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“Affordable and Enjoyable” 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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Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Affordable and Enjoyable”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

Felt right at home right away. It might be a bit outdated but didn't bother us at all. You get more than you pay for. Loved the breakfast every morning and the service. Rooms are very spacious. Birdwatching is great from your room's balcony. Lots of frogs to spot all around the property. Horseback riding was included and was a heap of fun. We hope to go back in the future.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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439 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (105)
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English first
Asheville, North Carolina
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

This was a first for me. I have never booked a vacation of this magnitude away from the beach (I'm a beach girl living in the mountains of NC). I was a little anxious about splitting my precious time with the ocean with the mountains. I AM SO GLAD I DID. All I have to say is, Wow. The website does not even begin to do this lodge justice. Set on thousands of acres of nature and beauty, Arenal Observatory Lodge gave us much more than we had expected. We went in mid-late May and had the time of our lives (don't worry about "rainy season"-it only rained maybe twice and it was for a brief period, then the sun came back out).

As you slowly wind up the well kept, bumpy brick road, you get the feeling that you are going back in time to a simpler place. The jungle and mountains are all around you. Birds flitter back and forth and fill the air with their songs. Upon pulling up to the lobby, you are greeted with smiles and fresh guava juice. It is anything but rustic.

The Chalet room was simple, yet romantic with the view alone being worth the trip. THE VIEWS ARE TRULY BREATHTAKING. Down in the valleys, the horses roam in their pasture. Arenal and the lake materialize as the clouds dissipate. You can see for miles. Birds of every color sing you good morning songs. A clean, roomy shower, kitchenette and sitting area made it feel like a little home. Laundry service and a free safe are at your disposal as well, not to mention the gym, swimming pool, and jacuzzis (yes, plural). There was no air conditioning, but we wouldn't have used it even if there was. The cool, refreshing breeze in constantly blowing.

While the room was enough to make you want to stay in bed and stare out the window all day, there is a wealth of excitement to be had. Guided jungle hikes and horseback rides are HIGHLY recommended. Miguel, our guide, has been with the lodge for 10 years. Accommodating and well educated, you will appreciate every moment you spend with him. Not to mention, you will learn about history, culture, botany, zoology, bush medicine, and much more. At night, head down to the bar for a couple of drinks, game of pool, or good conversation with the staff and guests.

If you get antsy and want to be in civilization, La Fortuna is only about 10 mins away. We went to a couple of the local sodas (diner restaurants) for some of our meals. Arenal Lodge's food is good, but we were looking for more authentic culinary experiences (the lodge caters to the American palate). In town was also a little bit cheaper.

If you are looking for a taste of Pura Vida you must visit the Arenal Observatory Lodge. I cannot begin to praise it enough. We will definitely be back. THANK YOU FOR A VISIT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, June 3, 2013
Hi MarlouBardelli! We are so happy that you had an amazing time at Arenal Lodge. It looks like you got some breathtaking pictures of the mystical volcano from the chalet. You'll be happy to hear that we'll be introducing a brand new menu in the next month or so that not only features Costa Rican staples but also includes many "fusion" dishes that incorporate unique local ingredients into our favorite international dishes in delicious and innovative ways, such as filet mignon in a pejibaye cream. I actually just learned that the English word for pejibaye is "palm peach" and comes from the same plant as heart of palm. We have a small plantation of this palm for our guests to see, maybe you saw them if Miguel took you on the horseback riding tour down the path that leaves from the pool area. Thank you for your candid comments and we look forward to this future visit of yours!
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Windsor
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

I could not believe how quiet and blissful this place was. The view was spectacular and the staff were very nice and accommodating. Miguel gave us a great free tour of the area surrounding the lodge. We saw howler monkeys, red eyed tree frogs, butterflies, yellow eye lash vipers and all sorts or birds. And the hike was free! The restaurant is great and the free breakfast is nice. I would only say that you must bring your own amenities like hair conditioner and get ready for a steep drive up a mountain!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, June 3, 2013
Hi Christina C! We're so happy you had a great stay with us, we hope to see you again in the future!
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

First Impressions:
Me and my wife stayed her for our honey moon for 3 nights. We arrived at night time and were a bit concerned as we were driving into the hotel entrance that this was going to be bad. There were no lights past the main entrance as you drive up switchback roads about 6 minutes to the top of the observatory. However, once we got to the main hotel area it was dimly lit which was just enough to really accentuate all the native vegetation along the walkways and emphasized the main lodge area.

Check-in:
Our check in was flawless, the reception staff was extremely friendly. Our room was upgraded from a standard room to a higher tier (not the highest) because we were just married which was a pleasant surprise. we didn't do very much that night as it was late so we went to our room.

Our Room:
The room we had was pretty nice, it had all the amenities you would need but it certainly wasn't luxurious but we weren't really looking for that. We got up the next morning at 6am because of jet lag and going outside for the first time we realized we had a perfect view of Arenal Volcano right from our door! Only bad thing i can say is that there were animals scratching on our windows in the middle of the night. I slept like a baby but my wife was a bit annoyed.

Other Services
We had a buffet breakfast which had some traditional Costa Rican dishes as well as pancakes and cereal. we were joined on the balcony by their mascot parrot Stephania. She helped herself to some of our breakfast, she loves plantains! There is a tour desk and WiFi in the main lodge area if you need to use internet on your phone or tablet. The tour staff was very nice, but she works for 1 company that does many tours. we did a few of their tours but did our own research and asked her to book us with those other companies and she was happy to do so. Most of the tours will provide shuttles to and from all locations. Arenal Lodge also offered a free morning tour on a path near their grounds as well as a free 1 hour horseback riding. Both of these tours were free (honestly not sure if it came with our package or if everyone gets it, might be worth it to clarify) and were conducted by Miguel, the tour guide for Arenal Lodge. This man is amazing. He was so nice and so knowledgeable about everything you see. He has such a passion for what he does and he has a way of speaking that makes you hang on his every word. He will make you laugh and smile. We are even friends with him on Facebook now! I had heard from other reviews he was good but was skeptical. Now I couldn't agree more!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, June 3, 2013
Hi MPale614! Congratulations on your recent nuptials! I wanted to say that we are honored you chose Arenal Lodge for your honeymoon and that I am so glad our staff made it extra special for you. You're absolutely right, Miguel is a wealth of knowledge and a true asset to the Lodge! We hope to have you as a guest at Arenal Lodge again in the future!
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Bellevue, Washington
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2013

This Lodge sits on a 1000 acre working ranch. The view from our chalet of Mt Arenal was one of the best hotel views we have ever experienced. We were there three days, which seems to be the norm among other reviewers. The area is too remote for a day trip from the bigger cities. Miguel does a great job on the hike and horse back riding tour. Horses are geared for neophyte riders like us so don't expect galloping steeds. We saw lots of wild life that you just don't see outside of a zoo in the US. The roads are not as bad as some reported but they are two lane and you do need to heed safety precautions more than at home. I would not drive at night. We also did the hot springs and zip lines which are not on the property. We would go back too see water fall near Fortuna and the hanging bridges near the lodge.

Room Tip: We got a chalet and I do believe you would be happy to upgrade to this level. That is for the view...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria F, Owner at Arenal Lodge, responded to this review, June 3, 2013
Hi Ben! Indeed, the Lodge is smack in the middle of a 2000+ acre property that my family had as a macadamia nut farm in the 90's (Tip: there are several macadamia trees that are still producing fruit around the chalets and raw macadamia nuts taste like coconut! Yum!) and now whatever isn't rainforest serves as pasture for organically raised cattle. Glad you enjoyed your stay!
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Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013 via mobile

Overall, I would recommend this hotel to others even though it is not close to the main city.

The main reason is that it has ample land for horseback riding and one of a kind walking tour that you could not experience otherwise.

It is also quite a trip to go up the mountain up to main entrance. We would not want to drive that at night as it is very bumpy.

Great food at the restaurant, there is a small infinity pool and 2 hot tubs. The room was slightly outdated and water temp/pressure was not that great.

Overall, still very enjoyable and would recommend just for the walking tour and horseback tour and food.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Danbury, Connecticut
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

BEST: THE VIEW. We spent the first 3 nights of our Costa Rican vacation at this hotel and loved every minute. We stayed in one of the chalets on top of the hill, which is really a must. The view is unbelievable - volcano and surrounding lake. Really cant get that view from any other room style. Based on the view alone, I would absolutely come back to this hotel.

The restaurant: not great. Of the 3 days we were there, we didn't see a single other person eating lunch or dinner. They have a good breakfast included though - orange juice, fruit plate, and either traditional costa rican food, american breakfast, or pancakes.

Other things: Free walking tour on the grounds of the hotel is great. Getting to La Fortuna is a 30 dollar cab ride there and 30 dollar cab ride back. So what we did is go on one of the tours (water safari, for example) during the afternoon and then have them drop us off in La Fortuna for dinner, and then we only had to pay for the cab fare home at the end of the night. Also be prepared for the birds to wake you up at around 6am.

Room Tip: Chalet rooms on top of the hill have the best view by far, but remember, you have to walk up the hil...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 4 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:
#12 Spa Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#36 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Lodge 3*
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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