About an hour and a half from San José, in Costa Rica’s Alajuela province, the small, rainy town of Bajos del Toro is tucked away in the Central Valley, flanked by the Poás Volcano and its national park to the east and Viejo Volcano’s foothills on its west. Nearby Juan Castro Blanco National Park and the Bosque de Paz Rain/Cloud Forest Biological Reserve also share its limits. Perhaps because the region is somewhat difficult to access – though there are more than enough roads to take from cities such as Arenal and Sarchi, which provides a scenic drive – the region is still a relatively untraveled tourist visit. Which makes for an exclusive escape for nature lovers including bird enthusiasts and hikers alike, offering a number of exciting views and outdoor activities such as excellent trout fishing, hiking, visiting nearby national parks and reserves, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, zip-line tours through the canopy, and waterfall rappelling and canyoning. With an exciting catalogue of activities, superb natural beauty, and especially the 5-star sustainable retreat, El Silencio Lodge & Spa – the first destination in Central America to be included in the select Relais & Châteaux global portfolio of independent luxury hotels – the area’s popularity is sure to expand.
Bajos del Toro comprises various ecosystems including waterfalls, mountain streams, grasslands, forests and pools, which host a unique show of Costa Rica’s plant and animal species. Among the region’s sites of interest are several rivers such as Rio Segundo, one of the country’s more impressive rivers; and Rio Toro Amarillo, home to the impressive Catarata del Toro waterfall – perhaps the most spectacular waterfall in Costa Rica – which drops 300 feet into an extinct volcanic crater. A hike around Catarata del Toro offers views of other incredible plant and animal species such as the puma. At its base, umbrella-like plants, commonly called ‘Sombrillas,’ appear scorched due to the water’s acidity, as it travels directly from the Poás Volcano. There are other trail systems to explore in the area that will lead you through primary forest, tropical jungle, and even into an extinct volcano crater as you discover the forest’s amazing flora and fauna.