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“Arenal observatory lodge” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arenal Observatory Lodge

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Arenal Observatory Lodge
23 Km West From la Fortuna Town, Located on the Base of the Arenal Volcano | Main road to Arenal National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
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15% special disscount
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Arenal observatory lodge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

A marvelous scenic place to stay while visiting the Park. Comfortable, clean, reasonably priced! View from dining area is phenomenal! Birds, other wildlife, the volcano...enjoyed the early morning hike in the rainforest in spite of the soggy, wet conditions. Conditions permitting, I would've enjoyed another night.

Room Tip: Rooms at the base of Lodge are scenic, reasonably priced, comfortable & quiet. A trek uohill to...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,206 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Pickering, Canada
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

Amazing view of the volcano, amazing staff, amazing pool, amazing rooms, amazing amenities. The gravel roads aren't so bad, and it gives it a sense of isolation that you don't find elsewhere. I loved it.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

This review is actually from Aug. 2009. We took a shuttle bus from San Jose to Arenal. Use anywherecostarica to book transfers between locations - they do point to point transfers and are on time. The only downside to staying here is that it's about 10km in the final stretch up terrible gravel roads. It's a rustic hotel but the view and atmosphere is unbeatable. If you're lucky you can sit out on the deck at night and see the volcano spew out lava rocks and enjoy a beer or glass of wine.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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Branford, Connecticut
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

Forget about La Fortuna. If you want to really see and experience Arenal, stay here. Incredible views, quiet and clean rooms. We stayed in 2 rooms in La Casona, which was fantastic. Included breakfast was massive and delicious. Lots of trails to hike on right from the lodge. Worth staying at for at least a night.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Chico California
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

Great view of Arenal Lake as well as this hotel is the closest hotel to the Arenal Volcano.

Our room wasn't that clean and it took 10 minutes each time of running the hot water to get hot water.

No phones. Since this "lodge" (really a hotel) is in the rain forest and some of the rooms are a 5 minute walk from each other one would would expect a phone in each room so that you could call others in your party (family members or friends that have a different room) that are 5 minutes away in the rain. No such luck. No phones in the room which really was a pain in the neck for us.

All of the wait/server staff in the restaurant (mediocre food) were great and cared.

Two of the four front desk personnel constantly felt that talking with friends or co-workers was more important than serving their customers. In other words 2 of the front staff sucked however the other 2 cared.

Wi-fi was only available from 7:00am - 10:00pm and only in one small common area. That room sometimes wasn't opened until 7:15am. Also the Internet there was extremely slow as well as spotty and no always working.

No tv although we didn't come there to watch tv.

Very nice area with lots of birds.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

The actual "hotel" is like a college dorm or government like establishment, including the mess hall-like restaurant & breakfast. The rooms are outdated - adult version of summer camp. (And we were in one of their nicer rooms - Smithsonian. )

We stayed here because of the location to the volcano and grounds. The grounds didn't disappoint. Great hiking right from the hotel.

In all fairness, we might have liked this place had it stopped raining at all. We saw clouds and rain - cool in its own right. But we might have liked the area more had we actually seen the volcano. And heed the warnings - our experience is more common than good weather.... (To that point, think twice about a Smithsonian room - not a big price difference, and still not expensive, but not sure they are worth it if you never get to use the room size window.)

Drive here was miserable - not the road into the hotel that most people complain about but the drive from San Jose. Longest, curviest, most trying drive of whole trip and we drove to 4 other locations around Costa Rica.

Room Tip: Think twice about a Smithsonian. Unless you get a rare clear day, not worth the extra $$
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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manuel antonio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We stayed here for 3 nights with 2 young kids in Jan 2013. The staff was very friendly and the tours were inexpensive. The kids love the horseback riding and the hot spring. The room was a bit outdated but it had a nice balcony.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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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Additional Information about Arenal Observatory Lodge

Address: 23 Km West From la Fortuna Town, Located on the Base of the Arenal Volcano | Main road to Arenal National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 59 Specialty Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated only 1.7 Miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to DISCOVER, EXPLORE and RELAX. Located within the Arenal Conservation Area and surrounded by rainforests and nature, AOL sits on a 870 acres property, which consists of 400 acres of reforestation, 270 acres of natural forest and 200 acres of cultivated land. The hotel offers 48 comfortable rooms surrounded by gardens, the majority with a direct view of the volcano and/or the forest. The 7 miles of well-maintained trails for walking, horseback riding or biking running through the property provide good opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 400 species of birds live in the area making AOL a preferred destination for bird watchers. Activities at the hotel include hikes to the waterfall or to explore Cerro Chato (an extinct volcano with a small lake in the crater), horseback riding, bicycling through the trails, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our SPA. The hotel is well located to serve as a base for a variety of excursions such as: Cano Negro Nature Refuge, hot springs, Venado Caves, Canopy Tours, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Fishing, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Biking etc. It also serves as a very interesting stop before heading on to Monteverde Cloud Forest or to the beaches of the Pacific coast. Arenal Observatory Lodge is the perfect place for adventure lovers, families, and honeymooners. With its spectacular location, great service and friendly personnel you won't be disappointed ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Observatory Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Observatory Lodge Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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