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“Second Visit As Good As The First”

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Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Second Visit As Good As The First”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 October 2009

We made our second visit to Leaves and Lizards in June. While our first visit was jam- packed with activity, this one was more relaxing. On this visit, we stayed in the Heliconia House which has been updated with beautiful wood ceilings, AC (which we never needed to use), and new furniture. Deb, Steve, and all the L&L folks were as hospitable and helpful as they were the first time we visited. The food was excellent. And sitting on the porch, sipping an Imperial while Arenal did her thing was just what we needed to de-stress. Just one word of warning - Leaves and Lizards can become habit-forming! We can't wait to go back again.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank MrBdeBub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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630 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (162)
Date | Rating
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English first
MMartin03
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 October 2009

The view of the volcano and the rain forest from the cabin was breathtaking! The whole staff was incredible. Felt like home. The food was fantastic and everything was kept very clean. There was a horseback riding tour that was our favorite experience. I couldn't have asked for anything more!

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MMartin03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
florida
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 October 2009

A visit with Steve and Debbie at Leaves and Lizards is a must if you are planning a trip to the Arenal area. My first time in Costa Rica was such a fun-filled, relaxing retreat that going back is a matter of when, not if. The Leaves and Lizards retreat was the perfect introduction to the beauty, the nature and the awe of Costa Rica and the Arenal volcano. Steve and Debbie were perfect host and hostess who were concerned not only with our comfort but our safety and enjoyment. The staff was warm and friendly, the food excellent.... especially pancakes in the morning. Horseback riding through fields and trails to the waterfall was the highlight of my trip. A knowledgeable guide was there to point out the many exotic birds and plants, complete with sloth, along our trail. It was hard for me to stop at the end of the day because of the desire for it not to end. The cabins were spacious, clean and comfortable.....with the wonderful warm touch of Costa Rican wood. You could wake up in the morning looking out big windows or relax in the evening in hammocks, at gorgeous views of the volcano. Thank You Steve and Debbie for sharing this piece of paradise.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank cmorrisfla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2009

Deb and Steve will make you feel at home in an exotic land. They can help you to experience the best of Costa Rica. They have their own cadre of guides, so you get much more personalized service with regard to tours of the area. Our cabin was clean, comfortable and interesting. It had a spectacular view of Mount Arenal. My son and I spent one afternoon just chatting and watching the volcano, which may sound strange until you see it for yourself and realize that it changes character every minute.

This is not a typical resort, which is exactly its strong suit. This is not a resort where men and women in little white uniforms serve you tropical drinks at poolside. It is a resort where Deb and Steve serve you freshly squeezed juice from locally raised fruits in the common area adjacent to their home while they tell you about the indigenous flora and fauna and explain the local culture. It is a resort where Enrique will enlighten you as to the land and its people. In short, you feel right at home while, at the same time, fully experiencing an exotic place.

A major advantage of this resort is that Deb and Steve have their own cadre of guides, their own horses, their own small farm and lots of local connections to the community. Instead of joining a tour with 20 other people in cattle-car fashion, you will enjoy a much more intimate tour of your own choosing, and, for the most part, on your schedule and at your own pace. For example, my son and I took a tour with Enrique for a jungle hike. In the middle of the tour, we visited a spectacular waterfall, took a dip in the water and then took a little nap before returning to "civilization". Enrique waited patiently for us. There was no schedule or deadline per se. (Having said this, there are some attractions that require that you get up early or stay up late to get the best views--my point is that Leaves and Lizards is not rigid.)

I have read comments from others that the proprietors can be pushy regarding their tours. I beg to differ with such characterizations. Yes, Deb and Steve will urge you to get off your duff, get out there and see this exotic and wonderful land. And if you don't follow their advice, shame on you, and maybe you should go to some other resort and sit by the pool for hours on end instead of seeing monkeys, lizards, colorful birds and flowers and the other, wonderful flora and fauna that make Costa Rica such a desired destination.

After you visit Deb and Steve, you can tell your friends, "Yes, I experienced Costa Rica." You cannot say this if you sit by the pool at the "luxury hotel" beside a jungle flower planted in a pot.

I hope you find this review helpful.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank RichmanBaltimore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarasota, FL
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2009

I've been to Costa Rica many times and stayed at Leaves and Lizards the last couple of times. The rooms (separate cabins) are great with a wonderful view of Arenol Volcano. The lush growth around each cabins allows for all the privacy you'd want. Debbie and Steve have become a part of the local community and can help any who are interested to learn more about the locals, the area and other parts of this beautiful and diverse country. Debbie has lined up some great tour guides and can direct you to many of the activities such as river rafting, zip lines, repelling, hot springs,etc. Great location for getting to all these activities without being in the busy town of La Fortuna. Lots of birds, hummingbirds, butterflies at the main house and at each cabin for photos. They have horses for riding on their extensive land and to a nearby waterfall. If you like something a little out of the way but not too far away from the activities, you cannot beat Leaves and Lizards. The only downside I've found is a little rough road in the immediate area but it is part of the local flavor in many areas of Costa Rica and I've never found it to stop my friends and I from exploring great places like Leaves and Lizards.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Ijustwant2travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, TX
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2009

This is THE place to get away from it all yet have so much to do if you want. My son and I stayed in the Toucan cabin which had an absolutely fantastic view of the volcano. Hummingbirds frequented the flora surrounding our deck and seemed to have no fear! Food is fantastic...breakfast is not the usual rice and beans you get at most places that include breakfast thank goodness!

The tours offered by Debbie and Steve are the best I have been treated to....I experienced Costa Rica like I never had before on a previous trip two years ago. I HIGHLY recommend the horseback ride to the private waterfall! It is not your typical "horsey" ride and the guides were knowledgeable and eager to teach us all about the beautiful country we rode through. We felt very, very special and it was the most memorable tour I have had in years! Another good part of the tour was that a portion of the proceeds go towards the rural tourism efforts for the locals there....a positive in my point of view!

In addition to the riding tour Debbie recommended a canyoning waterfall rappelling tour that was exhilarating and a total blast!

I used to work in the travel industry and I can honestly say this was one of the BEST experiences I have had in my travels. If you are looking for posh pampering, marble vanities, and room service, this is not the place for you. If you are looking to actually EXPERIENCE Costa Rica then Debbie and Steve and crew can certainly make it happen! We look forward to returning next year!

Oh, the bumpy, knock-my-knee-against-the-door, rattle-my-fillings road to get there is part of its charm. We drove to a relatively new, posh, deluxe resort in the area for a short tour and the road to get there was equally bumpy, pot-holed, and jarring. It is Costa Rica afterall!! Pura Vida!

Debbie a

Stayed July 2009
Helpful?
Thank bsbwife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CA
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2009

We stayed at the Heliconia House with our 2 young daughters for 4 nights and had a wonderful time.
Fair warning: the road from La Fortuna to L & L is really bumpy and you need to drive it slowly, but it is worth it once your reach L & L and I think it was just 30 minutes.
Make sure you print out the map that Debbie sends you... we forgot to bring it with us and had a pretty miserable time getting there from Liberia... But, it was really our fault.
Once we arrived, we realized it was worth the first day drama.
Our girls loved walking down to the stable and checking on the animals. Miss Piggy was a big hit with them and Steve and Debbie were wonderful about encouraging them to interact with their animals. They even gave Miss Piggy a bath one day, which was one of their favorite things... Debbie made the best recommendations on tours and we were thrilled with the canopy tour company they referred us to on our 2nd day there (El Mundo Adventuras). We also visited a Tico farm and took the Rio Frio tour with their guide, Enrique... He is a wonderful guide/translator and we really enjoyed his company and he taught us a lot about why Costa Rica is so amazing... The tours may seem expensive, but they really are worth every penny. The meals they offer are simply delicious and their staff is quite gracious... We have told many of our friends about Leaves & Lizards and hope to return again someday...

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank jenklairkids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat

Property: Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Address: Meters South Of Super Kiki 500, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 21012, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Green Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#5 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#8 Business Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This secluded resort is located on 26 acres with spectacular viewing of the Arenal Volcano near La Fortuna. Enjoy the panoramic vista of Arenal and Cerro Chato from a hammock on your porch or from your comfortable, orthopedic, queen sized beds with Egyptian cotton sheets. Meals prepared using locally grown ingredients at the Lava Lizard on-site dining facility. Guests are invited to help with daily 'chores' on this working farm. Milk a cow, collect eggs for breakfast or groom a horse. Enjoy private horseback riding, professional guide service, on site spa and 2 km of on site nature trails. The vision at Leaves and Lizards is to create the perfect blend of adventure, discovery and tranquility for each guest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Leaves And Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
Leaves And Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat Costa Rica/La Fortuna De San Carlos

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