Arenal Observatory Lodge “In the shadows of Arenal Volcano”

View of Arenal Volcano


Introduction: Set amidst a beautiful protected rainforest in the Caribbean foothills and with an overlooking active volcano, a visit to Arenal Observatory Lodge is highly recommended for many reasons. The lodge has lovely gardens complete with bird feeding tables, a very relaxing pool and Jacuzzi, an extensive trail system, a fine restaurant, a choice of 4 different standards of rooms to accommodate your budget, and an atmosphere that few other lodges can claim. I also believe it to be the best possible base for birding the Arenal area. Arenal Volcano is a perfect cinder cone, see photo, and in the past has been quite active. The eruptions of ash and gasses into the air which used to be common place have subsided since Oct 2010.  The views are still incredible and if you stay in a Jr. Suites or Smithsonian room you can see the volcano while lying in bed. Whether you are looking for great birding, a romantic getaway, or just to commune with nature on a higher level, you will find that this area and specifically this lodge can provide all of that and much more.

Location: Arenal Observatory Lodge is located NW of San Jose at the base of Arenal Volcano. It is approximately 25 minutes west of the town of La Fortuna and a total of 3½ hours by car from the San Jose International Airport. Its location serves as an excellent stopover between the La Selva de Sarapiqui region and the Monteverde area.

Jr. Suite Room

Swimming pool and Jacuzzi

Accommodations: Arenal Observatory Lodge has 4 separate types of accommodations: Casona, Standard, Smithsonian, and Jr. Suite, (rates are posted below). The Casona rooms are the least expensive and are somewhat dormitory style with 2 shared bathrooms between the rooms. They are located just off the entrance road to reception and have a nice view of Lake Arenal but not the volcano. The Standard rooms are separated into 2 sections; those located very near reception and the dining hall, and those located next to the Casona rooms down the road which have a view of Lake Arenal.  The upper rooms near reception have a balcony where you have a view of the volcano.  The all have private bathrooms. The Smithsonian rooms are located across the swinging bridge from reception. The main upgrade from the Standard rooms is that they have a view of the volcano.  All of course have a private bathroom. The 2 Jr. Suite rooms are located near the dining room are nicest of the rooms available. They are very spacious and have huge windows for viewing the volcano. The lodge has a lovely pool and Jacuzzi located across the swinging bridge from reception, a very nice dining room, beautiful gardens, and an extensive trail system through their private forest.

Climate: Located in the Caribbean foothills at 2,400 feet in elevation, you can expect mild temperatures with occasional warm temperatures in the middle of the day and very comfortable sleeping conditions at night. This area typically has a very unpredictable rain pattern and tropical down pours and drizzles can occur at anytime of year, even lasting for days. Clouds are a common sight in the area and can obscure the view of the volcano. However, with patience and luck, you should get good to spectacular views eventually.

Rates: Good through Nov of 2016, rates based on per person double occupancy.
Low Season: May 1 through Nov 30
High Season:
Dec 1 through April 30
Casona: basic with shared bathroom overlooking Lake Arenal.
Low Season: $41.50 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $41.50/night
High Season: $50.00 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $50.00/night

Standard: Very nice rooms in two locations; 1) near dining hall and 2) located down the entrance road with Arenal Lake views.  Each standard room with private bathroom

Low Season: $60.50 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $60.50/night

High Season: $69.50 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $69.50/night

Smithsonian: Each with a private bathroom and view of volcano.
Low Season: $75.50 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $75.50/night
High Season: $87.50 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $87.50/night

Jr. Suite: Very nice, spacious, private bathroom, each with a view of the volcano.

Low Season: $84.00 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $84.00/night

High Season: $98.50 per person double occupancy
Single Supplement: $98.50/night

Please call or email us for the triple and quadruple room rates.

Price Includes:

  • Lodging
  • A nice buffet breakfast
  • Coffee, tea, and fruit juice at breakfast and during
    lunch and dinner if dining at the restaurant.
  • Guided AM walk on property, these guides often know their birds and carry a spotting scope.
  • Maid Service

Other activities or services at an additional cost:

  • Variety of day trips to surrounding areas.
  • Lunch and dinner while staying at the lodge.
  • Laundry Service.
View of gardens
Smithsonian room
View of Arenal Lake
Volcano letting off steam

Reservations and Transportation options: Reservations for Arenal Observatory Lodge can be made directly through Costa Rica Gateway at no extra charge. We can also arrange private ground transportation. If you do not have a rental car and are transferring to or from Monteverde while in the Arenal area then we highly recommend the Jeep/Boat/Jeep Adventure which we can gladly arrange for you. Not only is the Jeep/Boat/Jeep a good value but great fun as well. If renting a car, CRG will provide you with logistical information for this area.

Birding and Wildlife Attractions/Specialty Birds of Arenal Observatory Lodge