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~
- 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!
- 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!
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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.