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Reviewed December 27, 2012

So it appears that we were unique visitors to Samasati in that we actually rented a car which was not advised by some other travelers. This is partly because the drivers in CR are a little more 'care free' vs the US, but with the insurance and a little caution there is NO Problem. Our car had no license plate because it was a bran new Nissan Tilde, and it handled the drive from SJO to Purto Viejo and back to Baldi Hot Springs (near Arenal Volcano in the mountains) just fine. It was NOT 4 Wheel drive - so we still had to get a ride to the top of the hill from the base of the resort. That was fine by me.

I choose the car because we are more.... independent travelers and NEED flexibility. We're also more frugal - and after crunching the numbers, a car was much cheaper than paying for a cab from SJO and back ($100something) and cabs to and from Samasati and your other coastal destinations each day ($10-$40 each way, per trip). We went straight from SJO at 1 PM to Samasati, which Google/Garmin said would be 3.5 hours - turned out to be 5.5 or more, but no biggie. You get used to the 'Trust Bridges' and the families walking with their kids in total darkness on the road. FYI 'Dollar Car Rental Costa Rica' was about $260 out the door for 6 nights, with only the mandatory insurance (Im a risk taker, don't do this if you're not prepared to pay $ for damages.)

We got to Samasati right at dinner time, and right as the 4x4 was going back up the hill (perfect timing!) It IS a little tricky to locate - and FYI, research your GPS options if you ARE renting a car - as it WILL take longer than Google/GPS says in EVERY instance. Upon entering the 'resort' part of Samasati, we were greeted by a lovely host who was very helpful and informative, and took our bags to our room.

The immediate feel of the place is like nothing else, and I've been all over the globe. You have a breath-taking view of the rain forests/ocean, and you really feel like you're in a remote nature resort which was therapeutic for me. Its a good place to replace your laptop/cell with a book/headphones. The Bungalow we got was facing the ocean and closest to the dining hall. It had a shower and a nice bed plus a balcony with a hammock, which was unfathomably relaxing as you look out at the sunset. EVERY day we saw some new unique animals - tucans, monkeys, sloths, tree frogs, snakes... and it just felt great being IN the woods, which surround you everywhere. Do NOT leave coconut water or any sugar out, as it will attract ants. Also, there WILL be Bugs in your room, and maybe a lizard (but they were cool) - and there is a mosquito net if desired. Surprisingly we didnt get bit up at all. There's a yellow bug light that attracts them to one corner of the room which helped a lot.

The Resort had great food, and I am a hardcore carnivore. They had amazing cheese & rice lasagne with cilantro that was amazing, delicious friend vegetables every day, some decent soups, and always some kind of dessert or salad. The Drinks were 'real' - orange juice that was not orange, and lemonade that was not yellow (and had real ginger in it.) Awesome. I regret that we only got the Caribbean Bass on the last day - as it was amazing, and fed both of us well (in addition to all the other sides you can get from the buffet.) They also had beer and wine every day- the beer 'Bavaria' was reasonably priced and refreshing.

We did the Zip Line tour through Samasati's front desk, which i highly recommend. It didnt take as long as they said, but it was well worth the $50 or whatever it cost...You get 200 feet up in the rain forest canopy, and looking down you can't even see the ground. The lines move fast, and its invigorating, and the views are spectacular. Guides were great too.

We had the luxury of having a car, so we hit up the Cacao Plantation which was close by and got a VERY Personalized tour of the Park and Plantation, plus got to help 2 local kids catch crawfish using tree sap that temporarily blinds the sea life. That was rad, and the tour itself was fun and informative. Its IN the Forest again, so wear boots/Vibrams (not open toe.) At the end we made some AMAZING REAL chocolate, with ground up beans and fresh ingredients that we got to take home - AMAZING again. Top that off with some free samples of the cocao Rum Fernando provided us with and that was one of my favorite experiences.

We also visited the nearby 'Tree of Life Animal Sanctuary' which ill review later - but its well worth the $12. At the front gate, a nice lady let us play with the Baby Chimp and Sloth that was ON HER person and answered every question i could think of about animals in costa rica. She also gave us better directions to Cahiuta Park / Beach, which we passed up originally because we didnt know if we had parked in the right spot. You can basically park wherever, and its relatively safe - my rental never got messed with in CR, and I think any crime stuff you hear is overblown. That being said, hide your valuables =)

The Park/beach there was nice, the hike was great and covers miles of 'near the beach' trails that often show off leaf cutter ants, sloths, monkeys, and that kinda thing. The beach is nice but not gorgeous, but one that the locals use a lot. Good stuff, and all free. The restaurant next to it we patronized (Vista Del Mare I think) was good, but not amazing, as the service was 'European Slow' albeit friendly. I heard Soda Shops (mini restaurants) were the way to go, as they are cheaper and faster and independently run.

Puerto Viejo is the largest Beach nearby (I think) and has a whole community near it. Getting there was a breeze, and there's a parking lot next to the shore, along side MANy shops and dining places. HIGHLY recommend. Bought the same hammock in our bungalow for cheap as a souvenir. Very relaxing while having lots to see/do as well, and its only 12 min away.

The next day we visited Punta Uva beach, which is supposedly on of the most beautiful in CR / the Carribean. I liked it, but it wasnt AMAZING - just very secluded, with a very cool winding shoreline we followed almost all the way to Panama. Getting there was more difficult - I felt like we were parking in someone's back yard after traveling down the gravel roads. However, if you want a chance to have an expansive beach with a great view all to yourself - this is the place. It blew my mind how there were so many little homes (barely more than shacks in some cases) with backyards on the Carribean shoreline. In the US those would be expensive homes - here, its just 'where they live.'

Samasati also had a few trails we traversed. The best one of course being a waterfall path, which was beautiful. The hikes arent TOO hard, and we were fortunate enough to see some cool wildlife on our way there... A fist-sized spider about to devour a tree frog.

I thought the staff was very friendly and helpful. We never had an issue with the up/down the hill, as the shuttle seemed to run on demand, especially if you give them a heads up. The music they played at Samasati was enjoyable, and if you rent a car bring an Aux cable/CDs or USB (our car had a USB stereo with all that!) As you will not get radio in the mountains.

If you enjoy nature, relaxation, and want to 'get away from it all' this is the place for you. I felt more connected to the Earth and 'real' than I ever have before, and I'm not a tree-hugger type. Highly Recommend this place!

Room Tip: Ask in advance about the view - Or Bungalow 3 has a great view....but they all seemed to. Their pre-sales team is VERY helpful and had perfect English.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank ProverbialFunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2012

I spend 16 days at Samasati March-April 2010. It was a beautiful picturesque place. It is also extremely raw. You truely are in the jungle. I've never seen so much wildlife in a natural area. From the 3 different kinds of monkeys to 4 or 5 kinds of Toucans, we saw incredible animals, and scenery. It is situated up a hill/mountain, overlooking the ocean. This is a place to go for a one in a life time experience.

Be warned, you will see bugs, and you will see spiders. This was the trip i conquored those fears. Being in the jungle and interacting with them you understand that they do not want anything to do with you.

The food at Samasati is heads above the rest. It is not what i expected froma resort. The food is fresh, healthy and very tasty!. Their resident yoga instructor is great, as is their massage therapists. Plenty of great hikes to go on. I also fell in love with their pack of dogs! It was wonderful be be greated by such happy dogs every morning.

All in all, i found this experience to be one i wanted to share with everyone i know. Their front desk staff was kind and courteous, as were their sercurity and kitchen staff.

I highly recommend this for anyone.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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11  Thank Joe N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2012

Spent only one night in there and loved the experience. It absolutely in the middle of the jungle, full of animals, plants and humidity. The bungallow was beautiful and very simple - had two twin beds and one double bed on the top floor - no windows, just net for the mosquitos. One fan per room! It was an interesting experience but you really have to be in the mood. Very hot and humid after dark and surrounded by jungle noises. Restaurant for dinner is open ONLY from 7 till 8pm. Breakfast was simple but ok!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank MGarcao
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 December 14, 2012

Thank you for the review and for sharing your experience at Samasati; I am glad you have enjoyed your stay with us.
I hope you can come back soon!
Warm regards.
Silvia

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2012

Recently stayed a week at Samasati Nature Retreat. First, let me say that the place is beautiful. The jungle completely surrounds you there... as the bungalows and houses are intermittently placed throughout the property. Even the dining area faces out with a beautiful view of the sea and surrounding vegetation. You will see wildlife and nature in abundance... just be patient and keep your eyes open. The following are some key points:

Food: Mostly vegetarian and quite good. Great variety of fruit and vegetables. Amazing desserts. My only gripe was that the food and coffee wasn't always available or there was not enough for all of the guests. I watched one tico guest take more than his share of bread and queso when it was obvious that there were people waiting.

Ambiance: I would describe Samasati as a 'resort' and not a 'retreat'... I say this because there was a lot of people there including a group of yoga students. This is a business so I understand that there is money to be made... but it was often noisy at meal time (especially dinner) with random music at varying volume levels playing in the dining area. Some of the music was offensive too. I suggest that management control the music choice; maybe get a "Samasati" playlist instead of letting the staff using their music players up for all to be heard. The quietest place was most definitely the house we stayed in... it was wonderfully quiet.

Service/Staff: Everyone was very nice and very talkative. This can be good and bad as it is unprofessional for any of the staff to get to close to the guests... or to say things that may "turn off" the guests/patrons. Management should pay attention to that fact. Also, room service was unpredictable... they did not come at the same time every day. Additionally, they are supposed to change out towels every two days... and our clean towels came late on the second day, about an hour before dinner.

Location: Up in the 'mountains' in the jungle of Hone Creek. The drive leading up the hill is a doozy... a 4x4 is required. We had a rental so it was nice to come and go as we wanted. There is a shuttle offered but its a drop off/pick-up once a day thing. It is about 7km to Puerto Viejo... not bad at all. Great beaches nearby... check out Manzanillo if you can get there.

Overall, Samasati is a unique experence... not for everyone. There will be bugs in your room... there will be cool showers at times. If you want a 3 or 4 star resort, go to Tamarindo or Manuel Antonio. If you want spartan conditions with good food and a nice rainforest experience, try Samasati.

Room Tip: If you want plenty of space and privacy, go for the Shanti House.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Sargento75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2012

I am coming back from a wonderful week at Samasati. It is not just the location, it is the whole experience that makes it very special. You are in the jungle – so, yes, it is out of the “norm” for many people, but it is an authentic experience. Rooms are simple yet quite comfortable and cozy. I was in a room that shared the bathroom and I must say I did not mind. WE had lots of privacy and somehow the bathroom shared (even if I was a little worried about it at first) was not a big deal;
All the staff, Kimberly, Cecilia and Molly in particular, have been very caring and nice with me and my partner; we have done canopy tour (wonderful!!) waterfall trekking with Fernando (a must!) and enjoyed the trips to Puerto Viejo and to the beach. It has been a REAL vacation – out of the hussle and bussle of our life – connecting with nature and …with ourselves!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Judith C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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