A Costa Rican volcano lodge set high on a ridge a mere 1.7 miles from Arenal Volcano, Arenal Observatory Lodge offers the adventurous traveler front-row seating for one of the world's most thrilling fireworks displays - a volcanic eruption. And no Costa Rica lodge is so apt to view the roar and fume of the awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano as the Arenal Observatory Lodge!
Arenal Volcano, which lay dormant for centuries, erupted in 1968 and has been continuously active ever since, making it one of the world's most explosive cones. Arenal Observatory Lodge was originally built in 1987 as a Smithsonian Institute scientific research station. Unlike other La Fortuna hotels, this volcano lodge is the only Arenal Volcano observatory situated within Arenal National Park, protected from danger by the deep gorge of the Agua Caliente River.
The Arenal Volcano Observatory sits in a private nature reserve in the heart of one of Costa Rica's numerous natural areas. Rich volcanic soil supports primary and secondary rainforest. Waterfalls and crystalline rivers offer sparkling jungle refreshment for the soul. A well-marked, manicured trail system provides easy access to the property's breathtaking natural beauty.
A paved wheelchair-accessible trail extends 800 meters into the rainforest; in addition, some 5 miles of bicycle, horseback riding and hiking trails wind throughout the volcano lodge's property through rainforest and over a hanging bridge. Just around the bend on every trail is a magnificent new view of the impressive volcano. The volcano observatory lodge offers daily complimentary walks led by resident naturalist guides.
The Arenal Observatory Lodge features 43 rooms in various buildings spread over the property. Five rooms are fully equipped for disabled travelers, with rooms, bathrooms, hallways, parking areas and even the new swimming pool designed accordingly. Most have a view of the volcano and all overlook verdant gardens. Everywhere you can feel the volcano's commanding presence.
The dining room overlooks the volcano southern slop with floor to ceiling windows and opens to a wide deck to enjoy a majestic panoramic view of the lake and Arenal volcano.
The gardens and landscaping are extravagant with color. Natural flowering plants and shrubs were carefully chosen to attract wildlife. Jewel-toned hummingbirds dart from heliconia to oleander and brilliant butterflies adorn the blooms.
Other attractions include a waterfall, just a short hike away, which cascades into the cool forest depths. A well-maintained path leads guests to this magical spot.
The mysterious emerald lagoon at Cerro Chato Volcano fills the now extinct crater. A challenging hike from the Arenal volcano observatory lodge takes guests through primary forest to a waiting canoe for a dreamy paddle on the lake's mirror surface.
Birders will be particularly delighted, as the diverse habitats surrounding the volcano observatory lodge shelter nearly 370 species. Birds can be seen everywhere!
An infinity swimming pool was added for jungle refreshment. Tiled in cobalt blue, it melts into the rainforest beyond. A sunken bubbling Jacuzzi provides soothing relaxation beneath a glass gazebo framing the volcano's peak against a starry sky.
A host of activities await the spirited adventurer. Mountain biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hanging bridges, butterfly gardens, canopy tours, fishing, horseback riding and more are all available. But you needn't go far to feel nature's magic. It's all around you!
The volcano lodge crowns a ridge overlooking Arenal Lake and the looming volcano only 1.7 miles away, all within the refreshing ambiance of a working 870 acres farm that includes 400 acres in reforestation and 270 acres of natural forest, all surrounded by the tropical splendor of the Arenal National Park. Arenal Lake is the largest in Costa Rica and offers excellent sport fishing.
Arenal Observatory Lodge features 43 rooms in various buildings spread over the property. Most have a view of the volcano and its lava flow and all have verdant garden surroundings. Everywhere at the lodge one feels the volcano's commanding presence.
The JUNIOR SUITES are rooms with a volcano view through large picture windows framing the often active side of the majestic Arenal; see the volcano from the room or enjoy the beauty of the Arenal Lake from the comfort of your private deck. The walls are decorated with original ceramic paintings done by a local artist illustrating the area's flora and fauna. For your comfort each of these suites is furnished with two king-size beds, a small living room, coffeemaker, mini refrigerator and room safe.
The SMITHSONIAN rooms feature huge picture windows giving you a premiere majestic view of the volcano from the comfort of your bed. Each room has two double beds (queen-size), a private bathroom, coffee maker and room safe. Some SMITHSONIAN rooms have balconies commanding a magnificent view of the volcano.
Five of the SMITHSONIAN rooms are fully equipped for guests in wheelchairs; the halls, bathrooms, corridors, parking area, swimming pool and 2 kms of paths have all been designed for the handicapped.
The STANDARD rooms are another way to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Arenal volcano and/or contemplate the beauty of the lake from your balcony. Each of these rooms has two double beds (queen-size), a private bathroom, coffeemaker and room safe.
LA CASONA offers ideal group or family accommodations and is set 500 meters off from the main building. Its 5 comfortable, value-priced rooms with a large terrace provide an impressive view of the volcano and Arenal Lake. Four rooms are furnished each with a queen-size bed and offer a beautiful volcano room view; the fifth room has 3 bunk beds with a view of the rainforest, and all have room safes. The two large, comfortable bathrooms are shared by all La Casona guests.
White Hawk Villa
With its peaceful surroundings and the ultimate spectacular view of the volcano and lake is about 800 meters from the rest of the hotel. It offers group or family accommodations and is recommended for guests with their own transportation or those who enjoy walking. The main level entrance takes you into a large, well-ventilated living room with satellite television, a dining room and a fully-equipped kitchen. The lower level can accommodate 8 people in its two bedrooms, "Trogon" and "Toucan", each with a queen-size bed, two twin beds, private bathroom and room safe.
When mealtime arrives, you can head for town and check out La Fortuna restaurants or, better yet, stick around and enjoy a delicious meal at our Arenal hotel restaurant. La Fortuna dining is never finer than in the comfort and beauty of our large main dining room , which features walls of windows opening onto views of the volcano and Lake Arenal, unique among La Fortuna restaurants. Our chefs prepare a variety of continental and Costa Rican dishes, with an emphasis on fresh local fruits and vegetables, as well as locally raised beef and poultry and fresh-caught Lake Arenal fish.
There is also a comfortable bar open from 12:00 m to 10:00 pm everyday. This is a wonderful spot to gather or meet other guests, and definitely an excellent place to be for any volcanic eruptions.