Leaves and Lizards was our first stop on our 10-day vacation. We couldn't have asked for a better way to start. Our driver Steven from the retreat picked us up from the airport and stopped during the long drive to treat us with Pipa (fresh water from a green coconut) and a fresh pineapple. The roads leading to the retreat are extremely rough and pass through a residential area, which had me a little nervous until we reached our retreat and our cabin (The Mariposa). L and L is beautifully landscaped and brimming with beautiful, tropical plants and stunning views of Arenal Volcano. Pictures of our cabin do not do it justice. We were beyond happy with the way our cabin was presented to us at check-in. There were beautiful, fresh flowers sprinkled on our beds, towel swans, fresh milk and juice from the farm in our fridge, and 2 complimentary Costa Rican beers for us to sample. Our cabin had outdoor seating, where we loved to sit and watch the tropical birds from the comfort of our hammock or hanging chairs.
The retreat isn't for everyone, though, as the owners are upfront about on their website. As they state, there's no a/c, wifi, telephone, or tv in the rooms (there is wifi in the restaurant, though). It feels a bit like summer camp, but in the best ways possible. We enjoyed reconnecting with nature and since we didn't rent a car, we were forced to get some much-needed exercise during our hikes to the restaurant and the front office. We slept with our windows open every night, and were comfortable (and even a bit chilly one morning). We enjoyed waking up to the sounds of the rainforest.
There are plenty of activities at the retreat and in the area to keep you active as well. Our family took the half-day horse-riding with Enrique and his team, which was one of the highlights of our vacation. Enrique and Chito were our entertaining guides and were amazing at instructing us and helping us see the animals of the rainforest (we saw 2 sloths!). Chito rode with our 4 y.o. son, and even though he spoke minimal to no English, he was so kind and gentle to our son that he talked about/missed Chito for days.
Last, but not least, what makes L and L so special is the amazing staff. Hazel was so helpful during our stay and addressed every need with which we came to her. The restaurant staff are prepared delicious food during our stay and were very kind and attentive to our family whenever we dined there, especially Dora at breakfast. You get a sense when you stay at L and L that the people working there are one big, happy family. We would go back and stay any time!
- 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