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“Jungle Adventure”

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Samasati Retreat & Rainforest Sanctuary
Certificate of Excellence
Long Beach, California, United States
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Jungle Adventure”
Reviewed 26 June 2013

We went to this resort solely on the basis that in the advertisements expressed a likelihood of seeing wild sloths on the resort. Unfortunately... we never saw one. Granted, this is something the resort cannot control, but it was a disappointment to spend hours each day looking for the little buggers and never seeing a single one. We wish that the resort didn't advertise the sloths in that way. We saw a million birds, bugs and lizards... one capuchin monkey on the last day from a very far distance.

The resort in located in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. This is a beach village.. not fancy by any means. There is a lot of trash on the streets and not the best shopping... but some great food, great drinks and nice sights. We recommend taking a cab (do not bike! the drivers are crazy, I actually got hit by a car once!) down to Punta Uva... it's an amazing beach (allegedly one of the 8 best in the world). Down the same road is the Jaguar Rescue... baby sloths were unbelievable!! So cute. It cost about $15 to get in.

Samasati is very high up a hillside in the rain forest. The staff will drive you up the hill as late as 8pm, but there is a daily shuttle down to Puerto Viejo at 10am and back at 3pm. We were very nervous about snakes but did not see any the whole trip. There were lizards in our bungalow. Bring some seriously powerful bug spray and mosquito bracelets. We made it through the whole trip with only 1 or 2 bites. Also, things do not dry over night... blow drying doesn't really work either.. so bring plenty of clothes. The laundry services was wonderful, quick, and efficient. We recommend stuffing towels under the doors once you shoe all the lizards out... then they cannot come back in.

The staff at the resort are wonderful... so sweet and very relaxed. The food -- well, I didn't like it much but my partner did. It is kind of bland but chock full of vegi's. The fruit (when there is any left) is delicious and apparently grown on the resort. Bring something to entertain yourself... there is nothing to do on the resort once it gets dark. The excursions by day will exhaust you though, so you will probably just want to pass out after you eat dinner.

As for excursions.. we did 2. Horseback riding and river rafting. The horseback riding was not for the weak -- three straight hours of galloping down the beach and through the rain forest. The place the resort has connections with will accommodate for inexperienced riders. The river rafting is unbelievable. Do it on your last day as your means of traveling back to San Jose. The company picks you up at Samasati, drives you to the river, is extremely professional and safe through the whole thing, and then brings you right to your hotel after. This is a full day excursion. They made it seem so scary as they described the safety measures for the river.. but once we got out there it was the best time we have ever had in our entire lives. We will never forget the river rafting. It wasn't ever scary at all. Granted, this does involve some level of athleticism, so if you have any injuries, don't do it.

We were bummed that the resort wouldn't refund us for one of our excursions that we prepaid for that we never used. We never booked it either. We were just so tired we couldn't fit it in. So, another way Samasati as a company bummed us out.

Overall -- if you want to experience a week in the jungle... the loud... raw.. damp.. but, gorgeous jungle... do it.

We never did yoga or massage, so we cannot give feedback on that. The jacuzzi was NOT chlorinated, therefore we did not think getting in it would be a nice experience. Lots of dogs on the resort (apparently the snakes don't like them, or criminals). Lots of tide pools to check out on the beaches in Puerto Viejo. Turtles nest on the beaches at night if you are there during that season. Showers are a little buggy & dark but nothing too bad -- each bungalow has a PRIVATE bathroom (no sharing with other guests). Beds are ok. We didn't sleep too well first night because of the loud animal sounds so bring ear plugs!

We will never forget our time at Samasati.

Room Tip: Get the private bungalow. I heard bungalow 5 is where the sloth lives.
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Emily C
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 July 2013
Thank you for your review. I am glad you have enjoyed Samasati. Sorry about sloths ...yes, they are very much out of our control. Monkey do "travel" on the tree tops every day from the meditation hall area to the Yoga studio area between 3:30 and 5:00 pm, so i am glad you have at least seen one ... they are white faces monkeys and you can see (for sure hear) quite few Howler monkeys on the tree tops around the bungalows. Rain Forest can be lout at times and, if it rains, can also be wet. the sun comes out soon enough to dry everything again. The jacuzzi is not chlorinated as we use alternative ways of cleaning the water. Yes, dogs on the property help maintaining the territory so they keep out larger animals. If you want to "disconnect" from the daily life and find space to re connect with nature and yourself : I think Samasati is for you. I do understand it is not for everyone, thou. My best to you!
Silvia
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English first
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2013

I have had the great fortune to travel to many places in my life and do many wonderful adventures. However, this adventure with Max and everyone at Samasati touched my heart and my spirit like no other. I am not big on taking pictures, sharing pictures or reviewing pictures because I rely on what I feel and what I know as my biggest memory.
The staff at Samasati is gracious, heartfelt and hardworking - always with a smile and a gentle sense of humor.
Max, our yoga instructor, on the other hand, is now one of my dearest friends that I can always know will be special to me. I chose to go to Samasati because of my email to him many months ago. His direct response to me was what pulled me to continue with choosing Samasati as my place to continue healing from a very difficult time in my life and to embrace a new chapter. He is very smart, very intriguing, even intimidating at times but always sincere, funny, warm, caring and most of all, safe that allowed me to be completely immersed in his wisdom, teachings and surroundings.
I made new friends from around the world that just blended so well together. Our meals (especially our evening stories, with glorious laughter together which always included Max) were spontaneous, welcoming and inviting. Also,
I am always starting my mornings with music from Miten and Deva Premal. One of their songs, Calma e Tranquilidad, caught my soul one evening during our shavasana with Max and he was generous enough to let me know who the artist, album and song was after I inquired. I have posted a Youtube on my facebook for my friends to enjoy.
I am looking forward to returning to Samasati to learn again from Max and everyone else. I wouldn't have it any other way.
My hugs and warmest regards to everyone,
Sherry

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank FloridaSherry
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, 1 July 2013
Thank you for your review! It is wonderful that you have had such great time. I hope you will soon be back and may the Jungle energy be with you.
warm regards
Silvia
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Santa Ana, Costa Rica
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2013

A wonderful environment to spend a relaxing vacation. Amazing service with great food! We stayed in an ocean view house located in the jungle above Puerto Viejo. Sloths, toucans and monkeys abound. One of the best staffs that I have experienced in my 7+ years of traveling in Costa Rica.

Room Tip: Ocean view houses are great for a family.
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank CR_Reconteur
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, 24 May 2013
Wonderful! thank you for the review! I am glad you enjoyed Samasati and its beauty!
We look forward having you back!
Silvia
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Dallas, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2013

It is basically camping....on the top of a rainforest in a very very remote area.

If this sounds like the kind of trip that interests you, here are some highlights and tips from the romantic surprise trip my fiancé booked at Samasati....

-The food was so great that after 3 days I lost 5 pounds
-The wildlife really interacts with you there and you become a part of nature. Like clockwork, howler monkeys are sure to wake you up at 3 am every morning.
-"Don't let the bed bugs bite" is something my fiancé said to me every night, yet no matter what I did they still somehow seemed to bite me every night.....
- I used to find rainfall soothing and relaxing. Now I have vivid nightmares of waking up to torrential rainfall wondering if the tin roof on the bungalow will hold up during the night.
- I hope you like rice and beans....its a vegetarian resort
- Costa Rica is known for their coffee, I don't know how Folger's Coffee made its way to my coffee cup every morning at Samasati.
- After taking a hike around Samasati to look at all of the hiking trails the resort had to offer, I took a tour of my bungalow bathroom to see a very eco friendly looking shower head. Someone had taken PVC pipe and jimmied it up to look like a shower head. How cute.
- 'Clean' becomes a relative term there..... after 3 days and multiple showers a day for both of us, the maids still had not changed out our towels....our bathroom looked like it should have been in animal house
-If a large tree falls in the middle of the only dirt road up a mountain at night, and miraculously an employee is there to 'help' ....he miraculously drives his SUV over the tree...but you get stuck.....does the employee who floored it in the opposite direction have to help? (if you work here the answer is no)
- Wi-Fi is somehow unavailable at the top of the mountain, yet most of the 22 employees were able to look at Expedia ratings. I wonder if they will see this one.....
-By the end of this trip, we were singing da da da da, da da da, da da da da, da da da da da. In case you didn't get that, it's the Indiana Jones theme song. That's right, the prize at the end of the trip is that your fiancé turns into Indiana Jones and then says 'I am never allowed to book a vacation again.'


If this sounds like the place for you, be sure to bring your own SUV, bug spray and a lot of flashlights and money (they nickel and dime you for everything).

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
9 Thank Mary D
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, 30 May 2013
I am grateful to have an opportunity to clarify a few missing details in this review.
- Yes, howler monkeys can be loud and the rain forest is where they live.
- Yes, in the rain forest the sound of the rain can be intense at times!
- We proudly use Costa Rican Coffe, 1820, been one of the best coffee in the country!
- The cleaners change towels and bed sheets every second day … if you need to have them changed every day you can just go to the receptionist and request it!
- Yes, wifi is not available at Samasati while is available at the entrance of the property

At Samasati the whole staff works and takes pride in making sure all guests have a pleasant and beautiful stay; I can clearly see that this was not the right place for you.
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Dallas, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2013

Be sure you know what you are getting into. There is NO A/C, NO WINDOWS, NO POOL and NO WIFI at the 'resort'. I have no idea how this place has such a high rating and unfortunately it swayed our decision to go, but knowing what I know now I would have never gone. It is not a resort, it truly is a nature retreat. A hot, sweaty, loud, vegetarian nature retreat.

So for the positives - Samasati's grounds are beautiful. There is lots of wildlife to see, the food is tasty and the staff is nice enough (though kind of controlling, will get to that in a bit). The massages were excellent and though we didn't participate everyone raved about the yoga.

Now the negatives - Samasati does not advertise their lack of amenities. They charge American prices for a shack in the woods. Extras are all very expensive, they control access to the dumpy town (luckily we rented a car but other guests we talked to felt trapped), are very strict about booking activities days in advance, and without any wifi you have little power to make your own plans.

Look, we're adventurous travelers. We've been all over the world, I speak Spanish and felt comfortable enough to rent a car in a foreign country and drive myself even though Samasati of course discourages that (b/c then you are free to leave!). But what killed me is that I felt I had been duped into going there. They don't advertise their lack of amenities and since you are paying upwards of $200 a night you pretty much expect things like windows, air conditioning, a pool with a bar, wifi...you know, the basics.

And we were definitely not alone. Our first night there we ate with a couple of people and asked what their favorite thing had been. Their answer was "tonight, cause its our last night here..." We laughed, bc we didn't know they were being serious. Another couple we ran into was making plans to leave and go to a real resort on their 2nd day there. Its a bunch of cabins in the jungle, plain and simple. If I had known that I would have booked one of the places on the road that actually has AC and WIFI and is only $40 a night.

Hope everyone that is considering going reads this just so they know what the place is. If you're into that, then great, we had an ok time, it was just not at all the care free, romantic vacation we were expecting.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank stephen 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 review, 30 May 2013
Like in the previous review, I am grateful to have the opportunity to clarify few points from this commentary:

You are exactly right: Samasati is a Nature Retreat, it is not a resort. There is no WIFI at the main infrastructure while it is available at the entrance of the property, 1 mile away from the restaurant and the cabins; there is no pool, there is a large Jacuzzi with spectacular views.
We clearly communicate that we are happy to help arranging transportation for our guests while they make the reservation, while we also suggest a rent a car (Poas rent a car) in case they want to be more independent. There is a daily shuttle that goes to the beach in the morning and you can always get a cab for about $8-$10 round trip.
The girls at the reception ask everyone to reserve tour 1 day in advance.
Samasati Nature Retreat was not for you, I am sorry you could not enjoy fully the beauty that it has to offer.
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Saint Paul, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2013

Samasati is a remote resort with a very beautiful setting - definitely off the beaten path and catering to a more conscious sort of tourist. The accommodations are simple and yet vey aesthetically pleasing. I loved having screens for walls so I could hear the monkeys, birds and all other wildlife in the immediate vicinity. The yoga (optional) classes were first class - educational, advanced and basic at the same time - suited to both beginners as well as more practiced students . I met so many neat people in the restaurant which gives Samasati a social and community feeling. It's set beautifully overlooking Puerto Viejo and the Caribbean Sea. The staff are all very friendly, helpful and concerned with the well-being of clients. I would recommend Samasati to anyone who wants to experience the jungle of Costa Rica.

Room Tip: My bungalow was near reception/restaurant. The rooms/bungalows are not near enough to restaurant to...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank jetstreamr
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, 30 May 2013
Thank you for your review. I am very happy you could enjoy Samasati!I look forward for you to be back!
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Charlotte, North Carolina
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 May 2013

This place is the perfect blend of an exotic rain forest location with onsite yoga, and a remote beach/surf town for some local atmosphere. You can horseback ride on the beach, go for a zip line tour, visit waterfalls or just do nothing. It's the best spot to get away from busy city life and to reconnect with nature. The staff is so great, the cabins are unique and the food will get your body realigned to a more healthful state. Awesome...!!

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Natasha_LaBruce
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, 23 May 2013
Thank you for your review! I am happy you enjoyed Samasati.
I look forward having you back!
Best regards
Silvia
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #11 of 105 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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