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“Best way to see Costa Rica”

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Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Oshawa, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Best way to see Costa Rica”
Reviewed April 9, 2013

This is a trip we will never stop talking about. We stayed in the Toucan cabin and it was absolutely beautiful. The food was fantastic and completely natural. To get to Leaves and Lizards you will need to rent a jeep, it's a pretty rocky road that leads into the retreat, but nothing to turn you away.

This is a great place to stay and see a large variety of sites. We stayed for a week and went to the Tabacon Hot Springs (a must!!!), the volcano, waterfalls and a whole bunch of other attractions. Ask Debbie or Steve about the boat trip they can arrange for you. It's absolutely spectacular! Monkeys, beautiful birds, it's a perfect peek into the true jungle.

Steve and Debbie are amazing. We were two women on a trip from Canada, renting a jeep, driving on rocky roads and we were a little nervous. Steve and Debbie will help you get there, help you find what you would like to see and are happy to answer any question you may have. They are fantastic.

We stayed in the Toucan cabin. It was really nice, lots of space and of course an amazing view of the volcano which errupted quite a few times while we were there. Sitting on the balcony and watching the humming birds, listening to the sounds of the jungle is an amazing experience.

I would highly recommend going on the tour around the property, it's extremely educating. There is something everywhere you go and it's usually ten times larger than where your from. The tour guides know what to look for, that you may not see on your own.

The town of Arenal is pretty nice, you can go for a relaxing massage, pick up some groceries, alchol, cigerettes, have an ice cream etc. The people in town are extremely sweet and helpful. We had a problem with our camera and despite not speaking english they tried so hard to help out, one person even took our arm to show us where to get a new camera.

An amazing cabin retreat, amazing hosts, amazing food, amazing attractions, amazing people. You will fall in love with this trip!

Room Tip: Depending on when your traveling this area is extremely humid in the rainy season. If your not accus...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Theresa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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645 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (167)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 8, 2013

My husband and I spent a fantastic three days and nights at Leaves and Lizards this past March. We couldn't have asked for a better time - and it was the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. A highlight of our trip was the horseback riding to the waterfall - and Debbie also helped us coordinate zip lining! The food was great - the people so warm and accommodating. I hope to return sometime down the road - perhaps with friends or family! Thanks for making our time in Costa Rica so memorable!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JSH718
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
twinsburg, ohio
Level 6 Contributor
199 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2013

Wish that we would have spent more then 3 nights at Leaves and Lizards- the people- the food and the resort were all wonderful. Waking up to the sounds of the birds and bugs, having coffee on our beautiful huge deck, truly paradise. We stayed in Coco cabin which was closest to the dining room, made it easy to get to meals and the barn. We did the horseback ride to the waterfall- loved all the instruction with the horses before the trip (Definitely wear bug spray). Breakfast each morning was delightful- abundance of fresh fruit and coffee and fresh eggs- loved the morning shot of juice, so did the kids. We went to the coast for several days after this and really missed everything about leaves and lizards- totally a different experience!

Room Tip: They all have great views- if you are not renting a car try to stay close to dining room
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank pauliepalmz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

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!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Findasilver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, NC
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

The owners are congenial, knowledgable and very accommodating. The story of their incredible journey to CR is beyond interesting and is part of the "experience" at this beautiful mountainside property which they have lovingly nursed back to its original CR splendor. The food at L and L was delicious and incorporated ingredients from the farm on the property directly to the table. Steve arranged fantastic excursions for us to the Mundo Aventura ziplines and the Rio Frio boat experience at the Nicauraguan border, both totally worth doing! Be sure to check out Steve's fantastic artwork displayed everywhere.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank eleviv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

We stayed in the Monkey Cabin for three nights and loved it. The huge veranda, well equipped with comfy seats and hammocks, overlooks Arenal, and the immediate jungle canopy. We could have spent hours there. It's the perfect place to absorb the cacophony of the critters, and pinch yourself as you gaze at the classically shaped conical volcano framed above the trees.

Inside, the cabin can sleep 5, although it might get a bit messy if that many people open their luggage. But for two it was perfect. (It could do a family, or travelers happy to share space.) And the large shower terrific. Best - the full frontal windows overlooking the jungle and volcano. You won't want to sleep beyond sunrise, as the pink sky surrounding the volcano teases the camera into your hands. Screened but not overly curtained, you have privacy from 3 other cabins spaced a bit along the ridge. A side veranda lets you dry your laundry without marring the view.

Owners Debbie and Steve are supportive, friendly and helpful.

Food was terrific. Service fabulous - authentically happy staff. Breakfasts scrumptious, filling - and enhanced by open air dining hall overlooking Arenal and a zillion birds at the feeders. Dinners delicious. No need to eat elsewhere if you stay here: food is great (sign up in advance in the morning so they know to prepare for you), and - in the dark, unlikely you'd want to drive much on those roads at night. Also, sitting at shared assigned tables at night is enjoyable, creates a sense of community and family.

We took a day and went to Cano Negro, with a guide from L&L (Roberto). Absolutely a must-do. Spectacular. And the road to CN was surprisingly easy, well-paved by a fruit company. Hiked the Arenal Hanging Bridges, was worthwhile. Skipped the hot springs, as the heat and humidity of the climate made the idea of additional heat less attractive, tho some people said they loved it. Hiked part way up to the volcano base - closer views, but a workout in the heat.

Access: doable with a 4WD. Must be about 10 kms, dusty and bumpy - but worth it. We did the drive daily, and it really was viable. Don't let the gravel road deter you, unless you have really serious back problems.

Walks around the property are nice, some wildlife opps and foliage.

Between the location, views, veranda, food - 4 thumbs up. And a prehensile tail. We'll be back.

EC

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Social_Velcro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We stayed in the Heliconia House at L&L on March 26-28 and had a great experience. The house itself is probably not as nice as some of the other accommodations L&L offers (it is the least expensive and a little run down), but we liked that it had two separate bedrooms. You don't spend very much time inside at this place anyway. The house has a large private back porch which is nice for drinking coffee in the morning and a nice sized front porch with a volcano view. We took the L&L cooking class with a couple of ladies from the kitchen and what a blast that was! They don't speak a lot of English and I don't speak a lot of Spanish, but we had a wonderful time and ate like royalty afterwards. The food at this place is amazing - organic, homemade, flavorful and all around excellent. The seating at dinner is family style with other people staying there and it's a fun way to compare notes about activities and meet new people.

In addition to the cooking class we did the horseback ride to the private waterfall, the Mundo Aventura ziplines (scary, but fun), the Desafio canyoneering (also scary, but fun) and hiked the Arenal Volcano area trails. We decided not to rent a car so Steve and Debbie arranged our transportation for us and I think we ended up saving money that way. I know we saved major confusion and disorientation. On our last day, Debbie arranged for a driver to take us to the Arenal Volcano, the canyoneering trip and then to San Jose. No way we could have done all that on our own because we wouldn't have wanted to drive after dark.

The only very slight negative was that the wi-fi is mainly available only in the dining hall and office (though we could sometimes get it on the front porch.) This didn't bother me in the least, but my 14-year-old would have liked better access. Again, you are out and about so much at this place that sitting inside looking at the Internet should not be a priority.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Jennifer O
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, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos 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 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Romantic 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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