Arenal Lodge or Arenal Observatory

Old Feb 5th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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Arenal Lodge or Arenal Observatory

Coming to Arenal in April. Has anyone stayed at the Arenal Lodge or Arenal Observatory? Recommend or not?
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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I suggest you read tripadvisor reviews for each. A couple of folks suggest Arenal Observatory over Arenal Lodge.

The Observatory is said to have less eruption activity view lately though. I've only visisted Arenal Observatory but have a Smithsonian booked for March. I've seen the eruptions before but want to enjoy their views, trails, and birding.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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We stayed at Arenal Lodge for several nights a few years ago and liked it alot. We had a junior suite on the lower level (kind of below the dining room). These rooms have ground level patios that look toward the volcano. Fabulous view. We really enjoyed having coffee there each am and watching all the beautiful birds come to the feeders. Our room was large and comfortable with as I recall a tiny fridge and microwave? It's not "fancy." As you may know, the property is set back a bumpy road from the main drag. Hence, once we drove in we used other available transport to lava rFood was average - no better nor worse than most other lodges we've stayed at in CR, where we don't go for major food experiences. Breakfasts are always best - if only because of the great fruit selections.
The lodge has on its property its own nice butterfly farm, a small collection of animals, and a small piece of walkable rainforest. It was easy to arrange day tours of various kinds from the lodge. I'd definitely stay there again. Having said all that though who can say whether you'll see much volcano action. We had cloudy to clearish whether but never quite saw the pinnacle of Arenal. Heard rumbling though. Regardless the area is quite lovely. Don't agonize over the decision too much, you're sure to enjoy your time wherever you stay near Arenal.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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We really liked Arenal Observatory Lodge last Feb. Grounds were beautiful and extensive, enjoyed the Smithsonian room (nothing fancy but spacious and clean), and what a show at breakfast and lunch - tons of birds out the restaurant
windows. The staff was nice, but they didn't always come through with what they promised (like sending a luggage cart, we had quite a hike to check-out from our room - but we managed to drag the bags up). It's enough off the beaten track (a long and rough track, by the way) I would recommend a car, I didn't like relying on taxis for the 2 days we were there. Too bad the lava view is on the other side, so we've decided to stay closer to town next month.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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I'm going to second glover's recommendation of Arenal Lodge. We stayed there this past December. We also had a Jr. Suite room that looked out at the volcano.

We liked their pretty grounds, nice breakfast buffet and the hotel's quiet location.

The Observatory Lodge seems popular with lots of folks, but is not currently in lava viewing range (not that we saw lava from Arenal Lodge either; a tropical depression was sitting over the area while we were there, and the volcano was socked in by clouds each of the 3 nights we were there).

One other thing to possibly consider is the fact that both hotels are out of town a ways. Arenal Lodge is about 20 minutes out and the Observatory Lodge is probably closer to 30 minutes away.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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We loved AOL, but must admit that drive gets a little old, and then not having a lava view these days. Still the grounds are something, especially for birders. We have heard SO many good things about Arenal Lodge, here on Fodors as well when we were in Arenal last. I'd not hesitate to give it a try.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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Have to say that I love Arenal Lodge. I just stayed at Arenal Springs, and it's nice but Arenal Lodge is still my favorite in the area.

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