Arenal Observatory Lodge Free Activities

You needn’t go far at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa to feel nature’s magic – it’s all around you! And with so many free things to do at our Arenal eco-lodge, you will have a Costa Rica rainforest adventure to remember forever.

Here, on our 870-acre property uniquely located right between Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal, you can explore rainforest, waterfalls, streams, 11 kilometers (7 miles) of trails, and see an amazing wealth of wildlife. Arenal Observatory Lodge is a renowned destination for bird watching in Costa Rica, with more than 500 species of birds noted so far in our forest. Nature rises early in Costa Rica. It is worth it to get up at first light to see the howler monkeys and birds that were your alarm clock in the morning.

Arenal Observatory Lodge isn’t just a beautiful Arenal hotel from which to watch the wonders of the Arenal Volcano. It’s also a great base for an entire gamut of activities and tours in the Arenal area. You also can read interesting news and stories in our blog.

Our guests say it best:

We woke up on the first morning to the most incredible sound of different birds. As we lay in bed, it sounded like 10 different kinds of tropical birds sharing their voices.”

“If you’re a wildlife lover, this lodge is your best bet in the area.”

“For us, it was worth it to be so close to the rainforest. We’ve stayed at several hotels in the Arenal area, and this one has the most abundant wildlife we’ve ever seen.” 

We saw so many jaw-dropping things here – howler monkeys with babies, both Chestnut-mandibled and Keel-billed toucans, oropendulas, spider monkeys, Great curassows, and big roaming troops of coatis. The hotel grounds are lush, green, and full of tropical flowers and hummingbirds; there’s also a gorgeous view of the lake from the observation deck.”

Walking Trails

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa rests in the heart of one of Costa Rica’s largest nature preserves – the Arenal Conservation Area. We are uniquely located within the Arenal Volcano National Park boundaries, where primary and secondary tropical rainforests grow in fertile volcanic soil, creating a rich habitat for birds, butterflies, mammals, reptiles, and insects. One of the more iconic sounds of the rainforest at Arenal Volcano is the howler monkeys that you can often hear in the early mornings or late afternoons.

An 11-kilometer (7-mile) network of well-marked and maintained trails crisscrosses our Arenal lodge property, ideal for hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking. These trails give you access to so much local natural beauty, and since they are inside our 870-acre property, you won’t run into crowds when out exploring. An 800-meter (0.5 mile) paved trail allows universal access to explore the gardens and rainforest, and gives excellent views of the Arenal Volcano. The paved trail also is perfect for a short night hike to immerse yourself in the exotic sounds and smells of the jungle after dark.

We recommend our daily free guided walk with our naturalist guide that departs from Reception every day at 8:30 a.m. and goes to the Danta River Waterfall. We also recommend walking our other trails early in the morning or in the afternoon for better wildlife viewing, for cooler weather, nice light and beautiful views of Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal and the rainforest. On our detailed trail map, which you can obtain from Hotel Reception, 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles) of the trail network are color-coded into red, yellow, brown, blue, green, and orange to help you keep your bearings. Distances and landmarks also are given.