Neatly tucked away in the depths of the Costa Rican cloud forest, the El Silencio Lodge and Spa is the ideal destination for a relaxing time away from the stresses and rigors of everyday life. The rainforest canopy is located near the Poas Volcano in the Costa Rican mountains, about an hour and a half car ride away from the San Jose, the country’s capital. As the city life of San Jose makes way to the luscious green of the forest, guests are treated to a beautiful view of the capital city as the car makes its way up the hills of the mountain range. As the resort approaches, the fog from the clouds descends gently upon the road, creating a truly majestic sight up in the trees.
The resort itself is a beautiful establishment, with modern architecture throughout the main entrance. The rooms / villas are beautiful and spacious – with an outdoor hot tub attached to each individual cabin and outdoor sitting chairs overlooking the plush greenery of the trees in the forest. I remember almost every night after dinner my family and I would go and sit outside with our feet in the hot tub, just admiring the sounds of the birds and the smell of the nature surrounding us.
On the walk in to the suite, you are greeted by a majestic view of the dense cloud forest through a full floor-to-ceiling glass door that sets the tone for the rest of the stay at the resort.
While the room was huge and comfortable, perhaps the greatest compliment to El Silencio was the fact that I so seldom found myself inside the cabin itself. One of the greatest luxuries at the resort is simply the sheer number and diversity of activities available on-site itself.
There are numerous hikes offered at the resort, as you can either choose to go along with an eco-concierge, or simply explore the paths yourself. We found that talking walks along some of the private trails on our own after meals was a great way to explore the forest, and with so many different trails around the site, we never ended up going on the same one twice.
The most beautiful view, and an absolute must at El Silencio, though, came at the end of the Waterfall tour. We decided to go along with an eco-concierge to see the waterfalls, and it was one of the best decisions of the trip as the guide maneuvered his way through to paths to these gorgeous, grand waterfalls that seemingly came out of nowhere. It’s truly an indescribable sight to see those cliffs and waterfalls simply emerge from the dark, denseness of the trees.
For the more adventurous type, ziplining and rappelling are two of Costa Rica’s main attractions and are both offered by El Silencio as well. While the ziplining was good, I would recommend going to the Arenal volcano range if you are really looking for some good ziplining. The volcano range is about 2 hours away from El Silencio, and so we ended up spending a couple days there as well, but if you are only staying at the resort, then a day trip to the volcano should certainly be on the list.
The resort also offers horseback riding, which is open to all skill levels. For me personally, it was the first time I had ridden a horse, and it was a wonderful experience. We were able to explore a lot of the Costa Rican countryside as we went into the neighboring Bajos del Toro town and community.
The town itself is very small, but it is an extremely welcoming community. Upon hearing that I played soccer growing up, the hosts at the resort allowed me to join in on their weekly pickup soccer game about 15 minutes away in the Bajos del Toro, and I was able to enjoy a marvelous evening with the locals playing the beautiful game.
We never ventured into the town to eat, and while we enjoyed almost all of our meals at the same restaurant in the resort, it never got old. It is a farm-to-table place with a vast variety of local, fresh, food. And seven years later, I still find myself dreaming about their chocolatey brownies with vanilla ice cream.
The nightlife surrounding this resort in the middle of the cloud forest is, as you’d expect, quite nonexistent. The resort does offer a wine tasting, but if going out at night is high on your priority list for your vacation, then perhaps El Silencio isn’t the best option. Rather, it’s the perfect getaway to disconnect from the technology-driven world we are in today and reconnect with nature and the outdoors.