June 2nd, 2013
May 24th, 2013
May 23rd, 2013
May 17th, 2013
October 2nd, 2012
October 4th, 2012
October 9th, 2013
October 19th, 2012
November 25th, 2012
“Pura Vida at its finest”
This was a first for me. I have never booked a vacation of this magnitude away from the beach (I'm a beach girl living in the mountains of NC). I was a little anxious about splitting my precious time with the ocean with the mountains. I AM SO GLAD I DID. All I have to say is, Wow. The website does not even begin to do this lodge justice. Set on thousands of acres of nature and beauty, Arenal Observatory Lodge gave us much more than we had expected. We went in mid-late May and had the time of our lives (don't worry about "rainy season"-it only rained maybe twice and it was for a brief period, then the sun came back out).
As you slowly wind up the well kept, bumpy brick road, you get the feeling that you are going back in time to a simpler place. The jungle and mountains are all around you. Birds flitter back and forth and fill the air with their songs. Upon pulling up to the lobby, you are greeted with smiles and fresh guava juice. It is anything but rustic.
The Chalet room was simple, yet romantic with the view alone being worth the trip. THE VIEWS ARE TRULY BREATHTAKING. Down in the valleys, the horses roam in their pasture. Arenal and the lake materialize as the clouds dissipate. You can see for miles. Birds of every color sing you good morning songs. A clean, roomy shower, kitchenette and sitting area made it feel like a little home. Laundry service and a free safe are at your disposal as well, not to mention the gym, swimming pool, and jacuzzis (yes, plural). There was no air conditioning, but we wouldn't have used it even if there was. The cool, refreshing breeze constantly blowing.
While the room was enough to make you want to stay in bed and stare out the window all day, there is a wealth of excitement to be had. Guided jungle hikes and horseback rides are HIGHLY recommended. Miguel, our guide, has been with the lodge for 10 years. Accommodating and well educated, you will appreciate every moment you spend with him. Not to mention, you will learn about history, culture, botany, zoology, bush medicine, and much more. At night, head down to the bar for a couple of drinks, game of pool, or good conversation with the staff and guests.
If you get antsy and want to be in civilization, La Fortuna is only about 10 mins away. We went to a couple of the local sodas (diner restaurants) for some of our meals. Arenal Lodge's food is good, but we were looking for more authentic culinary experiences (the lodge caters to the American palate). In town was also a little bit cheaper.
If you are looking for a taste of Pura Vida you must visit the Arenal Observatory Lodge. I cannot begin to praise it enough. We will definitely be back. THANK YOU FOR A VISIT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE!
“Quiet and beautiful”
I could not believe how quiet and blissful this place was. The view was spectacular and the staff was very nice and accommodating. Miguel gave us a great free tour of the area surrounding the lodge. We saw howler monkeys, red eyed tree frogs, butterflies, yellow eye lash vipers and all sorts or birds. And the hike was free! The restaurant is great and the free breakfast is nice. I would only say that you must bring your own amenities like hair conditioner and get ready for a steep drive up a mountain!
“Awesome 'non-touristy' hotel near Arenal Volcano”
Me and my wife stayed her for our honey moon for 3 nights. We arrived at night time and were a bit concerned as we were driving into the hotel entrance that this was going to be bad. There were no lights past the main entrance as you drive up switchback roads about 6 minutes to the top of the observatory. However, once we got to the main hotel area it was dimly lit which was just enough to really accentuate all the native vegetation along the walkways and emphasized the main lodge area.
Our check in was flawless, the reception staff was extremely friendly. Our room was upgraded from a standard room to a higher tier (not the highest) because we were just married which was a pleasant surprise. We didn't do very much that night as it was late so we went to our room.
The room we had was pretty nice, it had all the amenities you would need but it certainly wasn't luxurious but we weren't really looking for that. We got up the next morning at 6am because of jet lag and going outside for the first time we realized we had a perfect view of Arenal Volcano right from our door! Only bad thing i can say is that there were animals scratching on our windows in the middle of the night. I slept like a baby but my wife was a bit annoyed.
We had a buffet breakfast which had some traditional Costa Rican dishes as well as pancakes and cereal. We were joined on the balcony by their mascot parrot Stephania. She helped herself to some of our breakfast, she loves plantains! There is a tour desk and WiFi in the main lodge area if you need to use internet on your phone or tablet.
The tour staff was very nice, but she works for 1 company that does many tours. We did a few of their tours but did our own research and asked her to book us with those other companies and she was happy to do so. Most of the tours will provide shuttles to and from all locations. Arenal Lodge also offered a free morning tour on a path near their grounds as well as a free 1 hour horseback riding. Both of these tours were free (honestly not sure if it came with our package or if everyone gets it, might be worth it to clarify) and were conducted by Miguel, the tour guide for Arenal Lodge. This man is amazing. He was so nice and so knowledgeable about everything you see. He has such a passion for what he does and he has a way of speaking that makes you hang on his every word. He will make you laugh and smile. We are even friends with him on Facebook now! I had heard from other reviews he was good but was skeptical. Now I couldn't agree more!
“We loved it”
This Lodge sits on a 1000 acre working ranch. The view from our chalet of Mt Arenal was one of the best hotel views we have ever experienced. We were there three days, which seems to be the norm among other reviewers. The area is too remote for a day trip from the bigger cities. Miguel does a great job on the hike and horseback riding tour. Horses are geared for neophyte riders like us so don't expect galloping steeds. We saw lots of wild life that you just don't see outside of a zoo in the US.
The roads are not as bad as some reported but they are two lane and you do need to heed safety precautions more than at home. I would not drive at night. We also did the hot springs and zip lines which are not on the property. We would go back to see water fall near Fortuna and the hanging bridges near the lodge. Room Tip: We got a chalet and I do believe you would be happy to upgrade to this level. That is for the view...
Words cannot express how beautiful this place is! Our stay was the vacation of a life time. The view, the food, the people... all fantastico! What a magical and mystical place. We will definetely return. Thanks for making our honeymoon so memorable. Muchas gracias
Un hotel precioso con gente estupenda y muy agradables. Uno de los mejores que hemos visto hasta ahora. En verdad es precioso, y por la noche tubimos la suerte de ver lava cayendo por la ladera. Muchas gracias x todo.
Un lugar impresionante, una estancia agradable y la amabilidad, simpatia y el buen hacer de los empleados fantastico. Eso es pura, pura vida. Gracias a todos con carino.
We enjoyed Arenal Lodge as much as the first time ten years ago. The view,food, birds, and people are wonderful! The Plantation Trail was one of my favorite things to explore. God Bless.
Don and I have arrived to enjoy our honeymoon. We are trying our best to speak the language and are having fun seeing the wild life outside our porch! Thank you for your hospitality and good company! Buenas tardes.