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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Perfect Family Getaway”

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
Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
NY
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Perfect Family Getaway”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 9, 2014

We stayed in the Monkey Cabin for almost five days in February with our children (=ages 6, 8 and 12. It was the perfect "base-camp" for our stay near Arenal. We booked ahead with Oscar (a good idea for horseback riding which seemed to fill up) and decided on horseback riding to the waterfall, ziplining, canyoning and a trip to the hot springs. We also arranged transportation through Leaves and Lizards,. This was definitely the right choice for us as gave us time to enjoy the countryside and views - our drivers (Martin and Jaymar) were terrific.

We loved horseback riding with Chinto and having the waterfall to ourselves for the afternoon. Farm chores were fun and our kids have many stories, including dropping a pair of sunglasses into the pig pen. Ziplining at Mundo Adventura was great fun. Canyoning at La Roca was more adventure than we anticipated, but was a highlight of our trip. Being surrounded by pristine jungle and hearing howler monkeys while rappelling into a slot canyon is not something our family will soon forget. We would not recommend this adventure for young children, but the staff was amazing and ensured that our six year old who was chilled by the river water had a great time. After canyonining we warmed up in the hot springs at Los Lagos, which has waterslides that are perfect for kids.

We loved the staff at Leaves & Lizards. We did not bring any electronics for our children and there was no tv or internet in our cabin, but there was no need. The food was terrific and we enjoyed meeting other families at meals. We especially enjoyed the breakfasts and our server (Dora) made the morning meals particularly fun. We are so glad that we had the opportunity to go on a night hike with Oscar. Overall this was an action-packed, memorable and fun trip and nothing like the experience you would get staying at a hotel. We highly recommend this "retreat"!

Room Tip: Monkey cabin was perfect for our family of five. Recommend booking and discussing activities with O...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Amy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

630 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    562
    52
    13
    2
    1
See reviews for
316
176
29
10
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 (162)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Westport, CT
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2014

If your parents decided to jump off the American grid and go try their hand in the hospitality industry in a central american jungle, they would be hard-pressed to surpass Leaves & Lizards to top honors.

This is not an ecolodge that is corporately financed, expertly designed/built, and run like a top hotel...and that's what's so great about it.

The grounds are absolutely GORGEOUS, in a nicely-tended, but not heavy-handed way. The rooms have the individual charm of being the vision of the mom-and-pop owners. The service is caring and personal, and you feel like a guest of friends rather than a hotel guest.

And we were absolutely delighted by the food, most of which is sourced right on the property. Including the milk, from which they make the most amazing butter. (Kids are even encourage to help milk the cows and gather the eggs in the morning.)

Just being in the dining hall was delightful. Tucans, macaws, and all sorts of unfamiliar birds are feet away, providing beautiful entertainment in the open to the air room.

The location is terrific. With Leaves and Lizards as our hub, our family of 5 including 3 elementary school aged children enjoyed the nearby hanging bridges, the hot springs pools, hiking on Arenal volcano, and 2 different zip-lining excursions. All in only 2 days. If we had had longer, we would have also enjoyed horseback riding from our hotel.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank FeliciaL-Connecticut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2014 via mobile

I was lucky enough to spend a week at Leaves and Lizards in February and my main focus was the horses - and oh did I pick the right place! I have been riding for 20+ years so feel qualified to say that these horses are a real pleasure to ride and I learnt a lot about them and the horse herd while I was there - the passion of Debbie and her team are clear and they are so willing to share it, it was a joy to spend time with them!

The principle of energy and connection with nature is always close to the mind in Costa Rica, which just buzzes with vibrancy, green and life from every corner, and Debbie and Steve have taken this to heart in creating their retreat experience. The cabins are wonderfully designed, with Steve's fabulous paintings inside, large and comfortable with stunning views of the volcano and a feeling of being in the jungle (especially when it rains and you can stay dry standing in the porch but watch and feel the power of the water gushing down all around you!). The food is far too good to leave any on the plate and the staff are so enthusiastic and infectious, you would struggle not to enjoy yourself here!
Anyway back to the horses! Debbie is doing a wonderful job with the Epona principles in understanding the horses and their connection with us, in order that our interaction can be a mutually enjoyable and enriching experience. She is clearly passionate about this and does an amazing job of passing on this passion and also teaching to all those who interact with the horses. As someone who is still just a horse-mad teenager at heart, I spent many a happy hour hanging around the stables and talking to Debbie about the horses and their personalities, watching families and their children learn to connect with and trust a horse, perhaps for the first ever time under Debbie's supportive and encouraging eye. I saw first hand a number of times the incredible impact the horse can have on us when a true connection is made, or when someone realises their own power through a relationship with a horse, and more than once it brought a tear to the eye! I think this is a truly special experience for children particularly and would really recommend the waterfall ride as something that will actually impact their lives...you will see what I mean....

On top of all that, I was there during the local festival week and together with a group of other riders, had some wonderful rides with the ever-cheerful Enrique to look after us, including riding in a parade through the local streets with 100s of dancing horses, a band and regular stops for food and beer - bliss! Not to mention some truly hysterical moments when we entered our team of foreigners into the rodeo games.....something I shall never forget that's for sure!

If you are thinking about coming to Leaves and Lizards and like the sound of the website and the reviews, your own experience will in fact be even better than these so I would strongly recommend you give yourselves a gift and book it!
I am planning a trip back there already.....

Stayed February 2014, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank SCNQuest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2014

I travel quite a bit and my priority is always 'access to nature'. Which is why Costa Rica is one of my favourite destinations. I am a happy wanderer and do not stay in one place for long- but for this particular trip I was involved in a one-week photography workshop at Leaves and Lizards. I stayed in the Toucan cabin and absolutely loved it! A huge room with the most luxurious bedding I have ever experienced- but nothing could top the breathtaking view of the Arenal volcano from my giant porch. There was even a sloth family in a tree almost right outside my door! Dad, mom and baby sloth entertained us immensely. Leaves and Lizards' hosts Debbie and Steve were kind, knowledgeable and a lot of fun and would accommodate any requests with a smile. The meals were fantastic and the staff would honour special requests. I was part of a group photographing the on-site horses and it was such a joy to see these animals interact with the owners & staff horsemen. Gentle beauties that had been trained to trust and understand patience and kindness, and they gave back ten-fold. We went on two day trips, a horseback ride to a waterfall and a riverboat photographic trek down the Cano Negro River, wildlife and birds everywhere hosted by one of the best guides I have ever known, Leaves and Lizards Enrique Molina. For a bird nerd like me, it was such a thrill to see a potou (rare owl-like bird- google it!) - which was spotted by Enrique, along with a very rare golden howler monkey baby. On the riverboat trip, I was excited to see a large flock of roseate spoonbills, wook storks, ibis and egrets in a marshy area. Sure enough, our guides stopped the boat so we could climb out and get some photos. Our guides would accommodate any of our requests- you got the feeling that they were enjoying it as much as we were. I highly recommend Leaves and Lizards for those who love adventure, and love to be surrounded by nature and beauty. There are no TV's or wi fi in the rooms (it is available in the dining area)- which in my opinion, is exactly how it should be. The star of the show is everything outside your door. I can't wait to go back!!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sandar442014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2014

L&L is a special place and offers a fantastic experience for young families.
If you self-drive, you do need to be prepared for an initial challenge on the rough roads up to the retreat and whilst you get used to it after a few drives, you won't want to drive it more than twice a day, so plan carefully if you choose not to eat at the farm. We recommend a 4x4 in this area.
We stayed in the Coco Room which suited us perfectly. Waking up each morning to the view over the jungle to the volcano is a lasting memory. This view is matched at breakfast.
We did feel there is a little too much information and guidance to digest and whilst this is well intended, we got the feeling that it was a hassle to ask questions before reading the FAQ’s. One “rule” asked us to ensure children stayed at their table during meal times and not to visit other tables. Whilst this can be understood at more formal adult oriented resorts, it was a bit hard to fathom when so many families are staying there and children are happily making new friendships. We also found it a little difficult to get some clarity on the tours we had organized.
The guides we had through the resort were both very good although tours are priced quite high. We took a tour to the private waterfall (our kids loved swimming in the cool waters) and the Cano Negro (fantastic bio-diversity) – both of which are highly recommended. The morning milking and collection of eggs was one of the highlights of the stay for our children. We were also recommended EcoGlide for our first zip line experience and this was excellent. They even accommodated our 3.5yo, who was taken down the lines with a guide. He loved it. They also responded very well to an unfortunate burn on the arm of our middle son and helped him overcome his loss of confidence to complete the course.
No TV/WiFi in the cabins was very welcome and there is WiFi in the dining room should you need it.
The retreat would benefit from a swimming pool, no matter what the size. It would be a very nice addition to the property and help if you choose to spend a day at the farm and not tackle the rough road.
Breakfast was very good, although we could have done with respite from eggs every day and weren’t sure if changes could be accommodated to the breakfast menu. Dinner is more regimented and you need to place your order in the morning. We were told dishes could be swapped out on the children’s menu but the time we did this it seemed a little bit of a challenge. Whilst the food was good for adults, it was a little over the top and we felt something simpler and of a local flavour would be more fitting to the venue. Use of local ingredients was excellent. Service staff were very friendly.
On our final day we spent time with Debbie and the horses. This was a little unscripted as we had asked for a horse riding tour during our stay but they had been fully booked. Debbie introduced our children to the horses and taught them how to control their horses which was a special experience for them. We managed a quick trek through the farm as well.
In La Fortuna we were caught out on high prices in some of the tourist shops (Debbie recommended a shop just outside of town with the metal man outside, and a wood working shop next door, and it offered much better prices for mostly the same things) and also walked out of one shop after being hounded by the shop keeper for touching things, putting things out of order etc. We weren’t the only ones to leave. We also got caught out at Nenes Restaurant, where we got stung $40 for 2 of the specials when 1 was more than enough to share.

Room Tip: Helicona room appears a little close to the road that runs through the property and didn't appea...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank HKCrocky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tyler, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2014

We just returned from a week's stay in the Congo cabin. We thoroughly enjoyed this unique experience, as it was very different from any destination we have been to. Our cabin had a window wall that allowed us to view the Arenal volcano, beautiful flowers, and birds. There was a hammock and rockers on our porch where we could spend relaxing time reading or just looking out across the vista marveling at the beauty of this part of Costa Rica. The food was excellent, and a treat to sample some typical Costa Rican dishes. The wait staff was great, always serving with a smile and enthusiasm. Although we do not speak spanish, and they spoke little english, we had no problems communicating and even had some good laughs at our attempts to speak some spanish. Steve and Debbie (the owners) were very friendly and helpful and we enjoyed them joining us for meals. They were a great source for learning about the region and it was great to hear how they transitioned from former residents of the US to living in Costa Rica. We have always loved horses, and being around them and learning about the natural training methods used was very special.

Our experience was based around a photography workshop, so some of our experiences may have been a little different as some were geared toward horse photography. We had a wonderful horseback ride to a waterfall. We also enjoyed a great boat trip down a river (Rio Frio? I think? ) where we saw many different birds, lizards, monkeys. Our boat guide had an eagle's eye and was able to spot things for us that none of us saw. It was a great time!

I want to give special recognition also to Enrique Molina who was our guide / driver / horse handler. He was so knowledgeable and provided us with a better understanding of the area, the culture, the plants, animals, and birds. He had a great personality and sense of humor. We were so impressed with the volumes of facts he would share. He was so patient and willing to answer questions, stop what he was doing to provide us with a photo op, or just help negotiate a steep step. Great job Enrique!
Also, the other riders / trainers / horse handlers were so impressive. All very polite and tremendously skilled.

One thing I will point out for this retreat -- it is somewhat physically demanding, with a lot of up and down walking on loose rock. The hiking trails are well maintained, but you will need good hiking boots / shoes and know that the trails are not flat!! Be prepared for a good workout, and some beautiful scenery if you get out on the many trails around the retreat. We figured we burned off some of the calories we consumed so we were happy with the workout!

One negative was the neighbor's rooster crowing through the night which was beyond the control of the owners. Maybe he will be relocated when you visit : ). If you like to keep a close tab on what you are spending with no surprises, be sure to confirm the total cost of excursions including transportation, as these are separate fees.

If you are wanting to experience Costa Rican rural life, we think this retreat is a good place to start to experience nature / horses / mountains / solitude / culture.

Room Tip: The Congo has a great view and is a large, comfortable cabin.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank marcia r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2014

During a coast-to-coast ride our group of advanced riders recently stayed two nights at Leaves & Lizards and I highly recommend this place to all horse and nature lovers.

Accommodation, food, staff, atmosphere - everything is outstanding.

As a rider for more than 20 years and horsewoman to the core I would especially like to point out that the horses and the riding you will enjoy here are excellent.
The horses are in good shape, well-trained and obviously much loved by the staff. The easy-going and responsive 5-year-old gelding I got to ride was very laid-back in all situations but spirited and fast if asked to.
We were very lucky to be in town for the annual horse festival and therefore had the chance not only to watch the dancing horses in the arena one evening but also to participate ourselves in the Tope (horse parade, Costa Rican style) and form a team for some rodeo fun in Monterrey.
In addition to that, there was time for nice and long outrides with a few brisk canters, an introduction to horsemanship for those who had no experience with it, some ground work in the barn and riding with a neck ring.

Just book already... ;)

Room Tip: Casa Cielo - loved it!
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Moni S
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 3,179 reviews
3.5 mi away
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
#5 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
5.0 of 5 bubbles 1,802 reviews
2.7 mi away
Nayara Springs
Nayara Springs
#1 of 60 in La Fortuna de San Carlos
5.0 of 5 bubbles 725 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 2,751 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 2,180 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 2,308 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, 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 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Family 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 Priceline and Booking.com 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