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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 17 November 2013

We stayed here at the end of our honeymoon. It was about a 20 minute drive to the main town of Fortuna; about a 15 minute drive to Tabacon (on the way to the town/hotel so very convenient). The breakfast, included in cost, was a typical buffet and nothing nothing to write home about but filled you up for a long day. Do the free nature walk in the AM as its included in the cost. Although you are literally the closest hotel to/on the volcano we could not see the top b/c it was low season and cloudy. There was however a fantastic view of the lake. The rooms were not glamorous and definitely a 'camper' or 'traveler' type of feel with bed spreads that looked like they were mine from high school. I would book this hotel again just for the expereince and views/location, however just know it is not a 5 star.

Room Tip: Tabacon is on the way to the hotel. This was our last stop on our 10 day trip and needed good old A...
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 November 2013 via mobile

When Arenal was continuously erupting, this hotel must have been absolutely amazing on a clear day. That being said, it still provides a great view of the volcano and provides quick access to various fantastic hikes. The included breakfast was a great way to start the day, but I would avoid the hotel restaurant for lunch and dinner. A 4X4 vehicle is recommended for the drive up to the lodge, especially in the rainy season.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Gwilterink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2013

We stayed just one night and were pleasantly surprised by the level of luxury and service. The (included) guided nature walk was just long enough to be satisfying. It's a bit of a drive down the mountain if you want to eat anywhere else, so it's a good thing that the food at restaurant was delicious, if not cheap. There is no TV, which is a definite plus.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Uburoi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2013

This place is amazing. High up on a flank of Arenal volcano the view is spectacular, the grounds beautiful, and wildlife is everywhere you look. It is remote and even with 4 wheel drive a challenge to get to.....but its worth it. The tours we took from the lodge were better than others based in the nearby town of La Fortuna. The staff were friendly and pleasant. We have memories that we will never forget...horseback riding with Herman between two volcanoes, waking up to the sound of howler monkeys, walking to the waterfall and taking the evening tour with Christian, or just sitting on the porch watching the hummingbirds. Most of the visitors seemed to be adults. There is none of the 'typical' kiddie activities but that worked out just fine. We are a family of three with an 11 yr old boy who absolutely loved it.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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2  Thank Mike271828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 November 2013

We stayed here for 2 nights and we had different views of the volcano every 5 minutes! I enjoyed the free nature walk with a park ranger explaining their commitment to conservation as well as pointing out the flora and fauna. The free breakfast buffet was amazing and other meals were just as good (although U.S. prices). The front desk person, Leonel, was very helpful when we discovered that the transportation we arranged did not come up to Observatory. He arranged a shuttle to another hotel for pickup.

Room Tip: Do not choose the casona unless you have a car or like to hike up to the restaurant.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Merrilyh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2013

Staying at the Arenal Observatory lodge, previously owned by the Smithsonian Institute to study wildlife was a great home base for the ziplining, canyoning and visits to the local waterfalls and hotsprings. Our tour guides with REI took us on a early morning walk through the trails surrounding the hotel... They are extremely extensive and you could spend hours walking around there. We saw our share of Toucans, spider monkeys and amazing birds in the trees including a beautiful little waterfall.

The rooms were suprisingly roomy with beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano which could be enjoyed from the room or on the spacious balcony outside. The restaurant had ample enough of drinks and food. It was so so, but with all the busy activities I was happy not have to go out somewhere to eat.

The pool and hot tubs were beautiful quite large for big parties. All in all the grounds were beautiful, restaurant very pleasant and rooms very spacious. (but I must add that it sounded like a monkey was tapping on our window either to tease us or get in... hmm! Minor irritation in the middle of the night!... Just reminding us we were living with wildlife, which is why we came beautiful Costa Rica in the first place!)

I traveled in July for 2012, the "rainy season"... It rained only one day on us and was a pleasant break from the heat... Unfortunately Trip Advisor doesn't let me choose a date earlier than Dec 2012.

Room Tip: Find one with front door facing the pool for easy access and back of room with view of the Arenal Vo...
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank kwong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

The Observatory Lodge was amazing. The hotel and amenities were great, but what really stood out was the location. It was like walking into a real live movie set for the scenery of Jurassic Park. I cannot stress how beautiful the grounds were. I would highly recommend this.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Frank H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Address: 23 Km West of La Fortuna City Center, Located at the Base of the Arenal Volcano | Main Road to Arenal National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 76 Speciality Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range: £88 - £127 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated only 1.7 Miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to DISCOVER, EXPLORE and RELAX. Located within the Arenal Conservation Area and surrounded by rainforests and nature, AOL sits on an 870 acres property, which consists of 400 acres of reforestation, 270 acres of natural forest and 200 acres of cultivated land. The hotel offers 48 comfortable rooms surrounded by gardens, the majority with a direct view of the volcano and/or the forest. The 7 miles of well-maintained trails for walking, horseback riding or biking running through the property provide good opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 500 species of birds live in the area making AOL a preferred destination for bird watchers. Activities at the hotel include hikes to the waterfall or to explore Cerro Chato (an extinct volcano with a small lake in the crater), horseback riding, bicycling through the trails, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our SPA. The hotel is well located to serve as a base for a variety of excursions such as the Cano Negro Nature Refuge, hot springs, Venado Caves, Canopy Tours, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Fishing, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Biking etc. It also serves as a very interesting stop before heading on to Monteverde Cloud Forest or to the beaches of the Pacific coast. Arenal Observatory Lodge is the perfect place for adventure lovers, families, and honeymooners. With its spectacular location, great service, and friendly personnel you won't be disappointed ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arenal Observatory Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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