Hotel Highlights

  • Fantastic cloud-covered location in the forest
  • Eco resort owned and run by locals
  • Serene spa set in nature

Overview

A 500-acre tropical forest, a river winding through the grounds, three waterfalls cascading down the mountainside – if it’s back-to-nature you want, El Silencio Lodge & Spa hotel will give it to you in eco-friendly spades. Take in picture-perfect panoramas from an outdoor hot tub, greet the sunrise from the yoga deck, and feast on natural, organic food. It’s what nature intended, only better.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking El Silencio Lodge & Spa with us:

A choice of a half-hour couple’s massage or horse-riding tour.

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at El Silencio Lodge & Spa

15% off 25% off 25% off 30% off 25% off 15% off Two-Bedroom Villas

Facilities

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El SIlencio Lodge and Spa hotel – Costa Rica – Costa Rica

Need To Know

Rooms

15 mountainside suites, raised on wooden pillars.

Check–out

11am, but flexible and free, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $294.69, excluding tax at 13 per cent.

More details

Rates include daily breakfast and a guided nature walk.

Also

Sit back and let the wildlife come to you. The groundskeepers planted purple verbena flowers around each cabin’s viewing deck to lure hummingbirds. Keen eyes can also spot wild pheasants, sparrows, blue tanagers and, possibly, the iridescent, long-tailed quetzal.

At the hotel

Gardens, spa, private nature reserve, library of books and DVDS, free WiFi in the restaurant and TV room. In rooms:, iPod dock, outdoor whirlpool tub, minibar, viewing deck with rocking chairs, and bath products by Costa Rican line Aromas para el Alma.

Our favourite rooms

All rooms have the same floor plan and feel very private, with dramatic views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as from the hot tub on each deck. The Suites higher up the hill feel more like they are situated in a cloud forest. Opt for 11, which attracts hummingbirds to the plants around its porch.

Packing tips

Pack light on bath products: El Silencio’s biodegradable potions are packed with natural goodies such as lavender and peppermint, (which handily double as all-natural bug repellents). Bring clothes for all temperatures (preferably in shades of green, naturally).

Also

Each Suite is assigned an Eco Concierge, who leads your courtesy hike, coordinates activities, can arrange tree-plantings and can point out flora and fauna.

Children

Children ages eight and older are welcome at El Silencio. They can sleep on the convertible day-beds in each lodge, at no extra charge. Babysitting can be arranged with hotel staff for US$15, with 48 hours’ notice.

Eco‐friendly

Sustainability is the watchword. Ninety per cent of El Silencio’s grounds is designated as a private forest reserve. The cabins were built on repurposed grazing grounds to avoid clearing additional trees, and are made with eco-friendly materials (bamboo features heavily). The staff compost food remnants, provide reusable water bottles, and clean with low-impact products. Much of the food comes from local farmers or the hotel garden.

Food & Drink

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El SIlencio Lodge and Spa hotel – Costa Rica – Costa Rica

Hotel Restaurant

 Los Ventanas uses produce from the hotel garden to create an menu of international dishes. The kitchen promotes healthier cuisine and vegetables, ie no red meat. Local fishermen hand over their catches for several dishes, including trout au gratin.

Hotel Bar

The lodge has a bar serving tropical cocktails, wine, beer and an espresso selection. 

Last orders

Las Ventanas serves dinner from 7pm¬ to 9:30pm (breakfast is 7am–10am; lunch, noon–3pm). The bar’s open until 10pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Jungle-casual rules the resort. Closed-toed shoes will keep you safe on impromptu after-dinner walks.

Top table

The glass-walled dining makes it easy to watch the world go by from any table. If the weather is warm, take a table on the terrace, where the babbling river sets the soundtrack.

Local Guide

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El SIlencio Lodge and Spa hotel – Costa Rica – Costa Rica
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Bajos del Toro Amarillo is a small town just outside the gates to the property. There are several casual cafes, called ‘sodas,’ serving typical local food, fresh fruit smoothies and soft drinks. Seafood is a good bet: much of it comes from local fisheries.

+ Enlarge
Cloud forest canopy

El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, PO. Box 242-1225 Pavas, San Jose, Bajos del Toro, Alajuela

El Silencio Lodge & Spa occupies 500 acres of Costa Rica’s Central Volcanic Valley, sandwiched between the Juan Castro Blanco National Park and the Poas Volcano National Park.

Planes

San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International (SJO) is the closest airport at 70km away. The airport is served by United Airlines (www.united.com), British Airways (www.britishairways.com) and TACA (www.taca.com). Flights operate from New York, Madrid, Miami, Toronto and other international cities. There's a departure tax of about US$26. You can also charter flights for up to 19 people through Nature Air (www.natureair.com).

Automobiles

Driving from San Jose takes about 90 minutes. The nearest city, Sarchi, is a 30-minute drive. Parking at El Silencio is free and easy.

Other

Helicopters can land on the nearby soccer field in clear weather. Aerobell Air Charter has private planes and helicopters to hire (www.aerobell.com).

Reviews

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El SIlencio Lodge and Spa hotel – Costa Rica – Costa Rica

Anonymous review

by Carey Jones , Wayfaring gourmand

Of all the adventure sports one might attempt in Costa Rica – canyoneering, rappelling, white-water rafting – nothing gets the adrenaline pumping quite like… driving. Required equipment: 4WD capability, ample insurance and unshakable resolve.

En route to El Silencio Lodge & Spa, a mountainside retreat in Costa Rica’s central volcanic valley, you may need to ...

Read more

El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Anonymous review by Carey Jones, Wayfaring gourmand

Of all the adventure sports one might attempt in Costa Rica – canyoneering, rappelling, white-water rafting – nothing gets the adrenaline pumping quite like… driving. Required equipment: 4WD capability, ample insurance and unshakable resolve.

En route to El Silencio Lodge & Spa, a mountainside retreat in Costa Rica’s central volcanic valley, you may need to brave the following: roads shouldered by sheer cliffs, one-lane bridges on two-lane roads, bridges constructed from three wobbly wooden planks and crossings preceded by the ominous sign PUENTE EN MAL ESTADO (you do the translation).

Other obstacles may also include: packs of children running around blind corners, whiteout-causing clouds and chickens crossing the road (you supply the punchline).

All this stunt-driving excitement makes arriving at this secluded resort high in the misty cloud forest, all the more gratifying. Like that first frosty beer after a long run, you've earned it.

And, from the moment Mr Smith and I drove onto the 500-acre jungle property we felt embraced. Anticipating our arrival, a uniformed manager stood waiting for us (always nice to feel like a guest of honor) with a reviving pineapple-mint-arugula concoction.

Tropical drinks in hand, we were shown to our private cabina – one of just 16 eco-luxury tree houses hidden in the mountainside. Rich, chocolate-brown wood floors and furniture were softened by cream walls, the cool marble and bamboo accented ensuite and the floor-to-ceiling windows that glowed with lush jungle greens. There was a problematically comfortable king-size bed, handcrafted rocking chairs on one porch and a private Jacuzzi on the other.

Said Jacuzzi takes two hours to heat, but that's exactly the time needed to hike the place (we like to think they designed it that way). And a little walk was certainly in order after our adventures in driving.

Trekking the over six miles of trails winding up and down the property thick with exotic butterflies and hummingbirds to the triad of hidden waterfalls, we didn't see another soul – except for a black bird nearly my size. It's the right exertion for occasional outdoorsfolk like Mr Smith and me. Sure, we're up for a bit of a climb, but prefer it with the promise of rum and a Jacuzzi at the end.

Both are promises that El Silencio, which feels like a luxurious summer camp, more than delivers on with thoughtful, personalized service. Just-baked cookies and hot chocolate are brought to your cabin each afternoon. Muddy hiking shoes are whisked away and returned cleaner-than-new.

Fires continually crackle in the hearth of the main lodge. And, once I recovered from the initial shock an unexpected warm and squishy surprise at the foot of our bed, I looked forward to the hot water bottle tucked in at nightly turn-down. A welcome perk in this tropical rainforest where the cloud cover can quickly make you reach for a sweater.

Like any good summer camp, there are enthusiastic counselors, too. Each cabin is assigned an eco concierge who coordinates hikes and activities and pushes you just enough. Venicio, a local, was our fearless guide, leading us on the ‘Hidden Treasure’ hike.

This mud-trekking, rock-scrambling, stream-leaping climb progressed toward a towering waterfall, tinged electric blue by the minerals of the Poas Volcano. During our hour-long ramble, Venicio pointed out the metallic-green tiger beetles scurrying under our feet. They mate once, he told us, and afterwards the female eats the male's head (I felt scandalized when I later saw an intact beetle running away from a headless one).

Inching our way up to a precipice, perhaps a 20-meter drop to the swirling waters below, Venicio reminisced, ‘We used to jump off this cliff, straight into the water, when we were teenagers.’ Not wanting to spend our holiday on crutches, we opted to walk down.

Following our waterfall hike, we may or may not have enjoyed a few rounds of cane sugar liquor… that may or may not have been fully licensed. (I do want to tell you more, truly, but I'm not the kind of girl who betrays confidences.)

Despite being quite relaxed already, I had a hot-stone massage scheduled at the tranquil Esencia Spa (why quit when you’re ahead?). Remarking that I loved the spa's essential oils, my attendant sent me away with a fragrant vial of oil as a souvenir.

Generosity was catchy among the staff. Upon learning that Mr Smith has a way with the cocktails, the bartender lent him a shaker and handed us a bottle of raw sugar simple syrup. This led to us sipping afternoon daiquiris while lolling about our secluded hot tub as we soaked up our last views of paradise – our idea of a jungle adventure.

We’ll be sure to have Venicio add this to the activity list for next time…
 

The Guestbook

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