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“Great hotel with all amenities and best view of the volcano”

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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 2 July 2014 via mobile

Stayed for 3 nights and we left really happy with the facilities, service and the food - they serve an excellent buffet for breakfast. They are ideally located in a sort of nature reserve and boast unbeatable views of the volcano and the laguna. They have connections for all sorts of activities in the area and can even get discount deals - the staff was very friendly and helpful. Definitely recommended!!

Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Mika T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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673 - 679 of 1,994 reviews

Reviewed 30 June 2014

Disclaimer-we did not stay at the hotel but visited this lovely place. We walked many trails, visited the beautiful waterfall on the property; lots of animal life, lovely pool and gardens. There is an small entrance fee for those not staying at the hotel. There are horses, pastures, with good security. There is free Wi-Fi at the observatory deck. Restaurant served a delicious meal! Really delicious and nicely served. Note that this property is 8-10km down an unpaved road. If you go here late, be prepared to drive back in the dark. Road is not well marked so take special note or use GPS back to the main road. Bring your raincoat as this area is likely to have rain at some point during the day. Hiking on the trails in the mist was still magical!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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Thank mgomez2468
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2014 via mobile

I love this place and ended up staying the 2nd night. Deep in the rainforest ideas this observatory lodge that started as a observatory for the Costa Rica university. Now it's a self sustaining lodge.

Staff is super nice and helpful in getting you car rides, bookings, rentals. In the premise are horse back riding and lots of hikes. They also have a bunch of other activities in the area but you'll need to get transportation which can cost up to $30/ one way via taxi. Would be nice if you have a car rental. Or take the shuttles during dedicated times $6/one way to LA Fortuna. Or stalk other guest and see if anyone wants to go to and split the cost.

Horse back riding is a blast. $10/hr and guide just let us do what ever we want. He even took us into the deep primary forest. So fun and exciting.

8:30am for a 2hr intro to place your And for free.

Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Heilunl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2014

This is THE place to book of seeing animals and scenic beauty is your number one priority. The smithsonian rooms are amazing, and you really get to see the volcano. There is no AC, but you don't need it at all. The pool is great, but very few people use it because it's so cool there. The hot tub is very large and has more people in it.

The walking trails are great, and you will see so many animals. The view of the lake is beautiful, as is the huge variety of plants and flowers.

The restaurant is decent, but it's the only option. It is a long drive to town just to eat out. The zip line and trams are close by. The hotel offers horseback riding and a short hike to a waterfall. It is easy driving distance to the hot springs in La Fortuna.

The decor is a bit dated and not luxurious. Everything is clean, though you will get non stinging insects. ( you are in the middle of a forest)

Room Tip: Smithsonian rooms are the best
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank hlraphael
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2014

lovely location if you want to wake up and go to sleep in the middle of a tropical forest. The view of Arenal and the lake could not be better, and it is easy to spot animals in the garden and on the trails.
A simple menu, but the food is good - unfortunatly the don't offer local dishes. .
the rooms are clean and basic.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank maria1990219
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2014

My husband and I stayed at the lodge our first two nights in Costa Rica. It took us about 3.5 hours to get there from the airport in San Jose. I would definitely recommend a 4 wheel drive. The lodge is very pretty and very well maintained. The rooms are spacious and very comfortable. The pool and the jacuzzi are situated in the midst of the forest and was very peaceful. The hikes that you have access to from the lodge are amazing. Every morning there is a complimentary hike that takes about 2.5 hours around property. The guide was fantastic and was extremely knowledgeable. I wish we had longer to stay because we definitely would have payed to do more of the guided hikes that the lodge has to offer. The staff at the lodge are unbelievably friendly and very helpful especially with planning activities in the area. The breakfast that is offered was wonderful: very fresh, a lot of variety and very filling. Overall fantastic place to stay in Arenal.

Room Tip: We had the room that had a view of the volcano - beautiful views and very peaceful!
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Danielle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2014

My husband and I stayed at the Lodge for 3 nights last month. We stayed in a standard room and had a view of the lake (see pic, the view was gorgeous). The room itself is just ok (see pics). You are paying for the grounds and view. There's no AC but it's not needed because it cools off at night. We didn't even use the ceiling fan. It's a large establishment with a cafeteria style restaurant with a large deck that offers spectacular views of the volcano and lake (see pics). There are two common game/tv areas.

The grounds are quite large, very beautiful and very manicured (however a little more manicured than needed for my taste). The grounds include hiking trails with varying levels of ease/difficulty. I recommend seeing the waterfall and hanging bridge. We saw a lot of wildlife including a variety of plants and animals including coatis (super cute members of the raccoon family), a lot of butterflies and a lot of birds. We heard howler monkeys but did not see them. I believe there are spider monkeys in the area but we did not see them.

The food in the cafeteria is really just ok. Breakfast is included and it's buffet style and decent. Lunch is made to order and dinner is buffet style. Lunch and dinner items were not that great and on the expensive side. Service in the cafeteria was very good and they accommodated my husband's food allergies. We had much better food at much better prices outside of the Lodge. Note that it's a little bit of a drive to get out of the Lodge and the front gate is locked at night (11PM-5AM if I remember correctly).

They offer a morning guided hike right after breakfast that is included. We went on that hike the first morning then decided to go on our own other times. Unfortunately, I only picked up a few facts that didn't make it worth it. Our group was a little large (approx 20 people) which made it challenging for the guide to communicate effectively to everyone. However, I think he could have taken more opportunities to provide information. He pulled out a telescope one time and only allowed the nearest 4 or 5 people have a look. I didn't see the point in incorporating that into the tour.

They offer laundry service which is a bit pricey.

I am glad we stayed there for the hiking trails and views; however I don't know if we'd stay there again. Another option is to pay a fee to enter the property for the trails and awesome views of the volcano and lake from the deck.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jana1389
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 74 Speciality Lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range: £90 - £139 (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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