Costa Rica Arenal Observatory Lodge

Apr 13th, 2019, 12:05 PM
  #1  
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Costa Rica Arenal Observatory Lodge

We are planning a trip to Arenal for next Feb and have seen many good reviews of the Arenal Observatory Lodge, particularly the gardens and trails. Do you know if there are taxi's or shuttle service available from this hotel to the town of La Fortuna? We will not have a car and have read that it is some distance to the town. Also, how is the restaurant at the hotel?
I also read that they do not have air conditioning. Has anyone stayed here in Feb and is A/C really not needed then?
Thank you for your feedback.
Karen
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Apr 13th, 2019, 03:20 PM
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We've stayed there a couple of times and really liked it. They have great trails, beautiful views of the lake and the volcano, and some nice wildlife. You can see coatis and beautiful birds around their observation deck, and we saw howler monkeys while we were out hiking on both trips. Also have a waterfall, a hanging bridge, and a free guided hike each morning. They have a shuttle that goes into town and back. We've used it. We paid $8 per person. It only runs at certain times so you have to operate on their schedule. Food was pretty good. I'd recommend getting a batido from the bar and enjoying it out on the observation deck while you watch the birds. You can also get a taxi into town but will probably cost you about $30. We haven't missed a.c. when we've stayed there, but it wasn't terribly warm during our stays. It was nice and temperate most days and chilly and windy one day so people were wearing light jackets. It can get warm though; it's just not that predictable. I think there was a ceiling fan in the room if I remember correctly. The Smithsonian rooms are nice.
volcanogirl is offline  
Apr 14th, 2019, 07:01 AM
  #3  
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Volcanogirl: Thank you so much for your feedback. We'll take our chances without A/C and look at booking here.
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Apr 15th, 2019, 02:51 PM
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We stayed at AOL last September and really enjoyed it. We had several meals at the restaurant and they were all good - we had most of our dinners there since we enjoy relaxing with a nice beer or two after an active day. In the afternoon/evenings, we loved hanging out on the deck watching the sunset before dinner. The restaurant is a bit on the pricey side for Costa Rica, but not terribly expensive. You can see their menu with prices online to get an idea.

I don't know the relative temps between February and September in that area, but we were totally fine in September without AC. AOL is high enough in elevation so that it cools off somewhat. it was cool enough at night and first thing in the morning that I wore a sweatshirt sometimes.
november_moon is online now  
Apr 15th, 2019, 05:31 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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The AOL website has information on a shared shuttle to La Fortuna

https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.c...a-fortuna-town

AOL can also arrange private transfers. I think taxi fare into town of La Fortuna is something like $25 one way.

You may be able to find other transfer options to get from the airport to either La Fortuna or AOL.

I thought the food at the onsite restaurant was okay if you stick to the basics like grilled chicken. One doesn't travel to Costa Rica for exceptional food, anyways.

By the way take anything that roadadvisor says on TA with a huge boulder of salt..he is not unbiased.
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Apr 16th, 2019, 08:31 AM
  #6  
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Thank you november_moon for your feedback. We have managed to secure a booking for this hotel in Feb.
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Apr 16th, 2019, 08:33 AM
  #7  
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Thank you mlgb for your feedback. I did notice the shuttle mentioned on the AOL website. We will most likely take advantage one evening.
Now we are trying to decide the best way to get to AOL from San Jose airport hotel.
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Apr 16th, 2019, 09:43 AM
  #8  
 
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mlgb - Yeah, CR isn't a foodie destination, that's for sure All the food we had in CR was in the decent-to-pretty-good range. It's all pretty fresh and mostly well-prepared, which is nice. Nothing really stood out - except the batidos, of course - I could drink the fruit smoothies all day every day.
november_moon is online now  
Apr 16th, 2019, 06:36 PM
  #9  
 
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You can have a private driver take you; there's also a shuttle service called Interbus, but you have to operate on their schedule.
volcanogirl is offline  
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