One-of-a-kind wildlife glamping experience that is a journey in time

Staring into the unending greenery at Colina Secreta

Aptly named, Colina Secreta is a cluster of glamping tents tucked away in Costa Rica’s Caribbean rainforests. A family run resort, it truly embodies the principle of Pura Vida that is driven by a passion for eco tourism. Occupying 6 acres of forestland, the tents are sprinkled across the estate providing seclusion from each other. You’ll never know there’s another human soul in the vicinity! The tents are ingeniously camouflaged within the natural setting. Exemplary service, environmental responsibility and bonding with nature are the main takeaways from my time at Colina Secreta.

Hidden in the canopies of Costa Rica’s dense forestry, while also a short stroll away from the Caribbean sea, Colina Secreta is perched in an idyllic wilderness. Travellers make their way from San Jose, heading down the Caribbean coast, straddling along the edges of Limon to reach Puerto Viejo.

Colina Secreta’s glamping tents are well decorated and boast hammocks and outdoor patio living

Follow along the main road in Puerto Viejo before veering into a narrow road for about a kilometre or so, and you’ll reach this beautiful resort. The narrow road leading to the hotel is bordered by fields, farms and plantations. Easily reached by foot, car or bike, Colina Secreta is set in a perfect location to explore the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

After a long, and tumultuous drive from the Pacific coast (Route 32 can be brutal with the heavy downpours), arriving at this family run hotel was nothing short of relieving. We were greeted with smiles and little stories of their life as we entered the colonial clad reception. After checking in, headlights and luggage in tow, we headed out into the darkness meandering through the narrow paths, only accompanied by the sounds of wildlife in the not so far distance.

Colonial artefacts are a highlight of each room

Arriving at our tent, I was awed by how the reality was a true depiction of the photography. Drawing inspiration from adventurers across the globe, Colina Secreta’s tents are an ode to different personalities from around the world. We stayed at the Molina Campos tent the first couple of nights and after falling in love with the place, we decided to extend our stay for a third night and booked the Marco Polo tent.

The Molina Campos tent, being the larger of the two, is well proportioned and could easily accommodate up to 4 persons. Each tent is uniquely designed evoking the feeling of an era bygone. The canvas tent is furnished with findings from the family’s travels around the world – curios from antique shops they visited in various places like India, Italy etc. The attention to detail, storytelling and time travel is what sets Colina Secreta apart from any other hotel I have been to.

Molina Campos Tent

The tents are functional, boasting a large open plan bathroom, well kitted kitchen, a patio dining area complete with a hammock. The toilet is open plan but private thanks to the tall shrubbery. The bamboo walled shower connects to the toilet by a bamboo bridge with a cascading banana plant hanging over – something straight out of the Jungle Book.

Bamboo walled shower with a cascading banana plant
Open plan bathroom tucked away behind tall shrubbery

The Marco Polo tent, albeit small, is a charming abode situated higher up on the hill. The tent is perfect for 2 and has a magnificent panoramic view of the treetops. The Marco Polo, unlike the Molina Campos, is not equipped with a kitchen, however, this is really not a deal breaker as you could ask for anything from reception and they’d run up to deliver it for you. The front deck with its dining area and hammock is really the perfect location for some afternoon tea as you lazily wait for the sun to set.

Marco Polo Tent patio

Draped against its verdant environment, the interior design of the tents seamlessly camouflages to blend in with the shades of beige and green. Each piece of furniture is a colonial masterpiece all tying together effortlessly.

Marco Polo tent open plan bathroom

The main casa, which houses the reception, kitchen and hosts two double rooms, is the heart of the estate. Unfolding from the main building is also a pool and an outdoor patio with dining tables, where breakfast is served every morning. There’s plenty of free parking as well as a bicycle hire station near the reception. From the back of the reception, there is a diversion of paths leading to the various tents. The paths form different hiking trails spread across the property – they’re short but a perfect excuse to go on your very own nighttime wildlife tour, or even an early morning stroll or run. A yoga deck is situated towards the back of the plot if you wish to practise your asanas during your stay.

Breakfast often comprises of a three-course meal. All three courses are freshly prepared which include a savoury dish of the day, homemade jams and butter with freshly baked bread, locally sourced fruits, freshly squeezed juice and a sweet treat. The savoury and sweet dishes vary each day and it’s always something to look forward each morning. There’s also a coffee tasting of 3 different varieties of coffee at the first breakfast, which is such a great idea for anyone looking to sample Costa Rican coffee.

Breakfast is served every morning at the main casa

Colina Secreta presents a unique experience for anyone looking to escape the everyday hustle. The tents and surroundings are relaxing and calming with enough to keep you occupied at least for a week. Away from citylights and noisy horns, you fall asleep to the chirping of crickets and frogs and you awaken to the the cries of howler monkey troops in the early hours. The hardest part is the journey to get here, but it’s well worth the drive!

Visited in December 2023

Prices start at £105 per night, depending on the tent you choose; price includes breakfast

Marco Polo Tent
Functional kitchen in Molina Campos Tent
Outdoor patio with dining and hammock in Molina Campos Tent
Wayfinding signage at the property

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