More about Arco Iris Lodge
My BF and I stayed at Arco Iris for 2 nights this February. We both thought this place was fantastic.
One night in a 1 room cabin and another in a 2 bedroom house with a complete kitchen / living space.
Both spaces were very clean, somewhat rustic, and just lovely. Very in keeping with the atmosphere of the whole Monteverde region. In February, the temps are a little cooler and we didn't experience a bug problem as some have noted.
You are right in the main 'town' of Santa Elena which is nice for getting to ATM, grocery, and a couple decent restaurants, but the lodge is off to side and up a steep hill on really pretty grounds and was remarkably quiet.
As others have remarked, the breakfast is quite tasty and in my opinion, worth the 6.50 because it will fill you up for a days worth of activities ( I generally want a good, hearty breakfast and then maybe a small snack for lunch ) and the variety is good.
The staff are very helpful and arranged a couple tours for us. Staying here really made the Monteverde portion of our trip even more memorable.
Clean, convenient, helpful, and price was right!
Spent one night at Arco Iris and found it to be a relaxing hotel at a moderate price ($45 not including tax). The grounds were garden-like, the moderately sized rooms were in cabanas that shared a wall with another room. Didn't hear much road noise (a common problem in Costa Rica). The staff was very helpful in arranging tours. In fact, they must have a relationship with one of the best guides for the the MV Cloud Forest. If you arrange for a guided tour with Arco Iris ($15 extra per person but definitly worth it) you will probably get him (Adrian). Sign up for this as soon as you check in.
This hotel is very convenient to town (about 300 ft to center) and to the taxis if you need transportation farther. If you are willing to walk on the road (it is rather hilly, dusty, and a bit dangerous but fine if you are a walker) you can easily get to the butterfly farm, the frog pond, and other places.
People should note though that the entrance driveway is a steep hill and some of the rooms are a very small climb so it would not be a good choice if you have someone who may not be able to get up the hills. For example, we saw a family arriving that included 2 people in their late 60's with canes and they seems to have a bit of trouble.
Loved Arco Iris!
My partner and I stayed at the Arco Iris Lodge in Santa Elena in beginning of March and we loved it! The lodge is hidden away in the hills of Santa Elana, away from the noise and the traffic. We stayed in a spacious cabin with a very clean bathroom and hot water. The cabin had a porch in the front with chairs, where we saw a beautiful sunset sky.
The staff are all very friendly and helpful as many folks have mentioned and all the tours they have set up for us were all excellent. Adrian took us on a tour of the cloud forest of Monteverde and we zipped through the Santa Elena reserve with Selvatura.
At the time of our visit, they were adding a second floor to the dining room. Because the construction would start early in the morning, they promptly offered us a 10% discount to the room. The breakfast at the lodge is great; it's fresh and hearty. The property is well maintained with beautiful flowers and trees. They keep lounge chairs on the front lawn for folks to lounge throughout the day.
We would highly recommend Arco Iris.
Cute small cabins
The hotel consists of a number of small cabins on a steep hill. The cabins are small, but they have VERY high ceilings, so you get a feeling of spaciousness. Accomodations are fairly basic, but very very clean. The nicest thing about the hotel is that is right next to the downtown. So you have very easy access to shops, restaurants, grocery store and bank (note: ATM never worked for us). Its also right next to the major tour operators, so you can go there and make your reservations directly. It gets very dark at night, and kind of lonely around the hotel, so be sure to carry a flashlight.
The management staff is GREAT. They'll give you all the information you need, and call you a cab, make tour reservations, give you restaurant recommendations (which were right on). Breakfast at the hotel is yummy, but very pricey if you compare it to the rest of the area, where you can get a lunch for the same price.
The hotels on the way to the Cloud forest looked to be more fancy. There are also restaurants close to those, but you will be reliant on a cab to go anywhere far off.
One tip for the cloud forest: their local (park) guides focus on showing you ONE bird: the quetzal in three hours! If you're interested in seeing more, and learning about the vegetation: look into your hotel guides. Also, a general birding tour may be better. Skytrek was cool. Butterfly garden: good for kids. Take a night tour as well (we took at one of the secondary forests: you can see more wildlife). Oh - and the roads as as notorious as everyone says they are.
We enjoyed our stay at the Arco Iris Lodge. We had a double room on the second floor and a single room in a tiny stand along cabin. The rooms were extremely clean. We didn't have many problems with bugs flying in either. We kept the curtains drawn and the windows closed at night when the lights were on.
The rooms are basic, but a good value. I was a little disturbed by the motorcycle or 4-wheeler activity at night. Definitely didn't feel too removed from town.
Other than the noise, the location was great. The grounds were pretty, and it was only a five minute walk into town. Of the places we passed by in town, the Arco Iris seemed like the nicest, especially for the price.
The staff was very helpful arranging activities and transportation. They also had a little library and binders of local restaurant menus and reviews.
We adored the Arco Iris Lodge!!
We loved this hotel!! It was quiet and serenc, with the owners horses grazing next door and beautiful birds and exotic flowers all around. The rooms were wonderful. We had the Casa and another room. The room was lovely, but the Casa was fabulous, definitely worth the extra $...beautiful woodwork and stone work, with a bathroom so pretty, we had to take pictures. It is spacious( 2 bedrooms and a living room/kitchen). The breakfast was as good as I had read it was and the staff helpful. Being so close to town (2 minute walk) was so nice. I had stayed at a "cloud forest lodge" on my last trip to Monte Verde, and the isolation from town and the constantly cloudy weather made it not nearly as good a choice as this fine hotel was.
Great location, helpful staff, neat cottage
We were there in March 06 with some friends. We shared the 2 bedroom house with my cousins and it was a great place to stay as well as a very reasonable price. It was a bonus to be so close to Santa Elena as we could easily walk to shops, ATM, restaurants and the grocery. The nice thing about the location was that while it was close to the town center - it was hidden away and our house looked onto a pasture with beautiful horses. We even saw a quetzal bird in the tree one day!
The staff were ever so helpful making arrangements for us. That alone was worth the price!
Met all expectations and more
WOW! I just returned from the Arco Iris and it is the best choice for the Santa Elena/Monteverde area.
Our room was very nice. Basic, but clean and cute.
The Arco Iris is like a 1 minute walk to town but it's on a nice hillside. There are lots of birds and the owner has dogs and cats on the property, they are very nice and cute. Also, her little son. He is extremely cute and runs around in a spiderman mask. The owner is very nice and friendly. They are currently under construction making a new information area and breakfast area.
The breakfast was satisfying, fresh fruit, bread, and more! I ate there since there weren't any other good restaurants in town.... TreeHouse restaurant was recommended but I didn't care for it much.
The lady who works in the office is sooooooooo unbelievably helpful! and very friendly...
It's surprisingly very relaxing to sit on the patio or lawn.
If I were to go to Monteverde again I would stay here in a second, it looked alot nicer than the other hotels I saw. It's well-priced, too! Loved every second of it!
Oh yeah, also on the Monteverde Natural History Walks Adrian was amazing! He found us FOUR quetzals. Don't get your hopes up though! Whenever he heard a bird noise he just put it binocular up and VOILA! It was incredible. He was really nice!
Selvatura walks and canopies was great too. Don't bother going to Aventura. We went there and there were 60 people on on tour! 60 people! And only like 5 guides! At Selvatura there were 10 people in our group and like.... 7 guides! 2 per tree! So we left Aventura, & got our $$$ back. Don't waste your time there!
Twilight tour is nice.
There isn't much to do in Monteverde but I loved it up there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Keep up the nice work, Arco Iris.
Wonderful experience at the Arco Iris Ecolodge
We just returned from an 8-day stay in Costa Rica, including one night at the Arco Iris Ecolodge in Santa Elena. We would highly recommend this hotel to all travelers due to its location, cleanliness, and value. We will definitely stay at this hotel again on our next trip to CR.
The hotel did not have any cabins available for our party of 4 (2 adults and 2 16-year old boys), so we were placed in 1 standard room and the smallest cabina. I was concerned about booking a standard room since we wanted to have our own space and not worry about noise from other travelers. However, the standard room was actually a separate and privately located cabin. And the super small cabina had 2 bunk beds just perfect for our teenage boys. The cabins were very nice and spotless - which can't be easy considering all of the rain and constant moisture. Of course the Arco Iris is more of a budget inn - so it wouldn't be the place to stay if you were looking for more upscale amenities. But for $85.00 a night total for both cabins - it definitely exceeded our expectations.
We could easily walk into town for meals, groceries and shopping, but we heard very little road/town noise since the hotel is up a steep hill from the main street. The staff was excellent and very knowledgeable about the available activities and restaurants. And we enjoyed the buffet breakfast - not a lot of choices but everything was very good.
We would highly recommend hiking the Santa Elena reserve (saw a whole troop of spider monkeys and many, many birds), the night hike at Hidden Valley Trail (we had fun even though it was pouring rain), and the Selvatura canopy tour (absolutely thrilling!). It rains A LOT, so be prepared with the proper rain gear so that the weather doesn't prevent you from enjoying a magical place.
One recommendation - we should have planned a 2 night stay in Monteverde/Santa Elena instead of setting out for San Jose after the canopy tour. We left Santa Elena around 4:00 p.m. and had a tortuous 4-hour drive in clouds, rain and darkness in a rental car that was trying hard to fall apart. Whether driving toward Arenal or San Jose, it would be safest to plan your trip so that you always arrive at your destination before sunset.
What a sweet, friendly, clean place
We stayed here to save money on our last night in Santa Elena, after staying 2 nights at the most expensive place in town (El Establo). To be honest, I enjoyed my stay here even more. Very friendly staff, a clean comfortable room, and great cats and dogs who welcome you on arrival, but stay out of your way (actually, one cat really wanted to hang out in our room, but we're apparently not allowed to let them in, so we only let here stay for a few minutes!).
Very quiet, even though it's in the downtown area. And the owner spent about 1/2 hour helping me find a palce to stay on the coast for later on in our trip.
A great experience. I would certainly stay here again, if we come back to the area.