We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
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 Costa Rica
E-mail hotel
COVID-19 update: See the added health and safety measures this property is taking.Read more
Lowest prices for your stay
Hotel direct offer!Spa Treatment Discount
View Deal
SAVE $15
Free cancellation until 12/16/20
View Deal
Free cancellation until 12/15/20
Reserve now, pay at stay
View all 10 deals
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.
Traveler (2653)
Panoramas (1)
Videos (3)
Certificate of Excellence
Travel safe during COVID-19
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
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Read more
Updated 06/16/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
A note from Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Updated 06/16/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.


#2 of 127 Specialty lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Certificate of Excellence
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.
Read more
Room & Suite (721)721
Full view
Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Free breakfast
Horseback riding
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Kids pool
Secured parking
Hot tub
Pool / beach towels
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
Convenience store
Non-smoking hotel
Outdoor furniture
Shared lounge / TV area
Sun deck
Sun terrace
First aid kit
Laundry service
Show more
Room features
Interconnected rooms available
Private balcony
Clothes rack
Laptop safe
Coffee / tea maker
Bath / shower
Tile / marble floor
Show more
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Great View
Mountain View
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Hotel links
Special Offer:Spa Treatment Discount
2,575Reviews67Q+A100Room tips
Traveler rating
  • 1,549
  • 772
  • 188
  • 47
  • 19
Time of year
Traveler type
  • More
Selected filters
  • Filter
  • English
Popular mentions
Aqua413 wrote a review Apr 2020
Dunedin, New Zealand89 contributions32 helpful votes
We were lucky to have the clouds lift on our first morning in one of the Smithsonian rooms and had a great view of the volano. On our 3 week trip to Costa Rica we mostly stayed in eco lodges so this was one of the more 'mainstream' places we stayed and we were quite overwhelmed with the high quality and range of the lunch and dinner menus. The grounds are extensive with a number of trails including high towers to get into the canopy -although it was so hot you really need to be up at dawn to see much. Caotis roamed the grounds and there are plenty of birds including hummingbirds to see.
Read more
Date of stay: February 2020
Nikki7280 wrote a review Feb 2020
Southlake, Texas276 contributions20 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.
Read more
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
See more room tips
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
Read more
Robert D wrote a review Apr 2020
Heers, Belgium162 contributions70 helpful votes
This is a nice lodge. Upon arrival you are welcomed at the reception where you get all necessary information about the restaurant, room, activities and facilities. We had a room with view on the Volcano and on the feeders. The room was very spacious. When entering you had the bathroom on the right hand with big shower, wash table and toilet. Afterwards a huge bed with at the end space for the luggage. On the left hand we had a desk, few chairs and a cupboard for the cloths. There was also a safe and coffee corner in the room. Finally, we had a nice terrace with view on the Volcano, deck and the feeders. There are plenty of walking paths at the property going from short to mid-long walks. Most of them are easy “effort”. There is quite some bird and animal activity during the walks. Furthermore a swimming pool and spa, hanging bridge and not to forget: the tower. At the deck, there are feeders for the birds. Breakfast is in buffet form, where lunch and dinner is from the menu. The food is delicious. Since La Fortuna is not far away, there a literally 100 of activities available.
Read more
Date of stay: March 2020
23kme wrote a review Apr 2020
Long Island, NY333 contributions36 helpful votes
We were expecting a basic down to earth place and got much more! We stayed here 5 nights and could have stayed longer. Prices were very reasonable. Our room was the Smithsonian which was above the pool area and had a nice view of the cloud covered volcano from our deck. We tried to book a suite 10 months out and they were all booked. Our room wasn't overly large but it was ample, it had 2 queen beds, 2 benches to put your luggage on, shelves for stuff, hot water in the shower and was clean. The grounds are lovely and well cared for. We spent a few hours at the pool and hot tub one afternoon and it was very nice. Staff was wonderful- we bothered the desk staff every day to ask questions and they were always helpful. Food (and wait staff) were FABULOUS. We ate here 4 out of 5 nights and only ate out because were were on a frog night tour that finished too late to get back to the lodge. Drinks were CHEAP, $4.00 and at happy hour every night to watch the sunset we got 2 drinks for $4.00. They had a list for the happy hour drinks but there was much to choose from including, daiquiris, beer, and mixed drinks. We walked many trails on the property. Definitely go see the waterfall, go up the "nest", and walk at night to the frog pond. The waterfall trail was a little busy but the waterfall was pretty and good for a short walk, we did that the day we arrived. The nest was a neat experience. You had to climb A LOT of stairs to get a great view above the trees. Don't expect great photos, the nest moves too much in the wind. A monitor stationed at the bottom is there to limit how many go up at once and to make sure you are fit to climb. I was questioned because I wear a brace on my knee for hiking but I assured him I was fine and was allowed to go up. The frog pond at night was my favorite. I love frogs and we got the BEST photos of the red-eyed tree frog. Didn't see any other types but just seeing that one was worth the walk. We also took a private bird tour at 6 am and saw lots of birds. Don't be scared off by the road to the lodge. It was fine. Yes a little skinny at times and some pot holes to go around but half was paved and the last half just go slow. We drove the road every day and twice after dark with no problems. Off the property we did the Sky Trek zip lining (good), Sky Trek tubing (Bad-dangerous, don't do it), walked the Arenal 1968 Trail (nice but really hot that day), Mistico Hanging Bridges (good but go with private guide or you won't see anything), Bogarin Trail (great to see sloths), Arenal Oasis Night Tour to see frogs (good but very crowded) and walked around La Fortuna (typical tourist shops selling -tshirts, mugs etc...). We tried to go to the Butterfly Conservatory near the lodge but went too late in the day and it was closing. It looked like it might be worth seeing but we didn't get back. We passed Tabacon Hot Springs every day on our travels and it was always super crowded and looked like a nightmare to park. We didn't have a desire to attempt it, we had plenty of nature activities to keep us busy. I would highly recommend the Arenal Observatory Lodge and would definitely stay there again if I was in the area.
Read more
Date of stay: March 2020
Room Tip: Smithsonian Rooms had a good view
See more room tips
flsurfer wrote a review Apr 2020
Grecia, Costa Rica411 contributions64 helpful votes
When I visited Arenal Observatory Lodge for the first time in 2004 it was only for one day. I enjoyed the lodge so much that when I returned to the US I started planning my next trip to Costa Rica which would include multiple days at AOL. My wife and I have traveled considerably around the world. But we always made time for a couple of trips a year to Costa Rica and always stayed at the lodge. Over the years my wife and I have stayed in every type room the lodge has to offer. I can say this with all honesty, they all have the greatest views of nature I have ever experienced. There are miles of well groomed trails which take you through multiple and diverse landscapes. You can view waterfalls, cross hanging bridges over rivers rushing to Lake Arenal, and traverse rolling hills that pass through lush pastures. Stands of pines, rainbow eucalyptus trees, and old grove rainforest, are on display in the diverse vegetation. Every time I have taken a hike on the property I have always seen something new. Due to the different habitats the wildlife is abundant and the birding is some of the best Costa Rica has to offer. The lodge has a great restaurant with a varied menu. The views of the volcano and Lake Arenal are spectacular. The bar is a great place to meet fellow travelers while enjoying the happy hour. You can also sit on the deck and view the bird feeder which attracts many colorful birds, as well as some of the most beautiful sunsets in Costa Rica. After dinner you can stroll down to the frog pond where you will see multiple species of frogs including the red eyed tree frog. On the way to the frog pond it is always a good idea to stop and see the insect screen which attracts thousands of creepy crawlers. During the daytime there is an observation tower (The Nest), which gives you an opportunity to view the top of the canopy of the rainforest in the surrounding areas. And if you're lucky maybe a troop of monkeys will pass by. You also need to allot some time to spend in the Jacuzzi and swimming pool. A small museum explaining some of the history of the volcano and the surrounding area is just across from the pool. There is a large game room on the first floor of this building offering foosball, table tennis, etc, and a sitting area. There is also a fully equipped and staffed spa. Every morning the lodge offers a free morning hike which is a good way to learn the layout of the property. The guides are very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. They are able to spot wildlife you would never see on your own. The front desk staff also provides concierge services where they can recommend outside activities and schedule them for you. Housekeeping is amazing! The rooms are very clean and well-maintained. There is a shuttle service, which we have used, that is able to pick you up at the airports and drive you to the lodge. My wife and I were lucky enough to be able to spend six months in one of the well equipped houses on the property. This was a retirement present to ourselves, and I can honestly say that this is something we would do all over again. Yes the property is beautiful, but the staff puts the lodge over and above all other places we have stayed. And we have stayed in some very high-end hotels. I would hope that everybody who reads this will have the opportunity to visit the lodge and experience some of the wonders that my wife and I have enjoyed over the years. After these difficult times we are going through this is something you owe yourself. Stay safe and healthy, looking forward to my next visit to Arenal Observatory Lodge.
Read more
Date of stay: May 2019
$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
Payments made by partners impact the order of prices displayed and, for featured or sponsored sort orders, partners’ payments may also influence the order of the accommodations listed.
Is This Your Tripadvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing
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), Butterfly Conservatory (3.4 miles), and Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge (3.8 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 Spectacolar Cantina, Chifa La Familia Feliz, and Tiquicia Restaurant.
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 and reduced mobility rooms. For specific inquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.