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“Not my best decision” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Amatierra Retreat and Wellness Center

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Amatierra Retreat and Wellness Center
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San Pablo De Turrubares, San Pablo, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in San Pablo
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Not my best decision”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2012

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.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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273 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    228
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calhoun, Georgia, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2012

I have been blessed with travel to many places, & AmaTierra is one of the most incredible & fulfillng. Nestled in the spectular beautiful Costa Rican rain forest, the entire setting is very welcoming & relaxing. The open-air yoga studio is ULTIMATE BLISS! The knowledge & expertise of the wellness services are excellent - I did most all of them. The studio style accomodations were clean & comfortable. The food was fabulous, from the Ahi Tuna, caught a couple of hours before dinner, to the sumptous flavor of the fresh Mango & Papaya. It was fun to meet & share activities with guests. Last, but certainly not least, the hospitality of the entire Team at AmaTierra is exceptional. Jill & Bob are genuinely personable & attentive. Jill is such a beautiful spirit & a comfortable energy. Bob is always smiling & will set-up the best for your off-site activities & sightseeing. Steven is a sweetheart, graciously attending to your needs. If you want to disconnect from this crazy, fast-paced, stressful world & reconnect with what matters - mind, body & spirit, AmaTierra is exactly what you are looking for. This was our honeymoon & we are looking forward to going back. I'm also hoping to do a yoga retreat with a group of my students next year. As evident by AmaTierra, you don't have to be an extravagent resort to be five star & fabulous!!! C.C. Cox - Owner/Instructor - North Georgia Yoga

Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Kandahar, Afghanistan
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

I am working in Afghanistan and this vacation was amazing and awesome! Exactly what I needed. Where to start... The retreat location is totally cool with a freaking mind blowing view, the yoga studio is just awesome, Jill and Bob along with the staff are wonderful people so you feel totally comfortable. Jill and Bob are just awesome, they take care of you so you don't worry about anything. I did activities outside the retreat as well and all of those were a lot fun, the horse reflection was phenomenal. It helped me get the balance I was looking for while having a-kicking-good time.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
winchester, ky
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2012

Amatierra is simply a magical place! It allowed me to nurture both my need for quiet, restorative pampering and my urge to explore the country in an exciting, adventurous way. On the days we stayed on site, our group welcomed the sunrise with yoga in the amazing yoga shala overlooking the mountains. Toucans would stop by to say hello and a few lucky yogis saw monkeys scampering about. We followed our practice with a fabulous breakfast; hot coffee, pinto gallo, scrambled eggs (the best I've ever had), and the freshest fruit you can imagine. The rest of the day was filled by basking in the sun, walking on the grounds, swimming in the gorgeous pool, or taking advantage of the fabulous bodywork treatments offered. My husband and I are both bodyworkers and are amazed each year by the quality of bodywork offered here! The meals are unbelievably delicious, but fresh and really nourishing. Jill & Bob knew our group wanted a little adventure too, so they set up a zipline trip, surfing lessons, and a trip to a volcano and waterfall. What a perfect way to experience Costa Rica! The rooms are neat and clean and the entire staff really seems to enjoy working there. We went during the last week of April and the weather couldn't have been better; sunny days and virtually no bugs! Bob & Jill have really created a very special retreat here. I cannot say enough good things about this place. At some point, words fail. You need to see this place for yourself!

  • Stayed April 2012, 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
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2012

Ama Tierra is a magical place. The energy of the yoga studio is rejuvenating. The spa treatments are refreshing. Rooms are spacious and clean. Food fabulous! Hosts are warm and welcoming and fellow travelers provide interesting conversation. The property is home to a variety of wild life which just adds to the ambiance. The pool, hiking trail and optional day trips allow you to be busy or not, whatever you wish. Take advantage of the beauty and peace of this place to find the balance within.

Room Tip: Property is set into the hillside with lots of steps. All the casitas are similar in size and layout...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • 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.
New York City
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

My wife and I visited the beautiful Ama Tierra in late March. She is recovering from months of chemotherapy, and I wanted to take her away to a place where we could both relax. This simple retreat was the perfect choice: the grounds are beautiful, the rooms (more like mini-suites) are clean and very comfortable, the food is delicious and the hosts and their staff are very friendly.  One can stay "on property" and sit by the pool, hike the grounds, have a spa treatment and take yoga.  Or, if you want to explore the area there are many choices -- from a local waterfall, to a guided walk through a nature reserve and a trip to the beach.  And much more. All can be arranged. The price is very reasonable and the place is just terrific.  

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Ama Tierra in January 2012 for a week and we were very happy with our choice. Bob and Jill did an extraordinary job of making us feel at home and welcome. They have created a wonderful retreat center. We allowed ourselves to slow way down, and enjoy the variety of healing treatments offered...excellent massage, exfolliation scrub, meditation, yoga, singing bowls, all in the forest with nature surrounding us. The food was exceptional, and I have never been anywhere I was happier with the healthy, tasty fresh food. We enjoyed our visits with Bob every evening about his background in the music industry amongst many other fun topics, and Jill's music was a highlight on a few occasions. Also, Jill's expertise with herbs and acupuncture were very helpful. The yoga pavilion is a stunning and sacred place, sure to inspire anyone. We enjoyed the chance to get to know a variety of other guests over dinner each evening. We also really enjoyed Bob's music collection while we were spending time in the lobby each evening.

Room Tip: Ask for an upper room close to the main building if you have trouble with stairs or are out of shape...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amatierra Retreat and Wellness Center

Address: San Pablo De Turrubares, San Pablo, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Pablo
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in San Pablo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A 10 room Eco Mountain Retreat Center 50 minutes from the San Jose Airport who specializes in healthy foods, Yoga Retreats, meditation, and many other wellness services. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Amatierra Hotel Province Of Puntarenas
Amatierra Retreat And Wellness Center Costa Rica/San Pablo

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