The bad: The hotel was right at the base of the volcano and therefore in the middle of nowhere and a $30 cab ride (each way) away from La Fortuna, where everything is centered. The tours offered do not include transportation. The food was decent and ok price for a hotel. The rooms
The good: The volcano view room was wonderful. Waking up to views of the volcano through our picture window each morning was incredible. Theres lots of privacy, even where we were located on the ground floor. The grounds are amazing and in reality, if you're there for the volcano, you don't need tours because all the volcano centered trails you need are on the grounds already, such as: old lava trail (marked as difficult but i would say if you go slow you'll be fine) and cerro chato (marked as difficult but I would say extremely difficult and when (if) you get to the top and want to see the lake go right, not left). They feed the birds right outside the restaurant so there's some great views of many Montezuma Opendola and sometimes Kiskadee and others. There's tons of Coati that roam around and sometimes come on the deck looking for scraps.
All in all, rated a 4 because the location is not perfect if you want to do anything off the grounds.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated only 1.7 Miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to DISCOVER, EXPLORE and RELAX. Located within the Arenal Conservation Area and surrounded by rainforests and nature, AOL sits on an 870 acres property, which consists of 400 acres of reforestation, 270 acres of natural forest and 200 acres of cultivated land. The hotel 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 or to explore Cerro Chato (an extinct volcano with a small lake in the crater), horseback riding, bicycling through the trails, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our SPA. The hotel is well located to serve as a base for a variety of excursions such as the Cano Negro Nature Refuge, hot springs, Venado Caves, Canopy Tours, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Fishing, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Biking etc. It also serves as a very interesting stop before heading on to Monteverde Cloud Forest or to the beaches of the Pacific coast. 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 ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Arenal Observatory Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park