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Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Key West, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“great place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 12, 2013

So we just got back from costa rica and the leaves and lizards,congo villa was the highlight,debbie,steve and oscar know their stuff,if you want to milk a cow see nicolas.
great place just remember to rent a 4x4 car and engage it as you leave the highway then its a great 20 min drive.
thanks guys
Gary from Zimbabwe
Tiffany from Canada
Both now living in Key West Fl

Room Tip: congo room
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dolphingary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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608 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (157)
Date | Rating
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English first
Morgan Hill, California
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013

Leaves & Lizzards was an experience. It is a long way off the paved road so can be somewhat nerve-racking as to whether you are lost or not. We stayed in the Hummingbird Hacienda for 3 nights between Christmas and New Year with my wife and I along with our 2 children 6 and 9. We got a great warm welcome from Oscar who gave a great introduction to the site. The Hacienda is the furthest away from the restaurant at the hotel and is quite a walk (we had elected not to hire a car in Costa Rica) especially in the rain which seemed to be hourly occurrence. The hotel was kind enough to offer us a ride back on several evenings when the rain was heavy.
The rooms were nice and would have been perfect had it not been for the ants. It is the jungle so there is little that you can do but it can be somewhat disconcerting having ant trails in the room. Some details were missing, we had 2 beers provided in our fridge for the first night although these were not present on subsequent nights. There is a small market on the way into the hotel and they did not sell beer which was disappointing and left you having to pay hotel prices for the beer. 2 ply toilet paper was in our room on the first night (a luxury in Costa Rica) although this disappeared on the second night and was replaced with the 1 ply. Very weird. Debbie and Steve the owners make their presence visible at meal times and they seemed to eat in the restaurant at their own table. It felt like a watchful eye to make sure that the children did not misbehave…
There are some significant redeeming features. Milking the cow at 7am every morning was an experience that the kids won’t forget. The tour guide Leo was fantastic and we had 2 extraordinary days with him, one in the Jungle and another going up a river close to Nicaragua.
I’m glad we went but I doubt we would go back.

Room Tip: Hummingbird Hacienda is the only one with a Kitchen. Don't go for the views of the volcano. It...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 4_inda_family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Ontario
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

We are a family of 5 (2 adults and three kids - two 17-year old and an 18-year old). We travelled to Costa Rica from Dec 21-31, 2012. During this time, we stayed at Leaves and Lizards for 3 nights. We really enjoyed our stay at Leaves and Lizards. The owners are Debbie and Steve and they are wonderful hosts. Here is our review:
Room: we stayed at the Congo room; the room was very clean and spacious. We had two Queen size beds and a single. The room is very clean, we had everything we needed: towels, shampoo, conditioner, hair conditioner, a safe, flash flight, 2 ceiling fans, coffee maker, microwave, a few utensils/plates/mugs, even ear plugs were available for those who might need them, games, books and they have thought of everything. The room had huge windows, we have a great view of the rainforest and we can see the volcano if it was not so cloudy. There was a lot of privacy; we are surrounded by beautiful trees and plants. Also a beautiful balcony with chairs and hammocks for relaxation.
Foods:
Breakfast was the best meal of the day for $4 pp, there is a different menu each day from delicious blueberry pancakes to omelets to your liking, you had so much food and so delicious with fresh fruits and everything you ever want, I recommend that everyone needs to take advantage of this opportunity.
Dinner: Was also so delicious. We took advantage of the happy hour for discounted drinks. Debbie switched the table around so you will sit with new people and it’s a great way to meet other guests at the lodge.
Activities on site:
Farm visit: We enjoyed the 7AM visit at the farm where our kids get to milk a cow, hold baby pigs and pet horses. What a wonderful experience!
Horse riding adventure:
The hosts: Debbie & Steve: The best thing about Leaves and Lizards is the hospitality of the hosts. Debbie and Steve are wonderful people. They made us feel welcome even before we arrived. As soon as we arrived, they made us feel at home. They gave us advice on what to do and how to do it. They came to dinner each night to make sure all the guests have access to them in case they have questions or concerns. During our stay our two girls got a stomach flu, Debbie was so great; she gave us soup, 7-Up and crackers for the girls. She got her staff (Florie and Maria) to give them therapeutic massages as well as their special tea. On this trip we were also celebrating our 17-year old twins birthday. Debbie arranged to make two cakes complete with candles plus she got us to send her photos and put together a slide show for them. It was a nice surprise for them. Again, Debbie and Steve were so great getting everything ready to make sure that everything went smoothly. You can tell that they really want to please their guests; they definitely deserve A+ for customer service. This reflects on how quickly their lodge is booked up so if you are interested, you better book at least 8 months in advance otherwise you might not get a room particularly in high season.
The Staff: They are very polite and pleasant, great staff!
Laundry service: we are so thankful for this service as we have 3 kids with lots of dirty and wet clothes and we are so glad they have this service.

We would return to Leaves and Lizards and we highly recommend this place to anyone who wants to have a different experience in Costa Rica!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Nguyen5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Virginia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2012

Leaves and Lizards was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica and even the kids (two boys 11 and 12 at the time) said they would rather go back there than going to the beach. The accommodations are wonderful (we stayed at the Monkey cabin), the property is absolutely gorgeous but what made the stay truly exceptional were the owners and the staff of the resort. Debbie was so extremely patient and helpful even before we ever got to the resort by assisting me with planning our trip. She provided all the information that we needed to have the best time in Costa Rica and also recommended the hotel we stayed at in Alajuela (close to San Jose Airport) the first night. La Pura Vida Hotel was wonderful and the owner is a gem. We rented a 4-wheel drive to get around on our own and enjoyed the flexibility and had a great time exploring the country side. Being able to read a map was essential since signs are few and far in between, but the road system is really not that complicated and most roads were comfortable to drive on.

The drive from San Jose to Leaves and Lizards was long but beautiful and even though the hotel is located high in the hills above La Fortuna, we thought it was close enough to all the things we wanted to do and see in the area. We stayed for 5 nights and could have easily stayed longer since there were still things we would have liked to do. We had dinner at the resort most evenings because the food was fabulous and we were simply exhausted from eventful days and enjoyed the family-oriented atmosphere. Our favorite activities were a half-day at the animal rescue center and zip-lining but what makes me dream about going back to L&L was the horseback riding. The horses are so well taken care of and simply wonderful to ride and Debbie really takes her time and helps pairing up the perfect horse with every single rider. The trip to the waterfall was a great family experience and my private ride with Debbie and some of her friends was simply magical culminated by a full-on gallop up the hill through the most picturesque pasture.

All the animals at the resort were quite an experience, wild and tame. A foal was born during our stay, the parrot ate at our breakfast table, the kids milked the cow every morning and my 11-year old fetched eggs and helped feed the horses. If you have animal lovers in the family, this is definitely your place!

Oscar gave the most informative walking tours through the rain forest showing us how to wash our hands with dew collected in a particular plant, Rosa took wonderful care of all our needs during meals. Just thinking about the place makes we want to go back tomorrow! Thank you Leaves and Lizards for memories that will last a lifetime and for being a living testament that gentle tourism works and for making us fall in love with Costa Rica.

(Debbie - if you read this prior to my correction you must have chuckled... still having brain lapses and am mixing up PR with CR ;-) )

Room Tip: Monkey and Toucan cabins are located on a hill with wonderful views onto the volcano. The walk to th...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ikebobike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sierra Madre, California
Level Contributor
60 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012

A complex nestled in the rain forest of the Arenal volcano region with all the activities to take in the wonderful experience of being in Costa Rica rain forest. The owners, Debbie and Steve and absolutely wonderful. Debbie would often take some time to speak to our kids and see how their day went. Not just a gesture of politeness, but to make sure they were having fun and gauge their activities for the next day. They took care of their guests as guests, not just customers. Big difference. It would seem they would regularly go out of their way to make sure our experience was nothing short of perfect. But, not this is just who they are. This is status quo for them. We had a zip line trip. We had an unusually difficult experience that we understood was unusual and had come to terms with. Debbie did not. Without our knowing or prompting, she took it up as an issue with the zip line company as our advocate. I was impressed.
Went on a horse back riding trip to the water falls. Just absolutely amazing trip, amazing tour guide and amazing horses. My kids 9 & 6 years old have no experience on horses. By the end of the trip, they were at home on them. The water fall itself was nice, but on our visit after some rains it was murky. The point of the trip is not the water falls, it's getting there.
I could not recommended this high enough for family, couples or groups who wish to experience nature and have a relaxed great time. I would go back in a heart beat. I will likely be back in the next few years. And... I tend not to go back to the same place twice.

Room Tip: Best time to travel here is early December (transition for rainy season to dry) and in June (accordi...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Krikor D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 1, 2012

Our entire family said this was our best family vacation ever - Costa Rica - and Leaves and Lizards was hands down, the overall favorite! (We stayed in 3 areas and different hotels) We travelled there last Christmas with our 2 kids - ages 10 and 13. We stayed in the gorgeous Toucan cabin. I could live there...didn't want to leave. The pictures don't even do the place justice. You simply have to see it and experience it yourself. The owners are great and they have a fabulous staff!! We loved Oscar, Enrique and Chito and they made awesome memories for our family. We highly recommend the horseback riding excursion to the waterfall. That was the family's favorite activity on our whole trip. The food was great. Don't worry about the roads. They're not as bad as we expected, but were glad that we had a 4x4. Barn chores were fun. Wonderful views and setting. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with wonderful people. Definitely go to Leaves and Lizards - you won't regret it.

Room Tip: All of the cabins are beautiful and have fabulous views...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jamorgs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2012

Leaves & Lizards was a great place to stay - very warm family feeling and a great experience. Definitely having a car and GPS is extremely helpful to put the longitude/latitude coordinates in to get to it! We were happy to have our 4 wheel drive as well as the roads are quite the obstacle. The drive is worth it to get to this secluded little place - an eco-friendly stay with wonderful food/views and many birds to enjoy.
For the common area/meals: We loved the breakfasts - watching the birds while enjoying the fresh fruit and food so wonderfully prepared by the cook. It was a little cloudy so only one day we saw the volcano fully, however, it is still such a beautiful view. The open-style room, the amazing lizard painted on the wall - I loved it! This was the only place we were able to receive internet since it wasn't available in our cabin (Monkey) but to us this wasn't a huge deal. The dinners were good as well - depending on how many people are staying you may have a sort of family style dinner with everyone while you are there.
We also enjoyed getting up early to help milk the cow - Carlos was very nice to us even though we weren't the best at it. The waterfall horseback ride was out of this world...Oscar and Carlos helped out with the horses, showed us many things in the forest, and we loved the secluded little gem of a waterfall we were able to enjoy.
Although we had a tough time finding the Hot Springs (Eco Terminales) at dark - we loved experience (I will write another view on their site). We also visited the Hanging Bridges which were OK although there was so many tourists there as it significantly slowed us down and Arenal Volcano - again just OK but we were not able to go up as high as we thought we'd be able to go.
We unfortunately missed the owners due to a family situation in the US but extremely enjoyed our stay and would recommend the hotel to anyone with similar goals on their vacation - non touristy spots, good food/good relaxation and wildlife.

Room Tip: Monkey Cabin had an exceptional view of the volcano.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank newenglandgirl2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat

Property: Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Address: Meters South Of Super Kiki 500, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 21012, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#8 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This secluded resort is located on 26 acres with spectacular viewing of the Arenal Volcano near La Fortuna. Enjoy the panoramic vista of Arenal and Cerro Chato from a hammock on your porch or from your comfortable, orthopedic, queen sized beds with Egyptian cotton sheets. Meals prepared using locally grown ingredients at the Lava Lizard on-site dining facility. Guests are invited to help with daily 'chores' on this working farm. Milk a cow, collect eggs for breakfast or groom a horse. Enjoy private horseback riding, professional guide service, on site spa and 2 km of on site nature trails. The vision at Leaves and Lizards is to create the perfect blend of adventure, discovery and tranquility for each guest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Leaves And Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Leaves And Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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