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“One of the best things I've ever done for myself” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Panacea de la Montana Yoga Retreat & Spa

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Panacea de la Montana Yoga Retreat & Spa
Finca Josefina, Huacas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica   |  
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30% off room rate
Ranked #1 of 1 Huacas B&B and Inns
Toronto, Canada
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“One of the best things I've ever done for myself”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

By nature, I'm a skeptic. So even after I read through all of these amazing tripadvisor reviews I wasn't 100% sure whether I should book at Panacea.The moment I knew that it was meant to be was when Mary emailed me back and the first line read :"You are one step away from a vacation that will leave you balanced and at peace"

I travelled alone and spent 7 days in Panacea this June and I believe it was one of the best things I've ever done for myself. I would highly encourage you to go and experience it for yourself~

Accommodations/Location
- Panacea is located on-top a mountain and is a 10min (free) shuttle ride from tamarindo beach which makes it feel like a nice escape and a more authentic experience
- Based on the pictures from the website I was ready for "camping" vs a luxury resort so it was a pleasant surprise when I arrived! Everything from the beautiful infinity pool with the mountain view to the cute cabins were clean, in good condition and better than I expected. While there is no air conditioning, there is a fan in the room to help keep cool and while the towels/sheets aren't automatically changed to be environmentally friendly...if you make a request I'm sure it's not a problem :)
- As per the other reviews there is a short hike from the main dining area to the cabins but I loved it since it forced some exercise and by the end of the week my legs already felt more toned! Also it's nice feeling like you're IN nature. The only thing that i would have changed if i could were the mosquitos :) Since my trip was scheduled at the start of wet/green season, they were out in full force. I would recommend packing a second bottle of repellent in your bag!

Food
- Besides being one of the fabulous owners, Debbie is a great chef. She makes amazing vegetarian meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are often made with organic produce from the markets. The meals are always nutritious and substantial but if you tend to be a person that needs more than 3 meals a day, you can purchase extra snacks from the kitchen like smoothies. I purchased one of Debbie's cookbooks to bring back home because I loved some of the recipes so much

Yoga & Meditation
-Every morning at 7am is yoga with Mary. I've been practicing yoga for a couple of years now and have never had a teacher as thoughtful and knowledgable as Mary. I would say that it's a lesson as well as a practice as she takes the time to help you understand how to do a pose properly, the benefits of the pose and also takes time to teach how to properly incorporate yoga blocks & blankets to accomodate for each person's physical abilities
- While starting every day with yoga is amazing, Panacea also offers up a lot of different opportunities for meditation and self reflection...whether it's taking a stroll through the outdoor labyrinth or flipping through the Book of Destiny found in the kitchen!

The People
Mary, Debbie and Peter are such special people and all three have such a cool attitude towards life. I was also lucky in that the other guests staying at Panacea were truly inspiring and I made a couple of friends that I hope to keep in touch with :) While painting rocks, making jewelry and playing cards one night, we joked that Panacea shoud be rebranded as summer camp for grown ups because it truly brings you back to a simpler, more joyful time.

Activities & other extras
- I would highly recommend scheduling a surf lesson during your stay. A 2hr semi private lesson for $45 that had us up on our boards in no time! For the ladies a one piece may be a better call than a bikini that tends to require a lot of adjusting
- Zip lining in the canopy was also amazing and some of my most impressive pictures from the trip
- Dont leave panacea without booking a massage with Caroline! She has a gift of connecting with your body to understand where/how much pressure you need and she genuinely cares vs other masseurs that "go through the motions"
- There is no WIFI or phone service which means more of an opportunity to catch up on those books you've been meaning to read or playing cards and boardgames

At the end of 7 days I truly did feel more balanced and at peace! I typically don't travel to the same place twice given limited vacation days/funds and the simple fact that there is so much of the world to see... however, Panacea has earned a spot on the exception list and there will definitely be another trip in the future.

Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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131 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Danbury, Connecticut
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

This was like going to a friends home, with your bedroom located a few feet up the side of a mountain. Very welcoming and gracious. Was nice to escape the electronic world. Expert yoga instruction. I had never stepped in to a yoga class. Mary was quick to notice my limitations and made adjustments to prevent any injury. Love the whimsical inspirational painted signs, rocks and dragon. The view form my cabin was spectacular. It spanned from the mountains to the valley and outward to the Pacific Ocean. We were entertained each evening by the monkeys. Food was excellent, I was skeptical because i do not eat vegetarian, but i bought their cook book to start. Nice change of pace, try it, you'll like it.

Room Tip: Best view us at the top
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

Panacea was the perfect place to have an incredible vacation but also a place where you can reconnect with yourself. The environment, yoga, food and company made it really special and after my week here I can't imagine going to a regular resort. I was able to have some adventures in Tamarindo and on a Canopy tour, see lots of monkey's and enjoy spa treatment with a massage and volcanic mud wrap. Everything was so easy, Mary arranged all of the trips and the staff were so friendly and helpful. Debbie made incredible vegetarian meals for us everyday, they were so good I bought the cookbook and can't wait to recreate them at home. Peter gave us some expert reflexology treatment and was such a pleasure to talk to. Mary, Deb and Peter are some of the most passionate people I have met and I feel like after a week with them I am ready to bring more passion into my everyday life. I also can't say enough about the yoga, Mary is an amazing teacher and I learned more from her in 7 days than I have in years going to yoga classes at home.

If you are thinking about booking a vacation here you are on the right track! I promise you won't regret it.

Room Tip: My sister and I stayed in the Cabina called "Estrella", it is a bit higher up but has incr...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottesville, Virginia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

Breathtaking views, delicious home-cooked meals, friendly people (and pets!). We couldn't have asked for a more relaxing, accommodating, wonderful vacation destination. We look forward to returning someday.

Room Tip: They're not kidding when they say it's on a mountain! It's a moderately strenuous 5 minu...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dayton, Ohio
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

We loved the time spent at Panacea. The owners, Mary, Deb and Peter, were wonderful ambassadors of the area and gracious hosts. The resort is small and was nearly full with seven guests so as we shared meals and activities, we got acquainted. Deb prepared delicious vegetarian meals - more food than I could eat - and even provided box lunches on days we were away from the resort. Each morning we enjoyed coffee, juice and fresh fruit before a yoga class, followed by a full vegetarian breakfast. My husband was new to yoga but Mary's instruction allowed him to participate fully - and peaked his interest in continuing to learn about yoga. Peter offered a water exercise class every afternoon. The resort is on a mountain and the gathering area is at the bottom with cabinas (guest houses) up the hill. It's quite a climb but there are interesting artifacts and great views along the way. At the bottom of this hill is a beautiful infinity pool and an open air dining room/gathering space. If you're inclined there are books, games and craft supplies available there. We were a bit concerned to find no A/C in the cabina but with windows open, we never had an issue with heat. The view from our porch was breathtaking and we were provided with a hammock and chairs to enjoy it. Howler monkeys populated the trees in back of the cabina. Our hosts provided transportation into Tamarindo every day if we wished to visit the beach, shop, buy wine.... We were also offered a choice among 8 "adventures" that our hosts scheduled for us. We chose zip-lining with Canopy Tours Cartegna; a sunset cruise aboard a large catamaran including buffet lunch and open bar, kayaking and snorkeling with Blue Dolphin Sailing; and visiting a family ranch at Finca de Garza. We were the only guests to do the ranch tour and after talking about it over dinner, the other guests were disappointed they hadn't joined us. Our guide at the ranch was Alejandro Garza and he was rightfully proud of his family's business. We toured the extensive property in a traditional ox cart but the highlight was riding horseback to round up the cattle at the end of the day. We will go back to Panacea - it was a wonderful trip!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

My boyfriend and I bought a voucher for Panacea off of Living Social Escapes and had the best vacation! We even booked an extra night! We were nervous going into it but everything was far beyond our expectations. The bungalows are adorable and absolutely perfect for 2 people. The table and hammock are an excellent idea although we didn't spend much time there considering the amazing infinity pool down in the common area. I was particularly nervous about bugs and other creatures but there were absolutely no problems with the cabana (we went in July). Mary, Debbie, and Peter are all so nice and accommodating. The pets are great fun too! The food is fantastic and I did not mind it being vegetarian one but (my boyfriend didn't mind either and neither of us are vegetarian). Every morning there was fresh fruit and coffee available before breakfast. All three meals are freshly cooked and were delicious. The excursions were my favorite part and the owners helped immensely with transportation. We even arranged to have a driver pick us up from the airport and bring us back. Even on the days when we didn't leave Panacea at all, my boyfriend and I had a great time hanging out at the pool and playing games (they have tons of them!). I would definitely recommend this place instead of some huge, all-inclusive resort in town. Being up on the mountain with the monkeys is exactly what I would want when going to Costa Rica. You should stay at this place; voucher or no voucher it's the best !

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

I just returned from a fantastic stay at Panacea. I can not say enough great things about this place. It is set on a beautiful mountain with fantastic views. You stay in a great cabina up on the mountain with the sound of nature to put you to sleep. Waking up to the sound of monkeys was amazing. Yoga each morning was exactly what I needed to unwind from my hectic NYC life. Mary makes everything so easy, handling arrangements for all of our activities and shuttle to/from the airport. Debbie's food is incredible! Peter is fantastic, my reflexology was wonderful. The three of them have a special place in Panacea. I am so happy they welcomed me into their home. I can not wait to go back!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Panacea de la Montana Yoga Retreat & Spa

Address: Finca Josefina, Huacas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Tamarindo > Huacas
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Huacas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All-inclusive yoga retreat in the mountains of the North Pacific coast of Costa Rica, 15 minutes from Tamarindo Beach, Panacea is the ideal place to restore mind, body, and spirit. Comfortable hilltop cabinas with full bathrooms, single and double beds, with spectacular views of the Pacific from your porch hammock. Includes three delicious, healthy meals, yoga and water exercise classes daily, use of infinity pool, labyrinth, rancho, mediation areas, etc. Spa services available. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Panacea De La Montana Tamarindo

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