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.

“great experience in the rainforest”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 7 more sites!
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Backnang
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“great experience in the rainforest”
Reviewed August 16, 2013

After having managed to find the hotel (don't go there merely by navigator!) we had a lovely stay at the Arenal with all the comfort that a good hotel should have: great staff (especially Esteban will stay in our memory with his happy mood and always a joke on his lips; and not to forget the restaurant staff that gave us back our 2 belly-belts filled with money, all credit and money cards and passport), great room with balcony, very tasty food (try the tenderloin!) but not inexpensive, great premises with carefully arranged walks and many activities to do (for the horse lovers I recommend "renting a horse" + a guide for only 10$ an hour - you're not gonna get it any cheaper or more personal - supposing you know how to speak Spanish - than that anywhere in Costa Rica). There's also a good pool (considerably large for a hotel) with jacuzzi.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank corinnaschwozer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,939 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    1,080
    643
    163
    38
    15
See reviews for
549
945
44
4
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (393)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Norwich, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 16, 2013

We stayed in La Casona. The accommodation itself was lovely. Clean, comfortable and with great views. As it was rainy season, the shared bathroom was fine as not all the rooms were taken. You may find yourself queuing for a shower in high season though.

The location of the lodge is exceptional. You are surrounded by wildlife and its proximity to the volcano and the lake is a real treat. The trails and walks are also fantastic and right on the doorstep.

HOWEVER, the place has an uncomfortable feel about it. Somewhat arrogant. The staff, with the exception of one or two, were unfriendly. The food is terrible - except for breakfast, which was positively yummy. If you don´t have your own transport you are stuck eating in their abysmal restaurant every evening. It is horrendously overpriced and really not very nice. It was a real downside to our otherwise enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MunchyBear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We stayed in the lodge for 3 days in July 2013. The views from the rooms and restaurant patio are breathtaking! As we visited in the rainy season we only had clear views on one of the nights but it was worth it. The rooms are very nice and clean and geared for the best views of the volcano. The only problem we experienced was that the food was very expensive with little choice and no authentic costa rican dishes, rather they had more western food that was highly priced an of very average quality. It was for enough away from anywhere that, unless you had a car you ha no choice but to eat in the restaurant. This in no way detracts form the beauty and location of the place but visitors should be prepared for a high foo budget during their stay here!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mop22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schaumburg, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2013

First time to Costa Rica and wanted to enjoy its most famous volcano. Great place all the way around. Our room was of the lake and we woke up to a great view every morning. No TV's or phones in the rooms. Beds were comfortable and the shower had plenty of hot water. I'm still not 100% if we were allowed to flush toilet paper, the sign wasn't too clear.

I'm also a fan of free breakfasts and enjoyed the free breakfast at the lodge. We did one dinner at the lodge and paid what we would have paid in Chicago.

A few tips--rent the horses for an hour or two. Its a fun ride with great views, and for 8 bucks an hour, you cant go wrong.

Consider renting an SUV or something beyond a sub-compact car. The gravel road to the lodge in a bit bumpy and at a slight incline. Not that you have to, you can get by, you will just be more comfortable.

Also ask about the FREE hot springs. Located in a near by river. Very nice!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Brianbiz555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2013

We didn't stay here, but we did pay $6 USD per person to use their trails. I think this was a great price for what we ended up doing. We were given a map of all the trails and then parked our car in a side lot. All the trails on the map are marked with specific colors that correspond to wood trail markers along your hike. It was super easy to get around. We spent about 4 hours hiking around. Most paths were pretty flat, a few were definitely steep. We were able to see wild birds like toucans and other animals along the way. There were many points where we had great views of the Arenal Volcano as well. We crossed hanging bridges and saw a beautiful waterfall. The whole time, we only crossed about 4 sets of hikers. I would definitely recommend paying for the nice hiking paths here. This is a good way to ease into hiking and see a lot, especially for those who are not serious hikers, like us.

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank ak352
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2013

Amazing place to visit...they put papaya and bananas out for the birds just below the observation deck wonderful place for photographs, lots of trails that varied from very easy walks to longer hikes. The restaurant on site was very good...great breakfast included. No air conditioning but the large fans provided enough of a breeze that you didn't miss it. Stayed in the junior suite near the restaurant, would highly recommend, views were incredible, close to the restaurant and office where there was free wi fi. Very comfortable, nice staff..family friendly.

Really important to hook up with a guide to see the most wildlife.. Christian at the front desk went with us for a night walk, specifically wanted to located frogs...it was amazing!
Views of the volcano from our room were fabulous, even if it isn't erupting currently.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank flakeystraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed August 8, 2013

We visited with two families for a two night stay in the Smithsonian rooms. The lodge was wonderful and the rooms spacious and clean. It was a nice set-up for families with comfortable beds and porches. The views were great, the breakfast delicous, the pool and grounds wonderful, and the activities on site were perfect - we enjoyed day hikes, the morning guided tour and horseback riding for the kids. In addition, they had good tour options for activities in the area including hot springs, etc.

I would return in an instant and recommend this location over the hotels in town. While this is more remote, you can arrange transportation and you are still close to activities in the area.
Moreover, you can arrange transport on horseback or jeep to Monteverde (actually takes less time than driving the bumpy road around lake) so it may be easier and possibly cheaper without a car.

Room Tip: All rooms appeared to have nice views including those in the lodge.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank EJoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these La Fortuna de San Carlos hotels
4.5 mi away
Volcano Lodge & Springs
Volcano Lodge & Springs
#15 of 57 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
2,850 reviews
2.9 mi away
Hotel Lomas del Volcan
Hotel Lomas del Volcan
#9 of 57 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
1,487 reviews
4.9 mi away
Arenal Manoa Hotel
Arenal Manoa Hotel
#13 of 57 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
1,815 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.8 mi away
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
#11 of 57 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
2,393 reviews
3.8 mi away
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
#5 of 57 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
1,844 reviews
5.5 mi away
Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
#22 of 57 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
806 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Property: 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 69 Specialty Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Orbitz, TripOnline SA, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Travelocity, Priceline and Cheap Tickets so you can book your Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Arenal Observatory Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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