More about Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Steve and Debbie have done a fabulous job with the construction of the cabins. I was very impressed with how beautiful and lush everything was. Highlights included:
Lightening bugs lighting up the jungle at night.
Seeing the glow of the volcano late in the evening
fresh bromeliads in the room
The little town at the bottom of the hill was such an awesome little place too. We had a great and affordable dinner at 2 different places in town. Our only mistake is not planning accordingly and leaving too soon. There were a ton of things we wanted to do but didn't have the time. That's just more the reason to plan another trip back.
Exceeded my expectations
Leaves and Lizards exceeded my expectations. During the ride from La Fortuna I was wondering if I had made the right decsion staying in Monterrey. I was really glad that I did.
The pictures on the website are good but they really can't do it justice. When I arrived both Debbie and Steve gave me a warm welcome and showed me to my cabina. There are three and they are perched on a hill and set before Arenal Volcano. The path is lined with native plants, trees and flowers. This area was once a cow pasture and they have been working diligently to reforest the area. The cabina's are beautiful. Although newly built, they fit right into the landscape. My cabina was large and nicely decorated with a comfortable bed, soft sheets and mosquito netting. There was also a bunk bed if needed. There is a coffee maker and a small refrigerator stocked with beverages. The large deck has a table made from a local tree that had fallen and two hammocks.
The front of the cabina is all window. The morning after I arrived I awoke to a rooster call and sat up in bed to see a clear and impressive Arenal Volcano in front me. The view from bed was spectacular !
I had made plans to horseback ride and hike this day. I arrived at Debbie and Steve's to find a wonderful breakfast being prepared. Coffee, freshly made star fruit juice, eggs, bacon and yummy pancakes. As I ate my breakfast I watched more birds than I can count also having breakfast on the fruit tray left for them.
The horses at Leaves and Lizards are well tempered and sweet. They are in excellent condition and well taken care of. I did several tours including Cano Negro and a night hike to watch the lava flow. I was fortunate that it was crystal clear that night and it was a truly unforgettable night. The highlight of my stay was the hot air balloon ride that Debbie and Steve arranged for me.
I would not hesitate to recommend Leaves and Lizards. Debbie and Steve are such warm and hospitable people, I can not say enough about them. As a single, female traveling alone, I felt completely at ease and comfortable with them.
It was my second time visiting Costa Rica and it happened to be unexpectedly AMAZING!
Debbie and Steve: took care of us and the dog we took, they were waiting for us with dinner ready:) Oh, and by the way, don't forget to ask Steve for homemade pancakes:)
Activities: experienced great adventure horseback riding and hiking to waterfall, guides were very helpful and nice.
The cabin: beautiful view on Arenal volcano, peaceful and quiet.
Any help we needed either it was directions, advice, medicine, "dog ambulance" or just friendly company-we got it all!!!
Thank you, guys I am very happy with my trip and I think it's not the last one!
Natasha, Murray and Boo Boo:)
Don't leave out Leaves and Lizards!!!
Leaves and Lizards was wonderful and the highlight of our trip! Deb and Steve are great hosts and the meals were the best of our 10 days in Costa Rica. The cabins were clean, well furnished, and included spectacular views of Arenal. We were able to spot many native birds just from the porch. Deb and Steve were very knowledgable and happy to answer our many questions. The farm setting adds to the allure and they arranged a horseback tour of the area which included a trip to a private waterfall. The sustainable approach taken to their venture is an inspiration and the hard work and care put they have put into this property is abundantly evident. We look forward to returning to Leaves and Lizards and highly recommend it to anyone traveling to the Arenal area!
Jim and Andrea
Comforts of Home
This is a great getaway from the tourist areas, with all the views and more wildlife. Waking up in the morning to parrots in the trees and hummingbirds in the beautiful flowers. Make the most of the area by booking day trips to Arenal Volcano, white water rafting or just have Debbie and Steve organize any number of horse back trips. They have a stable by the main house with many easy to ride horses, enough for all, don't be afraid, I did it!! Food excellent by an excellent cook. Cabins clean and views are all photographs waiting to be snapped.
Amazing experience--did not want to leave!
If you want to feel like the only visitor in Costa Rica, go to Leaves & Lizards. Far from the touristy string of hotels around the Arenal Volcano, but close enough to enjoy the area's activities, Steve & Debbie's three beautiful cabins are a piece of heaven. The views are stunning, and going to sleep and waking up to the sounds of birds and wildlife is blissful. No man-made sounds intrude on the serene atmosphere. Steve and Debbie are laid-back, gracious, and knowledgeable about the area. They were extremely helpful in planning our excursions--we just told them what we had in mind, and they made helpful suggestions and booked everything for us. All we had to do was show up. Hanging out in their kitchen/dining room was one of the highlights of the trip, both for the conversation and the great food and drink. There was so much to do without even leaving the property--plentiful bird & wildlife watching, horseback riding, hiking to a beautiful waterfall, and walking to the nearby village of Monterey. If you're willing to sacrifice some of the convenience of being closer to Fortuna for the experience of being a temporary local in a hidden gem of a spot, this is the place to go. We spent the first four days of our seven day trip here, and I ended up wishing we'd just booked our whole week at Leaves & Lizards. Not to be missed: Giovanni's (the great guide) howler monkey call!
Great family experience
This is rural tourism at its best. If you want to see the real Costa Rica, interact with local people, and have nature right outside your door, then Leaves and Lizards is for you. The accommodations were clean, spacious and the beds very comfortable. Steve and Debbie are great hosts and are very accommodating in helping customize your vacation. Nothing beats the serenity and traquility of sitting out on your balcony (we stayed in the Monkey cabin) viewing the volcano and having toucans, hummingbirds and other birds flying by.
Don't miss the horseback ride to the private waterfall to a neighbouring farm. What a unique experience to swim up to the waterfall without the crowds you get at other sites.
The food was great - it's nice to experience local cuisine.
Do make sure you spend some time with Giovanni, their nature guide, whether it be on a volcano hike, Cano Negro boat tour, or a guided bird/wildlife tour right on the property.
It was a great experience for our children (ages 12 & 14) to see nature up close and realize the importance of preserving our environment.
We would highly recommend Leaves and Lizards to anyone looking for a more active and interactive vacation.
My husband and I stayed at Leaves and Lizards for 2 nights. We had a great stay but what made our visit the best was our day out with the guide Giovanni. Giovanni works for Steve and Debbie and is truly a fascinating and kind individual. He took us out for an entire day of animal watching, With his high powered telescope we saw tucans, sloths, monkeys, birds, you name it.
Our accomodations were nice and clean, we stayed in the volcano cabin. Breakfast was the same two days in a row, I didn't think it was anything special. We ate dinner at La Pollera which is at the base of the dirt road- I reccommend eating dinner there or getting it to go- for the two nights we had an inexpensive and delicious dinner that we brought back to our cabin. There were no volcano views because of the clouds and overall we had a nice visit. From Arenal we went to Monteverde which was the best part of our trip. I highly reccommend staying at El SOl in Monteverde!!!!
My husband and I stayed in the Monkey Cabin for 2 nights and wished we had a few more! It was towards the end of our 2 week stay (first time) in Costa Rica, and we decided we should have allotted more time for this area. I really don't know what we can add to previous reviews, we agree with all the good things everyone else has said about Leaves and Lizards! We very much enjoyed Debbie and Steve's hospitality, and the entertaining expertise of Geovany, the guide on our early morning bird watching excursion (worth getting up at 5 AM for!) and also translator on our horseback ride to the waterfall. We plan on coming back..... although we had a fantastic view of the volcano, we did not have enough time to actually get closer to it. We'll have to save that for a return trip!
Leaves & Lizards was exactly what we hoped it would be. It is off the beaten path which is what we wanted. Driving through La Fortuna we were so glad we weren't staying there. The drive wasn't bad probably 40 minutes from La Fortuna.
Unfortunately Deb was in California while we were there. Steve was great though. He didn't know we were expecting dinner when we got there. So we had to drive back to town for dinner.
Our cabin was awesome. Very clean and very comfy bed. Gorgeous property. Would have had perfect view of the volcano but it was too cloudly while we were there.
Our first day we did a horse back ride to the waterfall with Giovani and Cheeto. They were awesome! Pointed out all kinds of wild life, frogs, sloths. Ate fresh papayas, and swung on vines like Tarzan & Jane. Then we got to a gorgeous private waterfall and got to swim in the rain. By far one of our favorite things that we did while in Costa Rica.
Loved Leaves and Lizards and will definately be back!