Hello all. I was not thoroughly impressed with my stay at Ama Tierra, but I will begin with the positives.
The Positives - The food is excellent. The cooking staff is very friendly. Most of the other staff would kind of keep to themselves, which was fine. There is an assistant named Davis who was very funny and helpful. The view is stunning. Ama Tierra is located in the Costa Rican dry forest. Luckily, as I came to the retreat, a lot of other people in my age group were also coming so I had a lot of people to talk to and learned a lot from them. The yoga studio is beyond beautiful. The trip to the rainforest had a guide named Victor who was very knowledgable and funny.
The Negatives - Bob and Jill..They seemed very pushy to get us to buy the products or services they were offering. I'm not sure if it was because business was slow or if that's how they come across year round. Jill will spend some time with you in the beginning explaining all the services she offers. Each service was at least 50$ and usually around 100$. And if you mention any type of interest in the service, she keeps bringing it up to try to get you to sign up for the service. For example, she called me on the house phone and asked me if I wanted to do a nutritional consult when I originally told her I would get back to her if I wanted to do it. Whenever you enter the main area, where people come to eat and also the front desk. Bob or Jill try to pitch either a yoga shirt or a yoga bag that are hand made by her daughter. I'm glad they are supporting her art but I can see the rack myself and decide whether or not I would like to purchase something. Jill actually even told me that the "Yoga bags are hand-painted and $35 now, but I'm sure the price will go up." It all seemed like some marketing pitch.
My package mentions "daily yoga classes" but there's only really two classes a day. And some days only one class a day, depending if Jill wants to hold both. Sometimes it is one yoga class and one meditation class. The yoga classes were at 730 and 1715. If you went to an extra yoga class you were charged $12 USD. I was expecting more of a yoga experience.
Jill and Bob both seemed to forget my name. I remember telling Bob that I would like to pay my balance on my fourth day there, and he had to look me up by name. And he paused for a little while and then said "Oh yeah...[my name]." And Jill while in the yoga studio came up behind me and said "Can you move over?" It would've been nice if she used my name. They only had a handful of people there at the time so...I thought remembering one of the 6 guests names would be natural and necessary for their line of business.
They only serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And any snacks or bottles of water are extra (Surprise). Although there is usually tap water and tea available for free. The reason I mention this is that breakfast is the same two options everyday (Eggs or yogurt with granola) and the lunch is usually very light. And there is 6 hours between lunch and dinner. Lunch is served at 1pm and dinner at 7pm. I often found myself hungry in between meals. And sometimes the meals weren't all too filling, this is coming from a 125lb female. I would often feel my blood sugar dropping and would think about when is the next meal instead of relaxing. Also it is in a rural area, so it's not like you can walk down to the store and buy something.
The food part 2 - A friend I met on the trip and I only eat fish. We are what you call pescatarian. There was a dish that had both a fish and chicken option and was basked in a white sauce. Bob and Jill were notified of our eating preferences and we had hoped would alert the staff. There weren't that many people staying at Ama tierra at the time (I think at that point it was up to eight) and for the price we paid to go you would think they would have it all figured out. My friend found a piece of chicken in her plate, but wasn't sure because the whole dish was white. Bob assured her it wasn't chicken. But a fellow guest tried it and told us it was chicken. So hearing this going on I thoroughly checked my plate and found a little piece of chicken in my plate as well, and put it to the side. Thankfully, my friend brought it up otherwise I wouldn't have even checked my plate.
There are spiders, and yes the website mentions this. There was a reasonably sized one in my shower and I can't bring myself to kill things so I had to live with it.
If you want to do any type of excursion they are usually far away (2+ hr driving on hilly roads) and sometimes you have to pay for transportation. If you want to visit more of Costa Rica besides Ama Tierra (which I highly suggest you do), it is usually more convenient to stay in San Jose. Most excursions leave from San Jose and hostels can be had for 10/night which is cheaper than Amatierra.
I picked the 5 night package. And you slowly began to realize that there is not that much to do. Yes I came to get away from it all but I also came to have a good time. I think for the almost 2 grand I paid for the package and the airfare that I would have had a better time. With my wellness package, I expected too much I think. I was expecting more yoga and I was expecting some insight into wellness. I was hoping to learn more about what I could do and changes I could make to feel well when I got back to my country. But anything that is not outlined in the package was considered extra and something they can make a buck on. All I wanted was some dialogue. I learned much more from the guests.
For the money I guess I expected a lot more. There are other yoga retreats in Costa Rica and other countries where I have heard you can get a life changing experience. This was more of a nuisance than a enjoyable trip, let alone life changing. Save your money and look for other places.
And the Jacuzzi still does not work.