Warrenton Business Owners Find a New Calling in Rio Blanco Costa Rica

When David Yuill and his partner Krista visited Hush Valley Lodge four years ago, they had no idea that their life was about to change in every way possible. After spending two weeks enjoy the tranquility, picturesque jungle landscape, and reconnecting with their mind, body, and spirit, they never wanted to leave. Even as Krista was counting the over seventy mosquito bites on her legs on the flight home, she cried tears of sadness, feeling like she was leaving behind an old friend. “I had never felt that way before,” she said. “Somehow, I knew I belonged here.”

Back home in Warrenton, they resumed their daily responsibilities as volunteer fire-fighters and owner-operators of Uptown and Serendipity, but they couldn’t keep Hush Valley Lodge out of their minds. They knew it was up for sale, and they kept fantasizing with the idea of purchasing it, but the price was too high, and the dream felt too out of reach.

Over the next year or so, pieces of the puzzle began to come together for Krista and David. They were introduced to Peter and Jo from Arizona, who turns out, had visited the place soon after they did, and shared the same dream. Soon other potential partners were found, and they eventually formed a seven-person partnership to purchase Hush Valley Lodge and fulfill their dream.

Not long after that, Krista, David, (and their ten-year-old son Quinn), sold their restaurants, and Dave left his eight year job as roaster at Columbia River Coffee Roaster. They soon packed up their belongings, and headed “back home” to Hush Valley Lodge. They are the main operators and manage the daily operations of the trout farm, watch over the garden, are caretakers of the 37 acres, and generous hosts to eager guests from around the world.

Hush Valley Lodge is a B&B situated at an elevation of about 7,000 feet in the Dota Mountains, about two hours southeast of San Jose. Guests receive a loaf of homemade bread, locally churned butter, and organic eggs from chickens raised on site. The coffee is bold and fresh from a nearby Costa Rican coffee plantation.

The fish from the trout farm is one of the main sources of income. With over 22,000 fish per year, it’s rewarding, but demanding work. They go through about four hundred pounds per week of fish food. I had the pleasure of watching them feed them. The trout sound like their clapping as they all congregate at the surface and flap around as they compete for the tasty morsels.

One night we fished out of the pond and caught two fish for dinner. Both fish were about 14 inches long and brightly colored, like our rainbow trout back home. We had fish tacos that evening, with coleslaw made with fresh veggies from their abundant garden, their secret Baha sauce, a delicious salad, and Chilean papaya with home baked scones for dessert. Since David is a trained culinary professional, and they have a bounty of incredible fresh fruits and vegetables on the property, it’s apparent that they, and their guests, eat exceptionally well.

They currently have two casitas (cabins), that can accommodate up to five people (plus a child). They’re charming little structures near the river. Each one has a small kitchenette and bathroom, everything you need for a comfortable stay. Aside from the beautiful landscaping with a giant assortment of tropical plants, guests enjoy the tranquil sounds and site of the Perez River outside their windows.

The property has some great walking trails through the Dota Mountains which meander along the water. The jungle is full of huge bamboo trees, tropical flowers, and sweet sounding birds. There are approximately 200 different species of birds in the region, along with other types of indigenous animals, such as the Tapir.

I asked Krista and David about their vision for the place. They will soon begin work on a significant hydro-power project that will be able to supply up to 60 homes with power. It will be a fish-safe turbo, and there is a lot of regulation on a project of that size, but it seems to be coming together. They are also planning on opening a camping area, expand into yoga and other wellness retreats, and ultimately become an intentional community where participants live a self-sustaining simple, but fulfilling life.

At Hush Valley Lodge, it’s all about connecting with Mother Nature, eating from the bounty of the land, and reconnecting with your mind, body, and spirit. There is no rush hour, and board meetings occur with a shared meal and the laughter of friends, and Bobbie, their loyal dog, asleep at their feet. Visions are shared, dreams are fulfilled, and priorities are simple. Health and happiness abound at Hush Valley Lodge, for guests and owners alike.

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