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“Excellent retreat...let's put it in perspective.”

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El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level 6 Contributor
194 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
“Excellent retreat...let's put it in perspective.”
Reviewed April 28, 2013

Here are the things I can offer to help assist you in deciding whether this is the place for you or not based on reading the other reviews:
*Found this at recommendation of Valle Dorado tours - see my reviews!!
*Excellent accommodations, spotlessly clean. Each cottage is essentially a small home with lovely outdoor decks and rockers for birding and listening to the sounds of the valley in the mornings and evenings. Really beautiful, way more than you need but yet felt natural to the surroundings. Architecture is amazingly well suited to the landscape, enough that I noticed it.
*The service is extremely attentive and considering that they are fairly remote and have no competition being the only place to stay in town, it is more than is needed at times.
*Main dining area is beautiful, menu is extensive. I felt the food choices were very good for the prices, however, I didn't not think the execution of menu was good enough. Salt and seasoning was missing on every meal, every item.
*DO NOT let them tell you that going in to town is either bad or not worth it. We ate in town our last night and it was one of the most memorable experiences of the whole vacation. There are 3 or 4 food establishments, no one speaks any English. It's ok. You can do it. Very very safe, The local people are more scared of you than you are of them. We chose to patronize each establishment even if just for a cold beverage. We sat on the sidelines of a local soccer match with the local people. We walked back in the pitch dark with no issues at all. The food at the Restaurant Tico, Toro Amarillo was absolutely excellent. The place is owned and operated by 7 local women - need I say more? Oh, and the bill was like $7 for two huge plates.
*El Silencio has nice hiking trails on property. They offer a good selection of activities on and off site. We chose to go to La Tirimbina Biological Preserve for the chocolate tour - it was outstanding. The staff at El Silencion went out of their way to get us a driver so that we could take advantage of this tour at the last minute on our last day. We went with a staff member who didn't speak that much English and drove us in his own car and it made for a really wonderful and authentic experience. Loved every minute.
*Weather - beautiful in the mornings but expect it to be hazy or overcast in the afternoons since they are in a valley. Great time for a nature walk, a nap or a spa treatment. We did not have time for the spa, but did tour it and it was really beautiful. Great yoga platform.
I would highly recommend El Silencio for 2-3 nights on the way out of Costa Rica. It is close enough to San Jose and it very relaxing but you will not see as much wildlife here as in other areas. By the end of our 10 day trip, we were so happy just to bird and listen to the sounds of the valley at night. We had seen enough monkeys and macaws for one trip.
I would definitely stay here again, mainly for the combination of accommodations, location with the authentic experience of the local town of Bajo del Toro Amarillo and the serenity of the property with options for excursions if desired.

Room Tip: No one room is better than another. You will be more than happy with any room.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank winstonteaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, May 2, 2013
Dear Winston. It is a pleasure to hear from you and learn about the wonderful, authentic experiences you enjoyed in Costa Rica and our property, El Silencio Lodge & Spa. I am especially pleased to learn that you had many opportunities to take part in Bajos del Toro’s daily life. It truly is an amazing community that best exemplifies Costa Rica’s welcoming mantra and peaceful lifestyle. We absolutely encourage people to enjoy and patronize local businesses, as this is an integral part of our sustainability model. We strongly recommend doing so during the daytime just to avoid unnecessary walks in the pitch of night. I have relayed your comments about the food to our Chef so she can try to pinpoint why seasoning may have been off during your visit. Thank you so much for your review!
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English first
Antwerp, Belgium
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2013

The surroundings are amazing, typical cloud forest at 5000 ft+ altitude, a bit as we experienced before in 2008 when visiting Monteverde Cloud Forest. Dramatic mountain views, misty hills and above all: very quiet. The welcome received upon arrival, after a long trip from the Caribbean, was very nice. We asked for a suite near the main facilities by e-mail, and this is exactly what we got. Muchisimas gracias Maria Barquero! Una pena que no podriamos encontrarte.
The suites are luxurious and very well equipped. Sitting outside on the deck and enjoying the view and the peace and quiet is indeed utmost relaxing. You're in the cloud forest at 1850m of altitude, so don't expect tropical temperatures! To us (February 2013), the heater provided was sufficient, the hot water bottles are a nice gesture. The hot tub is a gadget, rather than useful: you're freezing when you get out of the tub and you'll have to start it before going for diner. But it adds to the the feeling of luxury of course.
The food? Excellent, made of fresh ingredients that are growing and/or living on the premises.
Chef Marcela does not fail to come to your table to hear your comments. Very attentive!
We took the nature hike on the hotel's grounds, were accompanied by our personal guide, Andrej who was very knowledgeable and very attentive to point out all the interesting plants and creatures. Wildlife was a bit of a dissappointment, apart from some beetles and spiders, but hey, this is nature and monkeys and coati's just don't sit and pose for the camera. The waterfalls are worth the hike and we enjoyed this trip very much.

Now for the "but's"
Their "eco-thing" is far over the top. I agree on sensibilization of the average tourist but there's no need to slam through people's throats. After all, the hot tubs are not natural, they need fuel to burn up the kitchen stoves and so on. If you really care that much for the natural environment of that valley, don't build a hotel in it! But nowadays, eco-tourism is the magic word and very fashionable.

Prices: over the top! There's no alternative nearby, after dark, you think twice before leaving the premises, so if you want a drink, you'll have to pay what they ask you for it. And it's too much! Meals: we had a meal package but if you pay for the meal, the mandatory $35.00 is overrated, especially when there's no alternative available. And how do they dare to apply to guests paying that amount of money to order half portions if they're not hungry????I Not done people! As said earlier: meals are very good but overprized.

Before leaving, you're handed over a questionnaire to rate your stay. At the bottom, you're asked to leave a contribution to the nearby villagers?????? This did it for me: If you're really so concerned with keeping up good relations with the villagers, let them have a part of the extraordinary profits you make by overcharging meals and drinks and don't bother your guest with this.

And finally, as a European non-smoker, I am raised with tolerance towards people who do smoke, as long as they do not hinder other people. But if you forbid people to smoke even within the perimeter of the hotel grounds, even outside of the buildings, you should advertise this on beforehand and not let it come as a surprise when there's no way out any more. After all, people staying here are guests, well paying guests and too many rules and regulations easily turn a luxury hotel into a police state.

Would I visit again? No, for the above 3 negative issues.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Wings47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, May 2, 2013
Warmest greetings from Costa Rica! Thank you so much for repeatedly choosing our country as your travel destination. It was an honor to help you a bit with your travel plans and I am sorry to not have had a chance to see you in person. Your comments are thoughtful and quite useful and I thank you for your candid impressions. I am thrilled to learn that your overall experience was so positive, letting you enjoy great cloud forest landscapes, excellent organic cuisine, and attentive service. Just in the interest of providing a little more information, the $35 prix fixe dinner rate includes an appetizer, a main entrée, and dessert from an a-la-carte menu.

I would like to underscore that our commitment to sustainability is long-standing, tracing its roots to the inauguration of our sister property, Hotel Punta Islita in 1994, before green labels became ubiquitous. Our mantra is providing planet-friendly, people-positive programs that benefit the property, the community, and the guest. In the case of El Silencio, we have developed the property in strict adherence to carrying capacity, encouraging sound environmental stewardship and providing employment opportunities to the surrounding communities. Furthermore, we encourage patronizing local businesses and give ongoing support to the local school and complementary education initiatives. Many of our guests have expressed interest in supporting these efforts and we try to facilitate the process as much as possible. That said, I will review how this information is presented to avoid misunderstandings.

In terms of the non-smoking policy. Please know that Costa Rica recently enacted strict anti-tobacco laws that prohibit smoking in public places. This includes outdoor areas. We are updating our marketing material to ensure that all of our potential guests are fully aware of this new legislation.

Once again, I thank you for your detailed review and valuable insights. Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email if you would like to provide additional information. Muchos saludos!
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Tampa, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
215 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2013

We recently returned from El Silencio Spa and Resort for a birthday getaway and cannot rave enough about the beautiful and accessible location and superb service!!! It was short enough transfer straight from the airport to a mystical cloud forest!!! Our cabin was exquisite and had every comfort and luxury on my list including a stone hot tub on deck and hot water bottles at night!!! Our guide Orlando helped us hike to the waterfall area the next morning despite my health issues and then we caught a trout in town at the local restaurant trout pond and had it cooked on the spot by Alicia and then a very informative and extremely fun wine tasting with Carlos back at the resort. Was that a perfect day or what!!!? The staff at this establishment was just outstanding form the most helpful concierge Aleksandra to each and every waiter that looked after us. They even baked me a birthday cake at my age!! We brought back memories to last a lifetime beyond our expectations and not every vacation destination and accommodation choice can boast of this accomplishment in the high tech world we live in!! Thank you all so very much!! Liddy C. Tampa,Florida

Room Tip: We had Cabin 16 close to the main restaurant area given the steps up and down the mountain areas wer...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank junglefun123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, April 22, 2013
Dear Liddy - Wow! Thank you so much for sharing such a vivid account of your experiences at El Silencio Lodge & Spa. Carlosm, our Sommelier has really created a fun mini wine-tasting experience and I am so glad that you had a chance to enjoy it. We take huge pride in our team and their amazing ability to create special and surprises for our guests. Thank you so much for highlighting their thoughtfulness. Happy Birthday :)
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Twickenham
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Wow, the setting is stunning, steep forested slopes surrounding a verdant valley with a small river, the cabins are built onto the hillside, very nice with a private deck and jacuzzi, comfy rocking chairs to sit on and admire the view.
Food is very high quality and very tasty, you can even ask for half portions, there is a lot of food.
Carlos the sommelier is great, very friendly, encouraging us to speak Spanish, in fact all of the staff are wonderful.
Take the trip into the village to make tortillas at Olga's house, it was hilarious, especially with Ronald our eco concierge, saw a troop of spider monkeys playing in the trees on the walk back, amazing.
It's a bit hit and miss for wildlife viewing but if you make use of the spa and relax it is well worth it.
A truly magical place.
As a footnote, marked swimming pool and fitness centre terrible, but there is none, can't remove score.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank buzz999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, April 16, 2013
We appreciate your enthusiastic comments and thank you for taking the time to detail your experience at El Silencio Lodge & Spa. We are very excited to have Carlos as our Sommelier, he is not only extremely knowledgeable but incredibly friendly and accessible. I also thank you for your nod to Dona Olga. She is a treasure and we are honored to list her as a friend. Our local community neighbors are some of the best ambassadors of Costa Rica's hospitality!
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 11, 2013

I just returned from a 4 day stay at El Silencio with my 8.5 year old twin girls. We had a great time. The setting is absolutely beautiful. Most guests were couples, but I think families with older kids (El Silencio recommends kids be at least age 8 which I agree with) should consider a visit. The activities are perfect for older kids - feeding chickens, hiking to waterfalls, riding horses, going to a farmer's market, making tortillas, and doing the chocolate tour. We did them all, and my kids really learned a lot about the local culture. The food was delicious, and all of the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. We were warm enough in the rooms - the space heater, 4 layers of blankets, and hot water bottle in the bed at night were plenty. Due to the cool temps, our damp clothes never dried, so I suggested that each room have a drying rack to dry clothes near the heater at night. If you are looking for a cookie cutter resort with a gym (some other guests were very upset that there was no gym), this is not the place for you.

Room Tip: Room 17 is just up the road from the main lodge so you don't have to climb any steep hills
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rosie9876
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, April 16, 2013
Saludos Rosie! Muchas gracias for your thoughtful review. It will be very helpful to families as they consider including El Silencio Lodge & Spa as a vacation destination. We try to foster cultural and natural immersion experiences that can be shared by parents and older children. In an era of tech overload we hope to offer a respite to prompt learning and sharing, far removed from cookie-cutter shortcuts.
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Albany, New York, United States
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2013

This was a unique and memorable vacation. A perfect rainforest vacation. We stayed there seven days - although there was the option of splitting the week with the sister resort at the beach - we opted to stay at El Silencio. The food was healthy - and wonderful. The yoga platform and spa sessions were wonderful. Hiking in the rainforest on our own and seeing the three waterfalls - beautiful. The staff was helpful and attentive but not intrusive. Take advantage of horseback riding, early morning guided birdwatching, hiking to the volcano and zip lining. All memorable experiences - as well as the tour of the local farm which was surprisingly fun. We traveled in April 2012 and still think of our trip. Thanks Andrea and all the staff - we hope to do this trip again.

Room Tip: Our room was set back - and was a bit of a hike - but a good way to keep fit and work off a deliciou...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Trish P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
So wonderful to hear from you Trish. Thank you so much for detailing the wonderful experiences that you enjoyed at El Silencio Lodge & Spa. It will be my pleasure to relay your comments to Andrea, your Eco-Concierge. I can't believe it has already been a year since your visit. We certainly hope to see you again soon... perhaps this time you can include that pending visit to Hotel Punta Islita to experience Costa Rica's amazing coastline! Warmest regards :)
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Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We traveled to El Silencio in May 2012 for the second portion of our honeymoon. El Silencio is a little off the beaten path and away from the craziness of any cities, but if you are looking for a quiet, secluded get away with a ton to offer this is a great place. We first arrived in the evening and were immediately in awe of how quiet it was and the only thing you could hear was the sound of the running river and birds! The individual villas are very private, nice and clean! We enjoyed the private hot tub almost every evening! The grounds offer amazing hiking trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls and offer a ton of amazing sights. Our guide on the hikes was very informative about all that we were seeing and hearing! We rented a vehicle and traveled around on our own which I only recommend if you are good with maps or have a GPS. A short distance away is Catarara Del Toro, the most amazing waterfall I've ever seen. We also spent a day traveling to Poas Volcano and surrounding cities which was very doable. There are a number of wonderful things to see and enjoy within a driving distance for day trips or they offer guided tours as well. The food was really great. Loved the breakfast! Small portions but very, very good. The temps are much cooler than what we experienced on the beach but it was a nice contrast. I do not recommend taking less traveled road from San Jose. We did and it was an adventure that kept on the edge of our seats, or shall I say the edge of a mountain. All in all, I highly recommend El Silencio if you are wanting an extremely quiet, private and relaxing get away in the middle of a Costa Rican cloud forest! Feel free to message me with questions!

Room Tip: We stay in one of the rooms up the hill which seemed to be a little more private than those neat the...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Josh R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Dear Josh, Thanks so much for your detailed and descriptive review. I am so glad to learn that we are remembered fondly. I have to agree that the Catarata del Toro is one of the most jaw-dropping sights in Costa Rica. Still a hidden treasure! Great advice about driving. We strongly encourage guests to contact our Reservations department for updated assistance and driving recommendations. Warmest regards!
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Additional Information about El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Property: El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Address: El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro 21203, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Bajos del Toro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — El Silencio Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Silencio Lodge & Spa is a unique luxury cloud forest hotel set in Costa Rica's pristine Bajos del Toro region. Flanked by two national parks, this all-suite and private villa hotel combines upscale comforts with an intense natural immersion experience. Outstanding features include farm-to-table cuisine, a wellness spa, an adventure park, and authentic cultural experiences. Zip-lining, rappelling, horseback riding, waterfall hiking, oxcart painting, Tico cooking lessons and more can be enjoyed by couples and families (minimum age: 8). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Silencio Hotel Bajos Del Toro
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Bajos Del Toro

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