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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
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Reviews (2,175)
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All reviewssmithsonian roomfree morninghiking trailsobservation deckwhite hawksmall museumfree guided hikegreat trailsmorning walkhowler monkeyssuspension bridgelava flowcosta ricabumpy roadstandard roomfrog pondshared bathroom
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Reviewed March 3, 2013

We got in really late driving from the San Jose airport and the even though the kitchen was closed, the restaurant offered us excellent soup and salad. Our tour guide, Eduardo, for the morning walk around the hotel property trails was fantastic! He was so informative with the history and wildlife; we even booked private tours with him for a hike to the lava rocks with amazing views and to see wildlife in a private park. We highly recommend Eduardo for tours in Arenal, he was so patient with us for meeting times and really worked around our schedules. To get his info, ask the desk at Arenal Observatory Lodge where he is affiliated with the nature walks on their property. They are helpful arranging other tours with him privately.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Katie_Pfeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We stayed two nights in this very relaxing setting. We arrived in time for the evening buffet with typical Costa Rican fare. The morning was rainy but we took advantage of the free guided walk to the waterfall. In the afternoon we were able to follow several other fairly easy hikes on our own. We were the only ones in the pool and jacuzzi.
The views of the volcano are spectacular. We ate breakfast (included) in the main dining hall and were able to watch birds and coati from the observation deck. Since we had a car we were able to drive down to La Fortuna (warning - the roads are tricky!) for dinner and also experience the Baldi Hot Springs with fabulous water slides. Our room was spacious, clean and comfortable. We had a lovely lake view from our deck. There is no TV or wireless in the room but both are available in the main lodge.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Mariellen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We came here for the morning to check out the hiking trails, and thought it was a fabulous setting. Seems to be the closest hotel to the volcano and there are great views everywhere. Looks like a nice place to stay. Lunch was in a pleasant room with a wall of windows from which we saw birds and even coatimundi (Costa Rican raccoons), but when you're eating a cheeseburger, it's nothing to rave about.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Location
Thank MissShoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

This Lodge is the closest place to stay near the Volcano. I stayed in a Smithsonian room and it was lovely - clean with what would have been a "wake up in bed and see the Volcanco" location except for the rain and low cloud cover. The room was a walk with luggage as it is pretty isolated - excellent for those who want that. The Lodge states 24/7 wifi coverage but that is only available inside the reception area/restaurant/bar and directly outside (no plugs) and is only available inside 7 AM to 10 PM. No cell phone reception in the room so very cut off from civilization. It is located down a very bumpy dirt road and a $30 taxi fare to town - understandable given the condition of the road. You are stuck with the restaurant fare passable if hungry (a shame in a country with lots of fresh veggies and fruit) at best and I thought over priced for what appeared to be frozen food reheated in a microwave.

The location is unbeatable and there are lots of walks of varying difficulty but for those who want more of a true taste of life of the folks who live in Costa Rica this is not a place to go.

Reception staff were excellent in assisting me in getting a room in town and a taxi to get me to town and I am so grateful to them for helping out a person in distress who could not stay and needed to get back to some civilization.

I would not trust the description of the facilities on their website but rely on recommendations, preferably from friends you know before booking.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank 1957Judy1957
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

I have stayed at this lodge three times while visiting Costa Rica. I have stayed in three separate types of rooms. They are all marvelous. The junior Suites have a full glass wall facing the volcano. It was amazing to wake up and watch Arenal erupt! The food is very good. The observation deck is really nice. Many hikes are offered. They are all great. We watched troops of monkeys from our balcony. Amazing place to stay!

Room Tip: All the rooms have a view of the volcano. If its erupting on the observatory side, the Junior Suites are the greatest!
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Beth T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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