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Issue 43
 An online magazine about investing, living, working and relocating to the Caribbean.
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C A R I B B E A N     R E T I R E M E N T      P A G E S

Pico Bonito Lodge – Some Secluded Rendezvous
By Carter Clews

As we enjoy a tete-a-tete,
To some exquisite chansonette,
Two hands are sure to slyly meet beneath a serviette,
With cocktails for two.
            Spike Jones
            Cocktails for Two

Normally, I devote Clews’ Views to Caribbean cities and villages, residential resorts and “Boomertowns” where I think you might want to live. They are Latin American locales where I believe you can live on less – and enjoy it more – than just about anywhere else on the face of God’s good earth.

Then, yesterday, I received a letter from a reader asking if I would write an occasional column about places where she and others might want to visit while they were deciding where they may want to live. And, I think that makes perfect sense. So, I’m going to do it, starting with this column, about a vista for visitors that may, literally, be closer to heaven than anyplace you’ve ever been.

In fact, it may well just be the pluperfect “secluded rendezvous.” And amazingly enough, it is within walking distance of my own country cottage in tiny El Pino, Honduras. Not easy walking distance, mind you – because it is nestled high up in the mountainside. But,walking distance nonetheless.

Let me tell you about it. And then, if you’re a young couple eager to sneak away for a passionate embrace (or two) … an older couple longing to escape the hustle and bustle for a romantic interlude … or even an occasional loner like me who simply likes the idyllic escape of curling up with your favorite novel and leafing your way to a nether world – this secluded rendezvous may have been made with you in mind.

The Lodge at Pico Bonito is ensconced (as the name implies) amidst the plush plumage and rolling rivers of Pico Bonito Mountain, the majestic 8,000 foot Edenic edifice rising above the Honduran terrain.  You take a long and winding country road to get to the Lodge (I walked, you’ll ride). And with every passing and pulsating moment, you realize anew that these pristine, heavenly hills truly are “alive with the sound of music.”

Birds sing, crickets chirp – off to your left a monkey howls; to your right, a parrot caws. Brightly colored Monarchs, Mariposas, Metalmarks, and delicate Lycaenids flitter to and fro, as you pass the Pico Bonito Butterfly Farm. On an overhanging rock, an iguana stares down with veiled gaze; in the crevice below, a wide-eyed kinkajou (tiny honey bear) scurries off into the undergrowth.

And remember, we’re still only on our way up the hill to the waiting Lodge!

The Pico Bonito Lodge itself is what I call “Rustic Luxury” – true, it’s a “log cabin,” of sorts, but with all of the modern appointments and amenities that tell you at a glance this is not meant for backpackers. Its portal’s polished timber pillars lend the entry a stately air. Crystal clear floor-to-ceiling windows give you a glimpse of a specious interior with all of the creature comforts anticipating your arrival.

A walk through the meticulously furnished lobby informs you that the owners have spared no expense on accommodations, while keeping it sufficiently discreet to seamlessly blend with the surrounding flora and fauna. Turn to your left at the lobby’s egress, and you enter a cozy paneled restaurant, tables attired in linens, a mahogany bar overlooking the surrounding rainforest.

I can’t comment on the food at this time, because I have not yet dined in the Lodge. I do know that the restaurant offers an extensive Meso-American cuisine featuring delicacies ranging from fresh north coast seafood to steak medallions in chocolate sauce. Prices range from $15.00 for lunch to $30.00 for dinner, with bountiful snack trays for six to eight dollars.

And I also know that the chocolate is to die for. How do I know that? Well, as the gracious Lodge Manager, Ivonne Acosta, informed me, it is freshly harvested daily from towering chocolate trees copiously gracing the Lodge grounds.

(Now, here, I have a parenthetical admission to make: I hadn’t the slightest idea in the world that chocolate grew on trees until Sra. Acosta showed me the pods dangling down. Yes, that’s right, chocolate pods. I don’t know where I thought chocolate actually came from – Willie Wonka’s factory, I suppose – but never in my life did I think it grew on trees. I knew money did – but chocolate? Never even crossed my mind. Okay, meanwhile, back at the Lodge …)      

The cabins at the Pico Bonito getaway are in keeping with the Lodge and its environs. They are certainly not what one would describe as opulent (about the size of large master bedroom with bath), but they are enticingly arranged, and beautifully appointed. When you turn the key in the polished wood door, don’t expect the Waldorf Astoria. But, then, you are, after all, staying in the woods – “lovely, dark, and deep” -- and the setting bespeaks your surroundings.

And that is as it should be. Because it is the rain forest ambiance that defines this delightfully serene and surreal getaway. And it is that ambiance you will luxuriate in for your entire stay – whether sitting by the pool surrounded by wildlife, hiking through the woods, or swimming in the crystal clear mountain waters beneath a 50-foot waterfall.

In fact, as long-time Pico Bonito Lodge manager, Jim Adams, explains, you may find yourself swimming in the crystal clear waters of two Unbelievable Falls. No, that’s not hyperbole; it’s their name. The Unbelievable Falls is actually a cascading 60 to 70 foot double falls buried deep within the Pico Bonito rain forest, about a two hour’s hike from the Lodge.

The hike to Unbelievable Falls is just one of four trail excursions the Lodge offers its visitors, each conducted by Jim, or one of his well-informed nature guides. In addition to the hike up to the double falls, there’s the “that’ll-do-it” 15-minute hike (for those of us who consider a walk through the local city park pretty much the extent of our outdoor adventures), the loop hikes up to Mermaid Falls and the Rio Coloradito rapids, and the eight-hour sojourn 4,000 feet up Pico Bonito to where the rain clouds begin to envelop the peak. This latter one, Jim concedes, is “not for everyone” (to put it mildly).

All of them are, however, for avid birdwatchers, who come from the world over to study the more than 400 species of exotic birds gracing the Lodge grounds and surrounding forests. Birds as rare as the keel-billed motmot and the lovely cotinga make Pico Bonito their home. As do the elusive great potoos. Not to mention a plethora of black-cowled orioles, white-collared manakins, and other more common, though no less colorful, species, whose colorful plumage adorn the trees around the Lodge’s spacious porch. .

I said at the outset that the Lodge at Pico Bonito is some “secluded rendezvous.” That, indeed, it is. And that is why I urge you to leave behind the headaches and hassles of the work-a-day world, the hurries and worries of everyday life, and make your way to this Edenesque escape.

Rendezvous there with nature. Rendezvous with those you love and long to hold. Rendezvous with a good book or writing pad. But, most of all, rendezvous with your own soul. For at Pico Bonito, you are as near to heaven as the God who created it.    

Please give me your feedback about the new Caribbean Retirement Pages and you can also reach me at Twitter account: @caribcarter. And don’t forget to sign up for your special “CaribAlerts” emails keeping you up to date on breaking events and opportunities throughout the month. I look forward to hearing from you.
10 Roomed Mediterranean style Boutique Resort
Bella Vista Mar

Property size - 43291 sq ft
Asking Price - $1,850,000

With a large pool, dining area and sun deck, this hotel provides exclusivity and privacy to vacationers.  Every room enjoys beautiful ocean views overlooking the tropical jungle.  In the afternoons one can enjoy being visited by monkeys as well as all types of tropical parrots and other wildlife in the area!

For more information:
Caribbean Property and Lifestyles Magazine 
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Last Updated On : 23 Feb 2014