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“Escape civilization, hang with monkeys” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Shaka Beach Retreat

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Shaka Beach Retreat
200 M Norte de Escuela | Village of Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #11 of 25 hotels in Santa Teresa
Maryland, USA
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Escape civilization, hang with monkeys”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

It was exactly what we wanted - learn to surf and do some yoga in a place that's a bit away from civilization. The staff is all really friendly and helpful. Our group was 7 of the 12 guests, so there was some flexibility in the schedule as well. Max they can fit is 16, so definitely on the smaller side, this is great because you can get lots of individual attention from instructors and staff. Always people around to chat with and plenty of room to spread out if you want some privacy. For a surf vacation in Costa Rica, I would stay here again.

Shaka is outside of town, which is nice - you're away from the noise and the dust. Plenty of people sharing the beach though that you can get some interaction. And easy to get into town if you want. I saw more wildlife in Shaka's yard that on previous "nature-hunting" trips to Costa Rica. Growler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, many species of birds, iguanas, etc. awesome!

The surf instructors seemed to really care that you learned to surf - they were out there with us for hours each morning and hung around in the afternoons in case we had questions. Megan, the yoga instructor, is a professional. Yoga classes are in the brand new open air purpose-built villa. Beautiful.

To note: as with all resorts in this area, Shaka has 3 dogs that are super friendly. Paco would come to the beach with us each day and sit with our stuff. If you really hate dogs though, I would consider staying elsewhere as they're definitely part of the experience.

What I would improve: the beds could be a bit more comfortable, but frankly I was exhausted from surfing, cruising the beach and doing yoga all day that I could sleep just about anywhere. Definitely not a deal breaker.

Room Tip: All four cabinas are the same, so you don't even need to worry about which to choose! There is...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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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123 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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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 (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Montreal, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

SO here it goes, best review here by far:

IF you look like your name is "Herman Finklestein" or something of the like, or that is your vibe, and/or if you love carrying your money and electronics everywhere with you in weird pouches that you strap to yourself, this may not be your place to stay. Especially if you love mainstream mega-resorts, packed with hundreds of other Finklesteins like yourself doing pretty much nothing but waiting to eat predictable and mediocre food you try to convince yourself, family and friends "is actually pretty good" every meal.

OR. or or or. You can get away from a trip where the most excitement you gets from eating chain resort food. If you refuse to be looked at as a "Herman" or a "Finklestein" and want to leave your house to experience something different, Shaka bro. Trust me, Shaka. Great, local food dishes, as well as some comfort food, amazing pizza. More over, it's all just very clean and healthy food, as well as well seasoned and flavoured. That with a yoga or surf program, other offered affordable excursions like ATV'ing, and costa rican sea air has you feeling like a king. And not one of superficial wealth, but the inner one, the real one. With the all inclusive meals and cheap liquor/beer in town, it was a very economical trip to a nearly private beach on gorgeous surf island in C.R. The sand felt like flour and the beach itself with a backdrop of lush jungle as oppose to strips of Mega hotels and whatever was paradisesickle.

Oh ya baybay, makin up words.
It's that good. And oh ya, a little thing called best staff you'll ever meet in the whole wide world. Being interesting and charismatic must be part of the interview process. If you don't have incredible life experiences, and a magnetic and positive personality that radiates pure joy, you can't work there. Pretty special stuff. Oh ya, and did I mention the marble and wood-decked private villa you will receive with your package, with a large marble spacious shower. Lavish without the cheese balls up in your face non-stop and long corridors. If I were you, and you are someone that is yearning to finally shut off your computer screen for a few weeks and put a perma-smile on your face during that time, don't go somewhere and just stagnate on your butt. Try this out, do a surf or yoga retreat, learn how to get much better at either, much more than you expected, and much more healthy fun exercise than you anticipated. You'll have some actual cool stories to tell your peers about and unique pictures to show them. You want to be adventurous, you do, you know you do, and this is a good comfortable place to do it. Unless of course you're Herman Finklestein or the like. By the way, no offense to Any Herman or Finklestein reading this, I had to pick goofy names, it just happened like that, but i still love you, and do apologize. And to any Herman Finklestein, really really sorry man, feel terrible; You should still come to shaka though because the odds of you being as goofy as your name are probably slim, you'll love shaka, trust. And same to you.

Room Tip: eat at Koji's and Habanero's (of hotel Playa Cielo) if you feel like spoiling yourself.
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  • Stayed February 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.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I came here over christmas 2012 and had a great time with my mom and boyfriend. We stayed in the house lodge and did the surf lessons every morning. Our surf instuctors were great! They were extremely helpful and ALL of us stood up on the board the very first day. Everyone aside from myself did great surfing over the next two days. The retreat itself was super cute and had a "hostel" community feel. Every meal was served in a large hut style dining area with hammocks and large family style farm table. The food was excellent and we actually missed out on a few meals by eating out. Mokeys were in the trees every morning and the retreat had that "off the beaten path feel" that is so effortless in CR. The only con was that the resort was definitely not walking distance to the town center so its great if you rent ATV's or a car. The best part about this place was how nice everyone was from the instructers to the other guests. We had a great time and my mom and I even got matching tattoos in the local tattoo shop downtown - another reccomendation for the more adventurous vacationers :)

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Apen, Colorado
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We spent a week here with friends and family. The accomodations were modern and wonderful! This is a very laid back experience...just what we wanted! All the staff, from the cook to the surf instructors (Jerry you rock) were friendly and so accomodating! They really treated us like friends and family! The location could not have been better! AND I learned to surf (to my totaly amazement!)... Hard to come home...we could have just stayed....
One other plus...at this time of year there are virtually NO BUGS!! The flip side to that is that it is very dry and lots of dust...but that didnt bother us too much!
The only negative is the beds...the matresses are very uncomfortable...

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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.
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Shaka is an awesome place not just because of the location on Hermosa beach, the amazing property and service but also because of the people we met there. First of all, the "ranch" as it is affectionately known, is a great home base for chilling, learning surfing and just generally hanging out. The short walk from the ranch to hermosa beach presents one of the most beautiful beach fronts in the area that isn't as busy as the main drag in santa teresa. Finally, meeting Jerry was a godsend as he had the inside track on all things santa teresa including restaurants, bars, and things to do (ATVing to Montezuma?!) and was more than willing to hang out with us and drive us around to the hot spots for the evening. Oh yeah, Jerry also happens to be an awesome surf instructor who has been riding waves for over 20 years! Overall - a great place to stay and great experience.

  • Stayed December 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

I've just spent two weeks at Shaka and it was very difficult to leave. I have fallin in LOVE and will be back soon! All of Shaka Camp's staff were friendly and helpful, the surf instructors are very skilled and patient.The accomodations provided a safe and comfortable stay, which allowed me to sleep like a baby every night. A short walk and you have arrived to Playa Hermosa. This beach has got to be one of the most spectacular in all of Costa Rica, amazing sunsets, long stretch of sandy beach, great surf and the backdrop of a beautiful rainforest. This is the pure life!

  • Stayed November 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, California, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

In November of this year, my husband, myself and our two youngest daughters were blessed with the opportunity to stay at Shaka. We cannot say enough great things about Shaka. The staff was amazing, the food was great, the views breathtaking and the rooms were just wonderful. The rooms were so clean and one of the best parts, they were wheelchair accessible which was a big plus for us. From the surfing, ziplining and ATV rides with the kids, to the romantic strolls on the Beach with my husband, our experience at Shaka was one of the most incredibly spectacular vacations we have ever had. The staff, the beach and the accommodations left us feeling refreshed and renewed and we are forever grateful. Whether your looking for a family environment or a romantic one, Shaka should be your first choice. They made us feel like family. We will visit beautiful Costa Rica again soon and Shaka will be the place!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 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.

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Additional Information about Shaka Beach Retreat

Address: 200 M Norte de Escuela | Village of Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Family Hotel in Santa Teresa
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Teresa
#14 Romantic Hotel in Santa Teresa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just 5 minutes North of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, is the highly desirable upscale neighborhood of "Playa Hermosa." Shaka Beach Retreat is a private haven offering an alluring example of modern tropical architecture, nestled in the tropical jungle surroundings, home to monkeys, birds, and fruit trees. A short walk leads to one of the most beautiful quiet beaches the country has to offer. Perfect for swimming, relaxing on the sand, and all levels of surfers. Join us for our popular Surf and Yoga Retreats, offered year round. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shaka Beach Retreat Hotel Santa Teresa
Shaka Surf Camp Hotel
Shaka Surf Camp Santa Teresa
Shaka Beach Retreat Costa Rica/Santa Teresa

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