If you’ve got island fever or you’re just traveling through, you should consider stopping at Refugio La Brisa del Diablo for a night or two. For one peaceful weekend I enjoyed this cottage and loved every minute of its serene backdrop and cozy interior, not to mention the delectable meals. With each detail meticulously orchestrated to provide guests with a unique and comfortable mountain top escape, this vacation made its way to the top of my list.
Its central location directly between Bocas and David make it a stop for me each time I travel to the city now. Even though I had dined frequently at their latest restaurant in Bocas, El Pecado, on numerous occasions, I had never formally met Stephane and Olga. But when I arrived at the castle-like doors of their latest creation, Refugio La Brisa del Diablo, I was completely intrigued and knew I would like them immediately.
As I stepped inside, I noticed it was awash with vibrant colors that carried the eye from one corner of the room to another. Everything was so original, not even similar to anything I had ever seen before. The skylight ceiling lit up the den consisting of a fire pit, a dining area, and a full bar. And then, I noticed it…. the view. I rushed through my equally lush room to the other side of the house. It was breathtaking. Stephane, one of the owners, asked, “So you like it,” and of course I did. “You know the people that fight over the window seat on the airplane? I live in that window seat.” Right then, I had to know the rest of the story.
In the middle of a terrible snow storm in Montreal, Canada more than 20 years ago, Stephane asked his wife Olga what she would give to put her feet in the sand. She replied, “Everything I have.” And just like that they got in the car, crossed the US border, and drove until they reached the ocean. In this case it was only the Jersey Shore. But, just shy of a year later, they would find themselves in Costa Rica having bid farewell to the cold Canadian climate.
After a few years in the jungles of Costa Rica, they visited Bocas and, like most, they fell in love with the sand and sun of the archipelago. They moved just after their visit with their four children to join the island life. Stephane and Olga are a perfect example of adapting to change and thriving in it. Their first project was the restaurant, El Ultimo Refugio (featured as June’s Dish of the Month). Olga explained this was where she began learning to cook. “If someone ordered a fish, I would wave to a boat to bring a fish.” Several years later they would open another successful restaurant on main street, El Pecado. They spent two decades creating unique dining experiences and a beautiful life for their family in Bocas. After their last daughter graduated high school, they decided their work in Bocas was complete and took their creativity to the mountains, la quijada del diablo (chin of the devil).
While the view for Refugio is their grandest attraction, it is only one of the many draws. Stephan and Olga bring an ambiance all their own to your visit. Because they are French Canadian I suppose I should use the term “je ne sais quoi”when trying to describe the… well, indescribable. Their zest for life and welcoming tone make their refuge feel like home and certainly something you must experience to believe.
Interested in taking refuge? Contact them here-Phone number: 6852-3600