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:

“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.” 

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

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.”

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.”

The Morning Walk

Included with your stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is a daily free guided walk along our property trails with our naturalist gui…

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Close to 900 species of birds can be found in Costa Rica, and more than 500 kinds of birds have been spotted around Arenal Observatory Lodg…

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Spring-fed Swimming pool and Jacuzzi:

Our spring-fed “infinity” swimming pool, tiled in cobalt blue, melds with the surrounding rainforest and provides lovely refreshment in the…

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Frog Pond

Especially in the rainy season (May to November), the sound of frogs in the rainforest is common nighttime music. To encourage the natural pres…

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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 rainforest 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.


Waterfall Trail

One of the most popular trails at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa…

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Saino (Peccary) Trail

A paved trail of approximately 800 meters (0.5 miles) allows universal access to…

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La Hormiga (Ant) Trail

This 450-meter (0.28-mile) path goes through both secondary and primary rainforest…

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River Trail

This short trail goes from the observation deck at the hotel down to the Agua Caliente River,…

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Los Cangrejos (Crabs) Trail

This trail cuts through primary rainforest for 500 meters (0.31 miles). It starts 2 km (1.24 miles)…

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