I recently co-lead a Yoga & Pilates retreat at The Sanctuary. We had titled our retreat "Self Care Sanctuary" and that it was plus so much more. With a sold out group of students, we shed layers of stress and created deeper layers of connection to each other, the natural world, and ourselves.
Prior to the retreat, Jeff (one of the owners and full time resident of the Sanctuary), made it very easy and organized to plan our trip and helped us coordinate a variety of things such as transportation from Tambor and dietary needs/concerns of the retreat participants. He was a pleasure to work with before, during and after the retreat.
The retreat grounds are stunning. A lot of care and thought must have been given to where and how to build not only the sleeping accommodations (tree houses) but also the practice pagoda, and the swimming pool w/with treatment rooms (for massage, acupuncture, etc.). The pictures only touch on the amazingness of materials, build, structure and view. You really need to be there to experience the sights, sounds and perspective of what went into creating this jungle sanctuary.
The whole time at the Sanctuary you feel part of nature and the jungle surroundings without feeling inconvenienced or uncomfortable. There is a thoughtful minimalistic approach that avoids clutter and emphasizes necessity and green design. I thought the beds and sheets were some of the most comfortable I had experienced in comparison to other places I have stayed in Costa Rica.
The food was delicious. While not a vegetarian, I adapted easily to eating that way during our stay. I thought I would have a hard time keeping up with my perceived need for additional protein. That was not the case, since each meal was carefully considered to make sure there was a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fat. I would have enjoyed the option for tea/coffee earlier in the morning. I was waking up with the boom of the howler monkeys around 5am. It would have been nice to sip a hot beverage and write in my journal as part of my morning routine.
The Sanctuary does set out granola bars and apples in the early am. Having some yogurt and tropical fruits at that time would have been been more satisfying for my taste (especially since the freshness of mangoes, pineapple, papaya and other lesser known Costa Rican fruits are so delicious in comparison to what I get at home).
Meals are plated and served and care is given to purity of taste, presentation and variety. Michelle, the chef, was new to the Sanctuary but not new to creating gourmet, healthy, delicious meals. I
Both Michelle and Jeff took their meals with us. Having time to talk and laugh with Michelle and Jeff, along with Max, another full time staff member added to our experience. The whole group enjoyed having this time together and learned more about Costa Rica (including the birds and wildlife) and options we had for excursions. Jeff, Michelle and Max were also available during the retreat to guide us on an adventuresome river hike to a waterfall and beyond. They were also there to help coordinate trips/transportation away from the Sanctuary and to offer insight and advice on different things that came up during our retreat. At the same time they allowed our group lots of freedom and space to have our own experience.
The Sanctuary is remotely situated and once there you are truly taken care of. I recommend planning explorations of other areas before or after your stay at the Sanctuary. At the most one or two 1/2 day trips during the stay but not much more than that. The magic exists in staying put and dropping into the the beauty of the environment, the sounds of the wildlife and waterfall, and a slow downed more natural pace of living.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.