Arenal Lodge

3 out of 5 stars3 Stars

North Zone, Escazu, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela, 1250, Costa Rica
Arenal Lodge
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Satisfaction Very Good
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 23% more than similarly rated 3 star hotels

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Good For Business
  • Families71
  • Couples69
  • Solo62
  • Business100

More about Arenal Lodge

Absolutely loved Arenal Lodge

by TripAdvisor Member islandgirl04

I just returned from Costa Rica and I can't say enough about our stay at Arenal Lodge. We stayed in a chalet and I wish there had not been so many things to do in the area, because I would have loved to just spend more time at the lodge and explore the beautiful trails and views. The breakfast was delicious and plentiful. The staff could not have been more accomodating. The birds were phenominal. We watched the volcano flow from our roomall night. I want to return to the Arenal area just to stay at the Arenal Lodge again!

Our favorite place to stay was...

by giobiker

Our favorite place to stay was Uncle Pedros in San Jose, where there was always hot water and lots of food. But for those of you who don't have family in Costa Rica there are plenty of hotel options. The Arenal Lodge was great, with a very friendly staff and excellent views of the Arenal Volcano from all the rooms. The views of the arenal volcano are incredible. You can actually lay in bed and watch the volcano erupt.

Hidden resort nearby Arenal volcano

by BigME413 about Arenal Lodge

I have stayed here twice, and both times were fantastic. Located up a winding road, off the beaten path, this resort is a great location nearby the Arenal volcano. The rooms are clean and new, and although there is no air conditioning, you won't mind. Since it is set off the beaten path, you will fall asleep to the sound of rainforest frogs, and wake to the bellows of howler monkeys. In-house travel services handle activity arrangements, a butterfly garden, and a hidden location.

Great View

by justtravelingthru about Arenal Lodge Lake Wildlife

Their welcome sign says "You've Made It"...that should give you some indications as to what you're getting yourself into. The only way to enjoy the spectular view of the infamous Arenal Volcano from this 3-star hotel is to pass or rather endure the winding and dangerous curves/roads to get there, but like all things in life...rewards are given to those who wait. Nestled on 200 thousand acres of Costa Rican property, the Lodge offers an abundance of activities to enjoy...hiking trails, swimming, buttery garden, but the Creme de la Creme...the outside veranda with a straight ahead view of the majestic Volcano. Picture enjoying a wonderful Costa Rican dinner (on-site restuarant)with a glass of wine while viewing red lava flowing out of the volcano...reservations anyone??? Ok, ok...lets not get carried away...flaws...the junior suite are spacious, but aside from the newly constructed suites, all other rooms are in need of a makeover...Oh sidenote: if you're not the slighest bit of an "out-doors" person I would not suggest this place...Ok suit yourself, but you have been forewarned...the sound of wildlife and the "great outdoors" well, upon first impression it's rather, oh what's the word I'm looking for, oh yes, scary! But then again...I'm a city girl after all. Actually in all reality the noises aren't too bad once you get use to them and I'll admit it the outdoors is very refreshing. However, what the Lodge lack in modern facade, they more than make up for it in their approach to customer service. And when it's all said and done that's what travelers appericiate. From arranging all the tours & excursions, to translating, to locating missing luggages (airport lost luggages)...well I did say great customer service, didn't I? Overall: very traveler friendly...great support staff. Helping a couple of city folks get in touch with Nature...priceless.

Service: 10
Location: 9
Room: 7
Budget/Value: 9 Great customer service!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arenal Volcano

by BarbaraRT

Arenal Observatory Lodge and Arenal Lodge are wonderful places to see the active Arenal Volcano. In the daytime you can see the smoke and at night you can see the lava flowing down the sides.

Great View, ok hotel

by TripAdvisor Member co1234

We stayed at the Arenal Lodge in mid February and had a clear view of the volcano smoking. The view was amazing. The room was spacious but just average. The rooms could have been a bit cleaner and the extra blankets in the closet smelled like moth balls.
I recommend calling a cab and heading over to Tabacon for a dip in their mineral baths and dinner. The food at Arenal Lodge was just ok.

Great Hotel

by TripAdvisor Member bjcoan

My wife and I stayed 2 nights at Arenal Lodge in a junior suite and loved it. The room and view were great saw the lava from bed. The breakfast buffet was the best we had in Costa Rica. Sure the hotel is away from town but that was one of the reasons we stayed there. All of our transfers and tour went great. Did the combo tour which is a long day but the hot springs at Tabacon felt great. I would probably try Baldi next time because Tabacon was so crowded.

Loved it!

by TripAdvisor Member lane7

We just returned from Costa RIca and stayed at Arenal Lodge for 2 nights. We stayed at a Chalet which has magnificent views of the Volcan Arenal and Lake Arenal. It is worth it!
We could also see the Blue and Yellow Macaws doing flight displays in front of our window, which was a beautiful sight.
The Chalet had two double beds and a sofa bed. the room was spacious and confortable.
The hotel is situated in a privilaged setting, on the top of a hill with forests sorrounding it. You could walk in the forest and see all kinds of birds, howler monkeys, and other animals. The forest is beautiful, and they even have a place for butterflies where you can see morphos.
Food in the restaurant was excellent. The service very good and friendly.
The only thing about this hotel is that since it is on the top of a hill, it is better if you have a car, so you can move about.
I would definitely return to this hotel.

Very Nice, Great Vew

by TripAdvisor Member twistedelegance

We stayed at the Arenal Lodge from 1/26 -1/31/07. The view is absolutely breathtaking! The top of the volcano was in the clouds our entire stay, but we still watched the lava flow down the volcano at night

Rooms are simple but clean. There is no air conditioning, but we didn't need it, and we stayed in the middle of their "summer". It was much cooler than expected.

Everyone was very nice and helpful. The front desk staff is mostly billingual. Every day the maid left us wonderful towel decorations.

The hotel is at the top of a very steep road. There is a Sunset Tours desk right in the lobby if you want to make any tour arrangements. Keep in mind that there is a charge of $10 extra for transportation for any of the tours b/c of the remote location of the hotel.

The property is spread out in 4 or 5 small buildings with a few rooms in each building.
There is a 3/4 mile hiking trail and a newly built butterfly garden in the back of the property. Definitely worth going if you have a an hour free.

The restaurant is good and buffet hot breakfast is included.

Photos to follow soon.

Amazing View!!!!

by TripAdvisor Member ddtravels

I was called 5 days prior to my vacation and told my room at Arenal Inn was not available and that they were moving me to Arenal Lodge. I was not happy about this due to reading the information on how it was the furthest hotel from town. I can not explain how happy I was when we got there. Yes it is a hike up the brick paved curvey drive way (and a bit on the scarey side), but take it slow and enjoy the extra 10 minutes to the hotel. It worth the trip!

The view of the volocano was amazing. I had heard a few people complain that they could not see it, but every morning is cloudy in the rainforest. And if it's not, expect a harder and earlier afternoon rain. Every night we sat in the hot tubs and watch the lava flow. The stars were clear and we saw at least 1 shooting star every night. There was only 1 night of 5 that someone besides ourselves were in the hot tubs, and no one was swimming. It was as though the resort was all ours, even though every room was full.

We found booking our trips in town rather than in the hotel saved us $5-$15 pp on average. Plus, most trips cost an additional $10 for pick up from this particular hotel due to its location. This is what turned me off to the hotel when I read about it.

We did drive, even though everything said not too. The pot holes are terrible and we had to cross 3 waterfalls (1 that actually took a chunk out of the road) to get to the hotel, but once there the roads around town were fine. The road up the volcano is very difficult to drive, ecspecially to the butterfly garden. However, my 7 year-old loved it, so I would do the drive again in a heart beat.

The food was good, but pricey in the hotel, which is expected. I recommend the fish (any of them). There are several places to eat in town, which I was not expecting due to what I read. I was happily suprised. Breakfast is included in the room and fresh juices were the highlight for me. Mango, papaya, orange, watermelon...and a buffet style that changed slightly every day.

Some suggestions:
Book morning trips - it rains mid-afternoon almost everyday, so try to spend that time eating or shopping rather than zip lining or rafting.

Zip Line - if you are an adventurer this is a perfect place to do it, but it is not for the ill hearted. My son did do it, but my mother only completed 2 lines

Rafting - if you like to raft do the class III-V, if don't like to, at least do the float trip. The wild life you see is amazing. Although a monkey did pee on us from above. Great story to tell.

Volcano - visit in the morning and do the butterfly garden the same day if you go. The roads are difficult, but the trip worth it.

Waterfall - almost skipped this due to it's location, but found it to be less then 1/2 hour from our hotel. And I am so happy we made it. Wear sandles that have a grip to them and your bathing suit because you can swim in the pool below the waterfall. This is a vey difficult climb up/down for some people. My mother was with us and has a hip replacement. She made it, but it did take some extra time.

Shopping - you can make deals here, so try to get the best price. And stop at the road side pottery places instead of buying in the tourist shops. You will save and the money goes to the artist rather than the store.

Try staying near the volcano for more then 2 days of your trip. DO NOT try to make it a day trip. I heard so many people complain about doing that. I had read how long it takes to get from the airports to this area and it's 4 hours or more (pending on which airport). The speed limit is about 20-45mph, so its much longer to travel the short distance. We spent 1/2 of our vacation here and 1/2 on the beach in Playa de Portero. This was perfect. 5 days gave us plenty of time to see the area and not feel rushed.

Also, I had heard a few people complain of ants in their rooms. We had some in the sink the first day do to a banana that we brought in the room. Remember you are in a rain forest, expect things like ants near by. Just leave the food at the restuarant, even if you want it for a morning snack. You can get a new banana in you PJ's in the morning.

If you are not into nature and want a "spa" type resort where people wait on you, do not go to Costa Rica. This was one of the most educational and amazing trip I have ever been on, but it is not a "Four Seasons" kind of place. So do not expect that when you are booking this. People who are disappointed are expecting to be waited on. Expect the beds to be hard, the roads to have holes, the food to be ordinary and the peole to be the friendliest anywhere you have ever been. And then enjoy!


Our porch at the Arenal LodgeOur porch at the Arenal Lodge

Mike near Arenal LodgeMike near Arenal Lodge

Clark at Arenal LodgeClark at Arenal Lodge

The very bad road to Arenal LodgeThe very bad road to Arenal Lodge

Forum Posts

Looking for fly fishing Tamarindo/Arenal

by michellepw

Hi! My husband and I are traveling to CR in early December. Looking for a local fly fishing guide close to Tamarindo or Arenal areas for river/lake fishing. Does anyone know of any sources?
Thank you!

RE: Looking for fly fishing Tamarindo/Arenal

by Foundryman1

I stayed at Arenal Lodge and they booked a fishing trip on the lake through the front desk-Didn't fish that trip though.-Maybe they can help---Chris

RE: Looking for fly fishing Tamarindo/Arenal

by KevinHill

Contact John Nicholas at Chalet Nicholas He is a dedicated fly-fisherman, and the lodge is a superb place to stay on Lake Arenal, with outstanding view, excellent hospitality.Tamarindo is salt-water fishing,several operators, inquire in advance re fly-fishing,as not all have expertise/tackle.

lava watching

by nancynb

I believe this has been asked but not dure if there was a definitive answer, but which side of teh Arenal Volcano is the lava running on currently? Any recommendations for accommodations in the region (although I am guessing that most places are fully booked ....have made a few inquiries). This a late consideration to the itinerary..
Has anyone stayed in the El Castillo? Would you recommend it over Fortuna?


Re: lava watching

by easterntrekker

WE stayed at the Arenal Lodge and we had a great view of the lava. It is visible when the sun goes down. Check out my pages for more details.

Re: lava watching

by flapenny

Go to this website - it shows you which way the lava is flowing. Roll your cursor over the boxes with numbers and it will tell you which hotels they are.

Best viewing of Arenal

by bonimae

I am going to be in Costa Rica from Jan 13 to Jan 31. I would like to know where is the best place to stay that has the best view of Arenal volcano from the rooms. Also, would I need a reservation or can I just call a day or two ahead of time? I don't really want to have a set schedule if I don't have to. How many days should I plan to stay near Arenal if I want to see the Hot Springs, Waterfalls, trip by horseback to St. Elena, and volcano watch (and maybe a rafting trip)? Any information is appreciated. Thanks,

Re: Best viewing of Arenal

by karakal73


i have just returned from my 5th trip to costa rica. if you wanna see arenal, to to la fortuna. it's a nice place close to the volcano. it's about 15 km from the tabacon hot springs (go there and not to the other ones). good idea might be to go to the hot springs at about 4 p.m. then you can still see the volcano and when it gets darker you can enjoy a cerveza at the pool bar and eventually see the hot lava (depends on weather). in la fortuna you can also find a lot of agencies offering trips to the national park of monteverde or santa elena. i was in santa elena - not to big, but pretty. also the arenal national park is nice. from the entrance a 30 minutes walk brings you to a platform from where you have a great view to the volcano. good idea might also be to visit the cascades of la fortuna by bike or by horseback. we stayed a the cabañas las tinajas. they are very central (about 200 meters from the central place and church). cost was $ 20 per night and room. stay there 3 days and you can see all you want. rafting you can do at the rio pacuare (rio aventuras is a great operator; about $ 95 per trip). have fun and let me know if you wanna have more infos, kj

Re: Best viewing of Arenal

by IluvCstaRca

You might want to contact Jacques at Pension Santa Elena. His company can make the arrangements for you to travel to Monteverde/Santa Elena from Arenal via Jeep or Horseback or any other way for that matter. He prides himself on the condition of the horses. There are other companies whose horses are not in very good shape. His pension is also very good and a favorite for the backpacking crowd. A great place to talk to other travelers and get advice. My son stayed there for 2 months and was very comfortable. I spent a weeks there.

Re: Best viewing of Arenal

by Xuxo

I was allocated in Arenal Lodge, great views from the room but it is expensive, I was recommended to try in the Arenal Observatory Lodge but was full.


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 Arenal Lodge

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Arenal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos

Address: North Zone, Escazu, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela, 1250, Costa Rica