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Reviewed April 4, 2012

Liseth, sorry for the delayed reply and very sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you! I didn't realize you worked and lived in San Jose until I arrived at the resort. Oh well maybe another time... My stay there was awesome! I loved everything. The only unfortunate thing is the stay was way too short and I hope to be able to return very soon and stay much longer. I was very impressed with Max! I would love to some day be able to stay there and study under him for at least six months. The place is magical and everything from the elusive howler monkeys to the leaf cutter ants were incredible to see. All of the help were extremely helpful and friendly and the food was delicious! I have nothing but positive things to say and memories to cherish. If only my stay was longer. Thanks again to you as well for all of your patience and help!

Warm regards, Tim

Room Tip: Honestly from what I saw they are all quite spectacular. I will say they vary in size so if you needed more space to accomodate kids and/or extra people they can do that.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank TimGpuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SilviaZani1, Director of Sales at Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded April 6, 2012

Tim
it was great helping you organizing your trip to Samasati and I am very happy you have enjoyed your stay! I hope you come back again, this time for longer time ...and I will be happy to mee you in person! Best regards
Liseth

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Reviewed March 28, 2012

I just returned today form my CR trip....loved it!!! I read "TakeFamily"'s review and thought, HUH? I will say that he probably used a Groupon and maybe did not research the Nature Reserve. We loved it but we did have a 4X4 to drive ourselves around. I would recommend this if you can afford it. We had no problems driving around. The Caribbean side of CR is wonderful and not as crowded...so please don't go!! I want to keep it that way. Haha. We saw the usual amazing wildlife as well as a midnight tour to see the giant leatherback turtles lay eggs. We loved it... and want to live there part-time.

Room Tip: If you want quiet...the rooms away from the lodge are good. I liked them for early morning coffee and convenience...but I could also hear my neighbors sneeze and have a bit of "jungle love", if you know what I mean. Ask for a mosquito net...
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank nashville_nurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SilviaZani1, Owner at Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2012

Thank you for your feed back! I hope you will be back to enjoy the jungle soon again!
Warm regards
Silvia

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Reviewed March 27, 2012

We booked this on a Groupon and so many people called for reservations that they were booked solid during the time we wanted to go. We purchased it intending to be our honeymoon. We still wanted to go so I told Liseth, the manager, to get ahold of me if there were openings and she emailed the following week saying someone had cancelled. We were thrilled.
I actually lost my phone at a different hotel in San Jose the night before we set off to Samasati. The woman at the front desk called the hotel numerous times and actually tracked my phone down. I was so relieved to pick it up on our way to the airport. The food was terrific! There was certainly a lot of love in each meal. Service was great, including arranging numerous tours for us to go on (white water rafting, kayaking, day hikes, etc). We set out from the resort every morning and were back around 5 or 6 every night. We brought cards and board games with us and sat on the bungalow deck and entertained ourselves at night. NOTE: This place is very remote, however that is the best part of it. But be smart and bring a few things along to entertain yourselves at night, either a book or games. We were so exhausted after our day time activities we never stayed up late anyway.
The only down side is the length of time it took to get to Samasati from the airport. However, as I said before, just come prepared with cards or puzzles and the time passes quickly.
My husband is a gamer. Technology junkie. Even he was never bored even though we didn't see a tv or computer the entire time we were there. We will definitely be going back. Costa Rica is a beautiful place and the people were so friendly. It was the perfect way to start off our marriage.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ChiJill2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2012

My daughter and I spent 5 nights at Samasati to celebrate her 15th birthday. We truly had an amazing experience. Lisbeth was very helpful with our booking. My emails were addressed quickly. We flew in and landed at 12:30 pm. I did not want to stay the 1st night in San Jose so we booked private transportation to Samasati. Immigration took a while to get through and I worried that my driver would leave. As soon as we got to baggage there he was with my name held high! :) It was $190 which is costly but Lisbeth can help with a shared ride if there are any other guests arriving around the same time. Upon arrival I was cheerfully greeted by reception and was escorted to our table for dinner. I was told, "Don't worry about check in...you must be tired and hungry. We'll take care of it in the morning." After we finished our delicious dinner, we were led to our bungalow. We felt cozy, warm and safe. I loved the simpilicity and the beautiful wood.
The next morning we awoke to a symphony of nature. The monkeys, birds and insect sounds were something off a meditation CD. You couldn't help but just lie there and listen.
Breakfast has a wonderful array of fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs and freshly baked breads...among other things. The ginger juice was incredible!
Everyday there is a 10 am shuttle to Puerto Viejo. If you want to explore other areas there are cabs waiting where you're dropped off. Most cab rides are $10 each way. At the Samasati gate there is a ride up the hill and we never waited more than 10 min MAX. Usually someone was already there. The Samasati staff is so friendly, even the dogs!...it feels like family. They even surprised my daughter with a birthday cake on our last evening. She said it was the best chocolate cake she had ever eaten. Everything is done with care.
Fun stuff to do!
1. Banana Azul...a local beach hotel that welcomes Samasati guests. They have a full bar, restaurant, lounge chairs and boogie boards. The waves were great!!
2. Zip-lining- very fun! We were picked up at 9 after breakfast...only 20 min away. Not good if you're afraid of heights...other than that great for all ages. There is a bit of hiking involved.
All transportation is incl in the cost. You can sign up for this at Samasati.
3. Cahuita National Forest- we went into the town first and then walked the trails alone. We may have missed the snakes without a guide...but we saw a ton of howler and black faced monkeys!! There are guided tours as well.
4. Yoga at 5pm...I'm sure the morning sessions are great but I just wanted to be serenaded by nature every morning. Max is a fantastic teacher. Whether you're a "yogi" or a first timer you should enjoy it. No competition...your opportunity to make it your own. The sun would set so that at the end meditation time, you are left with the shadows of a candle and the sounds of the jungle...definitely spoiled my daughter as it was her 1st time experiencing yoga!
5. Panuare River rafting with exploradores outdoors. You need to book this yourself. It is $99 per person but check this out...save it for your last day at Samasati. Here's why...They will pick you up at 6:30 am bring you to the river, provide breakfast, stop and lay out a fantastic buffet lunch and then at the end of day, bring you to San Jose. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at the airport. Free shuttle the next morning- 5 min away. It was a WONDERFUL way to end this trip. It broke the long drive to San Jose up and transportation is included in the $99!! It was our 1st time river rafting, level 3 and 4 rapids and I felt completely safe. The guides are tremendous.
All I can say is... I CAN"T WAIT TO RETURN!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Lisa N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SilviaZani1, Owner at Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2012

Thank you for writing the review. I am really glad you enjoyed your stay at Samasati and we all look forward for you to be back!

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Reviewed March 18, 2012

Samasati is pretty and isolated, the bungalows are large, that's it. If you want a place to completely disconnect from the world with nothing to do other than yoga and meditation, and limited abililty to leave when you want to, then you may enjoy it. It is in a very strict sense, a yoga and meditation nature retreat. It is extremely expensive for the area (top of the line in Puerto Viejo is $120/night). We did not enjoy Samasati and left after two nights.

A quick list of our experiences and realities. Details are below the list.

> We felt unsafe. There is no staff onsite from late evening until 8am. Only a two-way radio that doesn't get answered.

> We felt trapped. You are completely reliant on them to drive you (~10 minutes) between their front gate and the bungalows. You cannot readily walk or ride a bike. You must arrange for someone to drive you ahead of time, a day in advance in some cases.

> Unfriendly and disorganized. Staff is not trained in hospitality and is not given any power to make decisions. EXCEPT: Cecilia is absolutely outstanding, kind and helpful. She's a treasure.

> Amenities are misrepresented or undisclosed. Beach shuttle is once a day (sign up the day before, may be full), there is no wifi (only a shared computer available from 10am to 6pm), jacuzzi is closed and has been for months. After an initial free bottle on check in, you have to purchase drinking water.
____________________________________________

DETAILS if you want more...

1. We felt unsafe. There is no one there from late evening until 8am. If you get sick, hurt, or need anything (like drinking water, see item 3) you are on your own. There is a two-way radio at the front desk you can use to call down to the front gate, a ~10 minute drive away. We used it early one morning (my companion was sick) and no one responded. I tried every two to five minutes for a half hour and never got a response. The receptionist didn't arrive until 8:20am.

2. We felt like prisoners. It is a ~10 minute up/down hill drive between the front gate to the front desk. If you do not have a car, you are completely reliant on them to go anywhere. To leave, you have to find someone to drive you down to the front gate. From there it is a $10 cab ride into town. Same in reverse to return. If you come back late in the evening, there is no one at the front gate. You have to walk around to the garage and ask for a ride. Expect to spend an average of 20 minutes to get between the front gate and your bungalow.

Keep these first two in mind if you're doing tours with anyone other than Samasati and when going to the airport. Most tours pick up around 7:45 to 8:15. You have to get a ride down to the front gate to meet your tour. Since no one is at the front desk, your ride may or may not actually show up and you have no way to contact anyone. Ours didn't show, neither did another guest's who was on her way to the airport.

3. You cannot drink the water. They give you two water bottles on check in, then you have to buy it from them. The only other time you get water is with dinner.

4. "Free Beach Shuttle" is once a day only. It goes to town at 10am and comes back at 3pm. That's it. You have to sign up the day before. We did and rode the shuttle in. At 3pm, the shuttle back was already full: we couldn't get on. The driver refused to come back and get us, we had to pay for a $10 cab ride for which we could not get reimbursed.

5. The personnel at Samasati are not empowered to make decisions. Every request has to be run through headquarters in San Jose. I feel bad for the staff, they should be trained then trusted to make good choices when dealing with guests. Perhaps this is why they are so unfriendly and the place is incredibly disorganized.

6. "Wifi at the front desk". There is no wifi. There is a small computer that they allow guests to share between 10am and 6pm. No exceptions. If you need to make outside contact, get an international plan on your cell phone.

7. No glass in the windows. This is a big deal if it is raining and windy. It is cold and you cannot ask for more blankets (see item 1). The curtains blow over the bed then back, over the bed then back. Even with the tiebacks, the curtains continue to blow over and back. All night.

8. Buffet breakfast and dinner, nothing memorable about the food. Breakfast starts at 8am. Keep this in mind if you're taking a tour that picks up any time prior to 8:15. You won't get breakfast. Dinner starts at 7pm. There's a reason they tell you to pack a flashlight. You need it to get between bungalow and dinner.

IMPORTANT BECAUSE: Think about the timing. Beach shuttle returns 3pm, dinner starts at 7pm, and they tell you not to start any long hikes after 3pm. Four hours of nothing to do. Great if you meditate. Not great if you are active. Still no jacuzzi as of our visit...

9. Black mold on our pillows. Amenities: two towels, liquid soap and a fan. Lots of polyester decor given that it is billed as an ecological retreat.

Room Tip: Get a bungalow, not a row house.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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12  Thank ThreeRunes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SilviaZani1, Owner at Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2012

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience at Samasati; I hope you enjoyed Costa Rica in an hotel more suitable for you.
warm regards
Silvia Zani

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