Getting to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Coordinates to use on your GPS:

Latitude: 10.434215 / Longitude: -84.701500

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Getting Here

There are many ways to get to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa at Arenal Volcano, including driving your own vehicle, domestic flights, shared shuttle vans, private car and driver, and public bus. See our Transportation Services to Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna, Costa Rica for all of the options.

Arenal Volcano by Car

Many Arenal Observatory Lodge guests choose to drive their own vehicle or rental car to get to Arenal Volcano. While a regular two-wheel drive car can easily get to our Arenal hotel, we recommend renting a 4x4 with high clearance for better access anywhere you want to go in Costa Rica. We also strongly suggest renting a GPS; this is one of the best travel tools for driving in Costa Rica.

There are several routes for getting here. The drive from San José passes through some of the most scenic regions in the country – rolling mountains and meadows, patches of lush cloud forest and rainforest, picturesque Costa Rican villages, vibrant green pastures and hillsides full of grazing cattle, dairy farms, and plantations of coffee, sugarcane, tropical fruits and ornamental plants. Coming from Liberia and the Guanacaste region, the very picturesque drive takes you around beautiful Lake Arenal, through the quaint towns of Tilaran and Nuevo Arenal.

The way to Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

When you turn off the main route onto our access road – also the way to get to the main entrance of Arenal Volcano National Park, your adventure is just beginning!

Our nine-kilometer-long (5.6 miles) gravel access road lets you slow down to see the rainforest. See if you can spot toucans, monkeys or sloths in the trees. Drive carefully to not run over any coatis crossing the road – which they do frequently. Stop to take that perfect photo of the Arenal Volcano up close. Making it easy, the road ends at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa.

When you get to our Arenal lodge, you will be rewarded with the most amazing views of massive Arenal Volcano towering over the hotel, and the deep blue Lake Arenal stretching west into the sunset. Huge trees stand watch over the hotel, and our gardens and surrounding rainforest are full of wildlife.

Arenal Observatory Lodge’s location is part of the adventure. Yes, our Arenal lodge is 22 km (13.6 miles) from La Fortuna, about a 30-minute drive, and it is so relaxing to be out of the frantic hustle and bustle of big tourist crowds. Here, there is no noise outside your hotel room from busy roads or a congested town center. It is quiet. You can hear the wind, the trees, the birds, the monkeys, and maybe even the volcano. Welcome to peace in beautiful nature! 

Driving Directions to Arenal Observatory Lodge

From San Jose:

The most popular route heads out of San José along the Inter-American Highway (Hwy 1) to the town of San Ramón, where you turn off into the hills, passing through La Tigra on the way to La Fortuna. Even without a map, La Fortuna is easy to find. Once you reach La Fortuna, continue through town toward Tabacón Hot Springs, Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano National Park. Just before reaching Lake Arenal, you will come to a police station on the right and a marked turn-off on the left for the National Park entrance. We share the same route to the main entrance of Arenal Volcano National Park.

From the turn-off, it is 9 km (5.6 miles) along a somewhat bumpy gravel and dirt road. Continue on past the park entrance following signs for the Arenal Observatory Lodge. The road ends at our entrance gate.

Driving time Distance
3 hours approximately 125 km (77.6 miles)

From Liberia, Guanacaste:

Turn off the Inter-American Highway (Hwy 1) at Cañas, heading toward Tilarán. Continue around Lake Arenal, passing through the town of Nuevo Arenal, heading toward La Fortuna. After you pass the lake dam, you will come to a police station on the left and a marked turn-off on the right for the Arenal Volcano National Park. We share the same route to the national park main entrance. This 9 km (5.6 miles), somewhat bumpy gravel and dirt road will take you directly to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Due to quick-changing weather in Costa Rica, road conditions around the lake can change rapidly. It is always best to call our lodge to find out current road conditions and what route is best at the moment.

Driving time Distance
3.5 hours approximately 160 km (99.4 miles)

From Tortuguero National Park

Coming from Tortuguero/La Pavona on Route 814, turn left onto Route 247 after about 15 km. Continue on Route 247 through Guapiles and turn right on Carr Braulio Carrillo/Route 32. Continue on Route 32 eventually getting onto Route 4 toward La Virgen and Puerto Viejo. Continue onto Route 126 and past La Virgen. In San Miguel take Route 140. Continue to Aguas Zarcas before turning right onto Route 250. In Chiles stay left to get onto Route 751. Turn left onto Route 4 toward San Jorge. In San Jorge turn left on Route 142 towards La Fortuna. Once you reach La Fortuna, continue through town toward Tabacón Hot Springs, Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano National Park. Just before reaching Lake Arenal, you will come to a police station on the right and a marked turn-off on the left for the National Park entrance. We share the same route to the main entrance of Arenal Volcano National Park. From the turn-off, it is 9 km (5.6 miles) along a somewhat bumpy gravel and dirt road. Continue on past the park entrance following signs for the Arenal Observatory Lodge. The road ends at our entrance gate.

Driving time Distance
3.5 hours approximately 151 km (93.8 miles)

From Manuel Antonio National Park

From Quepos and Manuel Antonio, drive north past Jaco Beach to Puntarenas. Connect with the Inter-American Highway (Hwy 1) to San Ramon. Turn left into the town of San Ramon, crossing town and following signs to Arenal Volcano. You will cross the mountains and pass through La Tigra on the way to La Fortuna. Once you reach La Fortuna, continue through town toward Tabacón Hot Springs, Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano National Park. Just before reaching Lake Arenal, you will come to a police station on the right and a marked turn-off on the left for the National Park entrance. We share the same route to the main entrance of Arenal Volcano National Park. This 9 km (5.6 miles), somewhat bumpy gravel and dirt road will take you directly to the Arenal Observatory Lodge.

Driving time Distance
4.5 hours approximately 229 km (142 miles)

From Monteverde

From Santa Elena in Monteverde, take the very scenic Route 606 to the village of El Dos and then Route 145 to the town of Tilaran; the route is unpaved and very mountainous. This route is only drivable using a 4x4 vehicle; please call our lodge in advance to check road conditions for this route. Continue around Lake Arenal, passing through the town of Nuevo Arenal, heading toward La Fortuna. After you pass the lake dam, you will come to a police station on the left and a marked turn-off on the right for the Arenal Volcano National Park. We share the same route to the national park main entrance. This 9 km (5.6 miles), somewhat bumpy gravel and dirt road will take you directly to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Due to quick-changing weather in Costa Rica, road conditions around the lake can change rapidly. It is always best to call our lodge to find out current road conditions and what route is best at the moment.

Driving time Distance
3 hours approximately 106 km (142 miles)

Important information for getting to Arenal Observatory Lodge