Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
You came to Costa Rica to experience its rainforest, volcanoes and nature. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa gives you access to of of this in one extraordinary location. There is 870 acres on our property to explore, including 270 acres of natural primary rainforest with rivers and waterfalls, 400 acres of reforested land and tropical gardens, and 200 acres of pastureland. Our gardens and landscaping are extravagantly designed with colorful flowering plants, shrubs and trees chosen to attract wildlife, like jewel-toned hummingbirds, brilliant butterflies and exotic birds.
Unlike other hotels in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, we are the only hotel located within the Arenal Volcano National Park. When the national park was formed in November 1991, its boundaries encompassed our ranch. No other hotel is as close to the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal as we are. While on the property you can always feel the volcano’s commanding presence.
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa was originally built in 1987 as a scientific research station for the world-famous Smithsonian Institution. After Arenal Volcano’s sudden and dramatic explosion into life in 1968, Smithsonian Institution scientists began frequenting the area and would camp on our family’s land because of its strategic location. We built cabins and a small hotel to take care of them, and expanded over the years.
Today, the historic Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa offers 48 comfortable hotel rooms in various buildings spread over the property, and two unique Costa Rican vacation home rentals. Five rooms are fully equipped for disabled travelers, with rooms, bathrooms, hallways, parking areas, and even the new swimming pool designed accordingly. Enjoy delicious meals in our lodge restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for gazing at the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal, and a huge observation deck just outside. Our Observatory Spa will help you relax with massages and other body therapies.
We are a sustainable eco-lodge with a rating of Three Leaves in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST) by the Costa Rican Tourism Board. Additionally, Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa consistently wins TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence award every year and is a proud member of its Green Leaders program.
What is there to do?
Your stay with us at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa includes daily complimentary walks in our gardens and the rainforest with our naturalist guides. On our 870-acre property you can explore 11 kilometers (7 miles) of well-maintained trails – hiking, horseback riding or mountain biking. An 800-meter (0.5 mile) paved trail allows universal access to explore the gardens and rainforest. For the adventurous, go on our guided Cerro Chato Hiking Tour up to the top of the neighboring extinct volcano. Additonally, Arenal Observatory Lodge is a preferred destination for bird watching in Costa Rica, with more than 400 species of birds noted so far in our forest.
Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is easily accessible from the nearby town of La Fortuna. Our lodge is well located to enjoy the many adventure tours in Arenal, such as zip lines, whitewater rafting, hot springs, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, fishing on Lake Arenal, etc.
Facilities at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
- Arenal Observatory Restaurant & Bar
- Large observation sun deck for viewing Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal and the rainforest
- Observatory Spa
- Spacious reception area & lobby living room with a guest computer for internet access, cable TV, phone cabin for local and international calls, souvenir shop, and a tour desk
- Swimming pool & Jacuzzi
- 800-meter (0.5 mile) paved universal access trail through the gardens and rainforest
- Eleven kilometers (7 miles) of well-maintained trails for hiking, bird watching, horseback riding & mountain biking (trail maps available at hotel reception)
- Hanging bridges and waterfalls
- Beautiful gardens and viewpoints of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal
- A List of Birds at Arenal Observatory Lodge and the surrounding area is available at hotel reception
- Arenal Observatory Museum contains information and photos illustrating the history of Arenal Volcano
- Private gated entrance and 24-hour security