Selva Escondida was the highlight of our Costa Rican adventure. As we made our way up the steep winding road to the entrance of the property, we were greeted by life sized mayanesque statues, a large iron gate and Vin. Vin (pronounced bean), the property manager, opened the gate and lead us through a 1/2 mile winding jungle mountain driveway, handed us the keys to the casa and left us to it. As he drove away we looked at each other in amazement realizing that we had just arrived at Shangri La.
Since we spent most of our trip doing laborious/adventurous things all around the Osa Peninsula, Selva Escondida provided a different kind of Pura Vida experience. It was one of relaxation, comfort and jungle luxury mixed together to create the ultimate existence. I cannot put into words the feeling I had waking up to the sun rising over the mountain as I looked down my toes to the ocean from our bed. Each morning we would wake up with the sun, eat fresh fruit and drink coffee on the wraparound porch and snap pic after pic of the jungle canopy and shoreline. The pool stays cool up there so it's the perfect refreshing start (middle and end) to the day.
For day trips we highly recommend going to Ballena National Park, which is only 5 minutes away. Another close excursion is to visit Dominical (16km to the north). It's a sleepy little surf town with restaurants, decent waves and a lot of local vendors selling souvenirs, clothing and other tchotchkes. While in Dominical we were lucky enough to have two whales fully breach just off of the shoreline, it was truly a magical experience. We also suggest you spend a day finding your very own secluded beach somewhere along the Costanera (generally you can find one by just turning off of the highway towards the coast at a random dirt road… keep the car within vision if you have belongings in there). Again, we spent a lot of time just relaxing at the house and living the ultimate dream.
On the property, Vin took us on a great hike to the Mirador. There is a direct short hike on a well maintained trail or you can take "the loop" around and through the jungle, which we highly recommend if you're somewhat fit. We saw howler monkeys, whiteface monkeys, toucans, geckos, praying mantis, and many other flora and fauna of the rain forest.
I've been coming to Costa Rica for ten years, and Selva Escondida is by far an inimitable experience. Thanks Jason and Annick!
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