This was a first for me. I have never booked a vacation of this magnitude away from the beach (I'm a beach girl living in the mountains of NC). I was a little anxious about splitting my precious time with the ocean with the mountains. I AM SO GLAD I DID. All I have to say is, Wow. The website does not even begin to do this lodge justice. Set on thousands of acres of nature and beauty, Arenal Observatory Lodge gave us much more than we had expected. We went in mid-late May and had the time of our lives (don't worry about "rainy season"-it only rained maybe twice and it was for a brief period, then the sun came back out).
As you slowly wind up the well kept, bumpy brick road, you get the feeling that you are going back in time to a simpler place. The jungle and mountains are all around you. Birds flitter back and forth and fill the air with their songs. Upon pulling up to the lobby, you are greeted with smiles and fresh guava juice. It is anything but rustic.
The Chalet room was simple, yet romantic with the view alone being worth the trip. THE VIEWS ARE TRULY BREATHTAKING. Down in the valleys, the horses roam in their pasture. Arenal and the lake materialize as the clouds dissipate. You can see for miles. Birds of every color sing you good morning songs. A clean, roomy shower, kitchenette and sitting area made it feel like a little home. Laundry service and a free safe are at your disposal as well, not to mention the gym, swimming pool, and jacuzzis (yes, plural). There was no air conditioning, but we wouldn't have used it even if there was. The cool, refreshing breeze in constantly blowing.
While the room was enough to make you want to stay in bed and stare out the window all day, there is a wealth of excitement to be had. Guided jungle hikes and horseback rides are HIGHLY recommended. Miguel, our guide, has been with the lodge for 10 years. Accommodating and well educated, you will appreciate every moment you spend with him. Not to mention, you will learn about history, culture, botany, zoology, bush medicine, and much more. At night, head down to the bar for a couple of drinks, game of pool, or good conversation with the staff and guests.
If you get antsy and want to be in civilization, La Fortuna is only about 10 mins away. We went to a couple of the local sodas (diner restaurants) for some of our meals. Arenal Lodge's food is good, but we were looking for more authentic culinary experiences (the lodge caters to the American palate). In town was also a little bit cheaper.
If you are looking for a taste of Pura Vida you must visit the Arenal Observatory Lodge. I cannot begin to praise it enough. We will definitely be back. THANK YOU FOR A VISIT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arenal Lodge provides guests with the excitement of staying in an authentic rainforest lodge with breathtaking panoramic views of Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Guests will enjoy a casual and relaxed rustic lodge setting with the added value of a complimentary breakfast daily. Located on 2000-acres of beautiful tropical rainforest, the lodge is situated near Arenal Volcano National Park. The lodge is surrounded by rainforest - housing hundreds of exotic birds, small animals and the beautiful tropical flowers and trees of Costa Rica. and is its own local tourist attraction due to its exclusive location with breathtaking panoramic views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. The lodge features a full service restaurant with local and international cuisine, gift shop, three heated outdoor Jacuzzis, an infinite edge swimming pool, walking trails, a butterfly garden, horseback riding, a game room and outdoor playground for children, fitness room, sauna, and free wireless high speed internet access. Guest rooms and suites feature cable TV, telephone, coffee maker, clock radio, and all have private baths. Complimentary crib and wheel chair are available on request. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Arenal Lodge Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park