The Valle Escondido Lodge has new owners from Israel and has been renamed. Today it is called 'Lands in Love'. It combines fantastic forest treks with walks through acres of ornamental plants grown for export, while you enjoy very nice quarters. The lodge has 25 rooms, each opening onto a covered terrace with a magical view of a valley and green, green mountains that appear and disappear in the mists. Large frogs convene on the porch in the evenings. Rooms are spacious and bright, with beautiful polished hardwood furniture, including an ample writing desk. Bathrooms have big lighted mirrors and bidets.
The restaurant, a short walk downhill from the rooms, offers an international menu with Italian specialties – food that’s a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Remember to take binoculars to the dining room to enjoy birds in the back garden while you eat. The restaurant is open to the public, a five-minute drive from the highway turnoff. A swimming pool and Jacuzzi have a fantastic mountain view.
The farm includes 150 acres (60 ha) of forest and an abundance of mountain streams. The tall forest’s understory is a natural tropical greenhouse with heliconias and fascinating tree roots. I watched one masked tityra feed another. An aracari, a member of the toucan family, frustrated my attempts to photograph him but allowed wonderful glimpses. Near one trail is a huge tree with enormous buttresses where bats live.
Wide forest trails begin and and at the plantation. The lodge offers a tour – on foot, horseback, or mountain bike – to the San Lorenzo River for a swim in a natural pool or a hike to a three-tiered waterfall. They offer a guided tour of the ornamental plant farm combined with a forest hike. A trail hike without guide is free to hotel guests. Elevation is about 2,000 feet (600 m); temperature ranges from 68°F to 86°F (20°C to 30°C). Day visitors are welcome.