The Lodge was originally built in 1987 as a Smithsonian Institute scientific research station. Set only 1.7 miles from the base of the volcano, the Arenal Observatory Lodge is the only hotel in the area that is located within the Arenal Volcano National Park. However, guests needn’t worry about its close proximity to the volcano, as the deep and ever-flowing Río Agua Caliente (Hot Water River) separates the Lodge from the volcano. What’s more, the Arenal Volcano entered a resting phase in 2010; at present, there are no eruptions.
The Lodge itself sits on a piece of 870-acre land. There are 270 acres of primary rainforest fitted with well-marked trails, 400 acres of reforestation projects, and 200 acres of farm land. Every day, resident naturalists lead complimentary walks along these trails. Some of the trails even lead to waterfalls and a hanging bridge.
The Arenal Observatory Lodge offers 48 rooms in four separate buildings spread throughout the property. All rooms are extremely comfortable and most have volcano views from the bedroom. Five rooms are fully equipped for disabled travelers, with rooms, bathrooms, hallways, parking areas and even the new swimming pool designed accordingly. To read descriptions of the several types of rooms, please see the “Accommodations” section below.
The restaurant and dining room looks out at the southern face of the volcano from floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside there is a large deck with panoramic views of the volcano and the nearby Lake Arenal. The restaurant’s chefs prepare international and Costa Rican meals using local fruits, vegetables and meat products when possible.
Guests are invited to relax in the infinity swimming pool or the sunken Jacuzzi. This Jacuzzi can seat up to twelve people and is covered with a glass gazebo that frames the Arenal Volcano.
The Arenal Observatory Lodge is a 3 STAR mountain lodge – the highest possible rating – according to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT). It is also categorized as a 4 BAND Eco-lodge (out of a maximum of 5) in a program sponsored by the ICT to rate sustainability.
Arenal Lodge Facilities
Swimming pool, restaurant, bar, hiking trails, gardens, Jacuzzi
Private bathroom, hot water, volcano view, safe deposit box, private balcony, coffee maker, mini refrigerator, kitchen, living room, dining room, satellite TV
All rooms come equipped with a safe deposit box.
Smithsonian Rooms - these rooms feature huge picture windows, a terrace, two queen size beds, a private hot water bathroom, and coffee maker. Five of the Smithsonian Rooms are equipped for guests in wheelchairs.
›Click here for photos of the Smithsonian Rooms.
Junior Suites - these two suites are located near the main lodge. They have a large picture window, a private deck, two king size beds, a small living room, coffee maker, and mini refrigerator.
›Click here for photos of the Junior Suites.
Standard Rooms - these rooms have two queen size beds and a private balcony.
›Click here for photos of the Standard Rooms.
La Casona Rooms - these rooms are geared toward budget travelers. Four of the five rooms are furnished with a queen size bed and views of the volcano; the fifth room has three bunk beds and a view of the rainforest. All rooms enjoy access to a shared terrace and shared bathrooms.
›Click here for photos of La Casona.
The White Hawk Villa - this villa is recommended for families and groups. On the main level thereีs a full kitchen, dining room, and large living room with satellite TV. The two bedrooms can accommodate up to 8 people. Each has a queen size bed, two twin beds, and a private hot water bathroom.
›Click here to see photos of the White Hawk Villa.