Imagine arriving from San Jose International Airport in Costa Rica, driving through windy roads to high altitude accommodations snuggled into the cloud forest: El Silencio Lodge. This gorgeous Relais & Chateaux property screams comfort upon arrival, with guests being welcomed by private security, horses in the field and beautiful facilities ahead in view.
But what makes El Silencio Lodge truly stand out is their staff: locals from the Bajo del Torro area that takes so much pride in what they do for the lodge. From practicing Spanish words with hotel guests while waiting on meals to teaching the boys to make “Pura Vida waves” with their hands, our young boys felt welcomed and embraced into the pure life-lifestyle. The leadership, in addition to the staff, was beyond wonderful, and made us all feel so welcomed.
Our two-bedroom Villa was private, comfortable and cozy, providing a safe haven for the boys to be their loud selves. With a mini-kitchenette and kitchen table, our oldest son felt as if he were at home, working on assignments due for school in the comfort of our Villa. In the evening, an employee of El Silencio Lodge would ignite the in-house fireplace upon request, providing a snuggly scene for the family to watch a movie together. The style of the Villa was relaxed with calm color tones and neutral furniture, providing a special haven for relaxation.
The boys setup was perfect for our travels with two Queen beds located together in one bedroom, equipped with their own hot tub on a private deck. The hot tub was the biggest hit for the boys, providing the best way to unwind after exploring the El Silencio Lodge property. Private bathrooms and outdoor showers gave the entire family space to get ready for events. In the evening, turn down service was provided, helping us get tucked into comfort.
Our master bedroom in the Villa offered a hidden TV in the ceiling, perfect for relaxing evenings yet functional to hide to enjoy the outdoor views of the forest. We also had our own hot tub, providing beautiful views of hummingbirds enjoying flowers in our garden and our own bathroom. The walk-in closet helped store our belongings and provide the perfect amount of space in the room. The heated bathroom floors were a treat and the accommodations at El Silencio Lodge were ideal both for our family and for my husband and I as a couple. The views of the mountains amongst the cloud forest were so special and we enjoyed reclining on the front and back porch in our rocking chairs and at our private table.
We were welcomed with a fresh sugar cane welcome drink and a list of complimentary activities provided for all guests at El Silencio Lodge. Due to their focus on sustainability and making a positive impact on their community (and the world), the lodge provided the opportunity for us to a plant a tree outside of our Villa. This special initiative showed us the importance that El Silencio Lodge places on sustainability and also allowed our young boys to be a part of it.
In the afternoons, we enjoyed complimentary hot chocolate and cookies, a treat that the boys always looked forward to while enjoying the plethora of board games available for usage on the property. The grounds of the lodge themselves provided a play ground for our boys, while they constantly played tag, looked for insects and hummingbirds and just enjoyed the simplicity and beauty of nature.
The property itself offered several gorgeous waterfall hikes, passing by stingless bee hives producing honey, gardens growing fresh, sustainable produce and herbs and gorgeous forest views. The on-site Rio Gorrion produced constant, relaxing sounds of flowing waterfalls and the trout pond tickled our boys as they watched them swim. The kids loved fishing with poles and nets both in the river and in the pond. We enjoyed exploring the forest and discovering the most beautiful waterfall on-site without ever having to leave the property.
The complimentary Mystic Hike, run by a guide, was educational and informational and so much fun for our entire family. We enjoyed a hanging bridge and the Four Elements Trail, learning more about the Pura Vida lifestyle. The entire family participated in yoga at the Yoga Pavilion, a wellness experience for all ages. We enjoyed watching our boys strike the poses and we all giggled as our boys fell over in the movements. The on-site spa, too, is an experience in itself, providing wonderful massages and facials. The mini-facial was rejuvenating and relaxing, helping to obtain full relaxation with sprawling forest views in the Costa Rican cloud forest.
So many activities, both complimentary and for a cost, will fill your days at the lodge. Ziplining, mountain biking and e-biking along the beautiful bike paths and rappelling are just a few of the activities available at El Silencio Lodge.
Our entire family was continuously impressed by the freshness and flavors of the food at El Silencio Lodge. The sustainability efforts of growing fresh produce on-site was detected in every bite, and each meal each day impressed us.
Breakfast time meant French press cafe, bright Costa Rican-inspired plates and table centerpieces along with crossaints, bread, fresh fruits and freshly-made jam that helped start our days off right. The boys absolutely loved the unique pancakes and well-cooked bacon, and we all agreed that the French toast with chocolate sauce was completely life-changing. Rancho Huervos were also a favorite, and the freshly squeezed orange and green morning juices did not disappoint.
For lunch, the crowd favorite was the chicken fingers on the kids’ menu, a menu that offered so many items that our boys loved such as mini-hamburgers, pizza and more. The French fries were one of oldest son’s favorite foods ever. The views while dining were spectacular, providing outdoor seating overlooking the Gorrion River. The tortilla soup was also a favorite in this family.
Dinnertime boasted a warm ambience with lit fireplaces, the on-site bar buzzing with life and delicious, unique cocktails and wine and some of the most delicious dishes we have ever tasted. The Spinach gnocchi was a personal favorite along with Beef Tenderloin. The boys continued to love having a kids’ menu to choose from, selecting delicious pasta with fresh parmesan cheese. Every single dining experience impressed us more and the boys were welcomed with coloring materials and live music, providing entertainment and a memorable dining occasion.
A Special Dining Experience:
On our final evening at El Silencio Lodge, we had the pleasure of having a private river deck dinner, our own personal covered deck, lit with candles and the enjoyment of the sounds of the Rio Gorrion. The boys got to eat fresh trout, caught on-site, and we enjoyed delicious red wine and appetizers from local, fresh fish to stuffed bell peppers. The lamb chop and beef were delicious and the environment was special. As if the evening couldn’t get sweeter, we enjoyed chocolate cake and creme brûlée foam dessert, the perfect way to end our time at the lodge.
Pandemic Travel (September 2021):
While travel restrictions are constantly changing, we had very little issues preparing for travel with young children to Costa Rica. Unvaccinated, adult travelers are required to obtain travelers’ insurance prior to a visit to the country, while vaccinated travelers did not require insurance and could upload to the Travel Ready Center with their participating airline their vaccine records.
One pandemic travel cost that was a bit high was the rapid antigen test needed for return travel to the United States. These tested were easily coordinated by the staff at El Silencio Lodge and they cost around $100/person. The lodge was consistently following protocols of wearing masks and providing hand sanitizer around the facility for usage by all guests. We felt comfortable in our travels the entire visit.
And Do Good:
El Silencio Lodge isn’t just a beautiful hotel, it’s also doing so much good. In addition to its sustainability efforts for the environment, it is also making a huge positive impact on its local community, Bajos del Torro. Our family was gifted the opportunity of meeting one of those families, Maria and family, whose son works at El Silencio Lodge as a gardener. The hotel rallied behind Maria and her family when her husband’s physical disability made it difficult for him to maneuver in their home. The lodge helped build a secondary room on their property, equipped with comfortable, accessible pathways for her husband and tools to help improve his quality of life. In addition, the lodge also helped their family with groceries and meals during the pandemic.
El Silencio Lodge isn’t just a lodge – it’s a familial experience. We, alongside our boys, will always remember the individuals that we met and the experiences that we had in Bajos del Torro.
To learn more about how the lodge gives back to the environment, their community and beyond, head to this site.