The Aspinall Family came to Arenal in 1972 when the Costa Rican Electrical Institue (ICE) was building a dam to create Arenal Lake. At the beginning they had to either walk or ride by horses from the entrance of the National Park and decided to buy an abandoned cattle farm of about 870 acres to plant macadamia, lumber trees and protect the remaining natural forest.
At the same time, the Smithsonian Institute was doing studies on the volcano from the dam site. They felt that this property was an excellent place to view and research the volcano because was relatively safe, as the lodge is separated from the volcano by the gorge of the Agua Caliente River.
First, they built four cabins to house the Smithsonian group that visited it. As time went by, friends and later tourists rented the cabins because it was such a beautiful natural spot. As tourism developed the lodge compelled to do two things: limit the entrance and improve the facilities. They have limited the number of rooms in the lodge and will try to keep everything as simple as possible, and environmentally friendly. They also hire local people to give them working opportunities. The family try to demonstrate that is better to preserve rather than destroy the environment that surrounds the Arenal Observatory Lodge
Enjoy the spectacular view of the volcano, the Arenal lake, and the wildlife around the property, the trails offer excellent birding and unbelievable animals and plants, you may see white-faced and howler monkeys as well as other wildlife.