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23 Km West of La Fortuna City Center, Located at the Base of the Arenal Volcano Main Road to Arenal National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos 21007 Costa Rica
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COVID-19 update: See the added health and safety measures this property is taking.Read more
Lowest prices for your stay
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Free cancellation until 11/03/21
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Prices are provided by our partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and reflect nightly room rates, including all taxes and fees known to our partners. Please see our partners for more details.
Payments made by partners impact the order of prices displayed. Room types may vary.
Traveller (2689)
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Payments made by partners impact the order of prices displayed. Room types may vary.
Travel safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your stay
  • All linens sanitized in high-temperature wash
  • Face masks required for staff in public areas
  • Floors marked for social distancing
  • Hand sanitizer available to guests & staff
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
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Updated 02/10/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
A note from Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Updated 02/10/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.


#2 of 135 Speciality lodging in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Travellers' Choice
GreenLeaders Bronze level
Situated only 1.7 Miles from the majestic Arenal Volcano and with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal, the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa (AOL) offers guests the opportunity to DISCOVER, EXPLORE and RELAX. AOL sits on an 870 acres property and offers 48 comfortable rooms surrounded by gardens, the majority with a direct view of the volcano and/or the forest. The 7 miles of well-maintained trails for walking, horseback riding or biking running through the property provide good opportunities to observe a variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 500 species of birds live in the area making AOL a preferred destination for bird watchers. Activities at the hotel include hikes to the waterfall, horseback riding, enjoying a refreshing swim in our pool, or simply relaxing with a massage in our spa. Arenal Observatory Lodge is the perfect place for adventure lovers, families, and honeymooners. With its spectacular location, great service, and friendly personnel you won't be disappointed.
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Room & Suite (732)732
Full view
Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Free breakfast
Horseback riding
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Kids pool
Secured parking
Hot bath
Pool / beach towels
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Shallow end in pool
Bar / lounge
Breakfast available
Breakfast buffet
Happy hour
Kids' meals
Special diet menus
Wine / champagne
Canoeing offsite
Walking tours
Shuttle bus service
Body wrap
Facial treatments
Foot massage
Head massage
Convenience store
Non-smoking hotel
Outdoor furniture
Picnic area
Shared lounge / TV area
Sun deck
Sun loungers / beach chairs
Sun terrace
First aid kit
Laundry service
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Room features
Interconnected rooms available
Private balcony
Clothes rack
Laptop safe
Coffee / tea maker
Bath / shower
Tile / marble floor
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Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Great View
Mountain View
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
2,590Reviews73Q+A100Room tips
Traveller rating
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Popular mentions
Robyn W wrote a review 16 Feb
Dallas, TX4 contributions1 helpful vote
The lodge was very nice but not modern. The best part of it was that it is inside the National park and that it was away from the touristy side of the volcano. Had about a days worth of nice hiking trails around the park. The rooms have no air conditioning but you don’t really need it. There is no fridge which is a problem since you are so far from any stores or restaurants (besides the lodge) to get food. The rooms were very clean but very basic in decor. Bathrooms had great shower heads but were small. Also don’t flush if someone is in the shower. The grounds are beautiful and it is the closest you can get to the volcano which is amazing off the front deck and pretty much every room is a volcano view. The menu is limited at the lodge with the same two options for breakfast and same 15 options for lunch and dinner combined. The food is ok, not bad for the price. I would recommend it to my friends who are more rustic travelers.
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Date of stay: February 2021
1 Helpful vote
Nikki7280 wrote a review Feb 2020
Southlake, Texas278 contributions47 helpful votes
Property's Favourite Review
The staff at AOL were incredible (this might just be a Costa Rican thing). While watching the Superbowl they offered to let us eat on a couch right in front of the TV in the sunroom (vs sitting at a dining room table) and I had read mixed reviews about the food at the restaurant at AOL and am happy to report it must have changed because it was not good, it was GREAT. Over a couple days we had beef gorganzola, shrimp pasta, red snapper all great and heard other tour groups remarking on the food so apparently we are not in the minority on that opinion. Our room was a standard room at La Casona (just down the hill a bit from the main lodge) and I have to admit I was a bit bummed at the thought of having to take a shuttle or walk up and down the hill every time we wanted to go to the lodge but I will say we never waited for a shuttle - not once! We called and in less than a minute it was there waiting and when we would leave the lodge it was sitting there ready to go. We walked down a couple of times (beautiful lighted trail) and that was no issue. After the first night we were sold on staying further from the lodge because the lake views and rainforest sounds and feeling of privacy was incredible! They had asked on the reservation if we were celebrating so I noted anniversary and there was a bottle of wine, kissing swan towels, fresh flowers and chocolate decorating one of the beds! You can actually hear the wildlife in the room which is amazing until you have a thunderstorm so I would just recommend bringing earplugs just in case. AOL provides buffet breakfast which was good and had at least half a dozen hot items and there was variance the mornings we were there! Happy husband = happy me! We did the morning walk (free tour of grounds AOL provides) and as they said it started right on time at 830am and finished at 11am on the dot. You cross two hanging bridges, we saw a baby pit viper on a tree, visited the frog pond and were shown a couple of different beautiful frogs, and saw lots of flora, birds, a Jesus Christ lizard (no idea how he spotted him I swear being a few feet away I still couldn't see him until he pointed him out!) and quick hike down to a waterfall and tram back to the lodge. Guide has been doing it 28 years and also guides on the Bogarin Trail which is where he heads after the AOL morning walk tour so if you want to go on that with him as well its $35 and you arrange your own transportation and meet him there. AOL also offers boxed breakfasts for those that have to leave before the restaurant opens for breakfast at 7am. Just let them know the day before and you can pick them up during business hours. We saw several private tours come to AOL, I can see why I was ready to move there! Its not super clear on their website but the sloth tour is Bogarin, Coffee farm is Don Juan and chocolate is Eskataru in case anyone is wondering. Our driver Tato explained they fix the roads once a year usually at the beginning of high season (November) and they were ok for him driving a regular Kia but there were a few decent potholes and he said in 3-4 months it will be bad and he will be getting flat tires. FYI for those planning trips and trying to figure out if 4x4 is necessary.
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Date of stay: February 2020
Sleep Quality
Room Tip: La Casona rooms have an observation tower and walking path with bench at overlook to the lake
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3 Helpful votes
Response from austin211991, Public Relations Manager at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Responded 13 Mar 2020
Hello Nikki7280, WOW! Thank you so much for taking the time to write us such a detailed review of your recent stay with us. Feedback like this is why our staff works so hard to make the property what it is. I can not wait to share your comments with our staff, it really brings a smile to my face to read that everything about your stay exceeded your expectations. I am also glad that your room near La Casona grew on you :D Our drivers do a good job at being timely in their arrivals and only sometimes get delayed if there is a lot of movement with guests. The rooms near La Casona are also my favorite part of the property. The added privacy and unique positioning overlooking the lake definitely give the volcano view rooms a run for their money. We welcome you and your husband back anytime and we wish you nothing but happiness for the upcoming year and the many more to come. Austin G., Public Relations Manager
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Katrina Julia wrote a review Jan 2021
Atlanta, Georgia137 contributions31 helpful votes
I didn't stay here so my review isn't for a stay or room. It is for the day visit to enjoy the hiking, climbing the nest to get awesome views of Arenal Volcano, and enjoy Danta Waterfall! Easy to follow signs and do a self-guided tour! I saw about 5 people total hiking for 2+ hours around. Beautiful grounds!! I did pay $12 to enter for the day. I did observe people at reception wearing a mask, and extra sanitation stations.
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Date of stay: January 2021
2 Helpful votes
UC2002 wrote a review Jan 2021
Corsica, France34 contributions2 helpful votes
This lodge is more like a zoo for birds. Wonderful views and you will find them all! Also great hikes, good food and a very family friendly staff. We loved the breakfast, too! Cannot wait to come back!
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Date of stay: January 2021
Cassie Marie wrote a review Jan 2021
Lubbock, Texas18 contributions
I can’t tell you how much I love this place!! To start with you have the BEST views ever of the volcano, rainforest and mountains. The grounds alone will make you never want to leave with all of the trails, bridge and waterfall right on the property! The food was amazing and the staff was so sweet! Hector is awesome! I will definitely be back very soon!!
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Date of stay: December 2020Trip type: Travelled solo
US$102 - US$196 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
arenal observatory hotel la fortuna de san carlos
Costa RicaProvince of AlajuelaArenal Volcano National ParkLa Fortuna de San Carlos
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Frequently Asked Questions about Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
Which popular attractions are close to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Nearby attractions include Bogarin Trail (7.4 km), Butterfly Conservatory (5.5 km), and Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge (6.0 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Yes, free parking and secured parking are available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Conveniently located restaurants include Tiquicia Restaurant, Pollo Fortuneño, and Spectacolar Cantina.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English and Spanish.
Does Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the mountain view available here.
Is Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access, reduced mobility rooms, and facilities for disabled guests. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.