This was our second stop on a three stage family trip in Costa Rica. After a few days at a pacific beach hotel and before a few days at a river lodge in a national park, we spent three glorious days at Leaves and Lizards; and what a pleasant surprise for all of us. It could not have been more different from the other two places we stayed. After driving through beautiful countryside and even the corner of a cloud forest, you go through the tiny town of Monterrey, get on a long dirt road and just when you think you must have gone the wrong way, come out at the entrance to Leaves and Lizards.
It is a small, friendly working farm with 9-10 cabins spread throughout the property. Our kids (5, 7 and 11) woke up early every morning and hiked the short distance from our cabin to the barn where they milked the cow, collected eggs and hung out with piglets, horses and those wonderful farm dogs.
The property is spread out over 3-4 hill-tops with pastures and forests in the lowlands and cabins and other buildings up above. There is a main hall on the middle hill-top that has the communal dining room. As the farm is a good drive from the nearest town, we had all our meals there and were very happy with the food. It was always fresh, interesting and made from local foods. The staff were almost all local folk who had grown up within a few miles of the farm, and they all seemed to love the owners, the farm and their jobs. The kitchen staff, the farmhands, the guides, the overseer, etc... They all were helpful, knowledgable, and fun to be around.
It was cloudy almost all the time and we were hit by a few very loud and very brief monster thunderstorms (which were a LOT of fun!) When the sky does clear, you have an amazing view of Arenal Volcano just across the valley floor. Although we were happy to spend must of our time right there on the farm, walking around the property and going on a half-day horseback ride; there are many excursions one can take. Guided hikes up the volcano, visits to the local hot springs, white water rafting, and even a day trip to some of the local farms.
The owners (Steve and Debbie) are wonderful people! They have done a great job building this special place and have clearly won the trust of the local community. We had some amazing adventures while in Costa Rica, but our boys always want to talk about their few days on the farm!
- 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