We came to this hotel from the Tortuguero area via a small plane to San Jose and private transport with Travel Excellence/Cox and Kings to Arenal. We made a stop at Zarcero to look at the sculptured shrubs and the church, this was an interesting stop. Our driver was excellent with very good English which means we could learn so much about the country. By the time we arrived at La Fortuna we were starving and immediately our driver took us to a small local restaurant where we all had good local food - a late Costa Rican breakfast of rice and beans, plantain and fried egg - as we had had a very early start. Our first impression of the hotel Mountain Paradise was mixed. Beautiful gardens and lovely pool area with pool bar. Very spacious accommodation in the form of cabins but we felt it needed a bit of a facelift with its waterfall shower, black jacuzzi on the patio surrounded by black rocks and strange bedroom walls with what looked like balls of cement on the walls and painted in bright yellow. However, we were to realise that our two day stay here was to have distinct good points.
The view of the Arenal volcano was magnificent and we were content to spend the remainder of the first day relaxing by the pool and exploring the gardens. Dining area was lovely but very few people came in for dinner. Food was very good. Service generally in the hotel was excellent. Shop was always shut and didn't appear to be well stocked. We found it impossible to get WiFi in the room or at the pool, but it was readily available in the reception area.
Our second day was an early private collection with a very good driver who was to take us to Cano Negro-Rio. En route we stopped to see a tree absolutely laden with the large Iguanas. We boarded a shared boat on the canal and again our guide was superb, both with English and his knowledge of the canal and it's wildlife. We saw kingfishers, herons, Ibis, lemmings, etc. then caimans, Jesus Christ lizards and howler and capuchin monkeys. The highlight was seeing two sloths actually moving around in a tree! When we got to the Nicaraguan border we were able to step off the boat and take photos at the boundary. Again our dinner was very good and the long drive was certainly worth it as it was a memorable day.