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“Second trip to Leaves and Lizards!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat

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Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
500 meters south of Super Kiki, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Second trip to Leaves and Lizards!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

This was a nine day trek on horseback. We have very beginners with us and they had not one issue. We still could gallop while they walked. We held a sloth on the very first day. We went swimming with our horses. This was great fun. Each day was a planed adventure. It never rained during the ride only at night!
The horses are the best well trained. They all went in the Doctor Cooks bit less bridle and that made it all the more special. Debbie and Steve the owners and the staff, guides, cooks. Take Te time you need. the service was wonderful. food was delicious. I will be going back again each time I see more of this beautiful country and its people. Thank you so much for this wonderful vacation!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 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.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    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
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English first
uk
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

We stayed there at end of Dec as part of a three week vacation in Costa Rica.

Make sure you have a 4x4 if you intend to drive there – we ordered one but ended up with a normal car which could barely cope with the easiest route in to L & L so every time you leave or go back was an ‘experience’ !

It is in a lovely place, well away from La Fortuna, which is rammed with tourists and pretty unattractive. Also would far rather have stayed here than some of the mass market offers in and around Arenal.

We stayed at Volcano Cabin, and the views of the Volcano (which revealed itself on Day 2) were quite simply awesome. The room itself is ok, certainly not luxurious, but basic and nice. There are quite a few bugs, but you are in the jungle! There are no curtains so you wake up at light (5.30am!) but it is worth it for when you wake up and the first thing you see is the volcano!

Debbie and Steve, the owners, are very helpful and very nice.

One thing we didn’t really get it the dinners, where you are grouped together with other people. Especially strange when the owners get to eat on their own table! I guess this may work better for families rather than couples....but that was enough to make us eat at other places for the remainder of our stay.

Its a lovely place for families, but not sure I would recommend for couples.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Key West, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

So we just got back from costa rica and the leaves and lizards,congo villa was the highlight,debbie,steve and oscar know their stuff,if you want to milk a cow see nicolas.
great place just remember to rent a 4x4 car and engage it as you leave the highway then its a great 20 min drive.
thanks guys
Gary from Zimbabwe
Tiffany from Canada
Both now living in Key West Fl

Room Tip: congo room
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  • Stayed January 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Morgan Hill, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

Leaves & Lizzards was an experience. It is a long way off the paved road so can be somewhat nerve-racking as to whether you are lost or not. We stayed in the Hummingbird Hacienda for 3 nights between Christmas and New Year with my wife and I along with our 2 children 6 and 9. We got a great warm welcome from Oscar who gave a great introduction to the site. The Hacienda is the furthest away from the restaurant at the hotel and is quite a walk (we had elected not to hire a car in Costa Rica) especially in the rain which seemed to be hourly occurrence. The hotel was kind enough to offer us a ride back on several evenings when the rain was heavy.
The rooms were nice and would have been perfect had it not been for the ants. It is the jungle so there is little that you can do but it can be somewhat disconcerting having ant trails in the room. Some details were missing, we had 2 beers provided in our fridge for the first night although these were not present on subsequent nights. There is a small market on the way into the hotel and they did not sell beer which was disappointing and left you having to pay hotel prices for the beer. 2 ply toilet paper was in our room on the first night (a luxury in Costa Rica) although this disappeared on the second night and was replaced with the 1 ply. Very weird. Debbie and Steve the owners make their presence visible at meal times and they seemed to eat in the restaurant at their own table. It felt like a watchful eye to make sure that the children did not misbehave…
There are some significant redeeming features. Milking the cow at 7am every morning was an experience that the kids won’t forget. The tour guide Leo was fantastic and we had 2 extraordinary days with him, one in the Jungle and another going up a river close to Nicaragua.
I’m glad we went but I doubt we would go back.

Room Tip: Hummingbird Hacienda is the only one with a Kitchen. Don't go for the views of the volcano. It...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Kingston, Ontario
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

We are a family of 5 (2 adults and three kids - two 17-year old and an 18-year old). We travelled to Costa Rica from Dec 21-31, 2012. During this time, we stayed at Leaves and Lizards for 3 nights. We really enjoyed our stay at Leaves and Lizards. The owners are Debbie and Steve and they are wonderful hosts. Here is our review:
Room: we stayed at the Congo room; the room was very clean and spacious. We had two Queen size beds and a single. The room is very clean, we had everything we needed: towels, shampoo, conditioner, hair conditioner, a safe, flash flight, 2 ceiling fans, coffee maker, microwave, a few utensils/plates/mugs, even ear plugs were available for those who might need them, games, books and they have thought of everything. The room had huge windows, we have a great view of the rainforest and we can see the volcano if it was not so cloudy. There was a lot of privacy; we are surrounded by beautiful trees and plants. Also a beautiful balcony with chairs and hammocks for relaxation.
Foods:
Breakfast was the best meal of the day for $4 pp, there is a different menu each day from delicious blueberry pancakes to omelets to your liking, you had so much food and so delicious with fresh fruits and everything you ever want, I recommend that everyone needs to take advantage of this opportunity.
Dinner: Was also so delicious. We took advantage of the happy hour for discounted drinks. Debbie switched the table around so you will sit with new people and it’s a great way to meet other guests at the lodge.
Activities on site:
Farm visit: We enjoyed the 7AM visit at the farm where our kids get to milk a cow, hold baby pigs and pet horses. What a wonderful experience!
Horse riding adventure:
The hosts: Debbie & Steve: The best thing about Leaves and Lizards is the hospitality of the hosts. Debbie and Steve are wonderful people. They made us feel welcome even before we arrived. As soon as we arrived, they made us feel at home. They gave us advice on what to do and how to do it. They came to dinner each night to make sure all the guests have access to them in case they have questions or concerns. During our stay our two girls got a stomach flu, Debbie was so great; she gave us soup, 7-Up and crackers for the girls. She got her staff (Florie and Maria) to give them therapeutic massages as well as their special tea. On this trip we were also celebrating our 17-year old twins birthday. Debbie arranged to make two cakes complete with candles plus she got us to send her photos and put together a slide show for them. It was a nice surprise for them. Again, Debbie and Steve were so great getting everything ready to make sure that everything went smoothly. You can tell that they really want to please their guests; they definitely deserve A+ for customer service. This reflects on how quickly their lodge is booked up so if you are interested, you better book at least 8 months in advance otherwise you might not get a room particularly in high season.
The Staff: They are very polite and pleasant, great staff!
Laundry service: we are so thankful for this service as we have 3 kids with lots of dirty and wet clothes and we are so glad they have this service.

We would return to Leaves and Lizards and we highly recommend this place to anyone who wants to have a different experience in Costa Rica!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Virginia
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

Leaves and Lizards was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica and even the kids (two boys 11 and 12 at the time) said they would rather go back there than going to the beach. The accommodations are wonderful (we stayed at the Monkey cabin), the property is absolutely gorgeous but what made the stay truly exceptional were the owners and the staff of the resort. Debbie was so extremely patient and helpful even before we ever got to the resort by assisting me with planning our trip. She provided all the information that we needed to have the best time in Costa Rica and also recommended the hotel we stayed at in Alajuela (close to San Jose Airport) the first night. La Pura Vida Hotel was wonderful and the owner is a gem. We rented a 4-wheel drive to get around on our own and enjoyed the flexibility and had a great time exploring the country side. Being able to read a map was essential since signs are few and far in between, but the road system is really not that complicated and most roads were comfortable to drive on.

The drive from San Jose to Leaves and Lizards was long but beautiful and even though the hotel is located high in the hills above La Fortuna, we thought it was close enough to all the things we wanted to do and see in the area. We stayed for 5 nights and could have easily stayed longer since there were still things we would have liked to do. We had dinner at the resort most evenings because the food was fabulous and we were simply exhausted from eventful days and enjoyed the family-oriented atmosphere. Our favorite activities were a half-day at the animal rescue center and zip-lining but what makes me dream about going back to L&L was the horseback riding. The horses are so well taken care of and simply wonderful to ride and Debbie really takes her time and helps pairing up the perfect horse with every single rider. The trip to the waterfall was a great family experience and my private ride with Debbie and some of her friends was simply magical culminated by a full-on gallop up the hill through the most picturesque pasture.

All the animals at the resort were quite an experience, wild and tame. A foal was born during our stay, the parrot ate at our breakfast table, the kids milked the cow every morning and my 11-year old fetched eggs and helped feed the horses. If you have animal lovers in the family, this is definitely your place!

Oscar gave the most informative walking tours through the rain forest showing us how to wash our hands with dew collected in a particular plant, Rosa took wonderful care of all our needs during meals. Just thinking about the place makes we want to go back tomorrow! Thank you Leaves and Lizards for memories that will last a lifetime and for being a living testament that gentle tourism works and for making us fall in love with Costa Rica.

(Debbie - if you read this prior to my correction you must have chuckled... still having brain lapses and am mixing up PR with CR ;-) )

Room Tip: Monkey and Toucan cabins are located on a hill with wonderful views onto the volcano. The walk to th...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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
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

Also Known As:
Leaves And Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat Hotel
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
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
#2 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#3 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#9 Romantic 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 

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