Guaitil Pottery Studio
Guaitil Pottery Studio
4.5
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Costa Rican pottery workshop and store. Local Artist Arbin Espinoza Guevara hand builds and fires all pottery onsite. The studio is open to the public every day and pottery lessons are available. Please see our website for more details.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
53 reviews
Excellent
40
Very good
6
Average
2
Poor
2
Terrible
3

Kristina B
2 contributions
Apr 2023 • Family
My two sons and their cousin each made a piece of pottery on our trip to Costa Rica and they loved it!! It was fascinating to experience and learn all about traditional clay pottery. We loved the traditional wheels and the great instruction. Next time we’re in Tamarindo we will definitely do it again!
Written May 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

modhutt
Washington DC, DC17 contributions
Oct 2020
Arvin is open for business. Located in the heart of Tamarindo - in the little circle at the end of the main street - the pottery studio feels convenient yet separate. It is cool and quiet inside. You need to visit the studio at least 3 times (for 1 hr each time) to be able to fully complete a project. After that Arvin needs to fire your piece. So stop by early in your visit so you can be sure to bring home your own piece of pottery. You create using a mold so don't let the process intimidate you and Arvin helps guide you through it. Definitely an unique and different vacation experience. My 11yr old boy joined me and made his own bowl. He loved every lesson.
Written October 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Priscilla
4 contributions
May 2021
My sister an me took this three hours pottery class by Arbin. 2 hours on one day, on the day after.

You get to choose a piece of Arbin's work as inspiration or model and he helps you to form it. Absolutely beginner friendly and a lot of fun. Arbin is very helpful and super easy to talk to. Pottery is super relaxing and we enjoyed the class very much.

If you want to get in touch with locals, do something relaxing and be creative this is the place for you.

Thank you Arbin and take care :-)
Written May 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

2021
1 contribution
Feb 2021 • Friends
We found this little spot and were excited about the experience. Unfortunately what we got was an owner that was busy on the phone and gave almost zero instruction. He wanted money up front before projects were due and totally misguided us on what the project would look like. Our bowls were unfinished, not glazed and look like they weren’t even fired after questioning him he said that’s what it is. They looked nothing like products on shelf. Save you money and skip this one.
Written March 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kerry
Ottawa, Canada5 contributions
Feb 2023 • Family
My wife and daughter went to a class over two days. Day one they made their vase and day two was decorations. He offered a lot of instruction but it was almost too much. The vases were mediocre and very expensive expensive at $70 each. They also were not ready when promised.
Written February 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Footprints211354
2 contributions
Feb 2021
I saw this studio and couldn’t wait to take a class. It was so much fun! Very comfortable and very Costa Rican. Exactly what I wanted to include in my experience. Arbin is fun, very patient and extremely knowledgeable and helpful. We laughed, created pottery and had a ton of fun. I love my final creation. Thank you Arbin
Written March 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Amber S
Roswell, GA262 contributions
Jan 2016
We advocate strongly for locally made crafts anywhere we travel to and have traveled our whole lives, all of the world. We were excited about the pottery studio and supporting them so we made our way through Tamarindo in search of them based off of their TripAdvisor reviews. It all went downhill from there. We arrive, the gentleman was nice enough and he did take time to explain the process. We each picked out a few pieces to purchase and began paying. We wanted to use credit card but the gentleman said it wasn't working, so we agreed to pay in cash. While my dad was paying, my mom decided to look at a very oddly shaped piece (one of only two of these shaped pieces in the store). She was holding it very securely when all of a sudden, one prong gave out, snapped off and the entire piece came crumbling to the ground. The gentleman who was helping us said, "don't worry, he'll make a good deal for you". Mind you, this was the ONLY two pieces in the WHOLE store that did NOT have a price tag on them. When "he" came back in, he said it was a $150 piece and that we would need to pay the full price. We explained we did not have any more cash and he said no problem, he could run our credit card (after only 5 minutes earlier it wasn't working supposedly). While my mom was almost in tears and my dad tried to sort the whole thing out, I decided to look at the pile of pieces. I noticed that on one of the pieces there was a clean break that had been glued back together at some point....clean break!!!! Which means that this piece had been broken before and was just waiting for a stupid tourist to pick it up and it crumble in their hands so they could gouge us out of money we quite frankly, do not have. I made a comment about all of the broken and reglued pieces in an effort to work out a deal (we have no problem paying for something we have broken) but they both just ignored me. I then starting picking up every type of piece in the place to see the pricing since the one that we "broke" did not have a price on it, and the most expensive piece that I found was $80 and it was much larger and detailed than the piece we broke. So basically, not only did they completely lie about the soundness of the piece, they also specifically left it without a price tag so they could get as much as they thought they could out of us. In summary, avoid this place if you want to support ethical, respectful entrepreneurs. There is a stand in the center of town that produces one of a kind hand blown glass pieces and the gentleman was amazing!! Go there instead or next to it where a woman sells jewelry made out of bananas that are really cool. Please do not support these unethical people!
Written January 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
I am very disappointed to read this review as it is not a fully informed nor accurate account of what happened. Pottery is delicate and must handled delicately. I do believe that most places have a policy of "you break it, you buy it". Thank for for including the photos of the piece in your review so I can explain the reason this particular piece was priced as it was. It is a called a metate and is a very traditional piece. This particular one was a double process, black & white etched replica of a piece in the Museum Of Costa Rican art. Your mom picked it up by the thin neck/head of the piece - with the entire weight (approximately 10" x 6" of ceramic) being unsupported, which is which is why it broke. It was clearly not a handle nor did she pick up securely as you claim or it would not have broken at the neck. It was not for sale - it was for display - which is why there was no price on it. And the gluing you saw was from a break that incurred during firing. No one is trying to deceive any tourists. Tourists are my livelihood and the reason I have been blessed enough to have my studio for over 15 years now! I do charge for my work and charge more for unique pieces and pieces that take more artistic time to create. Double process, uniquely shaped pieces -- if you had looked throughly around the shop -- are in price range from $75 up to $500. There was/is one other metate for sale in the shop which did not have any of the design etch work of the one that was broken and the price was $100. I'm sorry you did not see that one. It's an unfortunate oversight and I feel badly that this left such a bad impression of my character and work ethic. And to say that this was one of only a few that had no prices on it and was somehow set there as a trap for someone, is really not very truthful. However, the piece was mishandled and subsequently broken. The policy is - break it/buy it. Re the credit card machine. I'm surprised you did not include that the credit card was run in the shop next door -- my wife's jewelry store -- not in my store. Please check your receipt it is for Urban Eclectic Jewelry - and not in my shop. No, I do not accept credit cards. However, I also cannot have pieces handled neglectfully and not charge the person for them. So the piece was charged on my wife's machine. Again, I am very sorry for the impression this left your family with. However, in the future, do be very careful with fragile handmade items as they represent many hours of work for the maker.
Written January 30, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sherri L
memphis, tn193 contributions
Dec 2014 • Family
My family of 4 decided to take a 2 day pottery lesson. We were told that it would take a couple of hours the first day and a couple of hours the second day. This seemed kind of short compared to the other pottery lessons I've done but I figured this was a different technique so what did I know. It was only after we'd paid and started our lessons that we were told that it would actually take 3 days with the first day having to have a 4 hour wait in between two processes. We were not staying in Tamarindo but were driving in, and because the traffic in Tamarindo was so horrific, we had to make modifications to the rest of our plans to accomodate this. During our lessons, we had a great time and Arbin was very patient and showed us step by step what to do. The kids especially enjoyed it and we were all happy with our painted products. We had told Arbin what time we needed to leave Tamarindo in order to return our rental car in time and he said the pottery would be ready. We showed up at the pre-arranged time only to find out that our pottery pieces were still being fired and that there was a mix up and his assistant was told a later time (Arbin was out of town). We were told it would be another hour, so we went to lunch and came back an hour later. This time his wife told us that it would be best if the pieces could stay in the kiln for another hour or two. We did not have time for this so the assistant took them out and said they're going to be fine but it'd be better if we could put them in the oven for 3 hours at the highest temperature when we got home. At this time the pottery pieces still looked good and we were happy. They did give us a complimentary soap dish as an apology for the mix up. When we got home, we put the pieces in the oven as directed. When we took them out, everyone's faces fell and my daughter cried. The colors that we had so painstakingly painted on were pretty much all gone. We now have 4 pieces of pottery in various shapes that look like they've never been painted. We had a good time while we were there but the end result was a severe disappointment.
Written February 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

skacian
Foley, AL157 contributions
May 2012 • Couples
We were fortunate enough to pay a visit to this small community of pottery shops on May 12th. We spent time with one of the shopkeepers/pottery makers, and learned that there is a problem in the village with the tours that come through their village. The tour guides focus on Willy and Susan's shops in exchange for a gratuity, while the other shopowners are hurting for business. It was requested that we visit all of the shops. (We did not go to Susan or Willy's shops). I bought three beautiful pieces at a reasonable price, and hope to go back next time we are CR.
Written May 20, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MaggyS100
Oxford, UK73 contributions
Feb 2011
I did a course at the Guaitil Pottery studio with Arbin, his wife and his dog. I did four part-days, with gaps to explore the area while each stage dried. I enjoyed myself hugely, being taught the whole process from kneading the clay, through hand turning, painting, burnishing and firing. All techniques are traditional but not too difficult. The teacher Arbin is patient and helpful, but will leave you to your own devices if you want. I came out with my own piece of Meso-America pottery that I will treasure for ever. Sadly it didn't make it all the way back to the UK completely unscathed, but I made minor repairs and it looks as good as new! I would highly recommend the experience to anyone with even the slightest artsy inclination - it is a wonderful alternative to surfing, lying on the beach or taking trips into cloud forests or up volcanoes.
Written March 6, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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