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“Even more than we hoped for!!! Definitely going back!”

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Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
San Marcos, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Even more than we hoped for!!! Definitely going back!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2014

We had such a wonderful time in Costa Rica at Leaves and Lizards! We loved loved loved the Hummingbird house and were SO glad that we upgraded to it. The bird watching was just incredible - far more than we even hoped for. We had toucans in the trees right outside the house singing to each other, a flock of green parrots, saw a white hawk, and of course saw gorgeous hummingbirds all around. The horse riding was wonderful - my girls who compete and ride pretty much daily especially enjoyed just the freedom to ride in the country and to just enjoy the horses, who were very well trained. We enjoyed learning about the Parelli method and found the horses to be very willing and responsive and kind! The guides were also wonderful! They helped us see two different kinds of poison dart frogs and also explained so much about the wildlife and plants that we saw, including information about the leaf cutter ants that we found very interesting. The food was also delicious and the setting of the restaurant could not have been more perfect. Everyone we met who served us was so willing and kind and joyful. Please tell everyone on your staff thank you!! I could probably go on and on!! We felt so relaxed and only wished we had more days there :) We hope to return!

Not sure how to change the extra ratings below... There actually is not a swimming pool or fitness center but I wasn't able to leave it blank. However, you can get plenty of fitness on beautiful hikes and horseback rides and you can swim in the private, beautiful waterfall which is far better than a pool!!!

Room Tip: The hummingbird house was wonderful - the beds are comfy, it is spacious and well decorated. The wa...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank StephaneePotts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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630 reviews from our community

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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 (162)
Date | Rating
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English first
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 24, 2014

My family and I stayed at the Leaves and Lizards for 3 nights(too bad it couldn't be longer) and had the best time! We felt at home with Steve and Debbie and all the staff. Everyone was so friendly including the animals! We stayed in the Congo cabin and had the most breathtaking view of the volcano through the floor to ceiling window. The porch was such a relaxing place to sit. The hammock was pretty comfortable too. There were board games and a deck of cards in the room already for our convenience. We had such a great time playing games together. It was refreshing not to have wifi available in our rooms so we weren't tempted with technology. Although it was available in the dining room and we caught up on our emails in there! We were nervous that there wasn't air conditioning but that wasn't a problem at all since our elevation was so high. We had a lot of rain considering it was rainy season but what a peaceful sound it was to have our windows open all the time and listen to the rain. There are hikes to enjoy as well as the kids going to the barn to see the horses, chickens, pigs and cows. The kids enjoyed collecting the eggs and milking the cows in the morning. The horseback ride is a must do to the waterfall. Our guide Enrique was amazing and got us up close to a sloth!! His dog followed us the whole way. The food was so fresh every morning for breakfast and the dinners were even better. We had a great view of the volcano even from open air dining room. We would highly recommend Leaves and Lizards to anyone!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Llani A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Double Oak Texas
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2014

We stayed in the Toucan Cabina with our young son and just had a fantastic experience. My wife and son got to experience riding horses for the first and second time during our stay. Riding to a waterfall and back after swimming in the stream and experiencing a tropical downpour! Zipline rides across the falls in La Fortuna and swimming with the hot springs all to ourselves. The volcano didn't want to show itself until our last day but it did finally appear. Breakfast and dinner with the hummingbirds, parrot and the occasional lizard was always very tasty as well. I agree with the folks saying the road is a little rough, but what is a trip to Costa Rica without requiring four wheel drive!!

Room Tip: I truly don't think there is a bad cabina on the place, just chose the one that suits you and yo...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank norwstan_66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2014

We stayed at Leaves and Lizards January 28 - February 5. If you're up for a true vacation where you can escape the tourist traps and experience the real Costa Rica, this is it! Hands down this is the best vacation we've ever experienced. Steve and Debbie are wonderful hosts and take a real interest in their guests. The staff here are second to none. They will help plan your day, give you advice on things to do, tell you the best times to go places and avoid crowds. The web site says don't book up your time prior to arrival. Take that advice to heart; You will change your mind on what you want to do, you will get a better experience with Leaves and Lizards. The accommodations are top notch (we stayed in Congo house). We had an incredible view of the Arenal Volcano and wonderful gardens and rainforest just off one of the best decks I've ever experienced. During our stay we spent a couple days just relaxing around the property. There is so much to see and do. The food is five star all the way. They went out of their way to prepare dishes that suited everyone's tastes and dietary needs. Breakfast and supper were two highlights every day. The staff brought people together in the dining room for supper, you got to meet the other guests, make friends and exchange experiences we had over the day; This helped immensely in planning an outing for the next day.

This is the place to be if you enjoy nature, birds, animals, plants. Its the place to be if you want a central location where you can go out daily and enjoy adventures like ziplining, white water rafting, hiking, kayaking and much more.

We will be back!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Don H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2014

We found this place on TripAdvisor and it did not disappoint. Be prepared for a rough drive to get there because it's a little off the beaten path, but it's well worth it. Our own cabin (Mariposa) in the jungle was close enough to walk to the restaurant, barn, trails, and office but secluded enough to feel private and use the outdoor shower. The owners are so friendly and the entire staff is very helpful. If you have ever felt nervous around horses this experience might fix that forever. The trail rides start with a lesson in natural horsemanship and even my husband relaxed and admitted it was the first time he felt really comfortable on a horse. They will arrange any type of adventurous outing you want. Get a massage, listen to the jungle live, take photos. I could have spent many more happy days here and I'd love to go back again.

Room Tip: Noise level comment is not human-made. The jungle is loud at night with cicadas but we got used to i...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Dale T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
46 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 26, 2014

After reading other great reviews about Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat we booked four nights here (and then added a fifth night). Sure, this place has a really long name, but each word holds true to what we experienced: lovely forests (LEAVES) and great hiking trails,,,lots of insects, birds, horses, cows, monkeys and LIZARDS to enjoy…a breathtaking and unobstructed view of ARENAL volcano from the uniquely designed and spacious CABINS. This all added up to a total relaxing RETREAT environment.

We stayed in two different cabins: Congo and Coco. Both were close to the Lava Lizard Dining Room which we liked because it was a short walk on the unlighted gravel paths to meals and to use the WiFi hot spot there. (I think a flashlight is provided but I would recommend bringing your own anyway. ) The rooms had handcrafted furniture, a floor to ceiling picture window, and the retreat-like comfort of hammocks and rockers on the large porch. A fresh flower arrangement greeted us when we opened our cabin door and the refrigerator was stocked with goodies.

We took advantage of several of the activities L&L had to offer. Our favorite was the all day horseback ride to a private waterfall where we enjoyed a simple lunch and got chance to swim in the large pool formed by the waterfall. This was unlike any other horse backing riding experience we ever had. We started at the barn where our wonderful guide, Enrique, spent time helping us understand how to build a relationship with our horses. Then we hit the trail through the little village and beyond -- seeing monkeys along the way and cows crossing our path.

For another excursion we hired a professional guide/naturalist for a day, arranged by the staff at L&L. It was money well spent since we were able to choose where we wanted to go and get so much more insight and information on the areas we were visiting. We went to Arenal National Park, Arenal Hanging Bridges (both which I would highly recommend) and then on the way back we stopped for a soak in the free hot river just off the highway under a bridge. (It is on the site map on L&L's web page.)

Another activity we booked and enjoyed was a leisurely rafting ride on on Rio Penas Blancas. with Enrique. And don't miss simply walking the trails around the property; we did a free early morning hike with Oscar as our guide.

The food was good and we especially enjoyed the breakfasts with fresh Costa Rican coffee made at our table by the always smiling Dora, along with the entertainment provided by the resident parrot.

Debbie and Steve, the owners, have really put their hearts and souls into their property. The things they do with their well trained and well cared for horses are impressive -- especially their therapeutic horse back riding program. You can tell they have a strong commitment to give back to the local community in many ways.

I'll end by saying that the website for Leaves and Lizards is the most informative and extensive of any I have ever researched: it was very detailed and answered questions I had not need even thought of asking.

Room Tip: We stayed in both the Congo and Coco cabins. Wile both had great views of Arenal Volcano, we though...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mimi M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubuque, Iowa
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2014

Beautiful setting, warm people, AMAZING horses. There was a moment when we were swimming in the river with the horses that I was pretty sure I had been transported into another world ... a paradise dream. If you are a foodie, you will be very happy with the food. Fresh eggs and milk from their farm. I also loved the open air dining room with view of the volcano and brightly colored birds at the feeders. Guides are excellent. Can't say enough good things about this place.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Kristine J
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 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Green 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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