Sansara Resort Facebook page
Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort is the place for you if you're looking to disconnect and recharge! Everything is done with great love and attention to detail and it doesn't go unnoticed. Mike and Janel created quite the gem in Cambutal. This is a must-visit.
Sansara Resort Facebook page
This is simply a perfect place from the moment you walk in until the moment you don't want to, but have to, leave. Sansara has incredible owners and staff, and the most beautiful accommodations, food, beaches, and surrounding areas.
Devin Rose Walker
Sansara Resort Facebook page
It's hard to find the words to adequately describe the experience I had at Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort with incredible family and friends. Sansara is a magical place that is felt the moment you step foot onto the property. I felt totally connected to the environment and everyone around me. Sansara is the definition of beauty in simplicity. You also can’t talk about an experience at Sansara without mentioning the staff. Their support and passion made for an enlightening experience. Whether it was a handmade eggnog and spiced rum cocktail, fish tacos with fish caught that day placed in a homemade tortilla, or a surf tip to help you catch the next wave - everything that happens at Sansara is done with love and passion. I love the energy. Thank you! It was so nice spending the holidays in such a positive space with my family.
I started writing my TripAdvisor review (in my mind, anyway) for the week I spent at Sansara with my girlfriend on my last night in Cambutal, as we hung out with the lovely and helpful Rebecca, who works at Sansara, and a local surfer/philosopher, Ivan, one of a few international ex-pats who had found this little gem in Panama before we had and, like others upon finding it, never left. As we listened to the waves crashing and laughed and reflected on the days that we had just spent, it was tempting to follow their lead…
Sansara was everything that the TripAdvisor reviews had promised, and then some. If you’re reading this, you pry already know that it’s not the easiest place to get to; we flew to Panama City and rented a car for the 6 hour drive to Cambutal, the start of which wasn’t particularly relaxing or pretty, but which gradually gives way to a pretty scenic drive through mountains and forests and jungles and then you arrive at this oasis, this gorgeous “resort” (I use the term loosely) and you know pretty fast that the trek was worth it. The accommodations, the property, and the staff immediately make you feel like you’ve stepped into just what you needed - a vacation, a little serene piece of paradise. The beach is pristine, the water is warm, it’s UBER chill, it’s stunning. The food was great, the owners are hands on and will help with advice, if you want it, or leave you alone to chill. This is not where you come to “party” - it’s where you come to go a little “off grid”, to relax and marvel at the scenery and enjoy the luxury and seclusion and the surfing (Kenny was a great surf teacher/bartender/jokester, and added to our overall sense of fun and security). Bottom line - we loved it, and are still dreaming of it. Highly recommended.
Fabulous place to unwind. Fantastic service and food. Loved it! If you need a break from TV, phones, internet (even though there was access, did not want it), Sansara is the place to go. The staff makes you feel like part of their family. They make it their top priority that you have an awesome stay!
The week we spent at Sansara gave us exactly what was advertised. A place to press the reset button. The unique beauty of the beach; black sand, rimmed by lush jungle, makes every view unbeatable. I was particularly impressed with the care they have taken in keeping the natural beauty of this area intact. My mother is from Panama and I have family in the area so it was heartening to see that this space has been so carefully tended. The thoughtfulness followed right through to the staff who were all truly fantastic. Everyone we encountered was beyond kind and loving. The meals were fresh, healthy and freakin' delicious! A great bar to relax and unwind after the family style meals was a wonderful bonus, too. We really appreciated the use of the SUP boards, bicycles and kayaks and all the extras that were on hand to enjoy. Speaking as one of the instructors, I was grateful that all of the planning, prep and final summary of the week went smoothly. It was easy and clear the whole way through. We are so looking forward to returning. Thank you for a rejuvenating, life-affirming week!
Mel H New York
Work life gets intense. I realized a few weeks ago if I didn’t force myself to make a quick escape from the city now, it wouldn’t be possible for months. I arrived at Sansara solo with a backpack, in the midst of work weeks where I’d clocked 40 hours by Wednesday mornings. And even though my stay was lightning quick — only two nights — the amount of decompressing it afforded gave me the fuel I need to close out the year strong and smiling. The amount of love and attention to detail that has gone into this place is staggering. As you drive in it becomes immediately apparent that getting supplies in to Cambutal is incredibly difficult. But you arrive and notice little details like Aeropress coffee, Vitamix juices, tungsten light bulbs, immaculate surfboards bikes and yoga equipment, vaporizers pumping out eucalyptus oil, and genuinely kind, happy staff — and realize this is a truly extraordinary place that is worth every penny, and then some.
+ The team running Sansara is the warmest, sweetest group I’ve encountered in my travels. Any quick observation will hint that the possibility of a place like this existing must take a mind-blowing amount of work. They make it look and feel effortless
+ The food is insane. So delicious, healthy, with lots of fresh produce and locally caught seafood. Coffee, juice, cocktails, and beers are perfect. The pineapple might be the best I've had anywhere in the world. I'm still daydreaming about the sea bass
+ Comms. My emails all received responses within a day and all my questions regarding transit were answered in perfect detail
+ Wifi. As with anything else, it’s tough and expensive to secure in Cambutal — but Sansara provides it! Connectivity is best in the early morning and late in the evening, and I was able to quickly log on to my laptop before sunrise each morning and knock out a little work. The relative disconnectedness was actually needed and refreshing
+ Details. The rooms, landscaping, down to the towels, sheets (SO soft!!!) and even the fixtures & toilet paper were top notch. Great AC in the rooms. Every room window faces water. Immaculately clean. The yoga shala is staggeringly beautiful. Hammocks and lots of peaceful common areas to read, rest, or chat. Fresh fruit and ice water accompanies every drive out to the surf spots. Great music. There are even accessibility ramps installed all over the property for those with mobility issues. In sum, you can tell that a lot of thought and love went into every last detail here, and while it is definitely a higher end boutique setting, at no point did a sense of pretentiousness or inaccessibility come into play
+ Surf instruction. Though I’ve been at it for a bit, I’m still a novice and had a lot of bad habits that needed repair. This was the most attentive, effective, insightful and caring instruction I’ve received anywhere in the world and my comfort level improved exponentially in just two days. If only I could have stayed longer!
+ Due to time constraints I was unable to partake in Sansara’s other offerings, such as yoga and massage — but heard nothing but glowing feedback from others
Do take into consideration that it’s not quick to get to. Flights and drivers are available, but on the pricey side. I opted for buses and taxis which altogether cost less than $40 one way, but it did take most of a day to get there. The effort is 100% rewarded and as such is scarcely a con, but be prepared to carve out several hours coming from Panama City. Renting a car is a good consideration; just bear in mind that as you approach Cambutal there’s no cell reception.
While I do tend to enjoy to varying degrees any place I visit, it’s rare for me to walk away promising that I will return when there are so many other places to explore. When I departed however — I vowed to each person that I will be back. Where I am concerned…that speaks strongly to how much I’ve fallen in love with this place. Nothing but great energy and good stoke. :)
Go! And plan in advance — during high season it books up for months at a time.
Chis G Tampa
I cannot say enough good things about this place and our experience! So, for the TripAdvisor folks looking to make a decision I will quickly list the facts. Then, I will list a few of the narrative things that make Sansara quite special.
Surfing: Real surfers will NOT be disappointed--AND--beginning surfers will NOT be disappointed. I was hesitant this would be a yogi place that had a few banged up surfboards and a "bro" surf instructor passing through town on a gap year. Absolutely not the case. Sansara has one of the best quivers of boards I've ever seen in Central America and the surf staff to support it. I've been surfing [not-so-well] for eight years. I learned things from Nick in a two-day lesson that changed my results in days. His connection of surfing to flow, movement, and yoga is something I've never seen before. Kenny is also fantastic. Both instructors tell you what you are doing well and professionally correct what you must/should do better. If you are already a pro they will take you to pro places and get in the water with you.
Yoga: So, if the surfing is great the yoga must suffer? NOPE! Janel is a top-notch yoga instructor and matches my favorite instructors here at home. Her story of how she found her practice and how it brought her to Cambutal adds to her credibility and likability. I like simple flow classes. If you are a hard-core yogi and not coming to Sansara on a retreat make sure to tell Janel your preferences before you arrive--my guess is you will be accommodated.
Communication: Speaking of "before you arrive." Any question I had was answered via Email within 24 hours. I wanted driving directions in an Email. Done. I had an indecisive group in committing on the trip, Janel was ready with rooms for 2 people up to 6 and was able to communicate that to me.
Food: The food is excellent. The specials are excellent. The creations are excellent. Everything is fresh and tasty. I can be a simple eater and some days I just wanted eggs--and that's what they made me.
The Property: I know there are swanky Latin American places out there--for sure. Yet, there's something about this place that isn't ostentatious or over the top. Yet, it's elegant and welcoming at the same time. The grounds are beautifully maintained. The rooms are spotless. The staff are polite. The design of the property is thoughtful and enjoyable. The pool is simple and inviting...on and on.
So, those are the facts I would want as a TripAdvisor researcher. Here are the things that make Sansara special.
The Music: I am an absolutely musicphile. I love music. Mike and Janel installed premium speakers around the living spaces (restaurant, bar, pool, family room) that exalt awesome music during some awesome moments. Morning coffee--chill coffee house beats. Evening dinner, some low key jazz. After dinner, some lounge house from around the world. For me, this music painted the audio backdrop for the visual backdrop that lay before me--one of twinkling Edison lights and crashing sea waves.
The People: Mike and Janel, the owners, are amazing. Friendly, warm, and hardworking. They would chat you up while serving, sit with you for a moment--then run food for the cook in the kitchen. Impressive and awesome. Learning their story over the week was inspiring. The local folks that worked at the place were equally as enjoyable and helpful. If my beer was ever empty it was immediately full. Additionally, the guests you meet from other places are fun with which to share stories and travel experiences.
The Place: We went this past week during the rainy season. After surf sessions I would read my book, laze in the game/family area, watch the rain pour down, listen to some chill tunes, and later in the afternoon start drinking a few Balboas. Some may find this boring...I will never forget it.
A few things to consider: Cambutal is a healthy 6 hour drive from Panama City. I try to be a careful driver especially in Central America--so that put us at 6-6:30 hours driving with rain etc. Know this going in. I would suggest spending the first night or more in the city and then coming down to the property. Next, I would rent a car. Some folks don't, but I loved being able to drive myself to and from the surf break and not having to wait on anyone else. That's a personal preference. Additionally, in the rainy season even driving to get food at other places is better than getting stuck in the rain while walking. Next, they have satellite wifi. You can check Email, Facebook, and Instagram--but if you are an executive planning to do work while on vacation--this probably isn't your spot. Next, if you get antsy or are bringing a family, make sure to communicate with Janel and staff so they can arrange excursions for you. I had no desire to go anywhere but pool side/family room side with my book. However, we met a few folks who asked us "what else is there to do?" They eventually figured it out.
In sum, I cannot say enough good things about Sansara. When we were leaving I wanted to go back and now that I'm home I want to go back. Everyone was finishing breakfast the morning we paid our bill and said goodbye. Every single person in the restaurant hugged us goodbye...Nick, Mike, Janel...it was the most warm farewell from a client/service perspective I think I've ever gotten. I seriously want to go back and tend bar for them when I'm not teaching. Good people running a good place. I was happy to be there and proud of them for opening the spot.
Outstanding location, awesome service, world class. Owner, guest, collaborators, everybody moved at the same beat, courteous and helpful. Thus hotel is nestled into one of Panama´s undiscovered spots. Surely hope it stays that way. Yoga lessons and settings are excelente.
a traveler United States
A beautiful beach destination and lovely resort! I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and would recommend Sansara to anyone who is looking to getaway from it all and revel in some yoga and / or surf! The instructors were incredible, and the food was amazing!
From the moment we were picked up in Panama City I knew that this was going to be a great experience. When we arrived at Sansara, we were greeted by all the staff with refreshing cool towels and a lovely watermelon juice. Refreshing and delicious! From that moment on, the staff was nothing but friendly and accommodating. There is a lot of love and a feeling of community at Sansara. The grounds are immaculately kept and the rooms all look bran new and VERY clean. I must say, sleeping in the bed was like sleeping in a cloud. Very comfortable. From the surf lessons, riding bikes, hiking, yoga, horseback riding on the beach, beach combing, and the spa, it has everything you need on an escape from reality. It was exactly what I needed. The owners Mike and Janel have really created something so magical. Oh Yeah, the food was amazing as well. Everything was so fresh and tasty. I would like to go back at least once a year. Amazing place.
a travler Canada
For someone that gets one "real" holiday a year I have chosen to return to Sansara again this coming April for a second visit. It is a breathtaking location, warm and welcoming staff, beautiful rooms- beds and bedding are so pristine! You can keep busy all day with the activities available to you at the resort- take a bike adventure, grab a SUP board, and of course surfing. They provide great adventures for all levels of surfing. You can also find peace and tranquility with their daily yoga classes, read a book in the many knooks found around the resort. Looking forward to my next visit!
a travler United States
If you are looking for rejuvenation or a guided space for exploration Sansara touches both dynamics. We practiced yoga all week and in balance learned how to play in the ocean with a surf class and some SUP boards. Sophie the chef whipped up the cleanest, most delicious meals throughout our stay. The rooms provide the perfect amount of space to chill with the sound of the ocean waves breaking at the shore.. You will sleep like a happy baby :)
I travel internationally about 5-6 times a year, our stay at Sansara was the best trip I have taken in a long time! cant wait to go back! rooms were extremely nice, staff were first rate and knew all of our names after the first day! If you are looking for a relaxing getaway in the most perfect environment Sansara is exactly what you are looking for! go there!
a traveler United Kingdom
Trip Advisor website
We have just arrived home after a week long surf and yoga retreat at Sansara .... and haven't stopped talking and smiling about what an amazing and very special time we had there!
The grand finale to an extended trip , our week at Sansara turned out to be the best .We were amazed by the beauty of the place , which hits you as soon as you walk through the wooden gates . I loathe to call it a resort as it is so much more than that, more like the most luxurious private friends estate . Mike and Janel ... the perfect hosts , and the staff were all incredible. It was like a wonderful house party with great friends .
Too many highlights: Nic, Kenny, Gonzalo and Graham the best surf team ever, also the best instruction / life lessons we have ever had, the early morning sunrise surf trips. Coming back to fabulous breakfasts talking about the latest wave / wipeout , and having a laugh in the surf truck. Fantastic yoga with Jaxx in the beautiful yoga shala. Stunning food, passion fruit cocktails, watching the sunset on the beach around the gorgeous pool. A very special place with very special people.
Can't wait to come back!
Trip Advisor website
Somewhere between Heaven and Earth lies a magical place known as Sansara Surf & Yoga Retreat ... if you are searching for an unforgettable experience, it starts here!
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned surfer or dedicated yoga fanatic, Sansara has everything you need (and more) to deliver a rejuvenating and memorable experience!
The atmosphere in infused with radiant energy, the accommodations are five-star and best defined as effortless luxury, the food is incredibly nourishing, prepared to perfection and tailored to suit any palette & preference. The juice and smoothie line-up is out of this world and will have you addicted faster than you can say juice cleanse .... I highly recommend making the trip solely for the freshly squeezed liquids alone!
The staff are experts in their field and you will receive the utmost in service whether you are looking for a guided yoga practice, an unparalleled surf lesson, a personal spa experience or an informative conversation about local Panama geography or culture.
Mike, Janel and the entire Dream Team have created a true home away from home experience, where comfort and serenity are elevated to the next level and where the meaning of 'tropical getaway' is truly redefined.
Incredible value, but beware ... travelling to Sansara may result in you eliminating all other vacation destinations on your travel list as you'll want to visit Cambutal over and over and over again!
Trip Advisor website
I'm a bit behind on my reviews (sorry Mike and Janel!), but I was lucky enough to attend a week-long retreat at Sansara back in October, and can't stop thinking about what a genuine experience it was.
From the moment we set foot in Sanasara, it was obvious that Mike, Janel and all of their wonderful staff were completely committed to their guests and lifestyle that Cambutal provides - the resort to them isn't just a place or a job - it's a dream.
Walking around, it's clear that a lot of attention and care have been put into the design, build and upkeep of the resort. The rooms, which are all different, are luxuriously appointed and that the local environment was taken into consideration when it was put together. It's spotlessly clean and no detail has gone unnoticed. The yoga shala is incredible - an open-air, thatched roof hut with beautiful floors and a view of the black sand beach and the ocean. I don't think I ever again practice somewhere so lovely.
Ultimately tho, as I hinted earlier, it's the people that make this place special. All of our interactions were fantastic. An extra special thank you goes out to Janel who went completely out of her way to help me find a secure phone connection to call home, the insurance and credit card companies, when I learned my house in Canada had been broken into. I can't tell you how much I appreciated the support.
There are very few places that leave me with the desire to return, but this is one place I hope I can go back to.
Karan United States
Cant say enough good things about Sansara. The service is terrific and warm - Mike and Janel create a wonderful vibe but the rest of the staff only add to this. The food is fantastic, if you want a lot of meat not for you, but if you want healthy food with really tasty fresh fish its as good as it gets. The rooms look like the pictures and were very modern (totally above my expectations). The yoga will depend on what instructor is there when you're going but the yoga room is really unique and perfect to practice in.
This is truly one of the most special and extraordinary places I have ever visited. The setting is tranquil while also being incredibly luxurious. We even coined a new term - Luxury Zen! The owners and staff are so welcoming and familiar, I never once felt like a guest. It felt like staying with friends or family, friends or family that own a really nice place! Every single detail of this resort has been thought out, from the decor of the yoga shala, to the light fixtures in the dining area, to the openness and comfort of the lounge, it is obvious that Mike and Janel went to great lengths to create an ideal space. The food is delicious, thoughtfully prepared and healthy, and they seem to be very willing to work with food allergies and preferences, even though I didn't personally request them.
From the moment you step in, you can tell that you are in a place unlike any other you've ever experienced. You won't want to leave, but you will take part of Sansara with you!
a traveler Netherlands
I don't know where to begin. First of all i think the reviews of other guests are true. The day i arrived i was so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of this resort (and my room la marea) that it actually left me a bit unsettled. It just was so much more than i expected. Staff and other guests were all kind and welcoming so as a solo traveller i felt at home very quickly.
The highlight of the week for me were the surf- or as another guest stated "life" lessons with Nic, Kenny, Gonzalo and Leah.
Thanks to them i have progressed a lot and enjoy surfing much more now. They are really fun people to be with and spent a lot of time observing and coaching me (and the others) in the water, giving detailed feedback after every wave i caught (or failed to catch..). Additionally Nic did a video analysis (and great photo package) which was valuable as it helped me to reflect and create awareness.
I really recommend the 5 day surf package to all people, you'll be surfing with top surf coaches that can-when you are open to it- help you work on your skills and give you the tools to carry on learning and enjoy surfing when you are back home again.
I am back to work now three weeks, back to daily stress, hassle, traffic jams and so on, but still feel relaxed, which is exceptional as I normally can't keep that relaxed "holiday" feeling for more than two days..thanks guys! and hopefully see you again some time.
a traveler Canada
Sansara is unlike anything I have experienced. Panama offers a lot of beautiful surroundings and amazing activities but there is nothing like the journey that Sansara offers. From the smallest details fo the furnishings and facilities to the genuine kindness of the staff, amazing amenities and spectacular activities, Sansara completely satisfies every last vacation desire!
a traveler California
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves over Christmas at Sansara. It was absolutely beautiful, the food was fabulous. It was healthy, delicious and varied. We chose not to leave the resort property for our entire stay and enjoyed early morning sunrises, smoothies, laying by the pool,fantastic lunches and dinners great yoga and playing in the ocean. We wanted a relaxing vacation and we got exactly that. I highly recommend Sansara and would return frequently if I could!
a traveler US
Sansara is a slice of paradise. For one, the grounds are laid out exquisitely; every turn leads to beauty. The architecture blends with the natural environment; there are many plants, and wonderful viewpoints to the sea. Our room was very clean and well-aircondiditoned, with a stone bathroom that made me feel like a queen every time I took a shower. Yoga is offered in the mornings, and perhaps later in the day. We opted for the learn-to-surf package, which involved a few hours of teaching and then personal practice. My partner and I learned to surf here, and by the time we left after three days, we were catching the wave. We were stoked! Sansara really cares about service; they offer help and care every step of the way. Everyone there seemed genuinely nice. They cater to your serenity. Plus, the food is healthy and delicious. If you are considering coming here, do not hesitate. You will love it.
After the long drive to get here from Panama City, I was worried it this place would be a bunch of shacks. Luckily it is anything but. Sansara is a collection of beautiful buildings that have been put together in a very tasteful and luxurious way. The beds are very comfortable, the rooms have AC, the amenities are fantastic and the food is very good. The ocean right out front is a black sand beach and easy to swim in, no rocks or reef. Coming out here to disconnect was the best possible way to start 2016. On an added note, although it didn't bother me or my group, the wifi is minimal and not worthy of anything more than email.
a traveler California, USA
We were staying at a hotel down the beach and walked in to see Sansara. We were lucky that someone had cancelled and we were able to stay our last two nights at the resort. The resort is adult only which is great ! You can relax by the pool without hearing screams of children "mommy watch me" Mommy look at me" ! I love kids, but when It is time for relaxing vacation I need peace. This resort provides peace, tranquility and relaxation in the most beautiful setting right on the beach. The yoga studio is beautiful and the restaurant food is top quality seafood and the chef does an amazing job creating healthy delicious dishes. Janelle and Mike's passion for this property is seen in every detail of the design. They have trained their staff impeccably ! They pay attention to detail and make you feel so at home. The rooms are beautiful and the beds and pillows are so comfortable !
Dana W Illinois, USA
Mike and Janel have created the perfect haven of hospitality, tranquility, and adventure. Despite its remote location, Sansara boasts luxurious accommodations, a sophisticated, varied menu with many healthy and delicious options, a team of professional staff devoted to the happiness and comfort of every guest, and an array of activities to meet every traveler's desire. What's so surprising about finding all of this in one place is that they've only been open for one year!! They have managed to surpass resorts that have taken decades to cultivate a retreat destination that offers both relaxation and exhilaration. They themselves are delightful interesting hard-working people and their commitment and enthusiasm is reflected in all of the details - from the music in the restaurant (seemingly infinite playlists to set the perfect mood, whether it be meditative, rocking, or groovy) to the light fixtures in the yoga shala (beautiful beaded and mosaic hanging lights) to the wood work in all of the unique guest rooms. I am a frequent traveler and cannot say enough good things about Sansara - I'm so pleased to have had an opportunity to spend time there and can't wait to go back!
Dave D Virginia, USA
Actually this is Visit #3. My wife and I have been traveling to Cambutal for years. We first saw Sansara when it was just a tiny seed in paradise as Mike and Janell started building their dream. When Sansara opened a year ago, we were one of the first guests, and it was amazing. We returned this year with a warm embrace from Mike and Janell, like family. This time we enjoyed cooling off in the beautiful new pool, poolside drinks served with a smile and good conversation, and the new Ganesha suite. I want to live at the Ganesha suite forever! The meals were simply outstanding with lots of vegetarian and vegan options. Rumor has it that the surf instructor, Nick, climbed a very tall palm tree to get get fresh coconuts for the desert! Also new -- massages in the Yoga Shala! We had perfect 90 minute massages in the this beautiful space with the sounds of the ocean and gentle music. It just doesn't get any better than this.Congratulations to Mike and Janell for nurturing that tiny seed from a few years ago and growing something that can't be described in words. I can only describe Sansara with a peaceful smile.
We were at Sansara for a surf and yoga retreat and stayed an extra 4 nights afterwards. From start to finish our time there exceeded expectations, but what made it truly memorable was the staff (you are all fabulous :)) and the people we met who were also guests. Many new friendships were made!Sansara is an absolute paradise in the middle of nowhere and exactly what I was looking for in months of searching. An intimate resort, right on the beach, beginner surfing and a place I could truly relax.We stayed in the Rio Grande and the Ganesha. Rio Grande is great if you want privacy, but it's the furthest room from everything (which isn't far when you only have 9 cabanas!). I loved the convenience of the Ganesha, which was right off the pool and steps from the restaurant. It also had an incredible view to wake up to. All the rooms we saw were beautiful with most of the accents hand-crafted with local wood.
We stayed for both a surf and yoga retreat week and general stay nights. I would highly recommend a retreat week as everything is included and it's amazing the friendships you make when you have a group of approximately 20 together for a full week.
Take surf lessons with Nic!!! I can't say enough great things about the way Nic teaches surfing and it was easily the highlight of my trip. Even if you are experienced, I'm sure you can learn from him. Leah and Gonzalo, who are part of the surf instructor team, are also amazing (and incredible surfers to watch!).
In recent years I've had many food allergies and traveling was incredibly stressful for me. You will not have troubles eating here and the food was incredible (even for my husband who likes his grease and was worried about the "3 healthy meals a day"). Many gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options. Everything is locally sourced and tasty. I especially loved the smoothies, gluten free waffle, pineapple pulled pork sandwich, chicken ramen, caesar salad and flourless chocolate torte.
If you are not part of a retreat, be prepared to source out your own meals on occasion as the kitchen isn't always open. There are lots of great local options (although the language barrier can be an issue with a few), and the staff at Sansara can point you to the ones to try (we really liked the waffle place and the fish place!). The complimentary bikes were handy to go out for food.
If you aren't part of a retreat, travel to and from the resort can be a bit more challenging (and even with transportation provided, the trip isn't ideal at 5.5 hours). If you need to arrange transportation, staff at Sansara can help you out with the options available. If you are prone to motion sickness, take an anti-nausea medication for the last 1.5-2 hours of the trip before you get to the resort and you are going up and down hills on a windy road. The upside is that you are literally at the end of the road in a very secluded and small community.
I have never felt safer in my entire life--and being a Canadian girl from the prairies, it doesn't take much to make me uneasy.
There is a surcharge for paying with credit card or PayPal when checking out. I think it was 3%.
There is wifi, but the connection isn't great. It's a great excuse to unplug :)
Splurge for a massage. There isn't a more beautiful location and Melissa was incredible.We stayed in the Rio Grande and the Ganesha. Rio Grande is great if you want privacy, but it's the furthest room from everything (which isn't far when you only have 9 cabanas!). I loved the convenience of the Ganesha, which was right off the pool and steps from the restaurant. It also had an incredible view to wake up to. All the rooms we saw were beautiful with most of the accents hand-crafted with local wood.We stayed for both a surf and yoga retreat week and general stay nights. I would highly recommend a retreat week as everything is included and it's amazing the friendships you make when you have a group of approximately 20 together for a full week.Take surf lessons with Nic!!! I can't say enough great things about the way Nic teaches surfing and it was easily the highlight of my trip. Even if you are experienced, I'm sure you can learn from him. Leah and Gonzalo, who are part of the surf instructor team, are also amazing (and incredible surfers to watch!).In recent years I've had many food allergies and traveling was incredibly stressful for me. You will not have troubles eating here and the food was incredible (even for my husband who likes his grease and was worried about the "3 healthy meals a day"). Many gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options. Everything is locally sourced and tasty. I especially loved the smoothies, gluten free waffle, pineapple pulled pork sandwich, chicken ramen, caesar salad and flourless chocolate torte.If you are not part of a retreat, be prepared to source out your own meals on occasion as the kitchen isn't always open. There are lots of great local options (although the language barrier can be an issue with a few), and the staff at Sansara can point you to the ones to try (we really liked the waffle place and the fish place!). The complimentary bikes were handy to go out for food.If you aren't part of a retreat, travel to and from the resort can be a bit more challenging (and even with transportation provided, the trip isn't ideal at 5.5 hours). If you need to arrange transportation, staff at Sansara can help you out with the options available. If you are prone to motion sickness, take an anti-nausea medication for the last 1.5-2 hours of the trip before you get to the resort and you are going up and down hills on a windy road. The upside is that you are literally at the end of the road in a very secluded and small community.I have never felt safer in my entire life--and being a Canadian girl from the prairies, it doesn't take much to make me uneasy.There is a surcharge for paying with credit card or PayPal when checking out. I think it was 3%.There is wifi, but the connection isn't great. It's a great excuse to unplug :)Splurge for a massage. There isn't a more beautiful location and Melissa was incredible.If you want to learn to surf (or improve your surfing) with a team of amazing instructors, practice yoga in the most beautiful shala while watching the ocean, and/or relax never more than a few steps from the ocean--this is the place to be. Mike, Janel, Nic and the entire Sansara team will ensure your stay is a memorable one. Hope to be back again soon!
We can't say enough good things about Sansara - idyllic spot, great atmosphere and lovely people. We stayed in La Marea and it was a perfect spot with a nice view of the water and close to the beach and yoga. The food was also great - very vegan/gluten free friendly which felt like a healthy change to everything else we'd been eating on the rest of our trip! I also loved the yoga - and am a total yoga novice, but Janel was a great teacher who made sure it wasn't intimidating. Whether you are doing yoga, surfing, riding bikes to town or just relaxing by the pool or at the beach it's an idyllic spot. Janel and Mike are lovely people who have put together a great team who are friendly, welcoming and make you feel right at home. We hope to be back soon!
I have traveled to over 50 countries and this is my first review as it may very well be the best place Ive ever been. Owners Mike and Janel have built a little piece of paradise in an idyllic setting. It was clearly a labor of love for them as there was no detail overlooked. Rooms are unique, clean and well appointed with beautifully crafted wood furniture. The hotel grounds and pool area are spectacular and just steps away from miles of a beautiful, deserted beach backed by tropical mountains. The restaurant serves fresh, locally inspired meals and snacks (Its not always open for every meal but there a number of other options around the hotel as well). Although the resort itself is a perfect getaway place, the staff really made the 6 days truly memorable. Everyone is incredibly friendly and eager to help in any way. The surfing instructor, Nick, is the epitome of positivity and made the 3 days of surf lessons not only essential in learning the fundamentals, but also an absolute blast. Mike and Janel are warm, inviting people who truly care about each guest and go out of their way to create a unique experience for everyone (and Janels yoga class is perfect for those at any level). Its hard to imagine better hosts for a week in the tropics. Will be back next year for sure!
Carolyn United States
I was so very fortunate to spend the week of Thanksgiving in this hidden paradise. I have extensive travel experience and I can say that this was one of the most spectacular trips in my lifetime. My room was luxurious yet with a wonderful rustic feel. The property was BEAUTIFUL and so well groomed. The staff were beyond delightful I wanted to share the wonderful energy each of them had. The owners were so wonderful and left us wanting for nothing. Every inch of this phenomenal property had personality. The yoga studio was so tranquil over looking the beach and all of the props were so well taken care of. I even did the surf school and I think I may have a new addiction. Nic who led the program showed us step by step and when we got into the waves with boards we had techniques and felt super safe. We were able to get up and actually surf. I am not sure I have had as much fun since I was a kid. Lastly, and usually most importantly the food was so delicious. It was fresh and so fulfilling. I came home from this trip feeling and looking better than when I left and that is what vacation should be all about. If you have a chance to come to this resort, don't think twice it is an ABSOLUTE Yes. I can't wait to go back!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you again Sansara....I will see you soon !
a traveler United States
Sansara is both unique and amazing. The kindness of the staff and beauty of the surroundings brought us joy from the second we arrived to the second we left. It was the perfect journey in every way. Thank you Janel, Mike and team! We're so grateful to you all!
a traveler Canada
I was fortunate to spend a week at Sansara for an incredible yoga retreat and I loved every minute of it! The resort and property is beautiful designed and maintained. You can see that much care and thought was put into creating a space that would appeal to everyone, I love all of the special local touches they added in every room and building. We stayed in Casa Antigua which is one of the smaller cabanas but there was more than ample space for the two of us. We loved the comfy beds, the stone shower, the driftwood wall and the essential oils that were diffused daily. The location is perfectly nestled within the jungle on a beautiful black sand beach that stretches on for miles. Practicing in the yoga shala is something I'll never forget, every morning hearing the ocean sounds and every evening hearing the rain fall or the night sounds made my practice here so special. The resort offers guided adventures in the area including, surfing, stand up paddle boarding tours, hiking and turtle watching, as well guests are able to us the resort bikes, stand up paddle boards and boogie boards so you always have something to do. If relaxing is more your style, grab a lounge chair by the pool or on the beach and just bliss out all day in the sun. The Sansara tribe is so wonderful, such genuinely caring staff who worked hard every day to ensure we were all satisfied and all of our dietary needs/restrictions were met. They felt like good friends by the end of the week and knew each one of us by name. The food was high quality, fresh and delicious, you will definitely become smoothie obsessed! Our retreat was in November, the end of rainy season and it was humid so the rain was often a blessing. Definitely one of the most beautiful seasons to visit with the jungle so lush and green and a perfect mix of sun and short refreshing rainfall. I'm very much looking forward to my next visit and would highly recommend this awesome place!!
Robin Joyce Canada
Fantastic five star experience - one week of being pampered on every level. Can't say enough wonderful things about this beautiful resort and the incredible team working there. Every detail is carefully attended to. Surroundings, cuisine, yoga, surfing, tours, massage. The vibe is relaxed and rejuvenating.
a traveler Panama
Was pleasantly surprised to find such a nice place in a remote area of the Azuero Peninsula. The facilities are outstanding!! Modern, comfortable rooms with luxurious bedding and amenities. Healthy and delicious food, friendly and helpful staff, relaxing massages, daily yoga classes, all of these set among beautiful gardens in front of a magnificent beach. Even the sunsets were outstanding! We enjoyed it so much we stayed an extra day and can't wait to return.
a traveler Canada
My husband and I absolutely loved our 10-day stay at Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort. The owners were so welcoming, the staff were personable, helpful, and knowledgeable and kind, the rooms were luxurious, the food was delicious and the beach front setting was stunning. My husband surfed with Nick and Graham each day and their approach to teaching was unique and successful. They were so patient with him.
a traveler United States
Wow! How to describe complete bliss? Wonderful staff every last person! Wonderfully appointed room, wonderful cloud-like bed, wonderful resort amenities, wonderfully delicious food, wonderful spa treatments, wonderful awareness of sustainable practices, wonderful integration with the local people, wonderful yoga classes, snorkeling, bikes to use, paddle boards, knowledge of unique local haunts... the list goes on and on. All in a peaceful Eden-like environment. Can't wait to return!
a traveler United States
I had a wonderful time at Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort. The owners are wonderful, so kind, helpful, and gracious. The staff was amazing as well. Everyone was genuinely interested in making sure you were comfortable, well fed, and having a great time. The cook was a genius, the surf instructor thorough, and Lexi and Grant were attentive to the guests. The twice daily yoga classes led by April Taylor were fantastic. The morning classes were strenuous and energizing. The afternoon classes were very chill. If you get a chance to go to Sansara with friends or family GO, you will love it. The property and beach is beautiful!
a traveler United States
Absolutely gorgeous resort, it's a bit of a drive from Panama City, however so worth it! Staff knew us by name immediately, making you feel right at home. They really treat you like royalty. Delicious breakfast, smoothies, fabulous daily yoga, paddle boarding, bike rides.And nightly 3 course meals (an extra & 20-25 USD) was New York city quality with California health flair. We felt like we had a personal chef as she adjusted the meal for us (Vegetarians). We really looked forward to every meal. I can't say enough about this place. You can tell the owners built this place out of love, it seeps through in the details.
a traveler Canada
As I counted down the days to my trip to Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort in Cambutal Panama I started to get this special feeling. The feeling of travel. The feeling of gaining life experiences and connections through exploring the globe. I have felt this feeling numerous times before in my travels but this time it felt extra special. I recall telling my girlfriend more than once that this trip was going to be epic. This trip was going to be one of the best of our lifetime.I can truly say that our experience at Sansara Resort lived up to this expectation. The resort location is beyond unique and relaxing. It's design and layout connects you to nature by intertwining both a beach and jungle feel. There are endless opportunities for activities and adventures including a waterfall trek into the jungle, surfing waves of all of levels, practicing yoga, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, cruising on resort bikes, and more.To start was the yoga. It was my first time practicing yoga and I can't imagine a better place or teacher to learn from. Next, Sansara Resort gave me the opportunity to head out into the Pacific on a local boat to look for ocean wildlife, within 20 minutes of being in the water we had come across a pod of spotted dolphins. I am a huge animal lover and have always dreamed of the experience and opportunity to interact and observe these amazing creatures in their wild ocean environment, so into the water I jumped.My two girlfriends and I planned this trip to Sansara as our 40th birthday celebration. When we booked back in October 2014, before Sansara had officially opened, we had no idea what to expect. Sansara surpassed all our expectations in every way. The property is absolutely breathtaking and set in gorgeous surroundings. You can literally see all the love and passion that was put into building this incredible resort by the owners, Janel and Mike. Words cannot express how amazing the yoga shala is and what an incredible experience it is practice yoga every day in such a serene and beautiful space. Mike and Janel are the kindest people and make you feel so welcome, as do their wonderful staff, Graham, Lexi, Nic and Sophie. The food that Chef Sophie cooks is absolutely delicious (and healthy to boot!). We did surf lessons with Nic who could not be more knowledgeable and passionate about the sport and the ocean. We did a stand up paddle board estuary tour with Graham who is also so knowledgeable about the ocean, as well as the local wildlife. Lexi is always seems to be around and answering to all your needs! Even if yoga, surfing or SUP is not your thing, you will love it at Sansara. The beach is beautiful and you can walk for miles. The pool is lovely and you could spend hours just lounging by it. If you have a chance to go to Sansara, do it. You will not regret it. As we found, it will be a trip of a lifetime. I only hope that I can get back there one day!
a traveler Canada
As I counted down the days to my trip to Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort in Cambutal Panama I started to get this special feeling. The feeling of travel. The feeling of gaining life experiences and connections through exploring the globe. I have felt this feeling numerous times before in my travels but this time it felt extra special. I recall telling my girlfriend more than once that this trip was going to be epic. This trip was going to be one of the best of our lifetime.I can truly say that our experience at Sansara Resort lived up to this expectation. The resort location is beyond unique and relaxing. It's design and layout connects you to nature by intertwining both a beach and jungle feel. There are endless opportunities for activities and adventures including a waterfall trek into the jungle, surfing waves of all of levels, practicing yoga, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, cruising on resort bikes, and more.To start was the yoga. It was my first time practicing yoga and I can't imagine a better place or teacher to learn from. Next, Sansara Resort gave me the opportunity to head out into the Pacific on a local boat to look for ocean wildlife, within 20 minutes of being in the water we had come across a pod of spotted dolphins. I am a huge animal lover and have always dreamed of the experience and opportunity to interact and observe these amazing creatures in their wild ocean environment, so into the water I jumped.There are no words to describe the next ten minutes of my life as these majestic animals swam around me leaping out of the ocean with curiosity and enjoyment. Literally my dream come true. An indescribable experience throughout these unreal days was the surfing; there is no better feeling than waking up and grabbing a surfboard from the huge selection of boards at Sansara and running down to the beach where the waves are in your backyard. The surf breaks around Sanasra are numerous and never ending.From beach breaks to reef breaks the surfing at Sansara Resort is exceptional for all levels of surfers. After a day full of surfing and adventure the food and beers at Sansara finished off our days perfectly. Superb chef creating delicious fresh local cuisine. In between our amazing meals and activities of the day came those moments to just chill around the pool or relax, and lay out on the pristine beach at the resort. Sansara Resort will forever be a top experience on my well travelled resume. A must visit resort. Epic experience.
We were in Panama for our honeymoon and I wished we stayed the entire time with at Sansara. The place was absolutely Gorgeous; the pool and the beach view were stunning and the room was immaculate. But what made the trip for us was Mike and Janel (not to mention the amazing staff). I have never had a better experience anywhere and I live and work in the Caribbean and am in the hospitality industry.The included breakfast was excellent and the three course dinner (not included) was the best food we had in Panama. Cambutal is a beautiful little corner of the world and if you make it down there, I can't recommend Sansara enough. If I could give it six stars, I certainly would.
a traveler Panama
We were planning a trip outside of the country, but instead, we decided to stay and travel somewhere we had not been to. It was very difficult to convince my husband because they did not have a pool or a restaurant yet, but it was so worth it! Cambutal is a five hours drive from Panama City on the Pacific side. I cannot talk enough about the flora and fauna of the area, Sansara is located right before Cerro Hoya, which is a national park.The rooms are extremely comfortable, the linen was well chosen, the bathroom is a spa experience in itself, very well done. The yoga classes are probably the best I have taken in my life, Janele is simply an amazing soul and her husband Mike as well. They made sure we were okay at all times. Coffee and an energizing breakfast was included. I could write for hours many good things about Sansara, don't doubt it, just go. you won't regret it.
I went to Sansara looking to relax in the sun, but never expected to find such pristine ocean fronts. The area is very low key and everyone is super friendly. The food options are incredible, as well, with fresh catch of the day everywhere. The Sansara staff takes amazing care of you and the resort grounds are truly spectacular. I snuck a tour of each room and can't believe how much effort has gone into the details. The owners Mike and Janel went above and beyond and I will most certainly be back to check out the restaurant and pool that have opened since I was there. I honestly feel like I uncovered a secret paradise.
Erica United States
Such a great experience staying here! They have first class accommodations in an idyllic location. The owners and staff are very welcoming. They were wrapping up their construction when we visited in April so we didn't get to try the restaurant but the happy hour was awesome. This would be a very romantic getaway or a great place to relax and get your stretch on.
Gorgeous location with excellent attention to detail. Genuine hospitality in a friendly and unpretentious environment. Idyllic beach setting is an elixir for the soul. Disconnect to reconnect. Highly recommended.
a traveler Canada
From the moment you step on the property, you are transported to an exclusive oasis. Owners Mike and Janel and the entire Sansara staff were such great hosts. I was fortunate enough to lead their first yoga retreat and the whole experience exceeded my expectations. I followed along for months their construction phases on social media and was amazed at how fast the place transformed.The attention to detail is impeccable. Mike and Janel poured their hearts and soul into this resort and you can see how passionate they are - I miss you both already! The grounds are lovely, the yoga shala is out of this world and the food was top notch. I am so grateful to everyone that I have met and look forward to coming back again soon!
a traveler Panama
I'm glad I didn't overlook Sansara Resort because of the yoga and surf retreats they run because this place is paradise. Remote beaches, friendly staff, great good, and more. I really enjoyed taking a beach cruiser bike to the local Italian resturant and the waterfall adventure. I've been back once since and I'm planning to visit again next month, as it's such a great place to unwind and regain focus.
Great place to relax. Hopefully will soon have a swimming pool as well. Far away from crowded and loud Panama city. Very friendly staff, clean rooms. There is a good Italian food just a three minute drive from there.
Sansara is a place that offers tranquility, peace, and much relaxation. It was a long journey and when we got there Lex received us at the reception, a well attentive girl who offered us a glass of water and a good cold towel to cool us down the long trip we had. Lexi took us to our room (Casa Antigua) and upon entering the room my partner all she could say is a big "Wow". I stood with my mouth open, finding all the details was amazing. Lexi showed us the room and politely she told us that if we want anything else, just let her know.It was worth the long trip and the only thing we did is to leave our stuff and walk around to see the facilities of this beautiful and perfect place. Also a very important detail that I found it was my favorite beers as a welcome amenity from Mike and Janel, what a great detail! We hit the pool and I loved it. It was all really relaxing; the patio, the restaurant, and also the nice afternoon on the hammock we spent.Personally, this place will be unforgettable for me and for sure I will return to this paradise. We rode bikes and went around Cambutal enjoying the beautiful afternoon after the long journey. When we returned to our room the only thing that we did was to enjoy the bed and shower; the room decor was great, the floor, the windows, the view. The room smells good, air conditioning was great, bath amenities, etc. Everything was perfect. Later we went to the pool and spent almost an hour swimming and enjoying the pool with my beer.We ate at the restaurant and we both loved the food and the waitress who served us our food was very attentive even the chef. They are doing a great job and I'm sure Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort is the place where you will enjoy your holiday with friends or family. In the morning we enjoyed our breakfast, we could not enjoy yoga classes, but for sure we will on our next visit. Sansara is a very special place for me, I wish the best for the staff and for Mike and Janel. We had a wonderful weekend!
Still day dreaming about that wonderful week at Sansara Resort. The yoga classes were the best I have ever attended, no exaggeration. There is not one class that did not make me feel more inspired, more strong and more grateful. Our group was combined with different experienced surfers and Sansara helped everyone have a positive experience and catch that first wave or improve their skills.The beach and point breaks were crowd-less which was such a bonus! Food = 15/10! Many thanks to the staff at Sansara. The resort far exceeded my expectations, we have already booked next year and cannot wait!
Sansara is a place that calls me to return. A beautiful place to relax and let go. Mike and Janel's vision when they build Sansara could not be more perfect. Exquisitely decorated cabanas, beautiful gardens, and the perfect location by the ocean. Restaurant was not open when we were there but looked like it was going to be a great addition. Local restaurants were very good.This resort is very remote but that is what we loved about it. The directions from Panama City were spot on and if you follow them you will have no problems locating this gem of a resort. Everyone working at Sansara was kind and more than helpful to make our stay memorable. My husband and I enjoyed the yoga and surf lessons.We will definitely be returning as we did not get enough of Sansara!
Typically when my spouse and I vacation we end up coming home exhausted and tired. However, for the first time in six years and many trips later this is the first trip that we have come home from where we feel, fitter, so well rested, and healthier than when we arrived. The staff are exceptional in every manner and the food is fresh, healthy, and so delicious. It was such a treat every time it was time to eat.The rooms are so beautiful and there is much attention paid to detail. The sheets and bedding are soft and comfortable, and plenty of blinds in each one of the suits to take an afternoon air conditioned nap. Just steps from the local beach break this was the ideal place for us to do our daily routine of yoga, surf then relax in the sun all afternoon then back for the late afternoon surf. We couldn't have been more pleased with every experience that we had here.Janel and Mike truly put all of their love into this oasis in paradise and it's going to be on our yearly trip schedule from here on out. Each and every one of the other guests we spoke to while we were there said just as we felt, that they wished they were staying longer than they had booked. We were there for seven nights and next time we will most definitely stay for two weeks.It's the perfect resort to unwind, unplug and disconnect. (Even though Wi-Fi is available!) We can't say enough to give Sansara our gratitudes other than its exactly what our souls needed, and we can barely wait to head back!
I am so glad that I found this gem on the internet and read the glowing reviews and made the trek! Mike and Janel couldn't be more perfect generous hosts. The resort is truly paradise! It's not just the activities, yoga in a world class setting, surfing great waves, snorkeling, exploring caves and tidal pools.It's really the way you are treated as if you're the only guests on the premises. Five stars all the way! And the meals are incredible. Sophie the chef is truly in her element and her passion for cooking shows in the detail and the wonderful dining experiences we had. I just can't say enough about Sansara, but mostly I can't wait to return. See you guys soon!
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