Arenal Observatory Lodge

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Central Valley Eco Lodges, Costa Rica Eco Lodges | Comments Off on Arenal Observatory Lodge

Location: La Fortuna
Price: $67-$452/night
Features: river, waterfalls, guided trails, volcano, lake


arenal observatory lodge

Dramatically perched on a ridge of just 1.7 miles from the Arena Volcano in a private nature reserve, Arenal Observatory Lodge was originally built in 1987 as a Smithsonian Institute scientific research station. The La Fortuna located lodge was continuously upgraded over the next few years to provide comfortable accommodation options, a plethora of leisurely nature-based activities and top-class service. Arenal Lodge is strikingly surrounded by lush trails to adjoining lava flows, waterfalls, glistening lakes, crystalline rivers and impressive vistas of the Arenal Volcano. It is the only La fortuna accommodation to be situated inside the Arenal National Park premises. Immaculately landscaped gardens, carefully chosen natural flowering plants, colorful butterflies, howler monkey wake-up calls and mesmerizing humming birds accentuate Arenal Observatory’s lush tropical setting. The lodge is a heady mix of a commanding untouched natural retreat and luxurious eco-resort.

Amenities and Activities

Arrays of nature based activities greet spirited adventurers at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Guests can enjoy everything from mountain biking to whitewater rafting to kayaking in the vicinity of the lodge. Other adventure pursuits include hanging bridges, canopy tours, fishing, horseback riding and guided nature trails. A short path from the observatory takes guests to a splendid waterfall and a primary rainforest (through which they can move to a welcoming canoe to enjoy a surreal paddle on the lakes shimmering surface). Another popular activity in and around the lodge is bird watching (over 350 species of birds live in the diverse habitats around the observatory lodge).

The lodge is equipped with an infinity swimming pool along with a relaxing, bubbling Jacuzzi (beneath a magnificent glass gazebo casing the volcano peak and lake against an alluring backdrop of the star-dotted sky). Their picturesque in-house restaurant features window walls that beautifully frame the surrounding landscape along with an inspiring menu, which offers the best of Continental and Costa Rican cuisine (with emphasis on fresh locally produced vegetables, fruits and meat). In addition to this, free daily guided morning hikes are conducted within the property’s well-maintained trails by expert naturalists.


Accommodation at the Arenal Observatory Lodge is available in the form of 48 well-appointed and elegantly decorated rooms spread across various buildings in the premises. Five rooms are especially designed for providing comfort to disabled travelers. Apart from these physically disabled friendly rooms, even the bathrooms, hallway passages, parking area and swimming pool are thoughtfully created to accommodate the physically challenged. Most rooms offer sweeping views of the gigantic volcano, while all of them overlook the lodge’s luxuriant gardens. Accommodation options vary from standard rooms to junior suites and a mammoth villa. Children under 6 are not charged for meals and lodging. Children between 7-11 years are offered a 50% discount on meals along with free lodging (shared accommodation with parents).


The La Casona rooms are priced at $ 67 USD (plus taxes), $ 82 USD, $ 94 USD and $ 108 USD per night for single, double, triple and quadruple occupancy respectively during high season. Similarly Standard Rooms are available for $ 96 and $ 111 per room per night for single and double occupancy respectively during peak season. The Junior Suites come at $ 155 USD for single and $ 166 USD for double occupancy. Guests can book the entire White Hawk Villa for $ 452 USD (taxes extra) for maximum 8 people. Individual rooms within the villa can be booked for $ 129 USD for single and $ 144 USD per night for double. All Arenal Observatory Lodge rates include a full breakfast buffet, free guided daily morning hikes along neatly maintained trails and 7 miles of walking, bike and horseback trails.