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“Its a jungle out there”

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Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary
Certificate of Excellence
New York
Level Contributor
38 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Its a jungle out there”
Reviewed August 11, 2009

Samasati is beautiful. The management and staff are exceptional, go out of their way to make your stay as comfortable as possible and are incredibly pleasant. My stay was during the 6 month (May - November) rainy season and they are not kidding. It rained all but 2 of the 16 days I was there. My stay was from July 24 - August 9th 2009. I was there with a yoga group of 23 people total. The adventure is real, amazing, exciting and not for the faint of heart.

The food: I am a vegetarian, and the food was phenomenal. I would call it a vegetarian's dream come true. Lots of variety and very tasty. I would actually love to have the recipes.

The wildlife: BRING A MOSQUITO NET! There are scorpions. One was in my shower. It was a black scorpion that frightened the management as the sting is deadly from a baby scorpion and life threatening from an adult unless you can get to medical attention quickly. I questioned if this was a possibility prior to my trip. I was told it used to happen, but hasn't in years. I was assured there were no creatures in the rooms. There is no way to get to medical attention the middle of the night as there are no phones in the rooms and at least a 30 minutes before you can get to the local clinic. There was a tarantula in the coffee cupboard. Someone in my group was bit by a bullet ant. The sting is excruciating for four hours, then no residual effects. A lizard fell on someone during dinner.

The accomodations: The bungalows are essential tents. The space under my "door" was large enough for a squirrel to walk under, the "screens" had holes and the "walls" had gaps. You are basically camping outside in a jungle rainforest.

The result: I cannot recommend this destination, because I believe I was mislead as to what to expect. But if you are into really roughing it and possibly risking your life among wonderful staff in gorgeous surroundings, this is the vacation spot for you.

  • Stayed July 2009
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank venicerules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SilviaZcostarica, Part owner at Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary, responded to this review, August 31, 2009
I am so very sorry you feel you have been mislead with the information about Samasati...

Just to keep the record straight, I want to give information to other future travelers:
1. There are no "life threatening" scorpions in Costa Rica, specifically on the Caribbean area.
2. Local clinic is 5 minutes from Samasati and, on every door room there are instructions on how to get to the night guard at any time of the night. In case of need you can get medical attention.
3. Mosquito nets are available at the reception if you want/need one.
Feel free to write me directly at: samasati@samasati.com for any question you have about it.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
USA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 25, 2009

My arrival to Samasati was with a warm greeting from the manager who upgraded my stay to a private bungalow. It was spacious & comfortable, a nice surprise. There was a large group of yoginis participating ina teacher training with Marianne Wells. I shared lunch with them immediately & they were a fun group with amazing energy to bounce off of. I was there for 11 nights on a regular yoga package. I enjoyed it immensely. There were only a few women paticipating so most of the time I was privileged to take private classes with Courtney Bell, the resident yoga instructor. They rotate different instructors thru every few months. I felt very lucky to be with Courtney. My practice flew off the charts! She had incredible insight & a huge bag of tricks to draw from. Every class was a joy!

Samasati is located 4 miles from Puerto Viejo & they provide daily transfers to town. Puerto Viejo itself is pretty touristy but there are wonderful beaches nearby, notably Punta Uva. I highly recommend either biking there or taking a taxi if you have a few people. Lunch at nearby Arriceffe is a must. The bartender set us up with a small table next to the ocean. I don't know which was prettier, our view or our large platters of red snapper with local veggies. YUM! If I had stayed longer, I would have explored the beach at Manzanillo as well.

The food at Samasati was excellent. Breakfast was my favorite with fresh pineapple, papya, watermelon, bananas, yogurt, granola, eggs in some form, bread, jam, fresh squeezed juice & coffee. It was delightful to look forward to after moning yoga with a million dollar view of the ocean in the distance. I rarely ate lunch at the resort but the few times I did it was great, salads & local veggies. Dinner was varied with lots of good choices of soup, salad, entrees & desert. Fish was extra which I enjoyed one evening. It would have been nice to have it on the menu nightly. The only thing I didn't like was the 'soy product' entrees which were a little too chewy for my palate.

I would encourage anyone who travels to Samasati to take advantage of a local tour. My favorite was the Cacao Trail Tour where I learned to make chocolate! The Waterfall Tour is totally worth it too. It's fun to spend the day with local Ticos in their pristine country.

My massage with Jemima was memorable. She's just delightful to hang out with too. Her Barcelona background makes for a warm conversation. I only wished I could have booked another treatment with her!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank FemaleNomadUsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 13, 2009

I stayed with my boyfriend at Samasati in August 2008 for two weeks. We picked this place because we wanted to have a very relaxing and the same time adventurous vacation in nature preferably in the rainforest. We heard about Samasati through friends who loved their stay there and we got very much turned on by them sharing their experiences. From the moment of our booking we received all the help and answers to our questions of the Samasati team to be well prepared and organized for our trip. Our arrival in San Jose and overnight stay in a good hotel was completely taken care off. We felt warmly welcomed and could let down right away. The next morning we got picked up in a mini van and drove about 4 hours to our destination Samasati. The drive was very pleasant and gave us a good first impression and feeling of Costa Rica, the nature there and the life of the people.
Arriving at Samasati was pretty overwhelming. Just taking in the location took my breath away. You have to imagine in the middle of the jungle high up over the ocean a secluded place like an oasis with wooden kind of Japanese looking bungalows, each of them placed very privately with an unique view over the valley with the ocean on the horizon or a view into the jungle. Pathways connect all the bungalows and lead to the center of it all - the restaurant and the hot tub area. Our bungalow was very spacious, had open mosquito net screened windows, zen-like interior and felt very clean…. To our surprise not bugs at all!!!! Every evening we were sitting on our balcony, looking through the lush green to the ocean on the horizon, listening to the sounds of the jungle. These were the magic moments of our vacation. The feeling of living in the midst of the jungle with all its animal world, hearing the sounds of howler monkeys, all kinds of birds, cicadas etc. had a relaxation effect of a special kind on me. Samasati truly is the best place if you want to get away from everything that keeps our lives so busy, having these moments in nature are indescribable. Also having the opportunity to do Yoga in the morning and in the evening in a beautiful hidden away dojo with very professional instruction helps even more to strengthen this relaxation. Beside this you can pamper your body in the hot tub or book a massage of the body workers of the Samasati Staff. Another thrill was the delicious vegetarian food, very fresh, tasty und creative. For example for breakfast you could have all kinds of tropical fruits, tasting like picked freshly from the tree, besides Müsli, homemade bread, Yogurt, cheeses etc. Dinner was like a 4 course menu which you could put together yourself from the buffet and enjoy it with your loved one or in company of our new made friends in the incredible open jungle ambience of the restaurant. Here at this point I have to say that the staff of Samasati was very friendly and caring, always open for questions and helpful advice and definitely ready to do the extra mile to guarantee a great stay for their guests. To satisfy our adventurous desires we booked every other day a tour and the staff of the front desk was entirely organizing it for us. We could choose from a canopy ride, white water rafting, horse back riding at the beach, snorkeling trips, waterfall hikes, bird watching and and and…. Every tour we picked was totally exciting with a lot of fun and new experiences of the incredible tropics and coming back home in the evening up the steep hill to our bungalow felt like wow what a day…. We were ready for the balcony.
Overall I can say this vacation was one of the best ones I had in my life and I can recommend it to anyone who is looking for nature pure, deep relaxation and adventure the same time. Samasati offers it all and I am sure I did not explore yet everything possible there and will have to go back one day to complete my experiences

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank CRgr8place
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2009

My husband and I stayed at Samasati over Christmas and New Year's and it was wonderful. We wanted the remote location and weren't so in to Yoga, but we found we enjoyed doing Yoga and there was no pressure that we should participate unless we felt like it. The rooms are well built and clean - much better than most of what you'll find in the area. The staff is first class - the really listen and care about you and your stay. Highly recommend. Oh...the monkeys and birds and wildlife in the jungle are incredible, and the food, especially on New Year's and Christmas was a delight.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sweetpea333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2009

Upon arrival we were picked up from the airport - very convenient! The drive was long, but worth it. We arrived at night were greeted by a friendly staff member. They upgraded us due to the low number of guests that week. The toilet was not working, but after using minimal Spanish, we got it worked out. There were occasion problems with the hot water during the week, but overall this was the only issue. The facilities are more rustic than they look online, but very comfortable. When going into the jungle, one should expect humidity, bugs and other animals. Keep in mind the rooms are open air so you should expect feeling damp and running into a few strange bugs during your stay. But, it's all part of the beauty of being in this amazing place in the middle of the jungle.

The yoga was fantastic. Laura was our teacher and she made our experience at Samasati SO WONDERFUL! I'm sure without her it would have been nice, but 'm certain she is what made it fantastic. This is only because of the yoga classes but because she was just an amazing person to get to know over the course of the week. (Her English was far from perfect, but it didn't matter!) Besides Laura, the staff was mostly friendly, but didn't see overly excited to be there.

The food - outstanding. I dream of the food! Everyday we had fresh fruit and I came to love gallo pinto. The pesto was incredible.

The massage that came with the package was one of the best I have ever had.

It was great to have the option of a bus ride to town, but it would have been even better to have the option of either a morning ride or an afternoon ride. You can leave at 10am, and get picked up at 3pm However, if you do other excursions you get back at 1pm and it would be great to be able to go to town for a few hours.

Probably the biggest disappointment was that the spa didn't work. I have a feeling it is pretty much constantly out of commission! Also, and the many mangy dogs roaming around are kinda sad to look at. One would follow me to my cabin and kept me up all night at least one night with his scratching. That was kinda annoying.

The excursions (we did the waterfall trek, the shaman tour, the canopy zip line, and the horseback ride on the beach) were great. Fernando that does the waterfall and the shaman tour was so nice and I highly recommend going on both of these tours.

The people I met, the adventures I had, the yoga I did, and the overall experience was one I won't ever forget and I long to go back one day!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 19aml75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2009

Wasn't too sure what to expect after reading the reviews, but I have to say my stay at Samasati was completely relaxing. The cabin was basic but clean- I always had hot water, the staff - incredibly accomodating, all the excursions I did were fantastic (waterfall, the shaman tour and the canopy tour (highly recommend!). I heard positive feedback on all the excursions. Endless activities.

As for insects, (my major fear), there were hardly any moquitos. Yes I encountered bugs but they do not bug you. I grew tolerant and remembered I was a mere visitor in their beautiful habitat, but they were not an issue.

Meals were sociable, the food was delightful with array of different meals were served, the breakfasts were unforgettable with fresh fruit juices typical tico dishes.

The one draw back is the distance from Puerto Veijo, but its a small price to pay for the tranquil surroundings and stunning views that the retreat offers. Definately a place where one can switch off or down a gear (or 3)!

Will hopefully return.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RaineUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nyc
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2009

Though dubious at my own whimsical, last-minute decision to fly off to Costa Rica to go to a secluded nature and yoga retreat center, especially considering that:

a) I don’t speak Spanish
b) I don’t do yoga
c) I have a broken leg

…I can say I knew from the moment I arrived on Samasati grounds everything was going to be ok…and by the time my head hit the pillow that night, I felt I had struck gold.

Here are my thoughts on a few key travel and comfort points – general perspective and high-maintenance perspective for added bonus:

Transportation: was great to be picked up from the airport (the driver just a few minutes late) and driven through three national parks as we made our way southeast through Costa Rica. The driver both directions was amicable, but not too friendly if you know what I mean, and was very safe on the offensive and moderately safe on the defensive – the roads were mostly smooth and well-marked, and most of the drivers non-threatening.
High maintenance: the big trucks did raise a hair on the neck or two or perhaps the drivers could have been more sensitive to a foreigner’s sense of road safety – even a foreigner who has traveled all over the world.

On-site Transportation: the ride from the town up to the rainforest canopied seclusion of Samasati is a pleasant adventure each time – and all of the Samasati drivers were courteous and careful. The daily shuttle to and from the town/beach was useful…
High maintenance: the timing of the shuttle only allows for a few hours of enjoyment in town. the bummer was getting a late start in the day (10am) and then coming home early (by 3)…but finagling a taxi was not very easy since one needs a 4x4 vehicle to return to the retreat, or needs to wait for a Samasati driver to have the time and vehicle to come down and fetch you at the bottom of the climb. One could walk up the path or down if one wanted – with a good headlamp and walking stick…

Food, glorious food! I chose Samasati for its promise and premise of three vegetarian meals a day, what they don’t tell you is how dangerously delicious not only the nightly desserts are, but the healthy helpings themselves! My palate and belly were quite happy – well-rounded meals, scrumptious and yet simple.
High maintenance: The packed lunches could have packed more of a punch, but I could always make up for loss calories and protein at dinner.

Accommodations: I had reserved a spot in the cheapest accommodation option, but upon arrival was bumped up to the most luxurious of options, a private bungalow. Staff told me this is a standard procedure when the retreat is not fully booked. With clean linens, simple and tasteful décor, adequate bug netting, a view of the Caribbean and a personal hammock, how could I ever go back now from the private bungalow option – they have me hooked!
High maintenance: I didn’t consistently have hot water, and that was a bummer after long, hard days on the beach.

Social life at Samasati: the staff were very helpful and friendly enough, with a few of them being more than willing to kick back and join in on meals and laughs as invited – the international staffers there were particularly great! other guests can be quite social as well – but the best thing about Samasati is that one can choose to be socialite or hermit…

$$ & Logistics: while ticked off at a certain traveler’s checks hitch (the local bank likes to be difficult), one of the owner’s agreed to swallow the charges and commission a few of us ended up paying in order to exchange our checks in person. I highly recommend NOT using traveler’s checks. Samasati should tell you this on their website. also, I personally found the entire “package” to be well-worth my buck and there were no hidden costs or anything I really needed in addition to what Samasati offers.

Yogalicous: having nothing to base this on (except loads of other physical movement types of instruction and 12 years of bodywork), the yoga instruction was instructive, creative, enjoyable, custom-tailored and outrageously productive and soothing just in its twice-daily offering and setting in the rainforest canopy. how could I not be a goddess there?

Eco-conscious: while branded as being sustainable, Samasati has a long, innovative way to go compared to some of the other places I had checked out. they do ask to conserve water and recycle plastic, and to forego cleaning linens and only use biodegradable products – they are not mindful of packing lunches in plastics, supplementing fruit with packaged store (non-local) goods and providing more reasonable transportation to and from the airport (I had a 12-person van to myself). they could also work towards more innovative apparatus such as composting toilets, solar heating/energy, etc. that other smaller, more sustainable lodgings offer. Overall, though, I felt fairly light in my impact.

Nature: dendrobates kamikazed me, howlers howled me awake, butterflies shimmered me sunlight and birds of all sorts chippered and chirped the day (and sometimes night) through. the flora should not go unnoticed as well. it was my first time in a tropical rainforest – and it took me 2 days to digest the fact that I was not actually just walking around a really, really well-done living museum exhibit. having a broken leg and lean wallet, I couldn’t manage going on any of the excursions or getting myself to any of the national parks, canopy tours, snorkeling, etc. but honestly, you could never leave Samasati and have a full rainforest immersion… there are several trails right on site – and let me mention again the howlers…while I loved being screamed awake…they may startle you and certainly interrupt your sleep. as for smaller critters, the bungalow was so well netted that nary a lizard or spider made it in…though I got to study them hanging out on the eaves, chairs, plants, etc. note: there is a pack of resident guard dogs (with teddy bear hearts) and one lovely huntress feline…so best that you’re into domestic animals as well.

  • Liked — its ambience, both indoors and outdoors, humans and non-humans
  • Disliked — it's hard to get a full day on the beach since transportation is tricky getting up the mountain
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank kateedid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary

Property: Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary
Address: Carbon 1, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica (Formerly Samasati Nature Retreat)
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 104 Specialty Lodging in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary Perched on a magical mountain ridge overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Samasati offers guest house bungalow and casita accommodations just minutes away from the beaches of Puerto Viejo. For over 20 years we have hosted world class retreats, workshops, guest artists and travelers like you! Your stay includes delicious gourmet vegetarian buffet served in our renovated open air restaurant with breathtaking views. Also available on site are healing massage treatments, jacuzzi spa, nature trails, waterfall with natural pool, daily yoga classes and a meditation hall. Tours, excursions and beach shuttles to local attractions are arranged daily. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Samasati Nature Retreat Hotel Puerto Viejo
Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary Costa Rica/Limon

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