Arenal, Monteverde, and the Northern Lowlands Hotels

Arenal Observatory Lodge


  • Best volcano views
  • Secluded location
  • Rate includes breakfast, taxes, and guided hike


  • Rough road to get here
  • Isolated location
  • No in-room phones
  • Patchy Wi-Fi

Fodor's Review

These cozy, comfortable, simply furnished rooms allow you to sleep as close as anyone should to a volcano—it's a mere 2¾ km (1¾ miles) away, and stellar views and outdoor activities are what the place is all about. The facility was founded by Smithsonian researchers in 1987 and is fairly rustic, though after a hike on the 11 km (7 miles) of well-maintained trails, you can take a dip in the infinity pool or Jacuzzi, which face tall pines on one side and the volcano on the other. With over 400 species of birds and 870 acres of private rain forest, this property is a dream for bird-watchers. Other activities include hikes to the waterfall, horseback riding, bicycling through the trails, or relaxing at the spa. Five of the rooms are wheelchair accessible, as are a couple of miles of the property's trails. The dining room, which serves tasty and hearty food, has great views of the volcano and lake.

Hotel Information


3 km (2 miles) east of dam on Laguna de Arenal; from La Fortuna, drive to Tabacón resort and continue 4 km (2½ miles) past resort to turnoff at base of volcano; turn and continue for 9 km (6 miles), La Fortuna, 21007, Costa Rica


/2479–1070-lodge; /2290–7011-in San José

Hotel Details:

  • 46 rooms, 2 suites
  • Rate includes: Breakfast

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