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“A magical adventure!”

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Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary
Certificate of Excellence
Savannah, Georgia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A magical adventure!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2012

You can read the reviews below (and soon, above) to get a general idea of the experience of visiting Samasati. I concur with all of them, both positive and negative. This experience is not for every person. But for those very fortunate people who come with an open mind and no preconceived expectations, the magic will happen. I could write a novel about my 6 days in Samasati. Fortunately for you, I’ll just offer a tiny bit of my experience.

My sister and I shared a Groupon deal for this trip. Neither of us had ever been to Costa Rica before, or any other Central American country, for that matter. This was to be a total adventure for the both of us. And, since we are both coincidentally now single, and nearing “milestone birthdays” (let’s just say, well over 40), it seemed the perfect time for it! The first stamp on my virgin passport! And now it's over...too fast! I've been home for two days and I miss this magical place already!

My friends told me I would leave Costa Rica a changed person. Sadly, they were right.

Yes, already! There are bugs there! BIG ONES! My sis and I just made a game of it, naming the 4” cockroaches that shared our cabin after our ex-husbands. They didn’t bother us, and we didn’t bother them.

The bugs that bite, however, were a different story. I had really good luck with Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent VII. Yes, it has DEET in it, but I suffered 2 insect bites to my sister’s (we lost count) experience with Cutter’s brand.

The collection of sweet dogs and cats that are a part of the Samasati family made me a little less homesick for my two canine babies back home.

And, as everyone has reiterated, the food was wonderful, and the staff and fellow guests became like family to us. We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company at every meal!
The climate was great – temps in the 80’s compared to the 90’s in our home states. It rained on the day we arrived which was a charming welcome on the metal roof of our cabin. And it rained again in San Jose when we departed. We lucked out with beautifully sunny days the rest of the time. And I must add, the disposition of the people we encountered while at Samasati, was equally as sunny.

Days are shorter there. I was waking up at 5:30 or 6 every morning (sunrise). And it's strange, I love to sleep in, but I didn't have any problem popping out of bed that early and throwing on some clothes to hike up the hill to the restaurant for coffee (about a quarter mile). Along the road, I would be greeted by humming birds, brightly colored frogs (some very poisonous) hopping into the foliage, and beautiful butterflies flitting here and there around me. Some mornings I would be completely alone on the dining porch, sipping the most heavenly locally grown brew, and listening to the symphony of wildlife waking up in the jungle. The staff tried to describe the sound of a Howler Monkey, but truly, there is nothing like it on Earth. It is a Jurassic sound echoing throughout the hills that funnel down to the sea from this dining porch.

In the evenings I enjoyed the theater of monkeys traversing the park, heading back to their evening homes, accompanied by the cacophony of cicadas, and back-dropped by the most unbelievable colors produced by the setting sun.

Molly, at the restaurant bar, assisted us with our purchase of a bottle of the most wonderful Malbec! My sister and I would enjoy a glass in our cabin just before retiring each evening, as we took turns swinging in the hammock, on our porch, over-looking the jungle that fell down to the sea. We went to bed around 9:30, tired by the days’ many activities, and ready for the restorative sleep that we got each night, encircled by the gossamer wings of the mosquito netting above our beds.

Now that I'm back home, it's hard to break that habit of rising and retiring so early. Comparatively, there’s really no purpose for it here.

I already miss the jungle clamor all around me. I can't believe how badly I miss it!

I ache to go back, as I study the clay-stained skull of a creature I collected from one of my jungle hikes. What was it? I’ll Google it tomorrow. Was it dropped from the treetops many feet above, dinner for a natural predator? The kids in my elementary school classes will be fascinated by it, and by my tales of a most magical place ……Samasati.

Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Catherine I
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 review, 15 August 2012
Thank you for your detailed review; it will help lots of fellow travelers. Best wishes for the days back to school and the kids in your classes ... the sounds and magic of the jungle may be with you always.
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357 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Carlyle, Illinois, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2012

We absolutely loved our trip to Samasati! It was the most relaxing place I have ever been. The yoga classes with Sally were wonderful. Her classes were my daughter's first exposure to yoga and she enjoyed them very much. Accessibility to both yoga and massage in such a natural environment was heavenly. I would also like to compliment you on our dining experience. We, like so many others, were apprehensive about the vegetarian cuisine. It proved to be so much better than we had anticipated...I am waiting for the Samasati cook book to become available!

I can't say enough about our trip...It was amazing!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Cindy B
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 review, 7 August 2012
Thank you for your review! I am glad you enjoyed your stay! Yes ...come back and visit us soon again
Warm regards
Silvia
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
231 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2012

Samasati sits on a beautiful piece of property up in the jungle several miles from the ocean. It's rugged, raw, and full of natural beauty. The bugs are big, the monkeys are noisy and the frogs are poisonous. The view from the main station is amazing and very relaxing. I spent a week there with a group of people. A week was definitely too long and some of the people in the group actually went into town and stayed at a different hotel half-way through the week.

The food at Samasati is amazing. The vegetarian cuisine is delicious, plentiful and quite varied. While there are many vegetable only options, the cooks use butter in many of the dishes so, while vegetable based, the food isn't often vegan. Not a problem for me, but it was for several people in our group.

The staff is generally very friendly and nice. However, the management is neither friendly nor nice. And is definitely not accommodating. For two days in a row the septic system in our rooms backed up into the sink and showers. Raw sewage. Icky, smelly, raw sewage. The first time it happened we'd been there only a few hours. What did they say to us? It somehow was our fault. The second day when the system backed up again (and we couldn't use the sink, shower or toilets) it was again our fault. They refused to move us to accommodations without raw sewage, but ultimately three days into the trip got it under control. Three times the first night were told that they'd bring a fan to our rooms and finally four hours later told us that everyone had gone home and we'd get the fan the next day! Evidently the rooms are all supposed to have fans. It's hot there - you'll want a fan. (and possibly a bug net if you're squeamish about flying stuff).

The property sits on a hill that is a healthy walk up or down a very steep hill. In fact, you need a 4x4 to get up and down. If the 4x4 is off the property for some reason there can be a long wait to get up or down. Or, if you want to go out and experience the nightlife in Puerto Viejo and don't want to make the 8pm ish curfew, be prepared to hike uphill for about 30-40 minutes in the pitch dark if you are not lucky enough (or it's too late) to find a kind soul with a 4x4 to drive you up the hill. We found someone who was willing to drive us up for $20.00 on top of the 15.00 taxi ride back from town.. Believe me, half-way through the week you'll be itching to get off the compound, and you'll probably want a drink - even if you don't usually drink.

Samasati is like summer camp for adults. There are evidently several nice houses on the property, and the bungalows are very nice. Whatever you do - don't let them put you in the Monkey House. It's a pit. There are no views, no cross breeze, the rooms are small and the monkeys throw things down onto the roof at night. Don't expect any amenities in the room. When you get there you'll get one small bottle of shampoo, one conditioner and one small soap. That's it. They'll change your linens and towels every couple of days - maybe. It's humid there and things don't dry. Your towels will be wet after the first time you use them. There are no phones in the room no tv, no internet on the property, no alarm clocks, etc. There's no pool, no room service, and the jacuzzi may work when you're there, and then it may not. It's all good if that's what you're expecting. If you want any pampering at all - stay somewhere else. The management is not accommodating and may not even work with you if there is an issue like raw sewage in your bathroom. But the staff is nice. The food is good. A week is definitely too long.

Room Tip: Don't allow them to talk you into the Monkey House.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
5 Thank Where2GoWhere2go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bellmore, NY
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2012

I was a little aprehensive about my first solo vacation but wound-up having a great time. Its not a Club Med type of atmosphere but if your looking to spend some time slowing down and looking inward then this is a good place to do it. The cabins are very rustic but nice and clean. They do not have air conditioning but the beds are very comfortable and as long as you have a fan its not too hot to sleep. No TV, (didnt miss it at all by the 2nd day) and if you want to check e-mail you will have to go down the mountain. There is a daily shuttle into town or you can just call a cab if you miss the shuttle. The food is excellent, I looked forward to each meal. Yoga classes are offered twice a day plus while I was there a yoga school allowed me to participate in their classes as well if I wanted. A few days before I left a group of enthusiastic people showed-up for yoga teacher training. I had a few good laughs at some of the visitors who complained about the bugs or the animal noises or the rustic conditions. They should have gone to Disney and visited the pretend rainforrest. Also, a big Thank You to the entire staff for treating me so well. I would go back again, no problem!!!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled solo
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Mark P
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 review, 3 August 2012
Thank you very much for your review! I am very happy you could enjoy your time at Samasati ...and I hope you will soon be back!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arizona
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2012

As someone who hates bugs, I was very apprehensive about my 5-night stay at Samasati. But I really wanted to experience staying in the jungle so I went for it and I'm glad I did! Yes there are bugs and yes it's really humid, but it was such a unique and relaxing experience. While I am very much an AC lover, staying in a bungalow with no windows (only large screens) is the only way to feel like you're really immersed in nature (short of camping... and I refuse to do that!). The bungalows are lovely and as comfortable as you can get without AC, large bathrooms with plenty of counter space and large well-functioning hot showers. However the bed was a double bed and I would have been much more comfortable in a queen size or larger bed. The food is good (as long as you don't mind vegetarian fare) and is served in a beautiful outdoor setting with a great vista of the ocean below. The best part was getting to meet and socialize with fellow guests.Here are some considerations:

(1) Bugs. It's the jungle so there's no way around this. Help yourself by requesting a mosquito net, bringing bug repellant (thank goodness for the "dry" sprays), and keeping the lights off whenever possible. However, Samasati could do a better job in keeping bugs out of the cabins. They could ensure that all screening is intact and securely attached, install door sweeps to eliminate the gap under the doors, and do some caulking so there aren't any gaps between the slats that make up the cabin walls. That said, we did not have any "close encounters" in our cabin but we did sleep under a mosquito net, tucked in all around the mattress. This made me feel very comfy and secure. Given my bug-aversion, I couldn't have slept well without it. We also had a two-level bungalow, so it likely helps cut down a bit on the bug factor to sleep on the upper level. However, keep in mind that the bathroom is downstairs. I routinely sleep through the night, but my husband was sure to keep a plastic lined trash can by the bed! :-) A few of our fellow Samasati guests were not as lucky as we were. One was stung by a scropion as he tried to retrieve it from the bathroom sink with a clothes pin! Another did battle with a huge, fast-moving spider in her bathroom and had a large beetle scurry across her face as she slept. (She later requested a mosquito net!)

(2) Humidity. Yes, it's the rainforest, but I really wasn't prepared for just how humid it was. Nothing dried, ever! My toothbrush didn't even dry overnight. I wished I had brought a blow-dryer -- not for my hair, but for our clothes. Even papers were moist.

(3) Getting to/from town. It's about a 10 minute ride, but there's just one shuttle out in the morning (10am) and another back in the afternoon (3or 4 pm?) Taxi fare is $10 one way. If you want flexibility in your comings and goings you'll want to rent a 4-wheel drive car. We didn't find this to be a problem though since we got into the routine of doing an excursion right after breakfast and then spending a relaxing late afternoon in our bungalow... my husband napping and me on the porch hammock reading or playing Bejeweled on my ipad!

(4) Puerto Viejo. We spent the first afternoon (upon arriving) wandering around town... not a whole lot there, but we did enjoy lunch at Bread and Chocolate. Their desserts look awesome but I had room just for a couple of truffles--which were delicious! Another outing to town was spent at Banana Azul--a lovely beach resort that welcomes Samasati guests. Beautiful grounds with a meandering pond chock full of giant koi and turtles. Lots of umbrellas, loungers and hammocks by the shore (and yes, I scored a hammock!) You can order refreshments that can be brought out to your lounger or hammock. Great beach, towels provided. Seems like a great place to stay if you prefer a beach setting over a jungle experience. Another fun thing to do in town is to rent bikes and ride down to neighboring beaches. We didn't have the opportunity to do this.

(5) Excursions. You don't need to book these in advance. In fact, at Samasati you can book only a day in advance. I highly recommend all the excursions we took: Cacao Trail (highlight is canoe ride and making chocolate by hand); kayaking (river & ocean); canopy tour (my first time zip-lining--so much fun!); Pacuare River Rafting--hands-down favorite! I highly recommend doing this excursion as your transfer to or from Samasati. I know they can do this to/from San Jose, Arenal, and (I believe) Tortuguero. We didn't have an opportunity to do the Cahuita or Waterfall excursions but I understand they are well worth doing (though the Waterfall excursion is very slippery). I also understand the Jaguar Rescue is a great outing, but we didn't get a chance to do that.

All in all, we had a great time!

Room Tip: Bungalow 5 has the best view. We enjoyed Bungalow 1 as my husband doesn't like heights and it wa...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank elsam1912
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2012

My husband and I were originally booked in for two nights but similar to a previous review, we also left after one night. The nature retreat is beautiful! The rooms are very rustic and really nice upon first glance! We also had similar issues with bugs in our room.. Small bugs ( not a big deal) but also a very large black bug too that seems to hide out in one of the beams.. It's huge and creeped me out. Had to sleep with the mosquito net in the bed upstairs and the room was very hot, very loud and quite uncomfortable. All in all, just didn't sleep. On another note, we found the food was amazing! There was great value with the meals included! We had dinner and breakfast and it was the best food I've had here in Costa Rica so far! We had some other issues upon arrival... We booked this from booking.com a few days earlier and had our confirmation email. When we arrived, we were directed to the top of the hill to check in. It's quite the trek but we did have a 4x4 vehicle so we made it on our own. When we went to check in, the girl told us we didn't have a reservation. I showed her our confirmation email but still nothing. The customer service was quite poor and she really didn't seem too concerned that we drove 6 hours and now have nowhere to stay. After about 30 minutes, she got me to talk on the phone with the manager or owner, im not sure who.. They said we could have a room and she's not sure what happened to our reservation we would just have to pay the resort as we shouldn't have previously been charged. We agreed. Then the girl at reception told us a few minutes later that we had to email the manager our original confirmation email from booking.com. I asked how I should do that as there is no wifi and she said we had to return to the bottom of the hill to access the wifi there, email it, then return back up the hill to get our room. We went back to the bottom and there was one guy there that unfortunately only spoke Spanish and we don't know how to ask for the wifi password in Spanish so we couldn't get on to the Internet. He did drive up the hill and get someone else after about 20 minutes. We got onto the wifi, sent the email and returned back up the hill again to find this time, there was nobody there at reception! We waited another 15-20 minutes before we found someone. We got our room and by this time it was completely dark. The girl who checked us in said to make sure have our flashlight.. They don't supply them I guess but you need one!
All in all, very frusterating check in experience, not a fan of all the bugs everywhere in the rooms but it certainly is a nice place if you are looking for a true jungle experience!!

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kara1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Owner at Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary, responded to this review, 10 July 2012
Dear Kara,
I am sorry your experience was not a positive one; Thank you anyway for your feed back and review as we are working to make our services the most comfortable for our guests.
Best regards
Silvia
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington, United States
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2012

We left Samasati with mixed feelings.

High points: the food was a amazing (even if you are not vegetarian), the view from the common area and the yoga (we LOVE LOVE LOVE Lisa) and the staff.

Not so high points:

Bugs: there a large bugs everywhere, which makes it difficult to relax or fall asleep (a large black bug fell from the ceiling onto our bed)

Isolated and Lacking in Customer Service (in some areas): Samasati is at the top of a huge hill that is only accessible with 4x4. The shuttle into town runs only once per day. Getting back and forth was a huge ordeal. On our first day there, we were forced to ride up the hill in the rain in the back of a pick up truck...not fun!!

We ended up leaving Samasati for a night because we could not handle the bugs. Samasati is great if you are looking to get far far away from it all and think large bugs are interesting. If normal amenities are more important to you (e.g. Being able to put toilet paper in the toilet instead of a garbage can), I recommend looking elsewhere.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Nicole J
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:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre 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 101 Speciality 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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