Volcano and Lake View (Lava Flow) - La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Read what our travalers say about Arenal Observatory Lodge, or give your own opinion to help other people find the right option.
When I saw this hotel for the first time I knew that it would be as spectacular as I thought it would be. I was just there July 11 with a big group of family and we all fell in love with everything about this place.
My room was awesome over looking the Volcan Arenal from a beautiful terrace and all the beautiful green forest and all the beautiful flowers.
I stayed in room 32 Junior Suite.
Our first night there we had dinner at the restaurant and it was spectacular with great service, our waiter asked if we were going to be having breakfast with them so they can Reserve a table for our party since we were a party of 12. Every morning and evening our table for 12 was ready for us.
The 3.8 mile hike in the morning through the rain forest up to the cascade was awesome and our tour guide was super nice and funny.
The only thing that I think they should consider is putting TV in the rooms, as small children and elderly folks could relax in there beds after a long tiring day.
Unless you can't handle a few small bumps in the road, ignore complaints about the drive to the hotel. If it wasn't for extended drive off of the main highway, you wouldn't have the perfect quiet, peaceful, remote, and unbelievably beautiful experience the lodge offers. The staff was over-the-top friendly, at both the front desk and the restaurant. The lodge offers three amazing views, first of the volcano (which often is shrouded in mysterious rain forest cloud cover), second the meticulously maintained grounds (along with great family-friendly hiking trails), and third (and this was an expected surprise) a great view of Lake Arenal from the restaurant. The included breakfast was perfect...a great desayunos tipicos (Costa Rican breakfast) with tons of fresh fruit, eggs, black beans and rice, juices, breads, and more.Â
I stayed in the Smithsonian room #16, which was perfect for myself and two teen age daughters. It overlooks beautiful gardens, with a great view of the volcano (when the clouds lifted!!). Another awesome thing about this lodge is its at a higher elevation and about 10 degrees cooler than down in La Fortuna...which is about a 20-25 minute drive through the rain forest.
I highly recommend staying here. I will definitely come back!!
I cannot fault this hotel, except perhaps that some of the accommodation is quite a way (10 minutes walk) from the main services (restaurant, reception, etc.). This is more than made up for by the really good value for money, situation and excellent staff. Our room had a wonderful view of Lake Arenal and was situated in a quiet area ideal for bird watching, etc. The room was spacious with windows along one wall, a very nice, spacious veranda outside and very nice bathroom with a fantastic, hot shower. We have stayed at this hotel before and will certainly return.
Located on what is consdered the 'backside' of the volcano you are secluded away from most things. The road there is really poor - about 6 miles of EXTREMELY bumpy road you can't do more than about 20-30kph or you'd really be pushing it. Road was so bad we skipped going out and exploring the area as we didn't feel like spending an hour bouncing around in our little 4x4. Room was nice - pretty basic - no TV and view of Volcano. Restaurant OK - limited menu but adequate - small bar and balcony to relax on during the day. Nature walk in the morning was interesting and informative. This place is about getting away from it all but you stil have access to pool and whirlpool. Our room was close to those - not sure if there were others - if there wasn't some rooms would have been quite a hike to get there. Overall nice place - just not much to do but hike which is great. No Lava flows for last two years and they don't expect any for more than 100 more (plates shifted) so don't expect that. If there was Lava flow this place would be a SPECTACULAR spot - without it, its so so.
Very "touresty" unfriendly staff. We wished we would have stayed in Lafortuna & did a day trip to Arenal. We paid for a smithsonine room but DID NOT look anything like the pictures. The waiters were the friendlyist
Observatory lodge: The place where it all began - with the orignal seismograph still working! Comfortable, unpretentious accomodation - I appreciated the absence of a TV. Friendly and competent guides, interesting tour offered. Great hot tub and pool. Well oriented Rooms , good view of the volcano. Many animals on the ground and in the air round the rooms.
We were there in late May so we were lucky to see the eruptions. Our room(s) were situated so that they faced the volcano with no view obstructions. We heard howler monkeys in the morning and ate wonderful meals in the restaurant (that also faes the volcano). The front desk was most helpful in getting us back to San Jose with a map and specific directions. We even saw some wild Toucans as we were leaving.
We stayed at Observatory Lodge in Jan. Our room was clean, a beautiful view of the lake and quiet. The meals in the restaurant were delicious and the tour and guide the next morning, all we had hoped for. You can view beautiful birds, a coatie near the deck, and the volcano at its best. We could have stayed for a week there is that much to do and see. Jody jackson
We had read that this was a rustic (read: low quality) old science station and we were prepared to rough it for the best Arenal views. The road going there did nothing to assuage our concerns but once we arrived - AWESOME! Nice lobby, great restaurant, hot tub, pool, amazing gardens and trails, wifelife prancing around and the ever-present rumble of a live volcano - very cool! If this is 'roughing it' I'm all in! The view was spectacular as were the accomodations. Rustic? Don't think so, this place was N-I-C-E!
We had a great time, the place and staff are great. Too bad we didn't get to see the volcano. The view from the main restaurant is amazing.
Wish there were TVs in the rooms :)
The lodge is awesome. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the lodge. Was disappointed to have to leave. You cannot get a better view of the volcano. It was wonderful to sit and relax in the jacuzzi and watch the volcano. The grounds around the lodge are beautiful. The morning guided hike is a must and you cannot pick a more beautiful place to go horseback riding. The daily breakfast was fantastic. The restaurant is also wonderful. I would recommend this place to everyone.
The accommodaions were very basic and clean. The staff was great. The grounds were well kept and the views of the volcano were fabulous. More work needs to done on the access road in the long term. I would also recommend that a history of this interesting facility be more available. My only complaints were the door hinges that needed to be oiled to reduce the noise and I thnk the beds could be upgraded. We highly recommend the observatory lodge..
If you go to Arenal you really should stay here. Worth every penny.
We arrived in the Arenal area in the rain, and we never even saw the volcano until the rain stopped in the late afternoon. But once the views opened up, the lodge was a spectacular place to stay. We could see most of the volcano from our balcony, and there was a nice observation deck where people sat out at night and talked and listened to minor eruptions and rock falls every 15-20 minutes or so. (No glowing lava while we were there, but apparently the lava is more visible from hotels on the other side.) The rooms were very nice also, and the landscaping made the whole place like a jungle paradise. The food in the restaurant was so-so, and there are no other choices since you have to drive several miles on a bumpy dirt road to get there. The people at the desk were very friendly and spoke good English. All in all, it was a great place to stay.
The Observatory Lodge was great, the staff was excelent, and the rooms were perfect. The gentlemen at the front desk were especially helpful with reservations and getting taxi service. The view from the room was tremendous. The trail to the waterfall was also enjoyable and not to far.
My stay at the Arenal Observatory was outstanding. we stayed at two hotels in the area and the Observatory blew them out of the water. YOU can\'t get any closer to the volcano. What an experience...I will never forget!! The rooms,pool, trails and food were all excellent!! Didn\'t want to leave!!The voucher system worked great.No problems.
Every thing was great. I would stay at the lodge again and would recommend it to others. I would like to recommend that you put up more signs directing people to the lodge. My party and I arrived at 9:30 pm and it was difficult to find our way in the dark being unfamiliar with the roads and the signs being few and far between and not being lit.
The hotel was wonderful. The staff was so helpful and very nice. This will be my choice of hotels everytime I visit. The experience was priceless.
The canopy tour was great. It was exciting and fun. It was what I had hoped it would be.