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.

“Amazing! Our best vacation yet!”

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 1 more site!
Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Encinitas, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing! Our best vacation yet!”
Reviewed June 25, 2013

We took our kids (Ages 12, 11 & 6) to spend 5 days at Leaves and Lizards and thoroughly enjoyed every minute! We felt like we had found our home away from home - Debbie and Steve treated us like family and took amazing care of every detail of our stay! My daughter commented that we had never become friends with the "hotel owner's" before. Every meal was delicious. The zip line recommendation was a huge success and the highlight was the horse ride from Leaves & Lizards to the private waterfall. It will be tough to top this incredible place with its beauty, kind people and adventurous spirit!

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

635 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    567
    52
    13
    2
    1
See reviews for
316
176
33
10
Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (162)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cirencester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2013

We spent a week at Leaves and Lizards with our kids aged 10 and 14 and had a fabulous time.

We had a huge cabin with walls decorated with toucans painted in bright colours. The cabins (not that you'd know there are any others) are on a slope and our huge veranda overlooked the top of some secondary forest and of course the Arenal volcano. We could watch the sunrise over Arenal without even getting out of bed thanks to the huge windows all along the front of the cabin. One of the first things we saw each day was a flock of parakeets and a pair of woodpeckers. A sloth lived in the tree outside, and we heard howler monkeys.

The owners, Steve and Debbie, and their manager Oscar, were very welcoming, making a special effort with wheat free food for the kids. I've never had so much fun at breakfast - they put out baskets of food to attract the birds and you hardly know where to look, there are so many. Parakeets an aracari and honeycreepers have been the prettiest. Steve brings his tame parrot into the dining area (I hesitate to call it a room as its missing a wall) and we fed her with watermelon seeds.

We hired a car in San Jose and drove ourselves, which meant we could reach the various local attractions very easily. We went zip-lining, visited Arenal Volcano park, had a great day trip down the Coco River on the border with Nicaragua, and went horse riding.

The horse riding was the best I've ever experienced. Our hack went through knee deep mud, rivers, rain forest paths and more open cattle fields full of tussocky grasses. We rode for about 2 hours to a waterfall, swam for about half an hour in the deep pools, had lunch (tortillas with cheese and ham) and then went 'the long way' back. The horses were fantastically well behaved and surefooted. Debbie has trained them using Natural Horsemanship techniques, with an emphasis on working with horse psychology and I'm a convert!

Room Tip: We had Toucan cabin which was about 15 minutes walk from the main dining area. We enjoyed the walk...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank francoiseH550
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge
Level Contributor
108 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2013

I stayed with my two sons, 19 & 23 at Leaves and Lizards for 3 nights. It was fabulous.

As someone desiring a rest time with family, it fit my needs. Sitting on the porch early in the morning, listening to the birds and reading while the boys slept. In the evening, on the same deck, learning to play poker, telling stories, laughter, and of course, naps on the hammock.

For my two sons, there was also time to relax, but also wonderful experiences. The Costa Rican horses and ride to the falls is a memory that will stay for ever. The trust and teaching by the guides, the welcoming of the people.

Staff was attentive to needs and of course, were most able to help with suggestions when you shared what you were looking for.

I recommend signing up for dinners, to enjoy the company of fellow travellers and for the quality of food.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Pingadohtor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
66 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed June 1, 2013

My wife and I stayed four nights in February and can confirm all the positive reviews--lovely rooms, terrific views, great service, etc.
We found the isolated location to be no problem even without a rental car because
1) L&L arranged to pick us up at the airport and be driven there. The driver (Lilly) and her daughter were absolutely charmingly. They explained the sights throughout the drive. Far
better than driving a rental car on a unfamiliar route. Cost was reasonable compared to car
rental.
.2) Debbie set us up with two incredible guides. Our kayak trip to Canyo Negro with Leonardo was our best day in CR. I had been skeptical but Debbie assured me we would love it; she was right. We also had a great tour of El Silencio with Donald; Debbie found other people so we could split the cost. In short, if you explain what you are interested in doing, Debbie can direct you to an excellent day.
The breakfasts were absolutely wonderful, both the food and being served by the ever-smiling Dora. She is a real gem.
To be totally honest, the dinners were varied: some very good some just average. But I would never choose to drive into town and back out after dark. The happy hour drinks were excellent.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank prado1122
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2013

My husband and I stayed in the Congo cabin for 3 nights in May 2013. We started off our trip with a delayed flight and a missed connection meaning that we were worried we would not be able to get from San Jose to Leaves and Lizards for our first night. We were angry and frustrated and still in Milwaukee! A quick call to Leaves and Lizards calmed a lot of our frustration-- they graciously offered to pick us up late at night at the San Jose airport and drive us to Leaves and Lizards so we could stay our first night there! Once we arrived in San Jose, we learned that all of our luggage was lost -- our driver brought us to a grocery store on the way so we could buy toothbrushes, etc.. much appreciated! We arrived in the dark and had no idea what the surroundings around us looked like. When we woke up, we had a gorgeous floor to ceiling view of the volcano in front of us. The cabin was beautiful-- much nicer than the pictures had suggested. I loved the porch, hammock, rocking chairs and views of the plants, flowers and volcano!
For activities, we did the horseback ride to the waterfall with Enrique and his son. I had never been on a horse before and had no issues. Enrique was a fantastic guide and great person. After spending the entire day with us, Enrique invited my husband and I to go with his family to a local festival. We had a great time and really enjoyed getting that local experience. I would recommend the waterfall ride to everyone! Make sure to bring your swimming suit along. Ask Enrique to go on the vine swing! The second day, we went with another couple (took their rental car) to Cano Negro. It was about a 1.5 hour easy ride to this river near the Nicaraguan border. We picked up a different guide, Diego, on the way. He was again a fantastic guide!! Both Enrique and Diego were extremely passionate about wildlife and Costa Rica. Cano Negro was great! We saw 3 types of monkeys, an albino monkey, Jesus Christ lizards, sloths, bats, caimans, turtles and BIRDS! This would be especially fun if you are into birds! We took a large covered boat (that could seat ~80 people, even though there were only 4 of us plus our guide and boat driver) and enjoyed a nice lunch on the boat. If we had more time I would have loved to take advantage of the morning and night hikes around Leaves and Lizards. At breakfast we heard about the night hike and it sounded like they spotted a ton of animals right on the resort grounds. We did have time to milk the cows which was another awesome experience!
We ate all of our breakfasts and 1 dinner at the resort and enjoyed it all. We truly enjoyed spending time getting to know the other guests-- it was a ton of fun sharing stories about what we did all day with everyone. I had many offers from other guests to lend us clothes, etc because we did not get our luggage until the morning we left (day 4)!!
Of note, we did not have a rental car. This was not a problem; however, we would not have gone to Cano Negro had the other couple who had rental car not been going. So, it would be nice to have if you really want to go there. You can also hire a private driver for the day but it is pricey. If you don't have a rental car, plan on eating all of your meals there (why not, it's great!). I would also really recommend the Congo cabin because it is very near the dining hall. Some of the other rooms are a good hike from the dining hall and many people drove.
In a nutshell: GO! you won't regret it!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ILoveBuckyBadger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marietta, Georgia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2013

My husband and our three kids (ages 8, 14, and 15) took our first trip to Costa Rica. We stayed here 5 nights after spending 3 nights at the beach, and loved it. Our cabin, which was one large room plus a bathroom, had 2 beds plus a roll away bed. Being used to living in a house where everyone has their own bedroom, one would think we'd find this to be close quarters. But it was exactly these close quarters (and the welcome lack of Internet access or TV in our cabin) that created the fun, family atmosphere. (well, for the majority of the time, anyway). ;-) Our beds faced the huge floor to ceiling windows looking out at the Arenal Volcano. Every morning we woke to the sounds of Costa Rica: a variety of birds calling, a cow lowing, and the buzzing cicadas.

We ate most of our meals in the dining lodge here. Mornings were spent watching the myriad hummingbirds feeding a scant 10 feet from our table. (one wall of the dining hall is open air). At dinner time we enjoyed meeting other families and travelers. It created a real sense of community and camaraderie. The wait staff was very friendly. Meals were homemade and fresh daily.

Owners Debbie and Steve are very personable and obviously have a passion for Costa Rica and their farm. Some highlights for us, and truly there are many, include my daughter getting to milk the cows in the morning and collect the eggs, having Debbie teach us about horses and how they interact with humans (sort of a horse whisperer thing), the following half day private horseback ride where we were taken to a secluded waterfall where we were able to swim and were fed lunch, my daughter getting to see their new foal at approx 5 hours after its birth. I could go on and on. If you are looking for an authentic experience and aren't afraid of no air conditioning, or doing a little walking, if you're looking for a place that leaves behind the crowded tourist feeling and embraces nature instead, if you want to be treated like a member of the family (minus the responsibilities) then look no further.

Room Tip: All cabins are great.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sqdurham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 23, 2013

This was our second trip to Arenal and we've stayed at several area hotel. This is by far our favorite and we'll be back. Believe all the other reviews, this is a great place to unplug, relax and appreciate the awe of CR. If you're looking for a slick, mainstream tourist resort this place isn't right for you. It feels way more authentic and natural than any resort we've stayed in. We stayed in the Toucan cabin and the view was insane. I sat on the back deck in the hammock for hours watching parrots noisily loiter in the treetops at sunset with the volcano as a backdrop. The open air communal dining room was great with really good food and even better conversation each night. As everybody says, don't miss the horseback ride to the waterfall -- it's awesome in every sense of the word. I'm not a horse person at all but this was a great experience. And yep, my 10 yr old son did the cow milking, egg gathering one morning and loved it. It's close enough to the Arenal/Fortuna area for trips into town and other attractions but far enough away from the Tour-bus scene to make it feel a bit more remote. This will likely be the only place we stay when we come to CR from now on. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ZakandApril
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
2.6 mi away
Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens
Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens
#2 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
5.0 of 5 bubbles 3,203 reviews
3.5 mi away
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
#3 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
5.0 of 5 bubbles 1,814 reviews
2.7 mi away
Nayara Springs
Nayara Springs
#1 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
5.0 of 5 bubbles 742 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
2.9 mi away
Volcano Lodge & Springs
Volcano Lodge & Springs
#14 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 2,790 reviews
3.4 mi away
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Sp...
#7 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 2,206 reviews
2.4 mi away
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
Arenal Springs Resort and Spa
#11 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
4.5 of 5 bubbles 2,344 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 Family 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
#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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Priceline and Agoda so you can book your Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat 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:
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

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