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Arenal Observatory Lodge

At a Glance

    Pros

  • best volcano views
  • secluded location
  • rate includes breakfast and guided hike

    Cons

  • rough road to get here
  • isolated location
  • no in-room phones
  • patchy Wi-Fi

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Arenal Observatory Lodge Review

These cozy, comfortable, simply furnished rooms allow you to sleep as close as anyone should to a volcano—it's a mere 1¾ km (1 mile) 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 you can take a dip in the infinity pool or Jacuzzi, which face tall pines on one side and the volcano on the other. Five of the rooms here 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 Details

  • 51 rooms, 46 with bath; 2 suites.
  • Rate includes breakfast.
Updated: 04-08-2013

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Room  
    Décor  
    Service  
    Value  

    No other place like it

    Location, location, location. No other place has what the AOL offers--a scary-close view of the volcano (you can hear the boulders tumbling down the sides), a breathtaking view of the lake, and direct access to the national park and its wildlife.

    The view from the Smithsonian is awesome, but the standard rooms are nicer and bigger--so you can't lose. The only downsides are the evening dinner options--eat a hearty lunch if you must eat there at night--and the service. We tried to get reservations for Eco Termales in advance, but they refused. Sure enough, when we got there, Eco Termales was all booked up. Also, the reception desk is open at some inconvenient hours.

    by RAC, 4/14/08

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