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“a great view at great price” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arenal Lodge

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Arenal Lodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   200 meters NW from the Arenal Lake dam | Escazú, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 1250, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
columbia, SC
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“a great view at great price”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

This place could definitely use a coat of paint and some maintenance, but if it got that, they would price ordinary people like me out of the market. Instead, you get a place that shows signs of age and is hard to get to, but once you find it, you will marvel at the views. They also offer free breakfast (very good, in fact) and free horseback riding three times daily. We stayed in one of the chalets, and my family absolutely loved it. It isn't luxurious, but if you are looking for a unique place and a great value, I would recommend it (but avoid the restaurant)

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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466 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (113)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Long Island City, New York
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

I stayed here for three nights with my husband and enjoyed the stay very much. Long review but inclusive - read this sucker if you want the whole shebang.

This is a great place to stay for the FIRST visit to the area because it's a nice quiet peaceful introduction that you can later expand upon - the nature walk in the morning is only at 8:30am but is worthwhile and enjoyable, and the included horseback ride is gorgeous, scenic, an hour long, and full of great info from the English-speaking guide who is also a very friendly fellow.

The breakfast is good all around - scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausages, plantains, fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, coffee, tea, toast, etc. Wifi only in the main lodge, and if you stay in the chalet rooms (best view) you'll need to HIKE down to the lodge and back up - it may leave you winded. Therefore, you'll quickly give up on the wifi unless you bring it to breakfast in the main lodge. Dinner here is okay, but you could go to La Choza de Laurel in La Fortuna and drop $10 per person on an artistically made Costa Rican dinner. It's worth it.

NO AMENITIES ON THE PROPERTY - if you need a Band-Aid, you need to drive to town. Need sunscreen? Drive to town. Need anything? Drive to town. However, if you have all the stuff you need, it's a great place to hang around and relax and enjoy a view. 25 min drive to La Fortuna, the quaint but somewhat boring nearby town (will blow an hour off of your evening). I didn't see AC in the room.

What to do while here? There's a tour booking agency in the lobby during the day from 7am to 3pm and they'll help hook you up with tours that pick you up from the lodge during the day. The "volcano hike" involved only minimal hiking and no volcano contact, so it's a waste of money. The cave tour is neat if you're into caves but judging from the amount of bat poop on me by the time it was over, I don't think I'd go for it again. They give you facial shields for a reason down there. The zipline tour and whitewater rafting and waterfall rappelling are more on target. While here, GO TO TABACON SPA for a day/evening. It's gorgeous, relaxing, and WARM/HOT wonderful natural springs with LOW sulfur (good for skin, you don't smell bad). Their buffet is crummy but convenient with good dessert - expect to spend $70 to get in so spend the whole day if you can to get whatever you can out of it.

The biggest piece of advice I have is USE A GPS when driving here (just splurge on the darned thing, okay? I know there aren't addresses, but the names of places are programmed into the GPS units in Costa Rica, including restaurants) and DO NOT DRIVE TO THIS HOTEL AT NIGHT. You can encounter pretty massive fog with 2-foot visibility on winding scary roads with major drop-offs and cows as obstacles (not to mention semitrailers). You'll constipate yourself for the entire trip if you try to drive here from the airport at night. Honest. It's better to book a night in the city and drive here in the morning if you have to. IF YOU MUST drive here at night, DO NOT GO THROUGH SAN RAMON - use another route. That's the region that gets super cloudy. I'm practically a stunt driver and even I thought that it was very likely that we would die on the way to the hotel at night. And I am one of those folks who speeds in the rain.

I recommend this hotel for a first stay - I would recommend it to my own family. However, when I go back, I will try something new like staying at Tabacon or another hot spa.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, Virginia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2012

We stayed at Arenal Lodge for 2 nights on a recent birding and photography trip to Costa Rica. The lodge is one of the oldest establishments near Arenal Volcano and is secluded which we liked. We do not enjoy the glitzy, touristy establishments located nearby and Arenal Lodge was perfect for us. We had a Junior Suite with a great view of the volcano. Some of the rooms were down a small flight of stairs but they opened directly into the beautiful yard with an infinity pool. Some rooms were up the hill with probably an even better view. The food was good, the staff friendly, well-stocked bar. The rooms are simple but clean with rattan style furniture. The beds and pillows were OK. The room was a bit chilly at night but the ample covers were sufficient. They don't have a gift shop but there are lots of shopping opportunities in La Fortuna. The birding was good around the lodge and a blue & gold macaw (someone's pet) greeted us on our balcony. The fruit feeders attracted birds, as did the large trees surrounding the property. We fell asleep listening to a chorus of many species of frogs and toads. We visited Arenal Volcano National Park for a hike to a view point (fairly steep rock scramble at the end). Arenal is not active right now but still beautiful. The driveway to the lodge is steep and windy. Overall this is a nice quite place to stay when visiting Arenal Volcano.

Room Tip: Junior Suites have a great view.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012 via mobile

We stayed for 3 (wet, chilly) nights in mid Jan. 4 adults, 4 college students. The property is quite remote and might be suitable for travellers looking for a remote, quiet, venue with "2 star amenities". Some of the bird life is interesting, but no other real advantage to staying here instead of the other more highly rated venues in Fortuna...that likely offer better view of the volcano. The staff was friendly enough, the food was ok, but nothing interesting or memorable. We expected a great deal more ... would not return.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

We stayed here for 3 days. We chose a very basic room, but there are higher end rooms too.
We had floor to ceiling window facing the volcano with nothing but nature in between. So beautiful, and thoughtful design. The lodge has over 2,000 acres, lovely trails. There is a professional naturalist who gives a free two or three hour tour of the rain forest daily, and will also take you horseback riding. Free! We did tip him however, which is appropriate.
The hotel has a bar and restaurant. The food was satisfactory. We were amazed at the amazing brickwork on the road and paths...miles of it.
Be sure to take warm clothes... It was cold and rainy the first night. I wore gloves and my winter hat.

Room Tip: If you have little kids, ask for a room at the lodge... Some of the rooms are far from the restauran...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2012

This is a terrible property, mostly because it is not well run. We were placed there when we booked a package with Travel by Jenn.(who really should not be trusted). This property is hard to get to and out of the way. It is very rustic, which could be quaint if the rooms were cleaned well, or if the shower operated properly. We were only there for 1 1/2 days. lost power twice during this time, no emergency generator, not help from staff walking the dark, moss covered road to our "cottage". Restaurant was bad to awful. Both ourselves and friends we met got cups of coffee with grease floating in it from dirty dishes. In short, don't go there. There are a number of nice places down the mountain and near the hotsprings and volcano viewing walkway.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2012 via mobile

I was not impressed with this hotel at all. It did not even look like the pictures but visability was not too good. The room was really old and worn. I did not find the staff in the dining room accommodating at all. That driveway was not a welcome sight after traveling from San Jose. The hotel is pretty far away from everything.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arenal Lodge

Address: 200 meters NW from the Arenal Lake dam | Escazú, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 1250, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#14 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arenal Lodge provides guests with the excitement of staying in an authentic rainforest lodge with breathtaking panoramic views of Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Guests will enjoy a casual and relaxed rustic lodge setting with the added value of a complimentary breakfast daily. Located on 2000-acres of beautiful tropical rainforest, the lodge is situated near Arenal Volcano National Park. The lodge is surrounded by rainforest - housing hundreds of exotic birds, small animals and the beautiful tropical flowers and trees of Costa Rica. and is it's own local tourist attraction due to its exclusive location with breathtaking panoramic views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. The lodge features a full service restaurant with local and international cuisine, gift shop, three heated outdoor Jacuzzi's, an infinite edge swimming pool, walking trails, a butterfly garden, horseback riding, a game-room and outdoor playground for children, fitness room, sauna, and free wireless high speed internet access.Guest rooms and suites feature cable TV, telephone, coffee maker, clock radio, and all have private baths. Complimentary crib and wheel chair are available on request. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Lodge Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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