvage every moment spent with loved ones.
One of the latest countries to reopen, Costa Rica welcomed back travelers from Europe and Canada on August 1, but the beloved Central American destination’s strategy for reinvigorating the tourism industry and economy is different from others. The government’s “staggered” approach will see businesses and restaurants reopen in the first nine days, followed by a “pause” for 12 days, at which point restrictions will be re-imposed. (All the while, the government requires all incoming visitors to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel, and temperatures checked upon arrival. Masks will be worn at all times in the airport and public areas, and physical distancing must be practiced.)
The country’s reopening comes weeks after a decision to extend the border closure through July, but some of Costa Rica’s hotels already welcomed back guests from near, as they awaited the ability to host those from far. And it was during this time that some of these resorts realized that buyouts serve as a great solution for travelers aching to return to their favorite destination, while also being as socially distant as possible.
Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas and Mal Pais
On July 3, Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas reopened to locals, using its strong emphasis on privacy to promote physical distancing. It was a no-brainer, then, that Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas and its sister property at Mal Pais would launch buyout programs that will make guests feel like the only people on Earth.
Tucked away in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region, Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas meshes stylish luxury accommodations with the area’s incredible natural beauty, while serving as a gateway to the legendary adventures offered throughout this beautiful country. Here, a buyout of the resort’s 21 one-bedroom villas—each with its own private plunge pool—starts at $12,000 per night and will cover as many as 42 guests, who will enjoy complete access to all on-site activities.
The entire party will also have the Sentido Norte bar and restaurant to itself, which means plenty of Casaritas and Guanacaste Mules to go around.
Smaller groups will want to check out the buyout deal at Casa Chameleon at Mal Pais, which starts at $3,000 per night. This resort boasts 10 very distinct adult-only villas that have been designed with regional nature in mind, so much so that no villa is the same. Unless, of course, you count having private plunge pools and magnificent views of the Mal Pais and Santa Teresa beaches, because they all have those.
Mal Pais is very well-known as a surfer’s paradise, but it is also located in one of the world’s seven “Blue Zones,” so there is a huge emphasis on health and wellness, especially when it comes to the food. That shows in the culinary experience at the resort’s Brasas del Mar restaurant, which uses locally sourced ingredients for an open fire cooking experience that will thrill the entire group of 20 people.
OCiO Villas by Casa Chameleon
Not far from Casa Chameleon at Mal Pais, these luxurious villa estates make for a far different experience than the aforementioned resorts. Normally, a group of up to 10 guests will find incredible comfort in the larger Villa Nimbu, which features five master suites that seem like they open up to the entire world. A massive outdoor seating area will keep every guest comfortable as they return from slipping into one of three pools.
Villa Numu, the “smaller” option (it is still nearly 4,500-sq. ft.), is typically an excellent choice for a group of up to four, and it also features three pools, a custom spa and incredible open-air bathrooms.
For this buyout, however, both villas are rented together, allowing for a group of up to 14 people to stay for just $1,500 a night.
Another property in the Blue Zone, Hacienda Barrigona sits on 500 stunning acres, showcasing both the Nicoya Peninsula’s unmatched beauty and the region’s dedication to health and wellness. Here, three villas offer a combined 10 bedrooms, all of which feature a private bath, and a group of 20 can rent all three for $2,495 per night. This trio of villas is especially perfect for a small wedding, as Casa Barrigona features seven bedrooms, Casa Guanacaste offers two, and Casa Dorada is the most intimate with one bedroom.
Three meals will be served daily at the open-air dining area, while yoga and meditation are offered in two open-air studios. That is, if guests can ever bring themselves to leave the privacy of Barrigona Beach.