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“Frog Watching Night Hike a Must-Do at Arenal Oasis” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arenal Oasis

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Arenal Oasis
2.5 of 5 Lodge   |   PO Box 21, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Fort Collins, Colorado
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
292 helpful votes 292 helpful votes
“Frog Watching Night Hike a Must-Do at Arenal Oasis”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2012

I want to encourage anyone visiting La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano region of Costa Rica to sign up for a Jungle Night Walk at the Arenal Oasis. Arenal Oasis is an eco-lodge and wildlife sanctuary—privately run by the Rojas Bonilla family—that offers affordable (20.00 USD) 3-hour walks through the rainforest at night. Tours are run by a trained naturalist, and you’ll see things on these walks that will take your breath away.

I decided to do the Night Walk on my last night in Fortuna, and it was a perfect way to end a fabulous vacation. Our guide, Inti, was not only knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the area, but his enthusiasm for interpreting and sharing his knowledge was infectious. We saw toads, lizards, insects (large praying mantis, walking sticks, leaf-cutter ants, etc.), snakes, spiders, a sleeping toucan, and the glorious red-legged tree frogs, all in their natural environment. While we walked the easy-to-navigate (flat) trails, with water and flashlights provided, we saw more than 26 new species we had not seen in the two weeks spent in the country.

Although we saw no mammals, Inti pointed out the rooting sounds of a nearby armadillo on the ground, and the sound of dropping fruit signaled to him that a mammal was foraging around above us in the canopy. And Inti also showed us a roost in large tropical leaves that tent bats had recently used for daytime sleeping.

In addition to animals seen in the wild, Arenal Oasis has display cases that feature other species held captive. Looking at hairy tarantulas and poisonous pit vipers, behind the safety of glass, at night, was eerie and exciting.

When I do return to La Fortuna, I hope to be able to spend a night or two at the Arenal Oasis eco-lodge. I believe there are 7 cabins there, and a small restaurant on-site. For me, access to the property and its wild nature would be a huge draw. (We also saw three bird species we had not seen before the afternoon we went on the tour, before the sun went down.)

In hiking the rainforest, most tourists do not venture out at night, when the jungle comes most alive. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a nature hike like this. Having someone tell us what species made the various calls and noises we heard out there in the dark was a thrill, as was the opportunity to see colorful tree frogs straddling branches a few feet away from our face. We’ll be back.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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87 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
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English first
Newport, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2012

I really liked this place. It was not in town, but just outside by taxi or public bus, or a walk.
But because of this and the habitat work the owners have done on the property to connect their parcel with the protected area of the volcano and stream corridor, wildlife flourishes. They've created wildlife habitat, e.g. frog ponds on their property, and along with the native trees and plants, it's a haven. Bird watching from the road and from breakfast over great coffee! is exceptional. They are actually getting rid of their exhibit cages of lizards, snakes and frogs etc. so one will see wildlife only in wild. Very nice. The owner and her sons run the place and they are extremely helpful, knowledgeable and speak fluent English. I loved my cabin and didn't have any problem with mold...

Room Tip: for quiet, get a cabin in the back.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
middletown
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

I have to first start off by saying that the family who owns this little place are wonderfully nice. They are really trying to make this an eco friendly lodge. The grounds are great and the cause is worth while. With that said, the cabin we stayed in was so inundated with mold and mildew that we had to leave after our first night and cancel the rest of our stay there (luckily for us we had just come from arenal green down the road and they had room for us to stay the rest of our trip). The mold and mildew was so bad that we could not breath, we got no sleep and my lungs filled up with fluid from just being in the room for less than 8 hours. The walls were covered and there was absolutly no ventilation and the windows are locked shut. The fan that will blow mold onto you while you try to sleep is a bonus. We have stayed in dense rainforest before and have never experienced anything like this. Do the night walk it was wonderful. Sorry to say, unless they can get this under control, for health reasons do not stay here.

Room Tip: Stay away from the cabin on the end.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Dunfanaghy, Ireland
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
69 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2012 via mobile

A very friendly, organised and Eco-friendly resort. The cabins are discreetly distributed in the forested area and the rooms are very well kept and clean. The restaurant, a simple structure, serves good simple dinner and a breakfast where you can watch a wide variety of birds come to feeding tables. The lodge is well located to visit Arenal Volcano and the activities on offer in the area. They are well connected with links and tours to the parks and pursuits. One of the highlights of the lodge is a night walk to search for all manner of creatures! On my walk I saw glass frogs, red eyed tree frogs (virtually guaranteed as they have an area of small ponds in their grounds) and a small snake eating frogs eggs. The guide I used (Inti) was excellent and really knew what he was looking for and where to find it.

A lodge to relax, enjoy and soak up a little of Costa Rican hospitality and nature.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Hoboken, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2011

My fiance and I stayed at Arenal Oasis in August of this year and enjoyed it very much! The staff was warm and welcoming. Our cabin was clean, quiet and through the large back window, we had a great view of plants, hummingbirds, and leaf cutter ants. Every morning we enjoyed breakfast while watching the colorful assortment of birds eating nearby the pavilion. At night, we sat on the front porch of the cabin and listened to the wildlife.

We took the guided night walk tour through the rainforest on the property. Our guide was very informative and helped us to locate many native plants and animals. We even got to see two red-eyed tree frogs! We also took a leisurely walk through rainforest during the day in addition to a visit to their butterfly sanctuary.

From Arenal Oasis, we were able to walk to the La Fortuna waterfall as well as the downtown area. The walk to either location is long, but doable.

Room Tip: Those looking for two beds, the cabin closest to the office was fantastic. It was isolated from all...
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  • Stayed August 2011, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2011

We spent 3 nights here in September 2011 and it definitely wasn't enough! We absolutely adored this hotel, the owners, and all the staff. The birdwatching was fantastic and we loved eating breakfast and dinner al fresco in the covered restaurant. Breakfast with the birds is great, watching the chachalacas, tanagers, euphonias, and honeycreepers coming in for the fruit that is put out. They even have a well-worn bird book sitting out at the restaurant so you can look up what you see. Taking a nice quiet walk around the trail on the property led to many more bird sightings, as well as bats and frogs. The night frog walk (its really in the early evening) is great - Inti was a spectacular guide, very fun and knowledgable and speaks excellent English. Andres (son of owner Rosa [who is also a delight]) helped us spot toucans high up in the trees by the reception area, as well as various other birds. Everyone here is so nice, so down-to-earth, and so gracious - it was our favorite place to stay when coupled with the great birdwatching and the frog tour. The hosts also will help set you up on tours that interest you (the Cano Negro river trip was excellent for wildlife viewing!) This fine little hotel comprised of individual cabins is highly recommended if you like quiet locations that are dark at night and have a mellow atmosphere. Simply the best!

Room Tip: Small cabin behind the reception area is great for birdwatching.
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  • Stayed September 2011, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2011

My husband and I spent 3 nights in the cozy little cottages of Arenal Oasis in September 2011 and we loved every minute of it! The cottages are sparkle clean in the heart of nature and very private. There is a nice trail on the site where you can walk and enjoy nature (and a neat butterfly farm) at your own pace at any time of day/night. Breakfast is included and every morning, we were greeted by 3 terrific people working in the kitchen and serving us great food while we admired all the birds around the kitchen terrasse. You can stay put and relax on site and eat dinner ate the terrasse if you wish. Or, you can order food or take a quick cab and visit the surroundings at about 15 minutes from the lodge.

Thank you Andrez for your kindest attentions during our stay and thanks to your wonderful family!

Claire and Marc from Canada xox

  • Stayed September 2011, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arenal Oasis

Address: PO Box 21, 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 Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 54 Specialty Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Arenal Oasis 2.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This wonderful place is the results of several years of conservation, allowing to a different species of animal a new home; at the beginning of the 80’s was a big cattle field and now it is a paradise for Sloths, Mexican Anteater, Gray Fox, Ocelots, howler Monkeys, Toucans, Manakines, Hummingbirds, Turkeys, Tree Frogs, Glass Frogs and Poison Dart Frogs, Snakes, Lizards and much more...Accomplishing this rich natural environment, the Rojas Bonilla family created some cabins out in the woods, restaurant and one thematic trail of a several stations all along the refuge, where the visitors get a speech about natural history of the species. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Oasis Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Oasis Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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