Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring?

It is important to know what to pack to visit Costa Rica and the Arenal Volcano area so you can be prepared to enjoy a great vacation. Arenal Observatory Lodge is a hotel that offers many amenities including a gift shop with a good variety to meet your needs in case you forget. Adventure tourism in Costa Rica is different from most adventures and that is why preventing and planning will make your trip much more enjoyable.

This is a list of recommendations that you can take into account in your luggage:

Photo camera.
Rain coat.
Shoes or boots suitable for walking.
light coat.
Any personal medication you need.
Pocket knife.
Mosquito repellent.
Hat or cap.
Plastic bags for your wet clothes or to protect your electronic devices.

What time is the entrance and exit of the Hotel?

The entrance is at 3:00 p.m. and the exit at 12:00 p.m. If you arrive at our hotel before the check-in time, you can store your belongings with us and you can enjoy the restaurant, the pool, the spa and the trails while we prepare your room. For security reasons, the hotel closes its main gate at 11:00 pm.

How can I pay?

At Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails you can pay with your Visa, Amex, Master Card, Discovery and JCB credit cards, you can also pay in cash. There are no additional charges for paying with your credit cards.

What time does the main entrance of the Hotel close?
For security reasons our main entrance closes at 11:00 pm. If you are going to arrive after this time, please notify our hotel at tel 2479 1070 to coordinate your entry.
What is the current status of the Arenal Volcano?

The Arenal Volcano, which had been dormant for centuries, suddenly erupted in 1968 and was the most active volcano in Costa Rica for decades. In 2010, it entered a passive stage with very little activity as part of its natural evolution. Experts from the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) believe that there has been no recent seismic activity recorded in the volcano, and it could continue its dormancy for hundreds of more years.

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails was originally built in 1987 as a research center and exploration base for scientists from the US Smithsonian Institution. Unlike other hotels in La Fortuna, Costa Rica Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails is the only Hotel located inside the Arenal Volcano National Park, protected from any danger by the deep gorge of the Agua Caliente River.

Is Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails a safe place to visit?

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails is located in a safe area about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) from the southeastern part of the Arenal Volcano. The hotel is located on a hill between the Agua Caliente and Quebrada Danta rivers that rises some 120 meters (394 feet) above Lake Arenal, this topographic feature is of essential importance because the river canyons would eventually not allow the flows affect our hotel. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails is located within “ZONE D” (Low Danger Area) near the Arenal Volcano. In addition, as the prevailing winds generally blow from the east, our hotel would rarely be affected by eventual ash falls, or other precipitation from any eruption.

What is the difference between the Standard and Smithsonian rooms?

The main difference between these rooms is that the Smithsonian rooms are more spacious and have a direct view of the Arenal Volcano from the bed in the room; while the Standard rooms have views of the volcano from the terrace / balcony.

How many people can stay in one room?

A maximum of 4 people can share the Standard, Smithsonian, Junior Suites, and La Casona rooms. Villa White Hawk accommodates up to 8 people and Villa Phil up to 10 people in total.

Are there rooms available for people with disabilities?
There are 5 fully equipped Smithsonian rooms for people with disabilities which have wheelchair access including bathrooms, hallways and parking areas. The pool is universally accessible, and we also have a paved walkway to explore the gardens and tropical forest. This trail has a distance of 800 meters (0.5 mile).
Does the Arenal Observatory Lodge hotel have transportation services?

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails offers shuttle service to nearby areas, as well as transportation to and from the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José, the Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia, and the local airport in La Fortuna. Please ask our reservation agents, or at the hotel reception, for prices. The hotel offers free shuttle service within the property for our guests.

Can I get to the Hotel by public transport?
From San José you can take the bus at the Autotransportes San Carlos transport station which travels 3 times a day to La Fortuna. From here you can take a taxi to the Arenal Observatory Lodge for approximately $30.00.
What is the weather like in the Arenal Volcano area?

The weather at Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna, Costa Rica is best described as unpredictable – one minute the area is hot and sunny, and the next it’s covered in clouds and you’d swear the volcano doesn’t exist because it’s not visible. That can happen several times a day, leading to the popular phrase in Costa Rica: “If you want the weather to change, just wait five minutes!”

The area of ​​La Fortuna and Arenal are known to be rainy; however, the rain often leaves as soon as it comes. Brief periods of rain (from little rain to torrential downpours) are frequent throughout the year.

Arenal Volcano’s location is affected by both Caribbean and Pacific weather patterns, although sunny weather is more frequent during Costa Rica’s dry season. Average daytime temperatures in Arenal, during the dry season (summer) range between 28°C and 32°C (82-90°F), with little rainfall. Temperatures drop a bit during the rainy season, averaging 19°C to 28°C (66-82°F).

What is the closest city to the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails?
The charming city of La Fortuna is located 22 km from our hotel where you can find services such as banks and ATMs, clinics, pharmacies, supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, bars, craft shops, ice cream parlors, fuel station and much more. In La Fortuna there are tourist information centers and taking a walk through Parque de la Fortuna is always an experience to get to know the locals and daily life.
Do the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails rates include admission to the Arenal Volcano National Park?

The lodging rates do not include the entrance to the national park. The entrance to the park is located 7 km from our property and the cost is $15.00 per person.

What are the travel times to/from Arenal Observatory Lodge & Trails?
La Fortuna Airport1 hour
International Airport Juan Santamaría (San José)3.5 hours
International Airport Daniel Oduber (Liberia)4 hours
Manuel Antonio (Quepos)4 hours
Monteverde Cloud Forest3 hours