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Suggested Hotels in Arenal, Monte Verde, and Manuel Antonio

Suggested Hotels in Arenal, Monte Verde, and Manuel Antonio

Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 02:34 PM
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Suggested Hotels in Arenal, Monte Verde, and Manuel Antonio

I would LOVE your recommendation for the best hotel in Arenal, Monte Verde,
and Manuel Antonio. The hotel does NOT have to be the MOST EXPENSIVE, but I
am looking for a very nice place. My thinking is that if a hotel is TRULY
NICER and in a better location with a much better view, I'll spend the extra
money. I however hate to waste money on tourist trap hotels if an equivalent
place is available at a much cheaper price.

Listed below are some hotels that my tour company suggested. Please suggest
which of these or an alternative that I should choose.
THANKS soooooooooo much for your help and Happy New Year!!!

Arenal Area: Arenal Lodge, Tabacon Hot Springs, Montana del Fuego, Lost

Monte Verde Area: El Establo Hotel

Manuel Antonio Area: La Mariposa, Costa Verde

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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 04:43 PM
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If I remember correctly, the Arenal Lodge is on the other side of the lake, therefore very far away from the volcano. The Arenal Observatory Lodge was great-the grounds were beautiful, and the volcano was right there (1 1/2 km away). We were constantly in awe of the rumbling. It was incredible. The Arenal Paraiso hotel is also great, although it is a bit further from the volcano, you can still see and hear everything. And, as a plus you are on the correct side of the volcano to view the red lava at night rolling down. Very cool... Tabacon, in my opinion, was very overrated. It was just a nice normal North American hotel, with unfriendly staff and lousy food. Montana del Fuego was under a lot of construction when we were there late fall, so I would look further into that before going ahead with it.
I am not familiar with the hotel you mentioned in Monteverde, sorry.
In Manual Antonio, Costa Verde was very touristy, but nice. We stayed in a quiet hotel, next to Si Como No, called Hotel Nicholas. It was great-the staff were amazing, the breakfast is worth the trip!, and our room had a hammock inside. I quite liked it.

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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Actually, the way Arenal Observatory Lodge is situated, even though it is very close to the volcano, you can't see the lava flows down the volcano. AOL is about the worst place to have a chance to see the show--though you can sure hear it.

Arenal Paraiso and the Montana are in ideal locations to see the current flow lines. Tabacon is also in a good location. Lost Iguana also doesn't have the best views--too far around the other side of the volcano from the AOL. Better views than AOL, but not great.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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ARENAL: We stayed at Volcano Lodge. While it was OK and a good price ($70/night incl bkfst), I wouldn't rave about it. We did see the volcano erruption from our patio. Anyway, I was impressed by Montana del Fuego when we stopped there to pick up a couple for a hiking tour that we went on and thought that that would have been a nice place to stay. The hot springs at Tabacon were AMAZING! The hotel was too expensive for us, but if you have the funds, it'd be GREAT to stay there because you could go in the springs more often!

MONTEVERDE: Not familiar with El Establo Hotel. We stayed at El Sapo Dorado and it was AMAZING! You get a spacious two-room cabin that is soooo peaceful! The hotel has a restaurant that is amazing. And, it's nearby (walk or $4 cab) town and some other attractions & restaurants.

MANUEL ANTONIO: We did NOT go here, so I can't say. But I've heard good things about La Mariposa. It's supposed to have amazing views.

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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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This is what I decided:
4 Days at Montana de Fuego Jr Suite
3 Days Vela Fonda Jr Suite
3 Days La Mariposa Superior Room

Anyone have any better suggestions before I sign on the dotted line?

I appreciate everyone's help. I am so excited about this trip.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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La Mariposa was for quite a few years THE hotel in Manuel Antonio , when I saw it a few months ago (early Nov.) I hardly recognized it . I believe it is still relatively well kept and maintained , just lots of upward additions ! Makanda is also a place you could consider , seems to have retained its charm a bit more (IMHO ). You might also like Tulemar Bungalows , Mangoe Moon , or sweet Villas Nicolas . These are just suggestions , perhaps there are those out there who still love The Mariposa .
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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I was in Costa Rica last month and stayed in both Arenal (3 nites) and Monteverde (2 nites). After exhaustive research, I selected the following lodging.

In Arenal, we stayed at Arenal Paraiso (AP) which is very close to the Montana del Fuego, which was our other finalist. While I did not visit the Montana, I can recommend AP for several reasons. First, it has a great view of the volcano and its lava flow as others have mentioned. Second, it comes with a "free" buffet breakfast which is really good (pancakes, omlettes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, and much more). I say "free" because the price is built into the price of the room. The other meals were OK but nothing out of the ordinary. Three, the rooms are actually cabins which are quite nice. One large room and a large bathroom. They aren't super deluxe but I'm not sure there is such a place there. Fourth, the service was very good. Fifth, the grounds are beautiful and include a swimming pool with swim-up bar.

In Monteverde, we stayed at the Monteverde Lodge which is a 2 level hotel. I strongly recommend it. The rooms are very nice and quiet (but no TV if that is important to you). It only has 27 rooms so availability may be an issue. The service was incredible. The restaurant and bar were very good as was the large jacuzzi. The grounds were pretty. And we saw all kinds of birds, including toucans, from our bedroom windows. The nearest town is Santa Elena and, while you can walk to it, it's a bit of a hike some of which is uphill. We took a cab there. We were glad we didn't stay in the town itself. Too congested for our tastes.

A few other comments. I recommend taking as many of the various tours as you can afford because they come with a guide/naturalist. The guides are WELL worth the price. We wouldn't have seen 90% of the wildlife without them, including the quetzal. Not only do they have incredible eyes, they carry around telescopes mounted on tripods which they quickly set up so you can see what they see. If you have a digital camera, you can take a picture of the wildlife thru the telescope's lens. Trust me, the guides are worth the money.

Enjoy the trip. We sure did.

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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 07:36 PM
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I recently posted a trip report which includes info about El Establo Lodge at Monteverde. Type "El Establo" in the Search This Forum box at the top of the page. For the trip report called "The Loop."
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