Luxury & Adventure Travel in Costa Rica: El Silencio (Virtuoso) & The Springs Resort
We awoke this morning to a beautiful, sun-lit El Silencio – our time here was a tease, I would have loved another day on the property to fish for my own trout dinner and hike through the cloud forest to the waterfalls. Okay, I know none of that sounds like me – I’m not the most outdoorsy of women (in fact, I’m probably the least), but this property was just so cool. It makes you appreciate nature, minus any giant Costa Rican bugs. It’s like the insects in this country grew up next to a nuclear power plant.
Here are some photos from the morning:
We went on a short walk around the property before heading on our two 1/2-hour van transfer to the Arenal region. On our way to Arenal, we almost had to take a detour that would have added an extra two hours to our trip because the policia were recreating the scene of a wreck for an impending lawsuit. What the heck?! A line of fifteen cars and vans did 3-point turns in the middle of the road, creating a jigsaw of traffic, only to reach the detour, which was also closed off. Another series of 3-point turns and we were back at the scene of the crime, where they begrudgingly let the traffic pass along the intended route. I only point this out because I’ve heard that the road system in Costa Rica is a little iffy – usually due to weather, but apparently there are other reasons for deterring your entire trip.
It’s been a surprisingly clear day, which gave us a great view of the Arenal Volcano. We entered the city from the lush, green side, giving it the appearance of any other mountain in the area. However, the opposite side is exactly what you’d imagine in a volcano: dark and barren. It’s like nature’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
We made it to The Springs Resort, where we had a site inspection and lunch. My mom, an avid Bachelor and Bachelorette-aholic, has been dying to come to The Springs Resort since it was featured on the show. Before I signed us up for this fam trip, we had looked into coming here for New Year’s. And, after seeing the resort and seeing where we’re staying tonight, that’s exactly what we should have done. Not that the property we’re at isn’t great, it has its merits, specifically a little more authenticity. It’s just…given a choice between luxury and authenticity, I think you know what I’m going to choose.
The Springs had the wow-factor, from the hot springs cascading throughout the resort to the incredible views of the Arenal Volcano. The resort was built with that view in mind – it was simply breathtaking from every aspect.
Mom and I were so excited and, in my mind, I kept thinking…if we’re staying somewhere else, that resort has to be even better. Right?
It’s not. Again, it’s not bad. It’s just mean to send us on a tour of the Ritz and then make us stay in a Holiday Inn. Don’t bait us with the caviar and then give us chicken nuggets. Those are probably too extreme, but it is a serious letdown.
With all of that being said, let me just go back to my happy place and show you more from The Springs in photos:
We saw our first glimpses of wildlife here, like the Jesus Lizard, which is supposed to walk on water like this:
However, I only saw him walk on rocks like this (obviously, I took the photo below, not the one above):
Then, we toured The Springs’ mini-zoo, where they have tons of jungle cats. From ocelots to margays (which look just like ocelots, in my opinion), as well as a jaguarundi (this awkward creature is nicknamed the “otter cat” since it somehow manages to look like both animals, plus a really long tail).
Tomorrow will be a little less work (only two site inspections!) and a little more fun: hanging bridges AND a zipline tour! (weather permitting during the rainy season)