The Arenal Observatory Lodge crowns a ridge overlooking Arenal Lake and the looming volcano only 1.7 miles away, all within the refreshing ambiance of a working 870 acres farm that includes 400 acres in reforestation and 270 acres of natural forest, all surrounded by the tropical splendor of the Arenal National Park. Arenal Lake is the largest in Costa Rica and offers excellent sport fishing.
The lodge actually grew out of several extremely humble buildings originally built for housing scientists and researchers from the Smithsonian Institute and Earthwatch.
The Arenal Observatory Lodge is the best place to experience the thrill and beauty of the Arenal volcano because of its location, its long history as a research center and the knowledge and the experience of its staff and guides.
If you are a nature lover than this place is for you!
After driving eight miles in dirt road my wife was wondering about the Quality and location of the hotel but as soon as we passed the main gate her faith in me and the hotel was restored! :)
Geanina and the hotel staffs were all about Quality and customer service From the moment we booked with the lodge until we checked out a few days later.
- Try their Red Merlot Chilean wine at the restaurant, Good one
- Wake up with Monkeys Hauling and look for them on the tall pine trees. They start by the front desk and jump on the trees toward the back of the lodge.
- Take the 8.30 Am Free Nature walk.
- Hike to the top of the Cerro Chato and swim in the lake (I was alone up there and didnt dare to swim by myself :)
- Zipline with the hotel recommended tour near the hotel.
- Take a lot of pictuers! :)
- DONT Mess with nature.
We will be back! Thanks again for a fabulous time and adventure.
Arenal observatory lodge is a great place to view the volcano and also arrange for hikes. Breath taking views.
That being said, I would recommend to stay close to office, as opposed to a standard room away from main area. It's a .5 k uphill hike to breakfast everyday if you don't have a car. Also, you will not have internet connectivity if not close to the reception desk. No kitchen or fridge either, which was not a plus since we had to rely on their fairly expensive restaurant.
Views are great though, so for nature enthusiasts it's a perfect spot.
Great place to stay with easy access to the park, a great centralized place to plan activities and nice accommodations.
My husband and I had an excellent two nights at the Arenal Observatory. We had volcano view room the first night. We had arrived after dark, but it was such a pleasure to wake up to a volcano in the morning. The birds & coati were beautiful and a pleasure to see up close. The grounds are very well groomed and welcoming to the public. I never made it to the pool as we spent most of the day hiking, but it looked amazing!
We made some last minute changes to our itinerary & they were very accommodating. Thank you for everything! We hope to be back!
The Arenal Observatory is a beautiful facility with incredible views of the volcano. My husband and I stayed for two nights and loved hiking the well maintained grounds. We also did the hike up to the neighboring extinct volcano & swam in the lagoon at the top. It's a challenging climb, but a great experience.
Incredible wildlife all around the property, but we were disappointed not to come across any monkeys. However, all the birds and the coati were awesome! One came right up to us after we sat on a bench at the bottom of the entry to the extinct volcanos. Completely friendly out looking for food. Great place to take a family or to go with your partner.
The room was magical.
The observatory is the way to go and get the best possible view of the volcano!
Geanina was very helpful.
I will definitely stay there again if going back to Arenal.
Nir & Ashley
What a lovely introduction to Costa Rica! Geanina and the rest of the staff made our brief stay totally memorable-- our room was private and spotless with an amazing volcano view. Folks at the front desk made sure we found the pool and morning hike. We would come here again in a heartbeat!
Beautiful view and great hikes. I would definitely heed the warnings of having a 4x4 and account for an extra 20 min drive off main road to/from lodge. Clean, comfortable and Esteban at the front desk was so helpful in recommending places to eat in town. Everyone spoke good English and really great value if you want to see a beautiful part of CR that is a little off the beaten path.
We absolutely loved our stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. We had a fantastic room right at the foot of the volcano, slightly set apart from the rest of the lodge. We loved all the forest (primary and secondary) trails surrounding the lodge and being set apart from the business of La Fortuna. The complimentary breakfast is also fantastic.
Geanina was very helpful as we organized our stay. She responded almost immediately to inquiries not just about the lodge but about transportation and travel in Costa Rica.
We enjoyed every minute of our stay and would go back in a heartbeat!
This place was great. We stayed for one night while driving from Serapiqui to Monteverde and it was a good place to stop in the middle. I easily could have spent more days exploring the grounds and numerous hiking trails. The room was very nice and we were off to the side in one of the Smithsonian rooms so felt we had a lot of privacy. The pool was also really nice and the restaurant was delicious.
A 4x4 is a definite must for getting to this place, especially in the rainy season. The road is long and dirt (though it wasn't as bad as some in Nicoya haha).
I would definitely stay here again.