I just returned from Costa Rica and am gearing up to start posting again on the blog. The first posting, of course, will be a review of the retreat center where I stayed for 10 days. The name of the place is Samasati, and it is located on the Carribean side of Costa Rica, a few kilometers inland from a small town called Puerto Viejo. To get there, you need to hire a private van or take the public bus from San Jose. The ride takes about 4 hours, unless your driver gets lost (like mine did), and then you’re looking at close to 6 hours.
Samasati is located in the middle of a rain forest. I was not totally clear on this before I arrived, but I discovered pretty quickly that I was surrounded by monkeys, snakes, birds, and tons and tons of huge insects. If you’re into wild life, this is a dream come true. If you are skittish about these kinds of things, Samasati will totally freak you out.
The facilities at Samasati vary quite a bit. They have some really beautiful houses and bungalows, as well as a dorm-like “guest house” that is small but decent enough. Water is from captured spring and rain water, and the electricity comes from town, which means that it gets cut off every so often without any notice. Of my 10 nights at Samasati, I went to bed on 2 nights without any electricity, which was okay given a few flashlights and candles.
The weather is impossible to predict. The first three nights I was there, it rained heavily and constantly. It probably rained more in those three days than it does in an entire year in Los Angeles. Then we got lucky and had sunshine for pretty much the rest of the trip, with one or two evenings with brief showers. Needless to say, some rain gear would probably be handy if you decide to travel to Samasati.
Samasati has two yoga practice rooms. They are free-standing structures made entirely out of local wood. Both are absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t imagine an nicer place to be doing yoga in the middle of a rain forest. There is a full-time yoga teacher on staff, Alexa, who lives at Samasati and teaches a strong vinyasa flow class that is informed by Anusara alignment. Also available on-site are massages and spa treatments.
The food got mixed reviews from the guests, including myself. Three meals are served daily at Samasati, all buffet style. There was always a lot of fresh fruit, which I enjoyed, but they certainly could have done a better job of shielding the food from the millions of insects trying to get at it. The cooked dishes were hit or miss, in my opinion, ranging from bland and uninspired to absolutely delicious.
Finally, the prices for rooms and services at Samasati are very fair, at least by American standards, but when I looked around at other retreat places in town, I got the feeling that Samasati was a little overpriced. I guess what you are really paying for if you stay at Samasati is the rain forest, the seclusion, the view, and the overall experience. I think it was worth it. But if you want to travel on a budget, this might not be the place for you.
Food: B / B-
Guest Services: B
Scenic Beauty: A