- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Twenty-five kilometers southeast of Quepos, at the hamlet of Savegre, a bone-jarring skunk of a dirt road leads inland six kilometers up the valley of the Río Savegre to the community of El Silencio, at the base of the mountains.
Here, the local farmers’ cooperative operates the Centro Eco-Turístico Comunitario de Silencio (tel./fax 506/2779-9554, www.turismoruralcr.com). It’s a great spot for lunch and has a butterfly garden, well-marked trails, horseback rides ($20, three hours), and rafting trips.
The Río Naranjo and Río Savegre flow down from the rainforest-clad mountains and eventually fan out into an estuary in Manuel Antonio National Park. In wet season both offer Class II–V white-water action, fabulous for kayaking.
Tour operators in Quepos and San José offer trips, as does Rafiki Safari Lodge (tel. 506/2777-2250, www.rafikisafari.com), 16 kilometers beyond El Silencio and 19 kilometers from Highway 21. Rafiki specializes in white-water trips but also offers horseback rides, guided hikes, and kayak rentals. Indiana Jones types can sign up for the arduous Bushmaster hike-and-raft trip into the upper Savegre valley. It also has a tapir breeding and reintroduction program in the works; the tapirs will be released in a controlled environment that includes the lake beside the lodge, as in an African safari game park. You’ll need a 4WD vehicle to get there.
Reserva Los Campesinos, near the hamlet of Quebrada Arroyo, is a 33-hectare reserve with a canopy walkway and trails that lead to Los Chorros waterfall. Guided hikes, horseback rides, plus accommodation at a delightful albeit simple lodge are offered through Costa Rican Association of Community-based Rural Tourism (ACTUAR, tel. 506/2248-9470, www.actuarcostarica.com).
Hotels and Restaurants
Albergue El Silencio (tel./fax 506/2779-9554, www.turismoruralcr.com, $30 students, $40 s or $50 d) is a rustic lodge nestled on a breezy hill above Silencio village, with views down over a sea of palms. There are nine thatch-and-wood cabins (some with bunks) with lofts with two single beds, screened windows, and tiled private baths with cold water. Rates include breakfast.
You’ll love Rafiki Safari Lodge (tel. 506/2777-2250, www.rafikisafari.com, $175–401 s/d low season, $203–463 s/d high season including all meals), run by a hospitable South African family. It offers 10 genuine luxury African-safari four-person tents on stilts, with rough-hewn timber beds, gracious fabrics, wooden floors, huge skylit bathrooms with fire-heated hot-water showers, and large wooden decks. One is wheelchair-accessible; another is a honeymoon suite with stone-lined outside whirlpool tub. Quality international dining at the thatched Lekker Bar includes meats from a South Africa braai (barbecue). It has a water slide into a spring water pool, and a lagoon great for bird-watching.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition