Costa Rica Accommodation,
Cordilleras Volcanoes

Arenal Observatory Lodge


Originally built near the small village of La Fortuna in 1987 as a research facility for the Smithsonian Institution Arenal Observatory is the closest lodge to the Arenal volcano. The lodge has 24 spacious rooms with smart wooden furnishings and an outside terrace with views of the gardens and volcano. The rooms are rather basic but have private bathrooms, ceiling fans and safety deposit boxes. The Smithsonian rooms have huge picture windows framing the impressive Arenal volcano.

There is a good restaurant in the main building where tasty international dishes and regional cuisine are served and there is a bar and lounge for relaxing.

The lodge also offers a large swimming pool, hot tub and spa and is surrounded by its own nature reserve with trails, and thousands of acres of forest comprising part of the Arenal National Park.


Restaurant, bar, 800mt-long wheelchair-accessible trail, landscaped gardens, spring-fed infinity swimming pool and gift shop.

Local Wildlife

Some 370 species of bird have been recorded including three-wattled bellbird and the bare-necked umbrella bird. Mantled howler, white faced capuchin and central American spider monkeys, white-nosed coati, kinkajou, margay, silky anteater, three-toed sloth and the occasional armadillo might also be seen.

Optional Activities

On-site complimentary guided morning wildlife walk along forest trails (approx. 2.5hrs) to learn about the wildlife and ecology of the area; independent walking in the lodge’s private secondary and primary rainforest reserve to waterfalls and along old lava flows. Nearby optional activities include horse riding, cycling, white-water rafting, canoeing on Lake Arenal, canopy walks, zip-lining and hot springs.

John Melton

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding our Costa Rica tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

Having recently returned from our holiday ( in Costa Rica), I thought I’d write to say how much we all enjoyed our trip. Costa Rica really is a beautiful country, with so much wildlife to see and so many wonderful places to explore (and everyone is so friendly!) Everything on our tour was excellent – hotels, transfers and all the guided walks and boat trips. Thank you to all at Reef and Rainforest and to (your representatives) in Costa Rica – now we’re wondering where to go on our next trip!

Mrs J H - Bedfordshire