Costa Rica: From San Jose to El Silencio

This is the first part of a series of blog posts covering my trip to Costa Rica, early August 2011. This was my second trip to Costa Rica within a year, visiting additional areas and properties.

After the first night spent in San Jose we left early next day to visit the Poas Volcano. The area around the volcano is famous for excellent strawberries (best I’ve ever had) and string cheese. It has a very alpine feel to it – intensely green meadows and incredibly fresh air. Once at the Poas Volcano park we had to walk up the hill to see the crater of this active stratovolcano. It is really exciting to get this close to an active, water filled crater and the information center is very informative. The walk up the hill takes about 10 minutes and is very easy, despite the high altitude.

Poas Volcano Costa Rica

From Poas Volcano we traveled around more volcanic mountain ranges to get to a unique lodge called “El Silencio”. It is nestled in the middle of mountainous rainforest and comprises 16 luxury cabins with Egyptian Cotton sheets, gas fireplaces and wonderful outside hot tubs. Each cabin has a patio area with rocking chairs boasting views of the mountain range and rainforest.

El Silencio is a retreat in every sense of the word and the name is very suitable. It is a place in tune with nature – a place to reconnect and appreciate. There is no entertainment and a typical day consists of hiking, relaxing on the terrace, reading a book, and enjoying organic meals prepared from the goods harvested from El Silencio’s gardens and green house.

There are no tvs in the cabins and wifi is only available in the bar and entertainment room in the main building. Since the hotel is so secluded you have to book the lodge including meal plans. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are selected from a seasonal a la carte menu. There is a fridge with snacks and juices in the cabin which are also included in the cost.

El Silencio Lodge & Spa

El Silencio also has a wonderful spa! The conical treatment room is probably one of the most spectacular massage areas I have ever seen. It offers an absolutely magnificient atmosphere, especially at night, when you can see the moonlight shine through.

One morning we visited El Silencio’s gardens, greenhouse, fish pond, chicken den, and went on a hike. The walk took us to 3 spectacular waterfalls. We also spent half a day zip lining about an hour away from El Silencio. Some people in our group chose to take a cultural tour to Bajas del Toro instead. They learnt to make tortillas in a locals home and planted coffee plants in a back yard.

El Silencio hiking trail with waterfall

From a vacation concierge standpoint I would recommend this area to anyone who loves seclusion, rainforests, and supports eco-friendly efforts. You will enjoy this area if you like to be close to nature, away from it all, secluded in the silence (and noises) of the rainforest. I do definitely recommend contacting a specialist to make your travel plans since it is an out of the way destination and there are ways to optimize your stay.

Posted by: Stefanie Pichonnat can be reached at 812-917-2149 or stefanie@aav-travel.com

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