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“Inconsistent Service, great beach&surf lesson”

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Shaka Beach Retreat
Ranked #5 of 27 Hotels in Santa Teresa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 May 2014

I stayed with Shaka the week of 5/11/14 for seven days. I purchased surf&yoga package.

First, if you expecting to use the second option list on their website (Shuttle Bus by Montezuma Expeditions), you need to reserve ahead of time. Or else they will not pick you up at the airport. (I called the same day few hours ahead of time.) I was dropped off by the local bus at Santa Teresa at 9 pm the day of arrival. It was dark. Called and emailed the owner multiple times and no response. (He was at Costa Rica at the time, but I was not inform to contact anyone other ways)

The yoga is really disappointing. The instructor maybe not at her best during the low season. Instead of teaching, she chose to spend most of the time talking about herself and her feelings. So if you are not big about a therapy style yoga class, you could just skip the part even if it is free. On top of the whole thing the yoga schedule is not designed to be taken if you are also doing surfing. The maximum class you can take is one class per day most of the times, so you are better off paying for each class ($12 each) And you could also check if she is in the mood of teaching and if you like her style. Either way you are better off without paying for the yoga package.

I agree with the other review the villa is pretty basic. The mattress is hard and the pillow smells funky. It is very clean. (lots of ants at night) The lady cleans the room has the warmest smile. She even wiped my ipad screen one day. Very detailed.

There are LOTS of mosquitoes. They attack you during sleep. I was told there were two people who stayed with Shaka had malaria. (One person is the volunteer of the retreat. The other person identity unknown.) Stay away from the shared cups. I am not sure it's the filter of the water or the cups were not thoroughly washed. I was not sick or anything. Just the cups smell bad and visible foggy things at the bottom of the cup.

The air conditioner was down third day of my staying. The yoga instructor/costumer relationship lady (Megan Panchinin) suggested maybe it's broken because I used it too much. Or I set the temp too low. After she exhaust her speculation she then offered to switch a room for me at night, if the air conditioner was not magically self healing in 12 hours.

I wanted to book Montezuma zipline trip. The yoga instructor/costumer relationship lady booked Mal Pais zipline for me without asking. Later on realized there was a miscommunication, she felt really bad for the taxi driver and urgently called him to apology. I understand there is a business relationship there. But at least fake to care about your customer.

One night after dinner we were talking at the dinning area (myself and two other customers from Colorado) She came in and turned all the lights off and left. Three of us sited in the dark and looked at each other. The moment I felt really hilarious. Maybe she was really environmental friendly a person. It's really not my position to judge but she should not be doing customer relationship.

The surfing instructor was really good. (Chris) The beach is beautiful. I am a supper beginner and also intimidated by the power of ocean in some way. I felt bad that he had to push me into the wave most of the times. I am willing to pay more than what they listed for surfing.

The food standard is not consistent. If there are other important/new customers it might get fancy. If it is just yourself you might end up eating home made spaghetti with not much sauce on it. The portion is up and down too. The portion for brunch is very little. The dinner is more. If you get hungry between 10 am (brunch) to 6 pm, meditation is your only solution because there are no other places around. (one small convenience store. they have lots of chips)

No signals for phone. Wifi is slow. No way you can call internationally beside wifi based apps.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
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6  Thank Stacey Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 May 2014

This trip to Costa Rica couldn't have been more perfect. I've been to Shaka before, so I knew what I was in store for. However, I was blown away by all of the improvements they've made.

Since I was there last they have hired a new chef (the food was gourmet, 5 star restaurant quality), re-vamped the dining experience with candles, flowers, cloth napkins, place mats, etc., and they have laundry service that was super easy and inexpensive. More than that, they have a photo package where I was able to purchase pics of myself surfing and doing yoga...something I've never had before because my husband/friends are always in the water with me...not taking pictures.

Everything was amazing and I can't wait to go back. Already booking a trip at the end of July!

Room Tip: I've stayed in every room and they are all really good.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Nicole L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2014

Shaka was great. I went with my brother for the purpose of learning to surf and to experience somewhere different. The surf instructors were all very patient, as I have never done anything like that before. They made it fun and allowed me to learn at my pace, yet still challenged me. The yoga class was one of the best I have had. The instructor was great and the yoga studio could not have been better. The location of Shaka was perfect. It was remote and quiet but still within walking distance of several places to eat, one of the most breathtaking beaches I have ever seen and a small market. The volunteers and staff went above and beyond to make sure we felt welcome and to show us a good time. Jerry, a surf instructor, was awesome. Gave us a few tours and took us on a hike to a waterfall. I can not say enough about the housekeeper, Maria. She was so sweet and I cried when I had to say goodbye. The volunteer, Adrian, was a huge help as well in entertaining and encouraging both my brother and I. This trip challenged me in so many ways to be braver than I previously was, to let go of expectations and enjoy the unexpected and to stop thinking so much. I made so many new friends, both guests and staff, that I hope to keep in touch with and I fell in love with Costa Rica. Oh, and there are monkeys!!!!!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Rebecky7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2014

I read all of the positive reviews of Shaka on Trip Advisor and was really excited to take my family there. I would agree with all of the positives - a truly incredible beach a short walk away, very friendly staff at Shaka, and our weather was perfect. However, there are a few things these folks should work on and a few things you should know just to set your expectations correctly: 1) The quality of the cottages is best described as "a nice college dorm room". So, if you're 25 and used to sleeping in dorm rooms and hostels, they are awesome. If you're 45 (like me) and used to sleeping in resort-like accomodations, they're very basic. Also, when we checked in the first night, we had no toilet paper and the light fixture in our bathroom didn't work. 2) The quality of the food is best described as "very good cafeteria food". Again, if you're 25 and used to eating at your college cafeteria, it's fantastic. If you're 45 and used to eating in resort-like restaurants, it's pretty basic. We (and all of the other guests we met) went out to local restaurants a lot for dinner. 3) Surf classes were very good, surf board quality was good, and the beach/waves are absolutely world class. We had two instructors for six students most of the week. We all improved our surfing skills, although I had thought we'd make more progress surfing every day for a week. 4) The yoga instruction was very good. The instruction was very good, the accomodations were very good, and you looked out at a jungle scene (with lizards and monkeys) during the sessions.

Set your expectations according to the above, and you'll have a really fantastic vacation at Shaka.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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8  Thank Marathoner2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shakasurf, Owner at Shaka Beach Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 24 March 2014

Thank you so much for your review, we appreciate all feedback from our guests, especially the stuff that shows what we need to work on. Unfortunately we have had some issues with the kitchen staff and are currently searching for a new chef. Our hope is to have our kitchen back up to speed but it has been tough finding the right chef. Thank you again and have an amazing day.

Frank Bauer, Owner, Shaka Beach Retreat

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2014

Shaka is an incredible place -- two minute walk to the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica (Playa Hermosa); short drive to Santa Teresa for restaurants, shopping & entertainment; clean, comfy & friendly accommodations (take a nap in one of the many hammocks!); peaceful, serene & still maintaining such natural beauty (no big resorts anywhere around!). But what makes this place truly special is the people -- Brent, Megan, Mo'e & the whole Shaka family provide their guests with an unforgettable (and affordable!) Costa Rican experience. I highly recommend for anyone interested in learning to surf & practice yoga or simply enjoying a healthy & relaxing vacation filled with good food, great people & beautiful scenery.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Patrick C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2014

My wife treated me to a trip to CR for my 40th birthday. She handled everything and on arrival she informed me that I had a surf lesson booked with Mo'e a local surf instructor. I was so impressed with the first I booked daily lessons for the rest of my stay. It was challenging but I enjoyed every minute and would finish each lesson with a grin ear to ear. I had so much fun I returned 2-months later with a friend and stayed at Shaka. The vibe is relaxed, the rooms are comfortable, and the food was fresh and healthy. Meals are surfed at the Rancho and this is also the gathering place to hang out and talk with other guests and new friends. I came home with the bug and have been surfing ever since. It is an amazing how my life has changed for the better since that first lesson. That was just over 3-years ago. I've returned yearly and it's apparent my experience isn't exclusive as all the guests have that same ear to ear smile:)

Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
2  Thank Jason T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2014

I have never been in a more caring, loving, and such peaceful environment in my life. The amount of support and guidance you receive from everyone at camp is overwhelming. Coming from a small town in Northern California, i was incredibly intimidated by the idea of coming down to Shaka. But once i got situated and introduced to everyone at shaka, i knew that everything was going to be just fine. The camp itself is absolutely beautiful. The cabina's that you will stay in are incredibly comfortable that give you a lot of space. The camp has air conditioning which is incredibly important for the jungle environment. The food is delicious and so authentic. The beach that is walking distance from camp is the most beautiful place I have ever set foot on and the surf is pumping the majority of the day. Please consider the idea of going down to the most peaceful place you will ever travel to! You wont regret the time you spend at shaka! Get down there and experience life within the jungle! Pura Vida everyone!

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank Quinn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shaka Beach Retreat

Address: Norte de Escuela 200 M | Village of Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Santa Teresa
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Santa Teresa
#7 Family Hotel in Santa Teresa
#11 Romantic Hotel in Santa Teresa
Price Range: £102 - £167 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just 5 minutes North of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, is the highly desirable neighbourhood of "Playa Hermosa." Shaka Beach Retreat is a jungle haven offering private villas nestled amongst the tropical surroundings. A short walk leads to one of the most beautiful quiet beaches in the heart of Hermosa's "Surf Zone". Perfect for swimming, relaxing on the sand, and surfing of all levels. Join us for our popular Surf and Yoga packages to experience a true piece of paradise! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shaka Beach Retreat Hotel Santa Teresa
Shaka Surf Camp Hotel
Shaka Surf Camp Santa Teresa
Shaka Beach Retreat Costa Rica/Santa Teresa

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