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“Arenal”

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed February 10, 2013

If they have availability on your dates of travel, do not hesitate to book here. The view of the volcano and lake arenal are great. Wonderful trails for hiking and good tours. Rooms were clean and good size. The restaurant was ok with reasonable prices. We weren't interested in the more touristy LaFortuna area and really enjoyed the seclusion.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank DurangoMtngirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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941 - 947 of 2,063 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2013

Very good hotel in the middle of the forest. Rooms are very big and clean. The view from the restaurant is great, the restaurant itself is very good and the staff very helpful and friendly. Highly recommended

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ronysc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

We are a family of five (two adults, three kids ages 14, 12, and 6) and we stayed at the observatory lodge for four days of our month-long Costa Rica trip. The room was spacious, clean, and had a good view of the lake and part of the volcano. We had the casona with a shared bathroom. The view of the active volcano was amazing! It was so massive and close. In addition, to the left was the beautiful view of lake Arenal to compliment the already outstanding scenery. Right in front of the restaurant was a giant deck where you could sit down and watch the birds and the clouds floating across the top of the volcano for hours on end. The lodge also had many hiking trails and a magnificent pool accessed by hanging bridge. The food was good and the restaurant had giant windows so you could look at the scenery as you eat. We took four tours during our stay at the Observatory. The first, and possibly most amazing of our whole trip, was the "Old Lava Flow Hike" (or something like that) with the guide Christian. Even on the drive down to the site he stopped the van multiple times to point out monkeys, toucans, and sloths. It was on the 10 min. drive that we got pictures of a family of howler monkeys with newborn babies. The actual hike took us up hundreds of rock steps to a lookout on top of the lava flow that buried multiple towns a few decades ago. When dark came, Christian pointed out a neon yellow deadly pitviper followed by a red-eyed tree frog, the most exotic thing we saw on our whole trip! We also took an amazing boat tour of Cano Negro where we saw countless caimans and many bird and monkey species. Thirdly, we went horse-back riding on the property and had a blast while galloping around the jungle. Finally we went on the free morning nature hike of the property, again with Christian. It was informative and took us to a pretty waterfall. The best part of the nature hike though was the Godman's Pitviper that we saw on the walk back. To sum it up, our stay couldn't have been better.

Room Tip: "smithsonian" rooms probably have the best view.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Sage F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

The Villa is removed from the other facilities by a short drive or a 10 minute walk. It's suitable for groups, with two downstairs bedrooms w/ baths, and a very large upstairs main room that can sleep several people on sofas, or mattresses you can bring up from the downstairs trundle beds. Nice kitchen, deck, carport, and - assuming you get some clear weather - a fantastic view of both the volcano and Arenal Lake, so natural and devoid of any signs of civilization that I thought a brontosaurus might walk up out of the mists.
A caretaker's residence, attached to the back of the structure, is barely noticable but adds a sense of security.
Note that the volcano has been pretty quiet for a couple years. You're unlikely to see lava or even hear rumbles.
As indicated in other reviews, a vehicle is recommended if you're staying more than a day, simply to get to other food or activities. Limited vegetarian fare at the lodge restaurant, but good breakfast.
Nice hiking trails. From the villa, a shortcut path turns left off the drive and, over the ridge, hits a loop trail shown on the trail map.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank sd_ud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

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.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Starloverly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

The facilities itself could have used an update, but we were fine with them considering this wasn't the spa type leg of the trip. It has everything you need for hiking trip. Staff was friendly. Location can't be beat!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank chris917
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Let me start by saying that this was one of the best experiences I've had at any hotel - primarily because of the property - the staff was also excellent. I stayed there after spending a day hiking around the volcano and enjoying the hot springs. My two hour hike brought me and my family to a beautiful view of the volcano. My two minute walk to my room in the Smithsonian wing brought me to a view of the volcano that literally took my breath away. Enjoy the property - suspension bridges, waterfall, amazing views... good food and drinks. OK - the negatives if you can call it that - this is not a base from which to take day trips (hot springs, zip lining, white water rafting) as it is hard to get on and off the property due to unpaved roads. Do that stuff from somewhere along the main strip around La Fortuna. I shouldn't have to say this but here it goes - when i rate this a 5 it does not mean it is a 5 star hotel as in the standard ratings - so don't count the tread count on your sheets. Also I understand that I was lucky to be there when the sky was crystal clear.

Room Tip: I stayed in the Smithsonian wing - spectacular views of he volcano!!!
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Jerry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Address: 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
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 81 Specialty Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range: $124 - $184 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 50
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

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