I can't imagine a more beautiful setting than Cabanas Brisas Arenal. Of the three places that our family stayed on our trip to Costa Rica in March, this was our favorite (and the cheapest -- it's an amazing value). It's a nice short drive out of La Fortuna, and we were very happy that were not staying right in town. This place is simply paradise. The room itself was simple, with just ok beds, thin walls (they cabins are duplexes, so you share a wall with one other room), typical Costa Rican plumbing, etc., but none of that really bothered us. The rooms do have AC, satellite TV and wi-fi and are spacious. The location, the grounds, and the views are fantastic, and are what make this place really special. The hammocks on the patios are great, the views amazing (you feel like you're almost at the base of the volcano), and the family that runs it is wonderful.
If you're looking for a fancy resort, pools, etc, this is not your place, but if you want quiet, beautiful surroundings and what I think is a more real Costa Rican experience, this is for you. We felt amazingly lucky to be staying there, especially after seeing the larger expensive resorts near the busy main road. We saw several toucans on the property (which the owner pointed out to us), enjoyed some short walks on their hiking trail into the jungle, and really enjoyed just strolling around the grounds seeing all of the plants, flowers and birds right outside our door.
The owners speak very little English, and we speak pretty much no Spanish, but we got by just fine -- just make sure you're comfortable with that, and try your best. The son who works there does speak some English. The breakfasts were very nice in the open-air dining room. They had different things for breakfast each of the two mornings we were there, including fresh fruit, pancakes, and traditional Costa Rican breakfast, all cooked fresh in the kitchen adjoining the open-air dining area. The owners are so nice that I really hope they have great success. When we visited, there were just four rooms (2 rooms each in two cabins), but they seem to be in the process of building one or two more buildings. But I think even after a few more rooms are added, it will still feel quiet, secluded and special.
Our only regret is that we didn't get to spend a few more night there.
I would not recommend staying here without a car, as it would probably be a hassle to get a taxi to come pick you up.
Tip to find the place: drive from La Fortuna to the west, and just outside of town you'll come to what feels like a smaller separate town; as you enter that area, turn left at Cristian's Super Mercado (if you look closely you'll see a Brisas Arenal sign just before the turn); stay on that windy road until it turns to gravel, and go right at the Y right after the gravel starts, and continue up the hill; you'll pass lots of local houses (and chickens and dogs), then it'll be on your left.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Here at Brisas Arenal hotel, nature is our passion. Surrounded by woods, gardens and serenaded by a wide variety of birds, you will discover the peace and tranquility you long for. Come and experience it for youself. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Brisas Arenal Hotel Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos