The Arenal Observatory Lodge was something my friends and I splurged on during our trip. When I learned that it was the closest accommodation to the volcano, I was in.
Driving up the road to this colourful villa inspires a certain amount of awe and appreciation for your surroundings. I mean with views like these how could it not.
If you are travelling in a group I would recommend booking one of Arenal Observatory’s Villas. We stayed in the White Hawk Villa, which accommodates up to 8 people, and has the best view of the volcano.
(The picture above is the view from one of the bedrooms).
Please note that we travelled to Costa Rica in January 2020 before there were any COVID restrictions.
The Arenal Observatory is located thirty-five minutes from La Fortuna.
I would recommend having your own vehicle, as it will make your travelling easier overall.
There is plenty of parking available beside your villa, and we had more than enough room for our two SUVs.
Our first thoughts upon arriving at the villa were “I can’t believe we get to stay here”. Upon walking in you have an open floor plan that includes the kitchen, dining room, and living room. All of which leads to a full balcony overlooking the Arenal Volcano.
The villa is a bit of a walk from the reception and dining area. Because of this, the lodge offers a complimentary shuttle from the villa to the main lodge.
I don’t know how much time we spent on the balcony, however, once you are out there it’s hard to go back inside.
This is as clear as it was when we were there. The next day the entire view was cloud-covered but no less amazing.
White Hawk Villa features a fully stocked kitchen. Enabling you to cook meals at the villa, and most importantly free coffee to brew as desired.
You may want to skip on getting groceries for breakfast as the rate of the Villa includes breakfast.
There are two bedrooms in this villa. Both are located on the ground level and have the same layout. Each bedroom features a King bed, and a single bed with a single pullout underneath, accommodating 4 people in each room.
If there are people in your group that feel like having their own space to sleep, you can pull out that bottom single and move it anywhere in the house. One of my friends did this and slept in the living room.
The lodge has an on-site restaurant. This is where you will go for breakfast, and is located near the reception building. There is an observation deck that is assessable from the restaurant.
Even though we had access to a kitchen we decided to splurge and have supper here, and it was really good. Especially their Lava Cake, I mean dessert is the most important part.
The Arenal Observatory Lodge offers many activities both on and off the property.
If you do not have your own vehicle they also offer many activities within the Arenal area that includes transportation.
With your stay at the lodge, you have the opportunity to take part in their complimentary guided morning hike. We decided to take part in this and signed up the day before as space is limited.
On this hike, your guide will point out different species of birds, insects, and animals through the rainforest.
There is also a waterfall on the property, which is included on this tour.
Overall we learned a lot on this hike, that we wouldn’t have known if we did it on our own.
From facts on the wildlife to how the Arenal Observatory Lodge has a reforestation project that introduced these cool Rainbow Eucalyptus trees to the property.
The guide was super nice and knowledgeable and talked about something that would stay with me for the whole trip.
Coming from a freezing Canadian winter in January, I always picture my vacations as blue skies and sunny. This may be more true on the Guanacaste coast of Costa Rica. However, when you are in the rainforest, where Arenal is located, expect rain. As our guide said, “there would not be a rainforest if it did not rain”. I think he often encountered tourists that would complain about the rain (I may have been one of them).
So to everyone reading, it will probably rain when you are here, so embrace it. If it didn’t rain you would have no reason to visit.
The only thing I would change if I went again would be to stay at least two nights. One night was not enough. The staff was great, and the views were awesome!
I should mention that there was a problem with the water heater when we were here. However, I personally consider this pretty minor. We only noticed it at 9 PM after the staff had gone home for the night. Had we noticed it sooner, or stayed more than one night, I’m sure it could have been resolved.
Don’t let this one minor thing sway your decision to stay at this villa, you will regret it!