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“I missed being there even before I left!!!”

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Farm of Life (Finca de Vida)
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Cedar Creek, Texas, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“I missed being there even before I left!!!”
Reviewed October 2, 2013

I wasn't looking for a vacation or a wellness retreat when I found Finca de Vida on an herbalist's website online, but it kept calling to me! I had reached a plateau in my wellness journey (read losing weight!) and thought this would be a great way to revitalize my determination to live better and feel better. After finding out there was WiFi and I could stay in touch with clients, I decided to take advantage of the 30 day, Green/Rainy season discount and just hang, eat healthy from their green house, work 4 hours a day and enjoy being in Costa Rica, alone (on purpose!), and away from the Texas summer heat. I have to admit I am not a committed raw vegan, but was willing to give it a go, armed with pounds of raw nuts (which I learned later aren't truly raw in the US, something about requiring them to be toasted), packets of raw, vegan protein powder drinks and raw, vegan energy bars so I wouldn't starve. Fortunately for me, I signed up for health coaching, learned a lot and lost enough weight to leave all of my jeans behind! And, I pretty much gave away all of the stuff I brought with me, didn't need it!

If you read other reviewers, you'll see lots of praise for how non-judgmental Brian and Jody are, and I'll join that chorus. I had one of those "What am I thinking, I'm going to spend 1 month with people I don't know, what if they are crazy raw zealots???" pre-trip jittery moments. Not to worry, Brian and Jody are both interested in being of service, meeting people where they are, and letting each of us take our own journey. They are not the raw police by any means! Just good examples.

Read Lindsay's review to see why I didn't give 5 stars....no where to grow, but I've already recommended this to friends, so recommend it to you, too! Don't bother stocking up on nuts and stuff from home, seeds to sprout maybe, but leave the energy bars that mix fruit and nuts at home! They go to market every week to supplement their green house. The fruit is so much sweeter and better than what we see in the store, you can't go wrong!
I noticed that a common comment was that people wished they had stayed longer, I'll join that chorus too! I do wish that I had spent the week BEFORE my month at FdV touring Costa Rica with a friend, rather than the week after, as it was a tough change. I actually chose a cabin in Puerto Viejo because it had a blender (not a juicer or a Vitamix, a plain old blender) so that I could make as close to a green juice as possible!

Farm of Life is not for everybody, but if you want a great introduction to the raw vegan life in a beautiful setting, give it a go! I think the August-September time is great. The nights are cool (and can even be cold!), days are cool to warm, not hot. Fruits are on the tree, flowers abound, the rainy afternoon makes you slow down, read, nap, or try new things in the kitchen. So, here are the reasons NOT to go to Finca de Vida:
1. To work on your Spanish --except for coming and going, and to talk to the family that lives at the trail head to Peace Falls.
2. If you don't want to make new friends and feel like part of the family, a family that includes 4 very special dogs (who want to eat your watermelon and papaya rinds, quite entertaining!) and an offbeat cat.
3. If you have no interest in learning anything new
4. If you don't like the idea of living outside and being entertained by the wildlife...if you are afraid of insects, you won't enjoy the communal kitchen or kicking back in the dining area, we had some awesome butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, katydids and beetles come through!
5. If you want an all inclusive resort experience. Brian and Jody are committed to making FdV affordable, and they know the temptations some of us may have 'off-campus'. With the beautiful grounds, trails, vitality (cool) pools, birds and plentiful food, it could be an all inclusive, on-site experience. There are lots of great excursions offered, and each one has a very reasonable fee, as does asking the chef to prepare dinner. Warning, do not let Amanda cook for you everyday if you want to lose weight! She makes KILLER desserts! That's probably the reason I would have stayed longer, to do more trips!

Okay, message me if you have any questions, or are looking for someone to take there with you to help you make the transit from San Jose, and want someone to caretake your stay there! My next career move, that's how much I loved this life-changing place and people!

Room Tip: I loved the Butterfly Suite in the mornings, great deck for sunbathing, and it was easy to check the...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
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5 Thank SandySandraSM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kennesaw, Georgia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2013

I cannot wait to go back to Finca de Vida again. I have only traveled in the summer months so far and love love love it. The waterfalls, scenery, beaches, and other attractions are beautiful. Brian and Jody are always warm and welcoming and the rooms are extremely affordable. It is amazing what they do and i love to support them and their vision. Everyone should check out finca de vida even if they are not staying there. The farm is beautiful and the view is amazing. Its hard to beat! The mountains are very cool and much less bugs than staying on the beach. It is safe and all the staff are friendly! I will be going back many times!

Room Tip: All the rooms are awesome and unique. What you want depends on your preference, if you want a view...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank kkraut8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2013

The other reviewers have summed up beautifully, so I will have to think of something else to say. I stayed at FdV with the goal of having a very low-effort vacation as a mostly raw vegan who has done Central America before but not Costa Rica specifically. Being vegan, I often spend just as much energy on vacation just looking for reasonable food options as I do when I'm home, which makes it seem much less like a vacation. Well, enough of that, I said :)! I also came as a person who has had a number of run-ins with nature at various times and who still wants to be around it but can't quite figure out how to. The Farm seemed to fit my terribly niche needs of balancing natural with not-going-to accidentally-poison-myself-with-something, true cultural CR experience balanced with haven't-been-to-Central-America-in-10-years-and-may-be-completely-incompetent-there, and my vascillating desire to either be taken care of and cooked for or to just listen to my body myself and give it what it needs right that second independently of any help that is around.

This is a tall order for a vacation, but that was my ultimate wishlist. I fully understand it is normally delusional and not able to be satisfied.

The other thing you need to know is that the only hesitation I had in coming to FdV was that there was no immediate body of water nearby, and I really love being in water, if only a bathtub. No bathtubs there...how would I go to sleep at night if I was never in any water?

It was at FdV. It was all there. Tons of variety of food, no judgment on anybody making cooked food or making something other people weren't eating, opportunities to engage the local culture and/or language as much or as little as one wanted to, a view of the ocean, immensely balanced on-property energy (apparently THAT'S how you go to sleep at night) with water and woods and flowers and stone and metals all there, and the natural spring on property that has been made into a gorgeous, peaceful pool to kick it in as often as you want.

I was a natural spring hog. I was there at least daily, filmed it for a while so we would all have meditation trickling sounds and video to take home (I cannot take credit for having the idea to do this, but I will take credit for at least executing the great idea :D), and enjoyed the variety of its different vibe in different times of day, rain and sun, and foggy times.

My other favorite thing was learning about the plants on site and being able to eat everything on the property. Okay, so minus a few things. I think I count 5 plants I should not eat, out of thousands. Belladonna is a no for everyone, but it is pretty and it looks like pink trumpets. Who doesn't want to look at pink trumpets? Then there is that yellow flower, which I still ate anyway and which tastes nice enough, but which you are not supposed to eat and which the property's carpenter looked on in horror as I ate. Then there was the mango skin, which is fine to eat if you have zero sensitivity to poison ivy (they are related), but apparently I don't. Then there were a couple different poison ivies in the forest. They are not invasive or overgrown by any means, though; they are not getting any closer to you than you are to them. It's all good. Just be cool.

My other favorite thing was leaving and feeling like I left my family there. I mean, that sucks and everything, but I have not felt that connected and comfortable for a whole week with an entire group of people since...well, I guess since I lived in a community house as a young adult in a faith community a thousand years ago. FdV is a place able to support numerous paths without judgment and with full support. As I write this, I am awaiting my flight home to USA tomorrow and am staying in San Jose for the night. And all I want to do is email all my new friends at FdV. How's that for cool? When's the last time you wanted to text your concierge just to say Hey?

I can't comment on the outings because I didn't go on any. I'm not much for transport, and it takes me two days to get from my little city in US to the farm on the mountain in CR. So the idea of getting into another vehicle when I only have a week to soak in the farm is not super-appealing to me, and I didn't even nearly get done with all things I wanted to explore on the farm. I'm sure I will go to the waterfalls or wherever they all go at some point. FdV does not seem like a place you only go once. It's more a place you go iteratively over time, probably more if you are vegan or raw, but even if you're not you would probably go periodically just to check in with your spirit or hang out and look at stars. There is plenty of really decadent, gorgeous hiking, the natural weight training platform in the forest (complete with lb.-labeled rocks from 5 to 120 lbs.), and excellent bird-stalking...I mean watching...opportunities. If you don't get the bird-watching bug here, you might be an amoeba.

Everyone else so far has rated this 5 green circles. I am not doing that for several reasons. First, I know the staff has much bigger plans for this place than even what is happening with it right now, and rating it 5 right now will not allow for any growth of our scoring :). Second, 5 stars to me is like super amazing Ritz-Carlton someone painting my toenails in bed while someone else brings me intuitively perfect foods presented in ways so beautiful you weep about them while someone else delivers a fresh fuzzy robe to my outdoor shower. So, you see that my scale is not coming from where the others are. HOWEVER, the overall experience and care of the client are all excellent, and I am a total stickler for client care and service value. You should not reconsider whether to go just because I am the first one to have fewer than 5 circles. I can't even imagine the experience I would need to have to give 5 circles. Like I said, I am sitting in my room wishing I were still at the farm, right now.

What you need to know if you are trying to either support your body on vacation or heal from anything is that my body is stronger, my muscles don't ache (which they did when I got there), my skin is clear and glowier than it was when I got there, and my annoyingly sprained ankle that would not quite heal up, finally healed up....interesting since I was walking steep hills all around the property all week, but that's what raw food can do.

That should be the kind of thing you think about when you consider coming. :)

I am working on coming another week in December. Damn plane tickets are so expensive then!! But I'm trying anyway.

Room Tip: All the rooms are great; I have investigated all of them and I can't decide what would be better...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lindsay W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2013

I just got back from my second stay at Finca de Vida with Brian and Jody. This short 2 day vacation visit was a marvelous reminder for me, bringing back wonderful memories of all the great experiences I had during an eight day retreat with Dr Sam on my first visit 2 years ago. (Btw, that’s a retreat not to miss… health education, life style counseling, one-on-one “Dr. Sam” treatments, personal guidance, yoga, visits to other farms, the beach, waterfalls, etc., all while eating great raw food.)

This time it was with family, and all about relaxing. And even though I don't eat raw food regularly, I thoroughly enjoyed the great cuisine of Amanda, the excellent raw food chef at the farm, who freely shares her recipes and gives tips on ways to fix food.
On one of the mornings we set out to hike up to and conquer the dual level Nayaka Waterfall, (very enjoyable) which is just a short ride from the farm in the Bongo Van (an experience in itself).

I could go on with more about this place, but I suggest that you experience for yourself the new energy you’ll get with a fun visit to the farm of life.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank ButterflyGlenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
47 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2013

Our family of four (daughters age 12 and 14) stayed at Finca de Vida for four nights, as part of a month long exploration of Costa Rica. It was a part of our trip that we planned as a place to re-examine our health, eating, and reflect on what we might change as a family when we returned home. We did not come to this place as people who ate a lot of raw food, or who paid a lot of attention to how a natural, raw diet can improve our health and over-all energy. For us, it was a little 'out there' to go to a place that had such a strong focus on health & healing.

After a challenging ride (thankful for a 4WD) in our rental vehicle to the farm, we were greeted by Brian, Jody and their amazing dogs. Set in the lush mountains between Dominical and San Isidro, the setting was spectacular. That first encounter we were struck by how welcoming Brian and Jody were, and how they really just embraced us as visitors without judgements or expectations about how aligned we were with their healing or eating practices. Truly the atmosphere was supportive and with no pressure... guests can explore the farm, the healing techniques, yoga, and the raw food to the extent that they are comfortable. Nearby hiking options are amazing and they helped arrange any excursions that we were interested in.

The food was spectacular with fresh fruit/veggies provided, and I would encourage anyone to have some meals prepared by the raw food chefs. We were amazed by how delicious the food was, and how great we felt. The chef spent one evening with us showing us various ways of making raw veggie pastas, and now we are inspired to try these at home. Her talents were unbelievable. One of the exceptional and challenging hikes is to Diamante waterfall, and we were impressed by how the healthy eating improved our energy for the hike and helped us recover afterward extremely quickly. Diamante is a gem, and we would encourage anyone visiting to make sure not to miss this spectacular hike with waterfalls, medicinal gardens, and cave behind the falls where you can stay overnight if arranged beforehand.

Our room was very well appointed with comfortable beds, fresh linens, clean shower and bathroom, deck with a hamock to look out over the forests and hills. The farm itself is fun to explore and the health coaching was very informative. Everyone was friendly and our daughters were always comfortable. When one of our daughters was feeling unwell on day, Brian and Jody made an extra effort to make sure she was comfortable while we were away from the farm. They are the kind of people who you just know are going to help you out if you run into any problems.

Finca de Vida is a restorative and soulful place, great for recharging the spirit and getting in touch with what really matters. We would like to return one day and spend more time, and highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Costa Rica.

Room Tip: New cabins are being built at the time of this review, and look to be spectacular. We were in the...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank D L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 22, 2013

Finca de Vida is all about love and service. In my opinion, the following list summarizes what the farm is all about.

Excellent get away, healing center or honeymooner's retreat.
Extremely affordable stay with fresh veggies/fruit included.
Beautiful mountain & lush jungle views.
Rustic cabins with very clean & comfortable beds.
Breathtaking waterfall hikes & nature trails.
45 Minute drive to sunny beaches.
Numerous excursions and farm tours available.
Expansive Farmer's market every Thursday's.
Great selection of fruits and veggies in communal kitchen.
Wonderful green house and vast array of herb plants on farm.
Excellent meals prepared by a professional chef are available.
Extremely knowledgable & supporting staff on natural healing & healthy living.
Affordable health coaching, yoga, massages and colonics available.
Beautiful place to meet like minded people and build wonderful relationships.
4WD vehicle is a must if you are renting a vehicle.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank PJ P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 16, 2013

I am not a vegetarian, however; I was looking for an affordable Costa Rican vacation that was more than a resort experience. What I found was the perfect combination of rustic and luxurious. The beautiful mountains, sunny beaches, glorious waterfalls, amazing accommodations, and gracious hosts made my stay the BEST vacation I have ever had! I loved the communal kitchen; it made getting to know the other guests easy and I formed some wonderful relationships there. I had no problems with eating a vegan diet for the 10 days that I was there. I loved that I could walk out of the front door of my cabin and hike all day if I wanted to. I visited Finca de Vida by myself, but never felt lonely. I am not a vegetarian, but I never felt unaccepted. If you are looking for a vacation where you leave feeling rested, restored, and revitalized, this is the spot!

Room Tip: The Butterfly suite is the best if you are traveling alone!
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Gretchen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Farm of Life (Finca de Vida)

Property: Farm of Life (Finca de Vida)
Address: 3 km East of San Salvador | Diamante Valley, Dominical 10101, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Dominical
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 28 Specialty Lodging in Dominical
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Costa Rica Vacation for the Healthy Lifestyle. Thrive on delicious raw food, vegan and vegetarian food. Prepare your meals in our beautiful communal kitchen, using fresh, organic food and the harvest from our organic farm. Or, opt for Chef-prepared meals. Revive your body and spirit with detox, health coaching, yoga, spa services and eco-tours. Enjoy waterfalls, wildlife, beaches, jungle & mountain hikes. Affordable accommodations with modern amenities. A serene setting atop a lush green valley with spectacular views, pleasant temperatures and stunning Pacific sunsets. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Farm Of Life (Finca De Vida) Hotel Dominical
Farm Of Life (Finca De Vida) Costa Rica/Dominical

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