The webcam at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa was recently selected as one of the 25 Most Interesting Webcams of 2018. This webcam was selected by a panel of judges from thousands of nominees around the world. As a family-owned ecolodge, the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa has always dreamed of sharing the natural wonders of Costa Rica with the world.

Planning how to best spend a two-night, three-day stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa in La Fortuna, Costa Rica is no easy task. With a complimentary morning walk, two observation towers, a pool and jacuzzi, a variety of spa treatments, a historical museum, horseback riding tours, some of the best birding in the country, 7 miles (11 kilometers) of trails to explore across 870 acres (352 hectares) of property, and much more to offer, finding time for it all can seem an impossible task.

50 years ago today, on July 29, 1968, a large forested hill, known as Cerro Arenal, exploded ending its nearly 500-year slumber. The large eruption of rock, lava, and ash lasted three days, affecting more than 15 square kilometers and devastating the towns of Tabacón, Pueblo Nuevo, and San Luis. 87 people living in these areas tragically lost their lives.

As a part of our continued activities involving environmental education in the local community, the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa in coordination with SONATI (Sociedad y Naturaleza Internacional), carried out a class about the threats facing wildlife in Costa Rica at the nearby high school in El Castillo.

The second part of the lesson consisted of a field trip to the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa trails, where students learned about the ecology of the tropical rainforest.

As a part of our commitment to sustainable tourism, the local community, and the environment, the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, in coordination with SONATI (Sociedad y Naturaleza Internacional) carried out a course about environmental education for the nearby school in El Castillo, La Fortuna.

The course consisted of two theoretical and dynamic talks which encouraged participation from the students. Topics included: the different types of ecosystems, the importance of the forests, conservation, and wildlife among others.

The Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is an eco-lodge entrenched in nature. Surrounded by the Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica, and in between the Guanacaste and Tilarán Mountain Ranges, it is an area of incredible geological and ecological diversity. The union of mountainous terrain and abundance of water that exists at the lodge creates the perfect conditions for the formation of waterfalls.

In the United States alone, it is estimated that up to a billion birds die each year in collisions with windows, walls, and other structures. In fact, window collisions are the second largest anthropocentric mortality threat to birds, second only to domestic cat predation (more on that in a future blog). Although this widow collision problem is serious, and human-caused, solving it is complicated, involving cooperation from businesses and members of the public alike.

With over 500 species of birds sighted at the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, shortlisting a selection of several especially emblematic birds is no easy task. However, we believe these following nine species deserve the designation due to their uniqueness, dependence on the area, and representation of the tropical rainforest.

1) Lovely cotinga (Cotinga amabilis)

Arenal Taller de Ornitología

For two days in September, the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa had the pleasure of hosting a workshop on birdwatching in collaboration with the Costa Rica Ornithology Association (Asociación Ornitologica de Costa Rica). In addition to our staff at the hotel, we invited members of the community to join us for one of two, four-hour long workshops providing an introduction into ornithology and the importance of birdwatching.

Spa Arenal Volcano

Thai Massage is an ancient technique in which the client is laid on a floor mat, and stretched and massaged from head to toe. This technique is very different than those which we are accustomed to thinking of when we hear the word massage. Normally, we think of a massage table and oil. Thai massage breaks these stereotypes be employing a floor mat, comfortable clothing, and the use of most of the masseuse´s body. This includes use of the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearms, legs, and feet.