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Executive Travel: Cloud Nine

El Silencio Offers the Authentic Costa Rican Rainforest Experience

Editor’s Note: This is the first in an occasional series on executive travel destinations.
CostaRicaWhat’s in a name?
Well, when it comes to the El Silencio Lodge & Spa in Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica, there’s plenty.
El Silencio means ‘the silence’ in Spanish, and that’s exactly what guests get in this back-to-basics getaway experience — other than the sound of tropical birds, you won’t hear much else. The rainforest clouds that surround El Silencio offer a quiet solitude, a refreshing retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern-day work and life. While the quiet of the rainforest takes a little getting used to, once you do, you’ll find it relaxing, empowering, and highly spiritual.
But the sound of silence is only one of the ways El Silencio and this somewhat remote area of Costa Rica touch the senses — all of them. The views of the rainforest at El Silencio are spectacular, and the numerous nature trails bring visitors deep into the rainforest. Along the way you will encounter some of the most beautiful flora and birds in the world. Don’t forget your camera!
Meanwhile, the locally grown food served in the lodge is fresh, exotic, and delicious. El Silencio offers visitors the authentic Costa Rican experience, in every sense of that word.
The lodge itself is unique in many ways, starting with the setting. It is quiet, colorful, and, in one word, unforgettable. The hotel is quite literally in the middle of the rainforest. It was built in a sustainable manner with products from the local environment and built by local workers. El Silencio is about an hour drive from Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose.
There are 16 cottage suites in total. While small, probably about 400 square feet, they are intimate and quite cozy. The early-morning chill and foggy mist are enhanced by the deep valley the property is situated in.
A personal concierge with a wealth of rainforest knowledge is assigned to each party for the length of their stay. Staff members are incredibly friendly and go out of their way to make each stay as comfortable and memorable as possible. As part of the experience, visitors are encouraged to plant a complimentary tree in memory of a loved one and can come back year after year to see its growth.
But don’t visit El Silencio if you want to stay in your villa and watch CNN. There are no televisions in the rooms — there is one in the main lodge, along with Internet, for those who can’t be without it — but that’s fine because there are plenty of things to do to get one’s mind and body occupied.
Starting with the hiking trails, which provide the full, rich flavor of the rainforest and the cool, misty air, along with picturesque waterfalls, the beauty is awe- inspiring. The lodge sits amid 500 luscious acres surrounded by two national parks. Nearby are other family-friendly activities such as horseback riding, ziplining, and water rafting. The town of Sarchi is about 45 minutes away and provides tourists an array of artisan woodworking shops and products from indigenous Costa Rican trees.
The lodge’s restaurant serves only organic chicken, fish, and vegetarian dishes, which are grown on site. The menu is only one of the ways El Silencio brings its guests back to the basics of life and nature; the resort offers meditation and yoga retreats that help beat back the stress from the world guests leave behind when they check in.
El Silencio is a must-stay for those who  have ever thought about visiting Costa Rica or experiencing the rain forest. It’s ideal for honeymoons, anniversaries, and executive getaways.
Some might say it’s in the middle of nowhere, but there’s another way to sum it all up: it’s in the middle of somewhere special.
Room prices vary, but are affordable by U.S standards. Call +011 (506) 2761-0301 for more information; www.elsilenciolodge.com
— John Gormally

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