Arenal Observatory Lodge – Leaves You Speechless

Years and years ago, before Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna town were the hot spot that they are today, this area was more for farming and geologist’s place for studying and researching the mighty volcano.

One family combined the two and developed their farm into a station for these geologists.   Slowly, it grew and grew into a hotel – Arenal Observatory Lodge. Today it is one of the most perfectly placed hotels in all of Arenal Region.

arenal observatory lodge

What Makes Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) so absolutely different and unique:

The views. If the volcano isn’t covered, you simply can’t get a more amazing view anywhere else. You feel that you can practically reach out and touch it.

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Arenal Lake. The volcano isn’t the only breathtaking view of the area. You can see Costa Rica’s largest lake crystal clear from here.

arenal costa rica hotel

The Property. There are more hiking trails in the hotel than in all of Arenal area. You can walk down trails that were old lava flows. You can find waterfalls and flora of all sort.

arenal volcano views observatory deck hiking trails

Birdwatching. I’m not a bird lover, but you kind of get caught up in the moment. Especially when it’s crystal clear that most of the guests here are either on assignment for some major magazine with their huge lenses and 100 pound tripods, or they are die hard birders coming here from all corners of the world to see a glimpse of a rare specimen.

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bird watching arenal volcano views observatory deck hiking trails

The location . You are truly isolated here. It’s a good 30-45 minute drive on a mostly-dirt road through the rain forest. The drive is so worth it when you arrive here.

The hotel itself is relatively simple,  you don’t come here to be in a 5 star resort. And the price is just right – $70-$150 per night.

However, if you don’t want to be this isolated, no problem. You can come here for the day and experience the trails and the property and the views!

Arenal Observatory Lodge Review – Where to Stay in Arenal, Costa Rica


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About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

4 Responses to Arenal Observatory Lodge – Leaves You Speechless

  1. Leigh says:

    We stayed there for a few nights when we were in the area. You’re bang on about the location and since my husband is a birder, he was in his element. There pool was quite lovely when we were there – meals so so – but the excursions they booked were second to none.
    We did one particularly memorable outing – drove to the lake – took a boat ride across it – got on a couple of horses with a local who spoke only Spanish and headed across streams and up the mountain in knee deep mud for the horse for three hours. Then got in a car and drove to La Fortuna. Memorable to say the least!!
    Leigh recently posted..Cycling Spain: Ardales to RondaMy Profile

    • My husband is a birder too, but he stayed home with the kids while I checked out the fun hotels:)

      What a trip!!!! IT sounds awesome. I have never taken a boat on the lake, have driven around it a few times, and it’s just gorgeous.

  2. Bill Coffin says:

    It’s a nice view, but honestly, lots of hotels in the area have a great view of Volcan Arenal. It’s not like there is a lot obscuring the view.

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