Almost two years ago my husband and I spent a week in Costa Rica on our yearly vacation. To be honest with you, we didn’t actually have all that much interest in the country before we arrived but we went because a bunch of our friends loved the country and because we had enough airline miles that both of us could get there for free. (Strange but true: It cost us fewer miles to fly to Costa Rica than it would have to fly to San Francisco!)
Once we booked our flights we decided to canvas our friends to see where they had stayed and loved. One of my good friends from college had gone to Costa Rica on her honeymoon and said that though they had stayed a few places in the country the one hotel in Costa Rica that she recommended to everyone is El Silencio Lodge & Spa, which is located is Bajos del Toro in the mountains. Once I looked up the website it was absolute love at first sight and I told my husband that we HAD to go there at least for a couple of days. That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
El Silencio is way up in the mountains, also known as the Cloud Forest, and is as lush a place as I have ever seen. Everything was green! Because you are high up in the mountains and surrounded by vegetation the grounds are silent. You could hear nothing but the sounds of nature, including the flapping of hummingbirds’ wings and the wind blowing through the leaves.
When you first arrive you are taken to the main lodge, which is the building above. The lodge is the hub of activity at the resort, as all meals are served here as well as some of the classes they offer. There’s also a full bar inside and you go there to sign up for excursions.
Staying at El Silencio
(image via El Silencio)
El Silencio is made up of a series of private bungalows, though they do have a couple of villas available for larger groups.
(image via El Silencio)
Inside each bungalow there is a king size bed, two couches, a small kitchen area that’s filled with Costa Rican coffee, and the world’s largest bathroom. Each bungalow also comes with a private outdoor hot tub.
While Costa Rica is known for being hot, it’s actually quite cool up in the mountains and the temperature hovered around 60 degrees for the duration of our stay. The bungalows aren’t equipped with heaters so they do recommend that you pack accordingly. At night they offer turndown service where they put hot water bottles underneath the blankets on the bed. I fell in love with this practice! The water bottles kept the bed cozy warm all night long.
To me, though, the pièce de résistance was the large porch attached to each bungalow. Each porch had two rocking chairs and my husband and I spent many an hour out there enjoying the views, the quiet, and our Kindles. (I guess it is impossible these days to truly disconnect!) On our last day at the resort my husband I stayed put and just enjoyed the resort. We got massages, took a coffee-tasting class, and spent hours on the porch reading. We requested that hot chocolate be brought to our bungalow in the afternoon, which was the perfect thing to ward off the slight chill in the air. I still dream of that porch and those views!
It looks like it’s raining in the photo above and while it drizzled a bit while we were there (we went in May, Costa Rica’s rainy season), those are actually the low-hanging clouds. They don’t call it the cloud forest for nothing!
This is the kind of beauty you would see just walking around the grounds at El Silencio! We didn’t feel like we needed to leave the resort everyday because it was so peaceful and relaxing to just walk around and enjoy nature’s beauty.
The Food at El Silencio
I can’t not mention the food at El Silencio because it was such a big part of our stay!
When you first arrive there’s a lot of paperwork that must be filled out and while you do that they treat you to a glass of freshly-made pineapple and mint juice. I think, in retrospect, that this drink was probably fairly easy to make but it tasted like magic!
There was a delicious welcome treat waiting for us in our bungalow!
I didn’t take photos of everything that we ate but all of our meals were so delicious! I took a photo of these Costa Rican nachos because I wanted to try to replicate them at home. They were so fresh and so tasty!
Despite being a small resort and having only one restaurant, Las Ventanas, the menu changed at least twice during our three-night stay so we never ran out of food options or had to double-up on any meals. In fact, I ate these nachos on our first day there and never saw them on the menu again. Believe me, I was looking!
Breakfast is included with all stays at El Silencio, though lunch and dinner are not. We ate all of our meals there and I’m not going to lie: It wasn’t cheap. However, all food served is organic and farm-to-table with much of the produce grown onsite.
Activities at El Silencio
While we were fairly content to just “be” at El Silencio, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. We chose to only partake in three scheduled activities; We toured a coffee plantation, we took a coffee-tasting class, and we got massages. We also took a hike around the grounds. They do offer scheduled hikes with guides, but we slept through the time we were planning on going! There were at least 20 other scheduled activities that guests can book. My guess is that the most popular excursion is the day trip to Arenal Volcano and the hot springs, which everyone raves about. If we’d stayed an extra day we would have gone on this trip but it was a full-day excursion and we really just wanted to unwind.
If you’re considering a visit to Costa Rica – and I highly encourage everyone to visit this beautiful and friendly country if they can – please be sure to check out El Silencio Lodge & Spa! It is a romantic little getaway spot in the middle of nowhere that’s a great destination for honeymooners, couples, or families with older children. (Only children over the age of eight are permitted.)
There are a lot of places I’d like to go and a couple I’d like to return to that we have visited before. I’d like a winter villa in Tuscany and I’d like to retire in New Zealand. (Hey, a girl can dream!) The one specific place I’d like to return to time and again, however, is El Silencio Lodge & Spa. I loved it that much and can’t wait until the day we can return!
For more information and additional reviews, check out El Silencio Lodge & Spa on Trip Advisor.
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