Before getting into this review, I would like to preface it by mentioning it that it was the result of a Groupon "Trifecta" trip to Costa Rica. Therefore you will need to know that my journey does not end here but also at two other, completely different locations at this Central America location. The organizer of the Groupon deal was Travel By Jen. Maybe you are embarking on the same trip and hopefully this will enlighten you on what to and NOT expect. With any trip there are usually three components that when done well make it extraordinary. These three components are destination (location), lodging (accommodations) and service (staff). In this trifecta, there was always something that was missing taking away what would make Costa Rica incredibly remarkable.
The first leg of this journey was to the Volcano Lodge and Springs. Located in La Fortuna you can plan on a four hour drive from the airport to get there. Costa Rica is certainly not known for its highway system, rather plan on a twisty curvy roadway that will take you through some incredibly remarkable countryside. If you have not considered it, either bring your own GPS or rent one at the car rental agency. Without it, you may as well be driving blindfolded.
When one mentions the word Costa Rica the first thoughts that come to mind are waterfalls, lush rain forests and volcanos. That was certainly the hope in our quest and our first destination did not disappoint in that department. Located at the visual base of a dormant volcano, is the Lodge. The location of this hotel is on a hill. Down the hill will take you back into town and up the hill will take you to the Volcano National Park. The park is about 5 miles up the road.
As for the hotel, the grounds are very nice with a well themed hot spring area that is great to soak in after a long day of activities. The food at the restaurants is so-so, you can do better heading into town and eating there. The free breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, rice and beans, pancakes and hot-dogs. For some reason the "hot-dogs" were labeled sausages yet were hot-dogs in some sort of sauce. After day two, the so-called free breakfast is a bit long in the tooth. At this point I am wanting for something else than the typical offerings.
The rooms were clean and the maid always had some sort of surprising towel decoration waiting for us when we returned.
Here are some tips to help you with your adventure:
1. If your "trifecta" package includes the zip-line, I would recommend a go-pro camera mounted to your helmet. Having an actual video of yourself zip-lining through the trees will be the highlight to show your friends of the foliage and scenery that Costa Rica has to offer.
2. Get a SIM card for your phone. Without it you will NOT have cell service. I would recommend you do this before leaving the airport. Kolbi is one such vendor that sells them (1000 colones or about $2.00). If you fail to do this, you can also find a Kolbi store in La Fortuna. It is located on the right hand side of the road in that town (next to the Burger King).
3. GPS, this is a must.
4. If you want to go hiking you do not need to pay for an expensive tour. Rather, if you drive to the Volcano National park, at the end of the park you can leave your car. It is free there. The cost to hike the trails is $10 per person. There are two trails the longer one (El Choro) was muddy and is quite hilly. Instead, take the shorter trail which will provide you with an easier route. The longer route will take 6 hours to complete.
Out of all three hotels that was part of this package, this hotel was the better. I would consider staying here if I had to. Although there are much better resorts available. Maybe this is what to expect from a groupon.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At VOLCANO LODGE AND SPRINGS, located in La Palma, La Fortuna de San Carlos, at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano, our hot springs and lush tropical garden gives you joy and relaxation to our guests and companions. Undoubtedly, our location allows you to witness the imposing Arenal Volcano from a vantage point. QUALITY SERVICE: Knowing that service is the main reason of hospitality, the Volcano Lodge & Gardens’ team, will do our best to make your stay a very fond memory to take home. FACILITIES: All our 66 rooms are Superior and non smoking, have deluxe finishes, 2 comfortable full size beds or 1 king size bed, TV/cable, telephone, air-conditioned, coffee maker, hot water shower, hairdryer and a nice terrace facing the Volcano. We also offer 4 rooms for handicap. RESTAURANT:Sura Restaurant, capacity: 120 people, we’ll be offering you our traditional local and international food, while you enjoy the majestic view of the volcano, birds surrounded nature. You can ask for room service too. OTHER FACILITIES: *Two swimming pools for adults, two swimming pools for children and two Jacuzzis, all of them with view to the Volcano.*Laundry service, Private parking, Internet Access / Wireless Free, Tours information, nature trail, Playground.* Massages Service from 9 am to 9 pm. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Volcano Lodge And Gardens
- Volcano Lodge & Gardens Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Volcano Hotel
- Volcano Lodge & Springs Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos