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Costa Rica accomodation question in Arenal area

Old Mar 27th, 2002, 05:04 AM
  #1  
Sue
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Costa Rica accomodation question in Arenal area

I'm new to this site and am planning a trip to CR in September. There seems to be a multitude of accomodation around the Arenal volcano and I would like to know if anyone has stayed at Arenal Lodge, Arenal Observatory or Arenal Paraiso that can give me some feedback. Thanks in advance!
 
Old Mar 27th, 2002, 06:28 AM
  #2  
Iza
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We stayed at Arenal Paraiso for a couple of nights last year in August. We stayed in their "deluxe" cabin. It was very rustic but clean. There was a little fridge in the room, TV (which did not work) and A/C (not needed because it was cool and damp). My biggest complaints: the strong smell of antiseptic coming from the bathroom and the beds were too soft.
The view of the volcano would have been great from our cabin if it wasn't for clouds and fog (we got a glimpse of it the first evening and that was it!). Arenal Paraiso has very nice looking pools with a swim up bar but we thought it was too cold to enjoy the pools (the water in the pools is naturally heated, though). The hotel restaurant is OK - rather too big and impersonal for a nice dinner, but we liked their breakfast with eggs and omlets made to order.
I thought Arenal Paraiso was fine for the money but I probably would try to find something nicer if I went back to the Arenal area.
 
Old Mar 27th, 2002, 07:45 AM
  #3  
ALF
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We stayed at Arenal Observatory this past January and had a great time. We got lucky with the weather, and had two spectacular blue-sky days with the volcano looming over us. We stayed in one of the newer "Smithsonian Block" rooms, which are more removed from the main complex. This meant more walking to get to meals, etc., but a more secluded setting. The pool was cold but beautiful, and if you got too cold, you could jump in the adjacent huge hot tub. Meals were good but unimpressive, and a bit on the high side. You could spend a couple of days just hiking around the Observatory grounds, let alone going on the daily scheduled guided tours, which were very informative. We didn't do too much comparison-shopping, so I can't tell you how the Arenal Observatory compares to your other choices. I wanted to be really close to the volcano, and it just sounded like the right place. We were happy, but I am sure you can do something for less cost.
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 11:24 AM
  #4  
Judie
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We spent two nights at Arenal Lodge in February and liked it very much. The road up/back to it is a good distance from the main road around the lake if that's an issue. Get a junior suite room facing the volcano -- you'll have a great view IF the weather clears for a view (and it's really rather rare that it does). Grounds are beautifully landscaped. Room is large with small fridge and coffee pot. Nice little outside balcony/patio area for room. Fun to watch birds at feeder in am at breakfast buffet. Aside from breakfast, food in restaurant is just mediocre. On grounds is a nice butterfly room, the beginnings of a zoo of sorts, and entrance to a small rainforest like area/walk that was quite nice. Group of howler monkeys in residence nearby could be heard each am.
We would stay there again. If you don't want to drive once you get there, the lodge has a shuttle that goes to Tabacon and La Fortuna. Also, hire Hugo from Jacomar Tours in La Fortuna to take you on hike over lava rocks via El Sendero de Los Toucanes (the path of the toucans). He's a great guide, has a great scope. We saw toucans, monkey on the lava rocks, a bell bird, many other birds, etc. Have a great time!
 
Old Mar 28th, 2002, 01:37 PM
  #5  
Tara
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Ive been to Costa Rica a few times. Definitely, the BEST place to stay at Arenal is the Tabacon Resort. This hotel is at the base of the volcano and also the location of the hot springs. They have a zip line canopy at the hotel and you can even hike a little up the volcano. The spa is incredible. All of the rooms view the volcano from the patio or balcony. It even includes a great buffet breakfast.
 
Old Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:26 PM
  #6  
Tia
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Sue:

I just got back from C.R. two days ago. Stayed at the Arenal Lodge for four nights. It was great. I also visited Tabacon, but was not impressed. VERY, VERY crowded and touristy. I was so excited to see the hot springs, but was disappointed when we got there. Didn't stay long and $17/person to get in. Don't know how much rooms go for. I'm sure plenty, however the lodge is pricey, too. May be less in the rainly season. It was worth the money, though. I thought the food was excellent, except for breakfast. That was nothing to get up for. I can give you tons of details. I will also post a trip report once I can get back into the swing of things here at work and have some extra time. Lots of stories to tell. If you want specific info on the lodge, drop me an e-mail ([email protected]). I'd be glad to help in any way I can. You'll have a great time no matter where you stay. The volcano was very active while we were there, too, but it was quite cloudy. The day we were supposed to arrive (we got laid over in Dallas due to bad weather), the volcano had a major eruption that night. Needless to say, when you could actually see it, we missed it. However, we did see a few good eruptions during the day, but I'm sure not as good as what it was at night could we see it through the clouds. Let me know if you'd like more info.

Tia
 
Old Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:57 PM
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Sue
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Thanks all for the great feedback. Tia, I will wait for your trip report and contact you if I have further questions. I appreciate all the help - this site is invaluable!
 
Old Apr 19th, 2002, 09:27 AM
  #8  
TV
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We just returned from Costa Rica 2 days ago. While at La Fortuna, we stayed at Lomas del Volcan. It was fabulous ! It is a group of about 13 or 14 cabins. They were great. They all have a front and a back porch with fridge and awesome views of the volcano.
 
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 05:29 AM
  #9  
Jane
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We couldn't get accomodations at Tabacon and ended up at Arenal Lodge. We did spend a day at the hot springs which I would highly recommend, but after seeing the lodge I was glad we were at Arenal Lodge. There was just something sterile about the place. We had a junior suite facing the volcano at Arenal Lodge and it was wonderful. The sky was clear for 2 nights and we watched the lava flowing from the volcano from our room. Although feeding the birds is probably a "no no" we loved the bird feeders outside our room in the morning.
 
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