Day pass at Arenal Observatory Lodge

Old Jan 14th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Day pass at Arenal Observatory Lodge

Does anyone know if you need to set up a day tour at AOL in advance? I read somewhere that it was a $6.00 entry fee to hike the trails, but I don't know if that is still a valid price. I also wonder if you need to set it up before you arrive or just show up and pay. We aren't staying there, but I know that the wildlife sightings at AOL are tops in the area. We've already gone to Cano Negro and Hanging Bridges on past trips.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 07:16 AM
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Hi, col - I'm going to throw a bookmark on here because I'd like to do it too.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 03:34 PM
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VG - since no one responded with info, I e-mailed AOL directly to ask about hiking on their trails as a day visitor. The entry fee for visitors is $6 and you can hike on your own, no advance reservations necessary.

3 1/2 weeks until departure!
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 04:30 PM
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Oh, thanks, col - that's definitely something I'd like to do. Where all are you going on your trip?
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:30 AM
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VG - heading to Rio Celeste (La Carolina), Arenal, Tortuguero, Cahuita, Sarapiqui, then a one week homestay via Friendship Force with my Alajuela friends. During that final week, we are doing day trips to Bajos del Toro, Paraiso del Quetzal, Poas and Orosi Valley. Three week trip with several new destinations that are very much off the beaten track!
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 09:00 AM
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Sounds amazing. I'll look forward to your trip report. Rio Celeste is still on our to do list! Have a great time!
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Old Jul 18th, 2015, 07:01 PM
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Hi, col - I wanted to follow up and ask you how the trails were at AOL. What kind of wildlife did you end up seeing at AOL? Did you just go on your own, or did you do the guided hike? Any special spots for good wildlife spotting? We decided to book there for an upcoming trip and are trying to decide if we want to hire a guide or just go on our own. We're really looking forward to staying there.
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Old Jul 19th, 2015, 07:23 PM
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Hey VG - since we didn't stay at AOL, we didn't get as early a start as I would have liked and didn't have a guide. Wildlife was nil, birding was decent, but nothing I had not seen in other places. We did see some the usual coatis and some peccaries along the road, but tanagers, Montezuma Oropendulas, hummingbirds in the porterweed was about it.

I would suggest a guided tour since most people see much more than what we did. My friends didn't want to spring for a guide, plus we got there mid-morning, so timing wasn't the best. I enjoyed AOL's lush landscaping and photographed mainly flowers and plants there.

Hope you have dry weather for your day at Rio Celeste - it's absolutely stunning!
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 05:21 PM
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Thank you - I really appreciate the help. Wildlife seems kind of hit or miss, but maybe if we get an early start we'll get lucky.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 11:42 AM
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I would recommend going on the free morning guided hike. It was timed to see the monkeys (howler and spider) passing through. The guide also knew where a few eyelash vipers were and pointed those out.

Coatis show up for the morning fruit feeder.

There may be some other critters there, I think I had read reports of some semi-tame mammals but maybe out of date anyways.

Margay
https://vimeo.com/22530225
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 05:00 PM
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Yep, we plan to do that on our first morning there. Would love to see monkeys and vipers. RAC seemed to think the guides weren't so great, but sounds like you had a good experience. Where are the fruit feeders set up?

Love the margay video - was that shot in the area?
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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The fruit feeders were just off the patio of the restaurant.

I believe it was a rescued margay that was returned to the wild, on the property. Don't know if it is still there, though.

I didn't go with a guide after the free hike. I considered it sort of a scouting/orientation hike.

I went back to the waterfall trail (where we had seen an ant swarm) and got very lucky with the ocellated antbird and associates.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 09:05 AM
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We will definitely hit the fruit feeders. Thanks for the tip. Is there any outside dining on the patio?
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 09:57 AM
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I don't remember for sure. I think there was. Although it was so long ago the practice may have changed. Anyway it is what it is!

btw I checked their facebook timeline and one of the margays was photographed in January, so at least one is still around (and apparently habituated). Maybe the desk staff would reveal where it can usually be found...or not, given my experience with their guide.

https://www.facebook.com/arenalobser...type=3&theater

They also have horseback rides and the horses seemed in good shape when I was there.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 03:23 PM
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The margay is beautiful. I think RAC mentioned that they saw a small cat when he was there.
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