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23 Km West of La Fortuna City Center, Located at the Base of the Arenal Volcano Main Road to Arenal National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos 21007 Costa Rica
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Free cancellation until 02/24/22
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Free cancellation until 02/24/22
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Prices above are provided by partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and do not include all taxes and fees. Please see our partners for full details.
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What you can expect during your stay
  • All linens sanitized in high-temperature wash
  • Face masks required for staff in public areas
  • Floors marked for social distancing
  • Hand sanitizer available to guests & staff
  • Stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
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Updated 10/02/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
A note from Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Updated 10/02/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.


#1 of 151 Specialty lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Travelers' Choice
GreenLeaders Bronze level
Situated only 1.7 Miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to DISCOVER, EXPLORE and RELAX. AOL sits on an 870 acres property and offers 48 comfortable rooms surrounded by gardens, the majority with a direct view of the volcano and/or the forest. The 7 miles of well-maintained trails for walking, horseback riding or biking running through the property provide good opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 500 species of birds live in the area making AOL a preferred destination for bird watchers. Activities at the hotel include hikes to the waterfall, horseback riding, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our spa. Arenal Observatory Lodge is the perfect place for adventure lovers, families, and honeymooners. With its spectacular location, great service, and friendly personnel you won't be disappointed.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Free breakfast
Horseback riding
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Kids pool
Secured parking
Hot tub
Pool / beach towels
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Shallow end in pool
Bar / lounge
Breakfast available
Breakfast buffet
Happy hour
Kids' meals
Special diet menus
Wine / champagne
Canoeing offsite
Walking tours
Shuttle bus service
Body wrap
Facial treatments
Foot massage
Head massage
Non-smoking hotel
Outdoor furniture
Picnic area
Shared lounge / TV area
Sun deck
Sun loungers / beach chairs
Sun terrace
First aid kit
Laundry service
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Room features
Interconnected rooms available
Private balcony
Clothes rack
Laptop safe
Coffee / tea maker
Bath / shower
Tile / marble floor
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Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Great View
Mountain View
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
2628Reviews76Q+A100Room tips
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Popular mentions
Wei2Yue wrote a review Oct 3
Montreal, Canada73 contributions121 helpful votes
While the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is not easily accessible and will take you a 30 minutes car ride from the next city, it is well worth the journey. You are far away from mass tourism and situated directly next to Arenal Volcano and surrounded by nature. The property is well kept and you can wander through the lush gardens and adjacent jungle. Trails are in very good condition and you will be able to discover a plethora of plants, flowers, and animals all around you. The hotel rooms are simple, but have everything you need. A small balcony with a great view, strong WIFI signal, showers with excellent water pressure! Keep in mind that the rooms do not have TV nor air-condition. I recommend sleeping with your windows open and get the full wildlife experience. You will be awoken by the birds in the early morning, which is the perfect time to get up and catch a glimpse of the exotic animals. The outdoor pool has a decent size and you will be able to spot monkeys in the nearby trees. The sunset from the restaurant deck is breathtaking. Words cannot describe it which is why I am adding a photo. The restaurant has delicious food and drinks and a well-priced happy hour. Breakfast was also more than solid, so being away from everything else was not an issue. I can highly recommend this property if you enjoy the luxury and tranquility of nature to unwind and relax.
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Date of stay: September 2021
Sleep Quality
1 Helpful vote
Nikki7280 wrote a review Feb 2020
Southlake, Texas293 contributions54 helpful votes
Property's Favorite Review
The staff at AOL were incredible (this might just be a Costa Rican thing). While watching the Superbowl they offered to let us eat on a couch right in front of the TV in the sunroom (vs sitting at a dining room table) and I had read mixed reviews about the food at the restaurant at AOL and am happy to report it must have changed because it was not good, it was GREAT. Over a couple days we had beef gorganzola, shrimp pasta, red snapper all great and heard other tour groups remarking on the food so apparently we are not in the minority on that opinion. Our room was a standard room at La Casona (just down the hill a bit from the main lodge) and I have to admit I was a bit bummed at the thought of having to take a shuttle or walk up and down the hill every time we wanted to go to the lodge but I will say we never waited for a shuttle - not once! We called and in less than a minute it was there waiting and when we would leave the lodge it was sitting there ready to go. We walked down a couple of times (beautiful lighted trail) and that was no issue. After the first night we were sold on staying further from the lodge because the lake views and rainforest sounds and feeling of privacy was incredible! They had asked on the reservation if we were celebrating so I noted anniversary and there was a bottle of wine, kissing swan towels, fresh flowers and chocolate decorating one of the beds! You can actually hear the wildlife in the room which is amazing until you have a thunderstorm so I would just recommend bringing earplugs just in case. AOL provides buffet breakfast which was good and had at least half a dozen hot items and there was variance the mornings we were there! Happy husband = happy me! We did the morning walk (free tour of grounds AOL provides) and as they said it started right on time at 830am and finished at 11am on the dot. You cross two hanging bridges, we saw a baby pit viper on a tree, visited the frog pond and were shown a couple of different beautiful frogs, and saw lots of flora, birds, a Jesus Christ lizard (no idea how he spotted him I swear being a few feet away I still couldn't see him until he pointed him out!) and quick hike down to a waterfall and tram back to the lodge. Guide has been doing it 28 years and also guides on the Bogarin Trail which is where he heads after the AOL morning walk tour so if you want to go on that with him as well its $35 and you arrange your own transportation and meet him there. AOL also offers boxed breakfasts for those that have to leave before the restaurant opens for breakfast at 7am. Just let them know the day before and you can pick them up during business hours. We saw several private tours come to AOL, I can see why I was ready to move there! Its not super clear on their website but the sloth tour is Bogarin, Coffee farm is Don Juan and chocolate is Eskataru in case anyone is wondering. Our driver Tato explained they fix the roads once a year usually at the beginning of high season (November) and they were ok for him driving a regular Kia but there were a few decent potholes and he said in 3-4 months it will be bad and he will be getting flat tires. FYI for those planning trips and trying to figure out if 4x4 is necessary.
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Date of stay: February 2020
Sleep Quality
Room Tip: La Casona rooms have an observation tower and walking path with bench at overlook to the lake
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6 Helpful votes
Response from austin211991, Public Relations Manager at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Responded Mar 13, 2020
Hello Nikki7280, WOW! Thank you so much for taking the time to write us such a detailed review of your recent stay with us. Feedback like this is why our staff works so hard to make the property what it is. I can not wait to share your comments with our staff, it really brings a smile to my face to read that everything about your stay exceeded your expectations. I am also glad that your room near La Casona grew on you :D Our drivers do a good job at being timely in their arrivals and only sometimes get delayed if there is a lot of movement with guests. The rooms near La Casona are also my favorite part of the property. The added privacy and unique positioning overlooking the lake definitely give the volcano view rooms a run for their money. We welcome you and your husband back anytime and we wish you nothing but happiness for the upcoming year and the many more to come. Austin G., Public Relations Manager
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Tine M wrote a review Sep 2021
Tromso, Norway236 contributions61 helpful votes
Amazing place - You get it all in 1- Views to Vulcan, guided tour , amazing food and the breakfast is wow - We will come back please go if you love nature - We will come back and we loved the place - the restaurant could be better- So maybe serve less and the things you have make it nice
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Date of stay: September 2021
Sleep Quality
Room Tip: niec rooms
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Dillon S wrote a review Sep 2021
4 contributions1 helpful vote
This place is the whole package. The nature walks on the grounds are fantastic, & you can get some pretty awesome hiking in as well. The free morning nature walk is awesome, & the waterfall on the property is beautiful as well. The drive into la fortuna takes about 20 minutes but that's about the only downside to the property. Views are top notch & make sure you take the hike up to the nest. There's a place to eat in town called la caribeña that is fantastic, & they have some unique beers made by wood fire worth a try. We visited the springs & honestly I still would choose the observatory over the fancy hotels. The view was secluded & unique plus it's the closest you can be to the volcano. Not to mention the price. Hope this helps someone!
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Date of stay: September 2021Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Darlene F wrote a review Sep 2021
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania1097 contributions180 helpful votes
My husband and I enjoyed two nights at the start of a birding tour arranged by Costa Rica Focus. We absolutely loved the views and the meals. Although accommodations were rather rustic, they were clean, comfortable and it appeared that every room was situated in a manner to ensure the guests had amazing scenery. We surely did! Thank you Costa Rica Focus for arranging this stay and thank you Arenal Observatory Lodge for such a memorable stay. We hope to return someday and spend a few more days. My husband can't stop talking about the rice and shrimp meal he enjoyed so much. All of the meals were delectable. I loved the fresh juices! The deck outside of dining room shows a wonderful view of Arenal volcano. Unfortunately, I was always too slow to catch a good photo when the clouds parted to see the peak. A large bird feeder is also located to be viewed from the deck and a wide variety of birds frequent the feeder especially in the early morning. Unfortunately, the person who fills the feeder took a day off our 1st morning so we were only able to witness the 6AM feeding one morning and drizzle interfered a bit. The grounds are absolutely beautiful to walk. In addition to countless birds & flowers, we saw many coatimundi just past our back deck. The babies were so cute! We also heard howler monkeys and saw them swinging between the trees behind our room. We loved our stay & hope to return.
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Date of stay: August 2021
Sleep Quality
$102 - $196 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
arenal observatory hotel la fortuna de san carlos
Costa RicaProvince of AlajuelaArenal Volcano National ParkLa Fortuna de San Carlos
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Frequently Asked Questions about Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Which popular attractions are close to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Nearby attractions include Bogarin Trail (4.6 miles), Cabalgata Don Tobias (4.4 miles), and Butterfly Conservatory (3.4 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Yes, free parking and secured parking are available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Conveniently located restaurants include Essence Arenal Restaurant, Tiquicia Restaurant, and Mercadito Arenal.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English and Spanish.
Does Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the mountain view available here.
Is Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access, reduced mobility rooms, and facilities for disabled guests. For specific inquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.