We have repeatedly stayed @ Arenal Lodge (not to be confused w/Arenal Observatory Lodge)for many years. Unfortunately, over the last 6 yrs, we have observed a slow, but steady, decline in the amenities. This year (May, 2010) was especially sad.
The wonderful hiking trail, through the primary rainforest jungle, was totally overgrown w/vegitation, the bridges were in bad repair and support railings were rotted.
After a long hike out to the delightful Hammock Pavilion, we found it hammockless and not even a bench could be found. How sad. This location was a great place to hang out & observe an amazing variety of birds, reptiles and mammals. Instead the pavilion is uninviting & has become a refuge for numerous bee hives, and the bird & butterfly landscaping has been left in total neglect.
As for the Butterfly House? Well, there were no butterflys! The structure's algae covered shell was rotted & torn open. Nasty!!
However. The property immediately surrounding the Lodge was in good repair and the grounds were being well maintained. The beautiful pool and jacuzzies were immaculate. The spacious, Jr. Suites were delightful as always. The bathrooms are a bit dated, but this is compensated for by/the beautiful, glass wall, with french doors, to the private deck w/rocking chairs. Great for observing birds and other wildlife that might wander by. These suites also have a stunning, uninterrupted, view of Arenal Volcano (6 miles across the valley). There is no A/C, but, @ this elevation, the cross ventilation & ceiling fans are so efficient, that we've never felt the need for A/C. If A/C is what you want, the 5 duplex chalets would be your choice. However, they do not have a deck, nor do they open to the outside.
SUMMARY: The www.arenallodge.com web site represents the Lodge as it was years ago. The negatives mentioned, should be addressed or removed from the site. If hiking, butterflys or hammocks are not for you, then the Lodge is a great value for the money.
There is nothing else like it in the Arenal vacinity. It sits on a 2,000 acre plantation w/a primary rainforest plus it's situated between 2 strips of virgin forests, loaded w/howler monkeys, spider monkeys........ Though this place has loads of potential, the Flores family needs to get back to basics before their uniqueness becomes their nemesis.
Would I recommend this place to a friend? Only with discrimination.
- Also Known As:
- Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Arenal Hotel
- Arenal Lodge Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park
- 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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