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“Amazing Experience in an Amazing Place with Amazing People” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat

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Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
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500 meters south of Super Kiki, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Sierra Madre, California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Amazing Experience in an Amazing Place with Amazing People”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

A complex nestled in the rain forest of the Arenal volcano region with all the activities to take in the wonderful experience of being in Costa Rica rain forest. The owners, Debbie and Steve and absolutely wonderful. Debbie would often take some time to speak to our kids and see how their day went. Not just a gesture of politeness, but to make sure they were having fun and gauge their activities for the next day. They took care of their guests as guests, not just customers. Big difference. It would seem they would regularly go out of their way to make sure our experience was nothing short of perfect. But, not this is just who they are. This is status quo for them. We had a zip line trip. We had an unusually difficult experience that we understood was unusual and had come to terms with. Debbie did not. Without our knowing or prompting, she took it up as an issue with the zip line company as our advocate. I was impressed.
Went on a horse back riding trip to the water falls. Just absolutely amazing trip, amazing tour guide and amazing horses. My kids 9 & 6 years old have no experience on horses. By the end of the trip, they were at home on them. The water fall itself was nice, but on our visit after some rains it was murky. The point of the trip is not the water falls, it's getting there.
I could not recommended this high enough for family, couples or groups who wish to experience nature and have a relaxed great time. I would go back in a heart beat. I will likely be back in the next few years. And... I tend not to go back to the same place twice.

Room Tip: Best time to travel here is early December (transition for rainy season to dry) and in June (accordi...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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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487 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (112)
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English first
North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2012

Our entire family said this was our best family vacation ever - Costa Rica - and Leaves and Lizards was hands down, the overall favorite! (We stayed in 3 areas and different hotels) We travelled there last Christmas with our 2 kids - ages 10 and 13. We stayed in the gorgeous Toucan cabin. I could live there...didn't want to leave. The pictures don't even do the place justice. You simply have to see it and experience it yourself. The owners are great and they have a fabulous staff!! We loved Oscar, Enrique and Chito and they made awesome memories for our family. We highly recommend the horseback riding excursion to the waterfall. That was the family's favorite activity on our whole trip. The food was great. Don't worry about the roads. They're not as bad as we expected, but were glad that we had a 4x4. Barn chores were fun. Wonderful views and setting. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with wonderful people. Definitely go to Leaves and Lizards - you won't regret it.

Room Tip: All of the cabins are beautiful and have fabulous views...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 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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Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

Leaves & Lizards was a great place to stay - very warm family feeling and a great experience. Definitely having a car and GPS is extremely helpful to put the longitude/latitude coordinates in to get to it! We were happy to have our 4 wheel drive as well as the roads are quite the obstacle. The drive is worth it to get to this secluded little place - an eco-friendly stay with wonderful food/views and many birds to enjoy.
For the common area/meals: We loved the breakfasts - watching the birds while enjoying the fresh fruit and food so wonderfully prepared by the cook. It was a little cloudy so only one day we saw the volcano fully, however, it is still such a beautiful view. The open-style room, the amazing lizard painted on the wall - I loved it! This was the only place we were able to receive internet since it wasn't available in our cabin (Monkey) but to us this wasn't a huge deal. The dinners were good as well - depending on how many people are staying you may have a sort of family style dinner with everyone while you are there.
We also enjoyed getting up early to help milk the cow - Carlos was very nice to us even though we weren't the best at it. The waterfall horseback ride was out of this world...Oscar and Carlos helped out with the horses, showed us many things in the forest, and we loved the secluded little gem of a waterfall we were able to enjoy.
Although we had a tough time finding the Hot Springs (Eco Terminales) at dark - we loved experience (I will write another view on their site). We also visited the Hanging Bridges which were OK although there was so many tourists there as it significantly slowed us down and Arenal Volcano - again just OK but we were not able to go up as high as we thought we'd be able to go.
We unfortunately missed the owners due to a family situation in the US but extremely enjoyed our stay and would recommend the hotel to anyone with similar goals on their vacation - non touristy spots, good food/good relaxation and wildlife.

Room Tip: Monkey Cabin had an exceptional view of the volcano.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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Wicklow, Ireland
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2012 via mobile

Stayed here and loved it! The cabins are great, our group took 3, so we had a good spead over the complex, and all were of an excellent standard. Debbie was very friendly and helpful. I would reccomend this to anyone.
The only things to note, the resorts reccomended hot springs was amazing, but the meal there was below average. For the price of the rooms breakfast should be included, but in fairness the additional charge is minimum and it is yummy. I found the dinner we had was dissapointing, given the breakfasts, but maybe the cook was off the night we ate. It is out of the town a bit, but the views are worth the trip, and the town its self is not great, so it's not really a negative point. Do go zip lining here, it was one of the highlights of our holiday. Stay here, enjoy the amazing views from the cabins.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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sarasota
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

Leaves and Lizards was my first trip outside the US, and my first trip alone - ever! I participated in many activities yet found plenty of time to put the hammock on my porch to good use. Having a big comfy bed to myself, I woke up every morning to birds announcing the day. At the Lava Lizard, the staff were waiting expectantly for me to let them know how I like my eggs, and while they prepared a scrumptious breakfast I practiced my new obsession - photographing the birds that came to the baskets in which the staff had placed fruits. Everything at L&L is immaculate, even the barn! I loved having the freedom to wander around the property and see the reforestation Debbie and Steve have done, the beautiful heliconias everywhere, the well cared for animals, and of course, the many views of beautiful Arenal (which rivaled the birds in photo shoots). Enrique fascinated me with his in depth knowledge of Costa Rica History, the flora and fauna, and his love for his coutry and its people. I hiked, rode horseback to the falls, experienced the riverboat wildlife tour (wow!), and tagged along with just about every outing. Every staff member strives to ensure a memorable visit for all, and this truly was the best 'alone time' I have ever experienced! I can hardly wait to return and bring my entire family!

Room Tip: The Coco was immaculate, comfortable, and had a great view of the pasture, rain forest, and - of cou...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 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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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2012

We stayed for three nights at Leaves and Lizards in early September 2012 and had a wonderful time. Steve and Deb are such gracious and accommodating hosts. The cabins are beautiful and maintained immaculately. The location provides an amazing view of the volcano. The meals at the dining room were excellent, as was the conversation with other guests while dining. I would highly recommend L&L to everyone. We look forward to going back again on a return trip to CR. I recommoned having a 4-wheel drive vehichle to get there, or at least a 2-wheel with high ground clearance, since the road is rocky.

Thank you Deb and Steve!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 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.
Sailes De Bearn, France
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

Leaves and Lizards is a great place to stay, off of the beaten path, yet close to everything you may want to see in Arenal . It offers all of the excursions that an adventure seeker would want to experience while in Costa Rica. I have actually stayed there twice, once in 2009, and again in 2012, and it has gotten even better over the years. The hosts are extremely hospitable, the food is great, and the views are breath taking. I plan on staying there again for part of my next trip to Costa Rica while I am in the Arenal area. The internet connection was also great, so I managed to get a little work in as well.

Room Tip: The Hummingbird House is great for larger families and is close to all of the property's hiking...
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  • Stayed May 2012, 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
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 Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat

Address: 500 meters south of Super Kiki, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#4 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This secluded resort is located on 26 acres with spectacular viewing of the Arenal Volcano near La Fortuna. Enjoy the panoramic vista of Arenal and Cerro Chato from a hammock on your porch or from your comfortable, orthopedic, queen sized beds with Egyptian cotton sheets. Meals prepared using locally grown ingredients at the Lava Lizard on-site dining facility. Guests are invited to help with daily 'chores' on this working farm. Milk a cow, collect eggs for breakfast or groom a horse. Enjoy private horseback riding, professional guide service, on site spa and 2 km of on site nature trails. The vision at Leaves and Lizards is to create the perfect blend of adventure, discovery and tranquility for each guest. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Leaves And Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Leaves And Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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