Samasati is truly a one-of-a–kind hotel in Costa Rica. Nestled in 250 acres of virgin forest overlooking the ocean, the retreat is based on high standards of sustainable living, and is the perfect (and romantic!) getaway for nature lovers, adventure fans, yoga practitioners and groups.
Samasati Nature Retreat is built on the South Caribbean Region of Costa Rica, in the Talamanca Region in the Province of Limon. The area where Samasati is built is 270 acres of virgin forest declared biological private reserve.
Inspired by the exotic tropical forest overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Samasati is a retreat that offers a total escape. The secluded site, high in the hills, offers the chance to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the beauty of luxuriant natural surroundings.
Costa Rican laws for the protection and regulation of the wildlife refuges, national parks, forest and biological reserves, and even private natural reserves, all of which contain 25% of the total area of Costa Rica have been very strict since the National Park system was established in 1960's. Hence, the construction in or around and the use of these areas is similarly strict and in some areas totally banned for construction. The project to build a hotel immersed in a private biological reserve took a lot of planning and constant interactions with the governmental ministry that sternly protects fauna and flora in Costa Rica, which is the MINAE (Ministry of Environment and Energy).
Samasati is a place where ecological awareness has been translated into beauty and sustainability. Samasati lives in balance with nature, sensitive to its cycles and its timing. It is a place where the respect of indigenous cultures and the cooperation with the local community spring from sincere interest and appreciation of human diversity, efforts and evolution.
After long planning, re-designing, and a lot of hard work from the owners Massimo Monti, Billy Gonzalez, Chiara and Silvia Zani, and everybody else involved in the construction of this 100% sustainable tourism complying hotel it was finally open for business in October 1997. Under the owners supervision and collaboration, 52 local employees worked together for 6 months to build this beautiful exemplary hotel.No heavy machinery was used to build a perfect environmentally safe hotel inside a private biological reserve.
The final product resulted in a hotel that occupies, 11% of the total area, less than the allowed 40% for construction that the government grants, built with environmentally safe materials, and using the local architectural style of the Afro-Caribbean.
Samasati Nature Retreat has 20 rooms ranging from cozy standard to spacey cottages; this Nature Retreat offers comfort, luxury, and closeness to the Caribbean rainforest to meet different budgets. It has a unique vegetarian restaurant that merges beautifully with the rainforest and the food is just exquisite combining the flavors of international vegetarian plates with special touches of the local Caribbean cuisine.
This very unique Costa Rica Nature Retreat offers massages and different SPA treatments as well as daily yoga and stretching classes, adapt to all levels. There are also numerous exciting excursions available to all ages and to different tastes.
You can choose from snorkeling on the Caribbean coral reefs of Cahuita National Park, flying in between the tree tops on zipping lines in an unforgettable Canopy tour, hiking to a waterfall, sea and river kayaking in one of the best South Caribbean beaches (Grape point), visit a local shaman among many other activities.
Samasati Nature Retreat also has a gift shop where you can find nice and unique local crafts.
The whole structure of the hotel is built with treated wood bought in the Northern Zone of Costa Rica from reforestation plants. The style of each bungalow is built so that there is a maximization of the ventilation, isolation from the heat, protection from the humid climate, and enhancement of the natural elements of the rainforest such as view, sounds, and breeze.
The layout of the bungalows, the reception, the restaurant as well as the yoga/conference room was established accordingly with the oldest trees from the rainforest, as the MINAE's building regulation instructs. Each and every of these trees were left untouched so that the buildings were designed to fit within the spaces between each tree.
The extensive use of open structures and open windows with screens are used to maximize the ventilation. The shape of the roofs and the materials provide isolation in each bungalow, all of which minimize considerably the need for electrical appliances to cool them inside. The rest of the electrical appliances inside of the bungalows are also minimized so that there is enough comfort inside of them provided by the appliances, without these producing an undesirable level of noise that could disturb the natural surroundings.
All of the buildings at Samasati Nature retreat s hotel are built on stilts. This feature is multifunctional serving as an enhancer of the ventilation and the view of the rainforest; it also helps to keep away the humidity from the structures and to avoid interrupting in any way the natural drainage patterns of the pluvial water of the land.
The colors used for the buildings have also been carefully picked as to avoid disrupting the natural scenery in any way.
Conservation of the Natural Surroundings of the Hotel
The entire hotel is embraced by the rainforest. Grooming of plants and trees is only made when these start to intrude into the walkways or buildings. The rest of the rainforest has been totally left untouched. Absolutely no exotic species of fauna or flora have been introduced into the rainforest to avoid alterations to the ecosystem. The gardens of the hotel consist of the natural gardens that have been rampantly created by the rainforest.
The extraction of any species of plants, animals, or any other natural element from the rainforest is banned.
The water that supplies Samasati Nature Retreat comes from the property’s sweet water springs. A dam was built on one of the five streams in the property. A generator was the only power’s source until electricity was installed in 1997 (in the nearby village of Puerto Viejo electricity was installed only 8 years earlier). Hiking trails were opened in the forest, and later an entrance office was built (the retreat buildings are located one mile uphill from the entrance) as well as a second yoga studio and a large Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean.
The owners of Samasati Nature Retreat hotel have worked with ecotourism most of their lives. Their experience along with their strong values about the preservation of nature have made them important advocates of the protection of the environment and has given them knowledge on how to maintain a safe and healthy natural environment while establishing an eco-tourist destination in the Costa Rican Caribbean. Samasati Nature Retreat has a strong policy regarding pollution of any kind in or outside the biological refuge. Inside the hotel biodegradable soap, detergents, shampoo, and conditioner are the only type allowed within any area of the hotel. No chemical fertilizers or weed killers are allowed within any range of the hotel. Garbage is separated into organic matter, recyclable, reusable, and non recyclable or reusable. Each is properly collect and disposed.
A special custom made sewage treatment system was designed by a sanitation engineer for the hotel. And a strict control of the treatment of the residual water is kept by the hotel and monitored by a sanitation engineer periodically.
A 50,000 liters tank has been built to collect rainy waters from the roofs, to be re-used for bathrooms and showers.
Promoting Sustainable Community Development
The owners of Samasati Nature Retreats have always been interested in the well being and development of the community surrounding the hotel, and so the involvement with the community has been strong. Samasati Nature Retreat personell comes 100% from the local village of Hone Creek
Samasati Nature Retreat has made a lot of efforts to provide proper training to the local personnel, organizing waiting, cooking, and other hotel management courses. The entire personnel have been trained to be proficient at all the positions in order for them to be able to rotate when needed; increasing in this way the curriculum, and therefore the development, of a lot of people of the Hone Creek community.
Samasati Nature Retreat owners have also been involved, along with other tourism representatives of the area and hotel managers, in the establishment of a Tourism Association for the entire area.
Currently Samasati Nature Retreat is part of the Rain Forest Alliance and of the Red de Reservas Naturales, International and National networks between Sustainable and Ecological businesses and projects. Over the years they have been working with the school of the community organizing activities with the children to learn about preserving and developing their environment. It constantly supports the local clinic and personell.
Samasati Nature retreat owners have also been pioneers in the national and international promotion of the Costa Rican Caribbean as an eco-tourist and well being destination.
Promotion of Sustainable Tourism to Samasati Nature Retreat Guests
Samasati Nature Retreat is an eco-friendly hotel that not only presently protects the environment around it, but it also promotes an alternative way of life and a way of construction that is comfortable, energy efficient, safe, and aesthetically in harmony with the environment. At Samasati Nature Retreat we do our best to permeate our guests with the environmental conscience needed in this era where so much destruction is made to our magnificent and unique planet. During their stay our guests are in close contact with local people and they can appreciate their hard work and their effort in making Samasati an example in the eco-tourist industry.
By showing our guest all the wonders of nature and providing them with the close encounter with the rainforest and with the local population, we expect to be training them to be future active advocates of the protection of nature and support of a sustainable model of living.