After a perfect week at Pranamar in Aug 2012 (see my review from last year, titled ‘Perfection!’, Aug 23rd 2013; read first, as this review simply adds on to last year’s review), I decided to return to Pranamar in Aug 2013 as part of a 30-person yoga retreat. I spent the entire year growing ever excited about my return, but as I got closer to the date of the Yoga Retreat, I began to worry that Pranamar would not be as magical as the previous year. Well, that was wasted time worrying!! Even at full capacity, Pranamar is still Heaven On Earth … and here’s why:
The location is unparalleled. Small bungalows (for up to 2 people) and villas (for up to 4 people) are brilliantly located within the natural flora of Costa Rica. Just yards away from the ocean front, the sounds of the surf and wildlife (birds with amazing songs and howler monkeys for starters) serve as a musical symphony for Pranamar’s unique setting.
The staff are nothing short of amazing! How do they manage to learn everyone’s name by the end of the first day? Your wish is their command, no matter how large or how small – from arranging ATV rentals to booking restaurant reservations, the staff at the Reception desk are always happily willing to help. The same is true for the restaurant/bar staff; they know you’re preferences and dietary restrictions by the end of day two (if not sooner). By the third morning, Melissa (so sweet and beautiful!!) had my steamed soy latte ready for me when I walked into the restaurant at 6:20 every morning.
The food is an epicurean delight!! Last year, I was an Omnivore and ordered off the menu at breakfast and dinner each day. This year, I returned to Pranamar as a Vegan, and found the food to still be fresh, delicious and imaginative (so many restaurants that do not cater to Vegans make very little effort for their Vegan menu options – NOT so at Pranamar). Since we were a large group, breakfast and dinner were served buffet-style – and we were a hungry crowd. If we ran out of something, the kitchen quickly refilled the platters. The variety offered was catered to all tastes – Omnivores, Vegetarians, Vegans, diary-free, gulten-free, etc. Not once during the week did I hear a single individual complain about the quality of the food, or the lack of food. Truth be told, I’m willing to bet some in the group gained a few pounds, although nearly everyone admitted it was the healthiest they’d eaten in years.
Our yoga retreat package included a one-hour massage. Again, everyone raved about their massage therapist (mine was Sonya – tiny, yet powerful!!). The location of the massage hut next to the beach entrance is pure genius; the sound of the waves were so mesmerizing that many of us ‘zoned-out’ or fell asleep while on the table. The massages were such a huge success that nearly everyone in the group booked a second (and even third) massage during the week.
The Yoga Shala is open on 3 sides, and sits about 60 yards from the ocean. With 2 yoga classes offered each day during our retreat, we spent a lot of time here. What yoga student doesn’t dream of hearing cues like ‘turn to the pool’, ‘turn to the ocean’ or ‘turn to the jungle’ while moving around the mat?!?
But here’s the BEST thing I can say about Pranamar – will I return for a third visit. ABSOLUTELY!!
Hugs and kisses to the Pranamar owners and staff; you have a true gift for creating the perfect vacation.
PS - as for the negative reviews you see here on Trip Advisor for Pranamar. Keep one thing in mind when you read them - some people are NEVER happy. 'Nuff said.