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allison04 Mar 3rd, 2004 07:41 AM

CR: Arenal Observatory Lodge?
I'm planning a Costa Rica honeymoon and am interested in people's experiences with Arenal Observatory Lodge. I was thinking Tabacon but I've heard it's not THAT great, considering how much more expensive it is than other options. Plus the Arenal lodge is supposed to be very environmentally responsible--but I'm wondering how spartan it is. We don't need super-posh (we're also planning to stay at other resorts) but I want it to be nice. Any thoughts?

Also, any recommendations for a bus or car service to take us from Arenal to Manuel Antonio? (we're not up for driving ourselves!) Thanks!

Iza Mar 3rd, 2004 08:34 AM

Allison, I have not stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge but have heard good reviews. However, if you are counting on seeing the lava flow, the better location nowadays is along the road from La Fortuna to Tabacon. Two places that are very popular on this board are Arenal Paraiso and Montana de Fuego. Both have super volcano views. We stayed at Arenal Paraiso a couple of years ago and it was fine. We had no luck with viewing the volcano on that trip - too cloudy and foggy, but did finally see it on our second attempt last year.

As to transportation, Interbus or Gray Line have service between major tourist destinations.

allison04 Mar 3rd, 2004 09:44 AM

Thank you! I've also heard of those and will definitely look into them.

RufusTFirefly Mar 3rd, 2004 10:10 AM

We stayed at Arenal Paraiso Jan 18-20 and had 2 nights of great views of the eruptions and lava flows from our bungalow--it was amazing. Even if it's cloudy during the day (when you can't see the lava anyway), it often clears up at night. The hotel will send someone to wake you up if there's a good lava flow. It was an amazing experience.

The Arenal Paraiso is a very nice resort, well worth the money. Iza was correct about both Arenal Paraiso and Montana de Fuego having superb views of the current lava flow paths.

Arenal Paraiso has a good restaurant and nice pool area, including man-made pools with the natural hot spring water.

Ally Mar 3rd, 2004 01:06 PM

I agree with the others. The Observatory Lodge is not the best location to see the lava, and not only that, it's not convenient to town or the springs at all! It's on the other side of the volcano from everything else.

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