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How it all started

Updated: Mar 27, 2022

The first time I came to the spot we now call Sylvan was just on a whim. I'd fallen in love with Costa Rica's Southern Zone and purchased a treehouse. One of the employees asked me if I'd like to see a property with forest and waterfalls. How could I resist?

The forest was magical. But you could say that about most tracts of mature forest. It was the waterfalls, and in particular the huge swimming holes below each one, that tipped the balance for me. I love swimming, and nothing matches rolling over and seeing the breathtaking canopy of trees above you as you swim; watching a hummingbird hovering at waters edge; listening to the thunderous sound of the water as it crashes down or forms fine sprays and bridal veils. I was hooked. A month later I owned the 63 hectare (154 acre) property.

Now what?

I was full of ideas. A community. A permaculture farm. A small hotel. A biological station. All of the above! And that is how we started - taking a rather disorderly and shabby collection of buildings and fixing them up. Bleaching, scrubbing, painting and staining. Tearing down some parts and adding on others.

Slowly, some nice cabins are taking shape. Under old, dull boards was lovely, pink and rufous hardwood. I'm begging Jesús, amazing carpenter and general fixer-upper, to use these precious boards, and not replace it all with new pine.

We've installed new screens, even though in dry season there is nary a mosquito to be seen. I took the radical step of adding toilet seats in all bathrooms. Small expense for so much comfort!

But there are features that remain unchanged. The waterfalls flow unchecked. The forests hide treasures that take time to discover. The canopy overhead still dazzles me.

And now, 3 years later the view has changed, the house has changed too! Best of all there is no vast expanse of lawn now.

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