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“Second time here”

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Boulder, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Second time here”
Reviewed July 25, 2014

We brought our kids this time and just as good as four years ago. We had continuous rain this time( how about an eight hour thunderstorm all night?)'but still got out and checked off every animal we wanted to see. Spent a lot of time in the hot tub and cold pool, too. Hiked up to Cherro Chato which was great but never saw the lake after a hard climb. Bring headlamps as we had lots of power outages. Food is so-so, but the kids loved it all!

Room Tip: Smithisonian rooms are great - by the pool. A bit of a walk to lodge if that is not your thing.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BeckyR154
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Houston, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2014

We stayed with two adults and two kids (8 and 10) in one of the Smithsonian rooms in June, 2014. We could not have been happier with the whole experience. If you're expecting a high-end luxury resort with marble baths, a mini-bar, and a five-star restaurant, you'll be disappointed. However, if you are expecting a well maintained, well-designed ecolodge with comfortable rooms, great views, and great wildlife, then this is your kind of place.

Beds were comfortable, and one entire wall of the room consisted of picture windows which looked out over a beautiful garden and a great view of the volcano. The room was very clean and well cared for, and we didn't have any problem with insects. Actually, we EXPECT insects in a rainforest ecolodge, so I was a bit surprised.

My wife and I are birdwatchers and general wildlife enthusiasts, and this place really delivered. We'd had over 25 bird species just from our patio (including both toucans, 3-4 hummingbirds, tanagers, etc.), and could see White-nosed Coatis and hear Howler Monkeys from there as well. The lodge restaurant has a great inside seating area and a deck, both of which have a panoramic view of the volcano. We saw three different kinds of monkeys, as well as an Ornate Hawk-Eagle, a Great Curassow, Montezuma Oropendolas, many hummers, etc. from the restaurant. The food (especially the breakfast) was good, but not great - but we didn't go there for the food.

The highlight for the kids was a 1.5 hours horseback ride around the property - quite the adventure for them, and the horses were appropriate for inexperience riders. The kids also loved the pool and hot tub, although the former was quite chilly. We'll definitely be back, and will probably try to bring the extended family.

Room Tip: Our room was a 10-15 minute walk through the gardens and a hanging bridge from the main lodge. This...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank nighthawk2828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2014

The best thing about this hotel was seeing the group of spider monkeys in the trees surrounding the parking lot. Otherwise, nothing about this hotel was remarkable and I'd recommend staying someplace a little nicer and making a day trip into the park to see the volcano and hike on the trails. Because it is so far remote and the road leading up to the Lodge is unpaved, a taxi ride to La Fortuna is $30 one way. (If you pay in colones, be aware the taxi drivers all use their own exchange rate.) The food at the Lodge is overpriced and mediocre and the breakfast was particularly disappointing. Note also that the price you are quoted includes a charge for breakfast and the taxes. I don't know what they do if you choose not to eat breakfast there.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank J_D_SFCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2014

I went here with my 13 year old son.I splurged on a room facing the volcano (room 305 I think).We never did see the top of the volcano but it didn't matter.The windows were huge and we saw such lovely views of the forest and birds.You really don't need a fancy room though because the dining room has great views.So if you are on a budget and you get a smaller room there is tons of opportunity to stare comfortably at the volcano and eat a meal or read or whatever.If its rainy there are books and games and a fire place.The staff was simply outstanding in every way.They organized all out outings and the zip lining and Tarzan swing was way better here than Monteverde.The trails are great and there are free morning tours.All the guides are different so if you do the tour a couple of times you can get new information.The pool was great and the hot tub is a great way to chat with other travellers.The howler monkeys were nice and loud.I loved my stay here.My son said when he gets married he is bringing his wife back.Restaurant food was very very good.I would absolutely put this place on your list.

Room Tip: We stayed in 305 and the view was spectacular.Close to main lodge and dining room.very quiet .We sp...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Suzycloud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ouray, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviewed July 15, 2014

My wife and I stayed for 3 wonderful nights. This lodge was a great experience the facilities and well maintained, service personal, and the food enjoyable. They serve an excellent buffet for breakfast and dinner was a treat . The lodge are ideally located in a and has unbeatable views of the volcano and the laguna. They have connections for all sorts of activities in the area and can even get discount deals - the staff was very friendly and helpful. We definitely recommended this lodge and can't wait to return!!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GregoryFoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New London, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2014

Our 1st stop on our CR adventure & couldn't have been better. Rustic lodge in National Park tradition within lush, rain forest setting. Smithsonian room offered unbelievable volcano views, toucan sightings, & daily visits by a coati. You're a bit captive here but hiking is free & amazing, lodge has games & views when the rain comes, & restaurant is decent. Loved every minute here.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MyAmyfromMiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 14, 2014 via mobile

We did not expect a huge hotel complex like this. If your are looking for a more personal, intimate and simple natural experience, you are going to be a little disappointed.
The truth is that it is more like a "nature factory" in the middle of the park. The "bird watching tour" was quite Americanized with a cheesy train tour at the end and the gave us little advises on how to spot animals in the park.

Amazing area in the middle of the nature, incredible view on the volcano (if the weather allows it!) and forest.

The room was very simple, practical and clean. Very good mosquito protection! We less appreciated the terrible clapping noise of the doors during the night.

Good experience though.

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Christian M
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

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 75 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 
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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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