The rustic, eco-friendly El Monte Lodge is set on the Río Mindo within a lush private nature reserve. It places an emphasis on its simple and sustainable living, and has a distinct air of remoteness – even reaching the property is an adventure, entailing a memorable river crossing via a wooden swing operated by ropes and pulleys.
Once within the grounds, an idyllic scene unfolds: the main lodge with its dramatic pitched roof is surrounded by lustrous, mist-shrouded greenery, and there's a natural swimming pool fed by the river which flows past the lodge’s six thatched two-storey cabins.
These follow a traditional indigenous design and look very much at home within the spectacular surrounding cloud-forest, alive with the movement and song of the area's abundant bird population. The main lodge is powered by solar panels while there is only modest electricity in the guestrooms; candles, after dark, add to the magical sense of escape from the modern world. There's a bar, lounge and games area within the giant, open-sided cedar wood main lodge, cosily kitted out with sofas, hammocks and two open fire pits. This is also the setting for set meals (no red meat) prepared using produce from the lodge's own garden.