After two years of having hosted the administration of the municipal spa of Puntarenas and a slow opening since April 15, 2020 – due to the measures and restrictions imposed by the Pandemic – the Punta Pirata water park reopened its doors on March 5, 2021, with a total investment of $ 1 million.
Rodrigo De Bedout, general manager of Punta Pirata, said that, since September of last year, the restrictions began to be lighter for trade, and controlled openings took place. However, as the Health Ministry had classified the spas as mass concentration meeting centers, they had to remain closed until March 2021, when Health issued the reopening directive for these types of establishments.
A complicated but successful inauguration
“I began to generate a very strong pressure by all the means I had, especially social networks and through the Minister of Tourism, Ministry of Health, Municipalities, and Chamber of Tourism, fortunately more than a week ago the statement was given where it was already it allowed the opening of spas. We were able to breathe,” De Bedout said.
Also, since December 12, 2020, the place already had food and beverage service with the opening of its two restaurants, which were open to the general public. The payroll since the restaurants opened was approximately 23 people. But, to be able to attend the spa and other services of the place, they hired 25 more people, for a total of 48 employees. The staff is 100% from the province of Puntarenas. They have staff from Esparza, Miramar, Barranca, El Roble, Puntarenas Centro, among other locations.
“The unemployment issue is very strong in Puntarenas. I can tell you that to hire more than 40 people, we have around 3,000 resumes. At the beginning, when the news was given that we were going to reopen the spa, there were lines of 200 meters of people handing out their CVs”, stated the owner.
On the other hand, the administration is committed to a gradual opening, especially because at the moment it is not “convenient” for them to allow a full capacity, since they are testing equipment, training personnel and the entire adaptation process.
For what they expect, at least in these first months of the year, between 300 and 400 people, despite the fact that the maximum capacity – 50% of the place, by the measures established by Health – is to receive 800 people maximum.
Investment and facilities
The Punta Pirata spa, under the concept and design of a pirate ship, offers food and beverage services, and entertainment. The total investment of $ 1 million includes the construction of its two restaurants —Mirador del Capitán and the Snack Barba Roja— plus all the remodeling and restoration of the water park facilities.
The restaurants are located in a two-story building, which offers the customer two options both internally and externally. That is, windows that serve the boardwalk —for those who want to be only in the restaurant—; and the other window, which has the service directly towards the spa – for people who visit the facilities of the place.
On the first level, there is Snack Barba Roja, with fast food services and snacks. And on the second level, the Mirador del Capitán is located, a formal and a la carte restaurant with table service, some nights live music is played. Both are open to the general public, and especially for those who come to visit the boardwalk, the ferry or the tourist promenade.
“There we have been working, we opened in a good season and we have done well. But the most important thing is to be able to complement the opening of the restaurants with the opening of the spa, to attract more people ”, said De Bedout.
The remodeling of the pool was the most important part of the process. The owner reported that the pool had previously been painted, so its maintenance was extremely complicated and expensive. In addition, as the property was in a state of abandonment for several years, there were concerns that cracks had been generated. Despite this, the pool of approximately 1,400 cubic meters of water was finished with a glass-ceramic finish, which had a price of more than $ 100,000.
On the other hand, it was possible to recover the Club House, the area where the dressing rooms, the ticket office and the lounges are located, the latter were in a state of complete disrepair. They also roofed some terraces, arranged the gardens, and built a convenience store called El Tesoro, where they sell souvenirs.
The newest thing about the spa was the acquisition of two entertainment play areas, one for the garden area, and another that is located in the lower part of the pool. “The place is a family destination, and our most important marketing channel is the children telling their parents to take them to visit the spa. That is our strategy to see if we increase the influx of people”, he concluded.
Tickets to the place have a cost of ¢ 4,500 on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (Tuesday is closed); and ¢ 6,000 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Seniors pay ¢ 3,500 during the week; and children under the age of two are not charged for admission. They also have packages available ranging from ¢ 9,000 to ¢ 11,000.