The villas are different ages as they were added through the years with mine one of the older ones I think but an excellent “Suite” style with open living room, bedroom with King Bed and a huge bathroom with separate little room for toilet plus outside door to my outside Jacuzzi Hot Tub in total privacy but still looking up at the trees. Then there was the great deck/porch or terrace it is called here with great forest views and a place to relax in the outdoors, even in the rain with its roof! I walked almost everywhere but did use their free golf cart transportation to return from dinner at night and to take me and my bags back to office to check out on last day where their driver just moved my bags from the cart to Walter’s van that was waiting. Great service in absolutely everything! And that is what makes a great lodge! 🙂
But the best thing about El Silencio Lodge was the attitude of the employees! They treated me so special every moment of every day that I can’t help but like them! 🙂
“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.”
The El Silencio Lodge & Reserve is a very special and unique place! And I say that having spent nights in more than 45 lodges & hotels in Costa Rica. For service, food, room quality, and the natural surroundings it is definitely now in my top 3 favorite lodges and maybe even my #1 favorite! (Remember – different lodges have different priorities!) And also it is my most expensive! 🙂 But with waterfalls like La Promesa at right near your cabin, it is worth almost any price! 🙂 And of course nothing is perfect . . .
My only two complaints at checkout were that the bathroom sink drained slowly because the stopper was installed incorrectly (CR is not famous for great plumbers) and the gourmet chef who served great food served me limp, lightly cooked bacon. Bacon must be crisp in my book! 🙂 Though, in his defense, the night I asked for a well-done steak, he did that very well! 🙂 And I had not specifically asked for the bacon to be crispy! (Had I, it probably would have been! Never assume nothin’!))
I mainly walked, but they have golf carts and drivers who will pick you up anytime, day or night and take you anywhere on campus free of charge! They also have two fleets of bicycles you can use for free, with a handful actually electric! Then they have several vans to take you off-campus to outside waterfalls or other attractions like Poas Volcano, two national parks, birding trips as far as Cañon Negro included with the cost of a guide for the trip. But believe me – there’s enough to do on campus to fill a week easily and their 3 beautiful waterfalls are as good or better than the two outside ones I paid extra to see! But still glad I saw them!
With nature my focus, I don’t get a lot of hotel shots, but here are a few with a separate gallery for my room or villa shots . . .
Some wonder what I do with a whole week at one of these very remote nature lodges I visit all over Costa Rica – well, a week is almost never enough time for me to see, experience and photograph all there is in these natural wonders! First priority at El Silencio Lodge & Reserve was waterfalls, then birds, butterflies, and on it goes through nature! Today’s collection is some of those little things like an ear-shaped lichen or a fiddlehead – the furled fronds of a young fern that were the inspiration of some of the colorful Oxcart designs used in this lodge and on the famous Oxcarts of Costa Rica. Enjoy a slide show of those and 23 other designs from nature . . .
Lichens, Leaves & Nature Things!
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. —John Lubbock
It was raining every night at El Silencio Lodge, so waiting would not have helped! 🙂 But I enjoy night hikes that are provided in most Costa Rica wilderness lodges and you do see thing not normally seen in the day time. We saw less on this one because of the rain and that also made photography with only a cell phone not super good, but here’s 6 shots that are samples of even more we would have seen if not raining. Daniel was my guide on this hike and he included two miradors (vistas) which were interesting at night and sorry I did not try to photograph the views, though again the rain made it more difficult with less moonlight and no stars. CLICK image to enlarge . . .
“Between every two pines there is a doorway to a new world.” ~John Muir
You might also like my Amphibians Gallery, most of which were photographed on Night Hikes all over Costa Rica! 🙂
I got photos of only 5 species of butterflies during my week at El Silencio Lodge and Reserve, all new to me and difficult to identify – with 2 still unidentified! I also saw a lot of Blue Morphos and Yellows but simply too fast-moving – never stopping for a photo! CLICK an image to see it larger.
Here’s 12 birds I photographed at El Silencio Lodge and Reserve in addition to the 3 hummingbirds shared yesterday. Of the 15 I photographed, 4 are lifers or first-time I’ve seen that species. Then there were others not photographed like the red-tailed hawk flying overhead and a Black and White Warbler. And my main reason for coming here was the waterfalls! 🙂 So it has been a very good week and I go home tomorrow morning (Saturday) to continue my lesser adventures in Atenas, but will continue sharing photos from this excellent trip.
And the lifers? They are the Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Blackburnian Warbler, Scintillant Hummingbird, and the Black-bellied Hummingbird. I showed the two hummingbirds in a post yesterday. And the reason the Brushfinch is in a girl’s hand, he had just flown into one of the lodge office’s plate-glass windows and was still in shock. He eventually flew off.
I highly recommend El Silencio Lodge & Reserve and though it is expensive, it is well-worth what they charge! And I am not finished sharing photos from this trip, so expect more for the next few days! 🙂
This was my waterfall for today and the biggest of the week. If you go to their website Catarata del Toro you can tell that it is commercial and on private property with all of their “biggest and best” claims. The same people own the property that yesterday’s Las Gemelas Waterfall is own. So of course you pay admission to each.
Bajos del Toro sits in the shadow of Poas Volcano, next to the Poas Volcano National Park, Juan Castro Blanco National Park, and the Bosque de Paz Rain/Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Outdoor activities abound with rugged trail systems to explore the forest’s flora and fauna.
This is beautiful wilderness area and today’s guide, Daniel, another great new friend and excellent guide has done a cross country hike with friends over this trail-less wilderness using machetes to blaze their way through. There are plans to build trails connecting the two national parks and Bajos del Toro.
There were two of us from El Silencio Lodge to go with Daniel on this waterfall hike. I chose not to walk the 400 steep steps down to the bottom of falls, but the Tica young lady guest did walk down while I walked through the hummingbird garden. I do most of the things younger people do, but not all now! 🙂
For you history enthusiasts, the full name of the town and the waterfall is Bajos del Toro Amarillo, translated literally as “Low place (valley) of the Yellow Bull” and the story is that when the first settlers came it they saw a yellow bull that later historians say was actually a bison that did populate parts of Central America in the early 1800’s. It is always fun to get the history behind some of these place names. 🙂
I did my guided bird hike before breakfast this morning also with Daniel but have barely started sorting bird pictures. But with this morning hike + my solo hike in the Hummingbird Garden here + a noon-time experience I will be recording 3 lifer birds or 3 that are new to me. Not bad! 🙂
Okay, for you Spanish readers, yes, that says “The Twins” Waterfall and thus you may ask, “Where is the second one?” Well . . . sometimes my better judgement overrules my sense of adventure. We had already hiked about 4 km and waded across the ice cold, rock-strewn river with Bryan, my personal guide, helping me wade across the slippery rocks just to get this photo of the biggest of the twins. To see the other one we would have had to wade up a separate stream of slippery rocks to the left of the bottom of this falls maybe 50 meters. Bryan had already said “I can’t believe I’m helping an 80 year old do this hike!” He was doubting the wisdom of going further and after nearly slipping down more than once. I did too! But I was thankful that I could make the hike solo with my excellent young masked guide who was perfect for me in every way! Most of the holiday weekend crowd have gone. We have a max of 9 guests the rest of the week, so very tranquilo! Which I prefer! 🙂 And yes, I love this place! Already another favorite and I have so many favorites in Costa Rica. Here’s just a few shots of the Las Gemelas Falls Hike and notice that weird V-shaped bridge over one of the streams, like none I’ve seen before: