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Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

New York City, New...
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Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

We can't decide which way to go. Want to have a beautiful natural environment and comfy feeling, without it feeling like we are at a US hotel. Does anyone have an opinon? We are traveling over Thanksgiving.

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

Between those two and among many others, the Arenal Observatory Lodge is unique in many ways. It is not near any traffic or roadway, has the best view of volcano, except when cloudy and the grounds are tropical and full of flowers and wildlife as well as swinging bridge and small waterfall. see my and others review for more info. The official seizmic recrding device is in a tower on the grounds. Try to get Jr suites if possible.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

Thank you Hoodoos! Arenal Observatory does sounds like a one of a kind place! We will be visiting the Osa Peninsula before heading north. Should provide a lovely contrast! Thanks again.

la fortuna
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3. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

You should chek out Vagobondo´s hotel at www.vagobondocr.com its not anything like a US hotel.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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4. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

There are a couple of other differences as well. Lost Iguana is not on the main road but is on a paved road easily accessible from the main road near the Lake Arenal dam. The road to AOL is in much worse condition and when muddy it can be tricky without a 4WD. The length and conditon of the road to AOL makes it more timeconsuming to get to and from AOL for activities or excursions elsewhere (including meals in town). As a result many of the outfitters charge extra for pickups at AOL. The food at AOL also has come in for criticism on this website. The tradeoff is that it's as close to the volcano as you can get with great hiking opportunities.

Lost Iguana has a network of unimproved hiking trails to the rear of their property but thier not on the flank of the volcano. Lost Iguana is within an easy walk of Hanging Bridges. Pick your priorities when making a decision.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

Thanks crfan - I think you summed it up pretty well. I guess we could always go over to AOL for a visit and stay at the Lost Iguana. will report back to you after the visit....l

mozrbtt
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6. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

Which hotel did you decide on madpaktraveler? I'm also from NY - I am planning a honeymoon in late August and I have the same dilemma. Would it be ridiculous to do three nights at the Lost Igunana and one night at the lodge? Any regrets on your choice?

San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

AOL...is location...location...location...nothing else...the worst food and poor service...but the views are out of this world...yes at AOL you may get the feeling you are at a USA, Motel 6...of course with a great volcano view!

Lost Iguana...is for families...honey mooners...etc...the decor is the best...at night is not noise at all from any road...just the howler monkies...nice warm pools...great staff...once at you room you feel like you are in middle of nowhere...well you are!

And if the volcano is clear from your balcony you will see that show...what a show!

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in PARADISE!

Texas
Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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216 reviews
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8. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

We have stayed at the Lost Iguana several times and love it; it's our hotel of choice when we're in La Fortuna. The rooms are great; we get one that has a king-sized bed and a jacuzzi tub on the balcony. The views of the volcano are wonderful and the property is beautiful with lots of lush landscaping. You can see the volcano from your bed if you keep the drapes open. We've seen toucans on the property, and there are always butterflies everywhere. They have an open-air restaurant with a view of the volcano. I would highly staying there. One thing to remember is that there is no guarantee that you'll see the volcano; sometimes a thick fog/mist surrounds it, and you wouldn't even know a volcano is there no matter where you stay. On our last trip, we met people who said they thought the volcano was a marketing ploy because they had been in La Fortuna for a few days and still hadn't been able to see it! It really is gorgeous when the view is clear.

Texas
Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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9. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

make that highly recommend - lol.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: Arenal Observatory Lodge vs. Lost Igunana

Problem with not staying at AOL or Linda Vista is that if you want to see the lava flow at night, you need to drive up that same bad road and then down again (and again the next night if the view wasn't good the first night). If you're at the AOL or Linda Vista, you can watch the lava flow from the comfort of your room or the deck... and they'll wake you up if there is a particularly good eruption. This does not compare with the view of the volcano from what is now the back side.

Neither of these hotels have good food. The Linda Vista feels more homey and is generally less expensive, but does not quite have as good a view as the AOL.

So it definitely depends on what you're going to Arenal to see. If you have a car, rather than depending on tour pick-ups, then you should consider staying on this side. Also, AOL and Linda Vista are very near SkyTrek canopy, which is up this same road, and not very far from Tabacon, if either of these are on your to-do list.