Costa Rica

iStock International

Arenal Observatory Lodge

Address: Camino La Fortuna

Neighborhood: Parque Nacional Arenal

City: Arenal

Phone: 011-506-2290-7011


Expert Review

Some 11 miles uphill from La Fortuna, hang a left at Lake Arenal, drive another half-dozen miles along a good, but unpaved, road lined with towering pines, and you’ll come to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Set on a private nature reserve some 394 feet over the lake, this volcano-side resort is located in a former Smithsonian/Earthwatch research station turned comfortable (though less than sybaritic), with a corrugated green metal roof and a charmingly rustic alpine vibe. If you’re looking to get close to Costa Rica’s lava flows, this is your place. There's an on-premises volcano museum and a fetching, zero-entry, infinity-edge pool with waterfall and Jjacuzzi, via a 134-foot wood-plank bridge suspended over a dramatic forested ravine. The drama continues in many of the 45 rooms, equipped with enormous volcano-facing picture windows and some with terraces; if you want to save some money, go for the original researchers’ quarters, a little woodier, more rustic-feeling, and lacking direct views. All units have tile floors, rustic wood furniture, and walls covered with photos of local eruptions and flora. Aside from the 8-person villa, which has satellite TV, televisions don’t make appearances in any of the rooms (ditto for phones and A/C), so if that sounds terrifying to you it’s best that you look elsewhere. Here it’s all about the volcano. Rates include breakfast and free guided morning hikes.

Tags: moderate

Compare Rates to Costa Rica

Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals

Tell Us Your Preferences

To help us understand your travel preferences, please select from the following categories

Check all that apply
Oops, something went wrong.
No Thanks