Hotels and Resorts
- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Every year sees several new hotels open near La Fortuna. There are dozens to choose from; any omitted here does not necessarily indicate that they are not to be considered. Several options are available on the road between Fortuna and El Tanque. They offer no advantages in location, however, being farther away from the volcano.
Backpackers should head to Gringo Pete’s (tel. 506/2479-8521, www.gringopeteshostel.com, $6.70 pp dorms, $8 pp private room), a rambling home-turned-hostel in lively color schemes with an open-air dorm with eight bunk beds. A second dorm has seven bunks and en-suite shower. Three private rooms share bathrooms. There’s a lounge with sofas, a communal kitchen, lockers, and hammocks and a barbecue grill outside. Tours are offered. It’s a solid bargain. Gringo Pete also runs Gringo Pete Too, with six dorm rooms and 15 rooms with private bathrooms.
Arenal Backpackers’ Resort (tel. 506/
2479-7000, www.arenalbackpackers.com, $14 pp dorm or camping, $28 pp room) is a worthy alternative and even boasts free WiFi, plus a lovely swimming pool with wet bar, and hammocks on spacious lawns. Orthopedic mattresses, silent air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs are among the treats at this first-class budget option, three blocks west of the church.
The Hotel La Amistad (tel. 506/2479-9364, www.hotellaamistadarenal.com, $15 s, $30 d) offers 13 air-conditioned rooms and four upstairs apartments, all with ceiling fans, cable TV, and private bath with hot water. The simply furnished downstairs rooms are a bit gloomy and open to the parking lot.
Hotel Paraíso Tropical (tel. 506/2479-9222, www.paraisotropical.org, $37 s or $45 d low season, $42 s or $58 d high season), on the south side of the church, has 13 spacious, modestly elegant air-conditioned rooms with sponge-washed walls, fans, cable TV, microwave, coffeemaker, private bath, and hot water. Three rooms have king-size beds; four have refrigerators. Upstairs rooms are larger and have balconies with views. There’s secure parking, a restaurant, and a tour office, plus Internet access.
The refurbished Hotel Arenal Jireh (tel. 506/2479-9236, www.hotelarenaljireh.com, $50 s, $65 d), one block west of the church, has 12 pleasant and spacious air-conditioned rooms with refrigerator, cable TV, tile floors, single and double bed, and hot water. Take an upper-story room in the three-story block for volcano views. There’s a small swimming pool, laundry, gift store, tour desk, Internet, and secure parking.
The handsome Hotel Arenal Carmela (tel./fax 506/2479-9010, www.hotelarenalcarmela.com, $60 s, $70 d), on the southwest corner of the plaza, has 13 clean air-conditioned rooms with hardwood walls, orthopedic mattresses, cable TVs, refrigerators, in-room safes, patios with hammocks and Sarchí rockers, plus private skylit bathrooms with hot water. There’s secure parking. Rates include taxes.
Hotel San Bosco (tel. 506/2479-9050, www.arenal-volcano.com, $50–55 s, $61–66 d low season; $61–66 s, $75–80 d high season), 200 meters north of the plaza, has 34 air-conditioned rooms (11 are cabins) with private baths and hot water. Some of the rooms are small and overpriced; newer rooms are nicer. The sundeck and swimming pool with whirlpool tub are high points. Rates include tax and breakfast.
Boasting a fine restaurant, Luigi’s Hotel & Restaurant (tel. 506/2479-9636, www.luigishotel.com, $48 s/d low season, $60 s/d high season, including breakfast and tax) is a two-story wooden lodge with 20 simply furnished and somewhat disappointing air-conditioned rooms (as with many hotels, the TVs are in a neck-craning position). There’s a pool, whirlpool tub, Internet, gym, casino, and bar.
High-rise has come to town in the form of the five-story Hotel Fortuna (tel. 506/2479-9197, www.lafortunahotel.com, from $50 s, $63 d low season; from $55 s, $75 d high season), with 44 clean, tidy, somewhat clinical air-conditioned rooms around an atrium.
Also to consider in this price bracket are the Arenal Country Inn (tel. 506/2479-0101, www.arenalcountryinn.com), 600 meters southeast of town; and the Cataratas Ecolodge (tel. 506/2479-9522, www.cataratalodge.com) and Arenal Oasis Ecolodge (tel. 506/2479-9526, www.arenaloasis.com), both on the road to La Fortuna Waterfall.
I like the secluded Lomas del Volcán (tel. 506/2479-9000, www.lomasdelvolcan.com, $97 s, $106 d low season; $100 s, $110 d high season), set amid dairy pasture about one kilometer off the main road, four kilometers west of town. It has 13 spacious wooden cabins raised on stilts, with king-size and double beds, fans, refrigerator, beautiful modern bathrooms, and volcano views from glass-enclosed porches. Nature trails lead into nearby forest. Horses can be rented, and there is WiFi in the reception.
La Fortuna to Tabacón
The well-run Hotel Arenal Rossi (tel. 506/2479-9023, www.hotelarenalrossi.com, $36 s, $42 d low season; $40 s, $47 d high season, including tax and breakfast), about two kilometers west of Fortuna, offers 25 simple but pretty cabinas with refrigerators, TVs, WiFi, and private baths with hot water. One has a full kitchen and skylit bathroom. Twelve have air-conditioning. Rooms vary in size. “Immaculate and comfortable,” reports a reader, but walls are thin. There’s a steakhouse, plus a kids’ pool and swings, and a gift store.
The Miradas Arenal (tel. 506/2479-1944, www.miradasarenal.com, $80 s/d), about nine kilometers west of [node:25612 link La Fortuna, has fine views. It has seven attractive wooden cabins amid broad lawns. Each has a tile floor, refrigerator, coffeemaker, bathrooms with views from the tub/shower and hot water, and french doors that open to corner verandas.
Erupciones B&B (tel. 506/2479-1400, www.erupcionesinn.com, $80–95 s/d year-round) is a delightful little place with three cabins in a meadow on a cattle farm. Gaily colored in tropical colors, they’re spacious, cross-lit, and ventilated through louvered glass windows. Rooms have tile floors, fans, clean modern bathrooms with hot water, and patios. Rates include breakfast.
The Arenal Volcano Inn (tel. 506/2479-1122, www.arenalvolcanoinn.com, $77–132 s/d low season; $88–165 s/d high season) offers an airy, glass-walled restaurant and gorgeous rooms, also with walls of glass plus river-stone walls, colorful decor, dark hardwood furnishings, and modern bathrooms.
The ever-improving Los Lagos Hotel & Resort (tel. 506/2479-1000, www.hotelloslagos.com, $110–130 s/d low season, $138–174 s/d high season, including taxes) has gone upscale, and the rooms are now a visual delight. Its 105 attractive and air-conditioned standard rooms and superior cabins all have wooden ceilings, cable TV, phones, safes, minibars, and refrigerators. It also has two-bedroom villas with kitchens. There are two restaurants and a spa, but the highlight is its landscaped thermal pools and adventure activities.
Also improved with a stone-faced reception area, Volcano Lodge (tel. 506/2479-1717, www.volcanolodge.com, $105 s/d low season, $138 s/d high season), about six kilometers west of town, offers 20 beautifully appointed two-bedroom cottages with large picture windows, and porches with rockers for enjoying the volcano views beyond the gardens with a lovely swimming pool with swim-up bar. Choose king or two queen beds. Facilities include a pool and whirlpool tub, and occasional WiFi. The restaurant is one of the finest around.
Arenal Paraíso Resort & Spa (tel. 506/2479-1100, www.arenalparaiso.com), about seven kilometers west of town, has 21 all-hardwood standards and 55 air-conditioned superior rooms.
The Hotel Arenal Springs (tel. 506/2479-1212, www.hotelarenalsprings.com) offers 65 graciously appointed, low-slung, and peak-roofed bungalows dispersed amid lush gardens with thermal pools plus a stable for horse-riding.
Montaña de Fuego Resort & Spa (tel. 506/2479-1220, www.montanadefuego.com) has 66 handsome hardwood air-conditioned cabinas and bungalow suites that sit on a hillock with splendid volcano views through glass-enclosed verandas (many rooms face away from the volcano). The hotel has a glass-enclosed restaurant, swimming pool, and spa, as well as a zip-line canopy and helicopter tours.
Competing in a Spanish colonial theme, the Mountain Paradise Hotel (tel. 506/2479-1414, www.hotelmountainparadise.com, from $105 s/d low season, from $140 s/d high season) offers 40 absolutely gorgeous rooms with river-stone walls and an irresistible deluxe decor that has rustic touches. Its gourmet restaurant serves fusion cuisine, and the pool has a wet bar.
A colonial-inspired winner is Casa Luna Hotel & Spa (tel. 506/2479-7368, www.casalunalodge.com, $105 s, $115 d low season; $125 s, $135 d high season), with a lovely aesthetic to its grounds, swimming pool complex, and 35 rooms.
In the same price category, Baldi Termae Spa (tel. 506/2479-2190, www.baldihotsprings.cr) has 32 deluxe rooms with Edwardian furnishings, terra-cotta floors, spacious bathrooms, and contemporary touches such as flat-screen TVs and WiFi. Some rooms smelled of wet cement, but the furnishings are deluxe.
The three-story Magic Mountain Hotel (tel. 506/2479-7246, www.hotelmagicmountain.com, $150 s/d low season, $175 s/d high season) offers a luxurious experience in its 40 junior suites, with a conference room, spa, and landscaped swimming pool. Hotel Arenal Manoa (tel. 506/2479-1111, www.arenalmanoa.com) competes in style, comfort, and price. A highlight is its huge whirlpool.
The contemporary, upscale, nonsmoking Tabacón Lodge (tel. 506/2479-2000, www.tabacon.com, $285–454 s/d year-round), 200 meters uphill of Balneario Tabacón, is set amid lush well-maintained gardens. The property has 73 air-conditioned rooms, all with beautiful Georgian-inspired mahogany furnishings, king beds, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, marble-clad bathrooms, and a patio affording a volcano view. Nine rooms are junior suites with private garden whirlpool tubs, minibars, and cotton bathrobes. There’s a small gym, gourmet restaurant, a bar, a swim-up bar in a thermal pool, and the luxurious Grand Spa at the balneario. Rates include breakfast and unlimited access to the balneario; the hotel also hosts the chic Los Tucanes restaurant.
Taking the prize for locale is the all-suite Arenal Kioro (tel. 506/2479-1700, www.hotelarenalkioro.com, from $305 s or $335 d low season, from $335 s or $385 d high season), at the very base of the volcano. Its 53 spacious and graciously appointed air-conditioned suites have walls of glass, lush contemporary furnishings, minibars, safes, marble-clad bathrooms, and all modern conveniences. All rooms have an en-suite whirlpool tub with volcano views. There’s a gorgeous full-service spa, an excellent gym, and two swimming pools with thermal waters, while the superb Restaurante Heliconias enjoys a grandstand volcano view.
The large-scale, four-story Hotel Royal Corin Resort & Loto Spa (tel. 506/2479-2201, www.royalcorin.com, $235 s/d standard, $296 s/d suite) has an ungainly exterior, but the interiors feature sophisticated styling for those who appreciate a chic contemporary vogue. Plush linens and state-of-the-art amenities such as flat-screen TVs combine to make this a winner. It has a spa and hip lounge bar that will suit city-slickers.
One of the finest hotels, Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens (tel. 506/2479-1600, www.arenalnayara.com, $199–350 s/d) offers a better bargain for its competitive pricing. It’s inspired by Balinese architecture and makes tremendous use of Indonesian hardwood furnishings. The huge, gracious guest rooms have lively color schemes (lime green, tangerine, etc.) and a traditional feel melding with flat-screen TVs and other contemporary touches. Most rooms have king-size beds, many canopied, and all come with a full panoply of modern amenities, plus raised bamboo ceilings and large glass french doors on two sides opening to balconies with whirlpool tubs. The stylish bathrooms have indoor and outdoor showers. The restaurant is one of the best around. Lovely!
By far the most exciting and impressive hotel is The Springs Resort & Spa (tel. 506/2401-3313, www.thespringscostarica.com, from $385 s/d low season, from $395 s/d high season). This stupendous all-suite property is one of the nation’s most deluxe hotels (ABC chose to film an episode of The Bachelor here), and it is particularly fun for families for its hot springs, wildlife draws, and riverside activities. The six-story main building is built on a hillside, with tiered thermal springs landscaped into grottos, waterfalls, and pools. The architecture makes good use of gleaming travertine, black marble, lava-stone columns and walls, decorative stained glass, and masses of glossy hardwoods.
The suites all have wall-of-glass views of the volcanoes from raised king-size beds. Huge flat-screen TVs above the windows are angled for perfect viewing, plus there are iPod docks and DVD players. Luxurious furnishings include rattan chairs, top-quality linens and mattresses, and sumptuous marble-clad bathrooms with walk-in showers and separate his-and-hers whirlpool tubs. Golf carts are on hand to take guests to and from their villas. Plus you get direct access to its Arenal Waterfall Gardens for free. Wow!
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition