Overnight at the base of an Active Volcano in the Arenal Observatory Lodge

Last updated on December 11, 2023
arenal volcano observatory lodge

Hey there, fellow travelers and adventure seekers! Get ready to have your mind blown and your sense of humor tickled as I take you on a journey to the Arenal Observatory Lodge in beautiful Costa Rica. And when I say it’s an adventure you can’t miss, I mean it! I’m talking you’re just a stone’s throw away from the fiery depths of a volcano. 

The Arenal Obersvatory Lodge

Nestled snugly 1.7 miles from the magnificent Arenal Volcano, this massive property of 350 hectares is like a wonderland for nature enthusiasts. It’s got everything you could possibly dream of – 7 miles of trails, waterfalls, guided hikes, a museum, an observatory tower, and even a garden that boasts some of the most jaw-dropping views of the volcano. And don’t worry, folks, it’s located in Zone D, which means you’re in the low danger zone. So, volcano eruptions won’t be raining down on your parade.

The History Behind the Arenal Observatory Lodge

We’ll get to the exciting stuff in just a minute, but first… here’s a little trivia for you. Back in 1972, this place was actually a scientific research station for the Smithsonian Institute. Yeah, you heard that right! This lodge has some serious scientific street cred. Fast forward and today it’s been transformed into a fabulous hotel that’s perfect for those who crave a nature-immersed vacation.

Let me paint the picture for you. Imagine yourself staying in a legit Smithsonian research room, sipping your morning coffee out on a deck while marveling at the wonders of nature. Monkeys swinging from tree to tree, butterflies showing off their vibrant colors, hummingbirds zipping around, and of course, that awe-inspiring view of the volcano. It’s like having a front-row seat to the greatest show on Earth!

The Trails at Arenal Observatory Lodge

Now, let’s talk about the property and its trails. And oh boy, they’ve got trails for days! For those who aren’t up for the longest trail, there’s an easy hike to a beautiful waterfall. It takes about 20 minutes to get there. And while the waterfall may not be the biggest you’ve ever seen, it’s still a sight to behold. You can’t take a dip in it, but there’s a small observation area where you can feel the refreshing mist of the water. Talk about getting a natural spa treatment, right?

If you’re up for a challenge, you can tackle the more difficult trails that’ll take you on a 4-5 hour adventure to a crater lagoon called Cerro Chato. Trust me, folks, the journey is worth every step. But make sure you’ve got your walking shoes on and your sense of wonder fully charged.

The Gardens at Arenal Observatory Lodge

Oh, and did I mention the gardens at the Arenal Obervatory Lodge? Holy moly, they’re a feast for the eyes if you’re into plants! I’m talking v ibrant flowers, lush plants, and a bird sanctuary that’ll make you feel like Snow White with all her feathered friends. And let’s not forget the pièce de résistance – the infinity pool and jacuzzi. It’s like a little slice of heaven where you can soak in the views and let all your worries melt away. Just be careful not to turn into a prune.

Now, let’s take a moment to appreciate the incredible staff at this hotel. These folks are so nice, it’s like they’re handing out sunshine with every smile. It’s like they’ve discovered the secret to eternal happiness in the heart of Costa Rica. I mean, seriously, they were stoked to have us there, and it was a blast chatting with them. 

And while the hikes are incredible, the adventure doesn’t stop there. Because they also have horse rides. They’ve got both gentle horses that follow a more leisurely pace…. and for those who want a more exhilarating ride than a rollercoaster at Disneyland… they have some that can gallop at breakneck speed. 

Now, let’s talk about the pièce de résistance of this lodge – the restaurant. Not only does it offer a magnificent view of the volcano and the lake, but it also has a charming little garden where you can enjoy your meal amidst the company of birds and other wildlife. 

The food? Oh boy, the food! After a long day of adventure, it was about the most delicious meal I’ve had. I couldn’t help but savor every bite. 

The Accommodations at the Arenal Observatory Lodge 

How about the rooms you ask? If you’re looking to sit inside and watch sitcoms all day… this might not be the place for you…

They want you to soak up every moment of being surrounded by nature. 

But don’t worry, you can still get your fix of technology in the lobby, where they’ve got a TV and free Wi-Fi. And if you’re up for a little friendly competition, head over to the game center and challenge your travel companion to a game of ping pong or foosball. 

And speaking of the lobby, my friends, it’s a haven for relaxation. The Arenal Obervatory Lodge has cozy seating, a chess table for your strategic battles, and a crackling fireplace to warm your soul. 

But that’s not all – they’ve got a treasure trove of information about the volcano, including a book filled with newspaper articles documenting the biggest eruption in the ’60s. Talk about a historical gem! And don’t miss out on the observatory museum, where you can geek out on fascinating facts about the volcano and the surrounding area. They’ve even got a seismometer to monitor the volcano’s activity. And let me tell you, seeing that graph move when things get lively is like witnessing Mother Nature’s dance party.

Now, let’s get to the heart of it all. The Arenal Observatory Lodge offers something that many hotels these days seem to forget – a genuine taste of the real Costa Rica. You won’t find flashy casinos or towering monstrosities next door. Instead, you’ll be treated to the true essence of this magnificent country. From the warm and welcoming staff to the mouthwatering local cuisine, everything about this place screams authenticity. It’s a chance to connect with nature, to feel the pulse of Costa Rica’s beating heart.

So, my fellow explorers, if you’re yearning for a vacation that will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders, look no further than the Arenal Observatory Lodge. It’s not a five-star, all-inclusive resort, but that’s not what makes it special. This place is all about giving you an authentic experience, a chance to appreciate the raw beauty of Costa Rica. Trust me, you’ll leave with a ton of great memories and a profound appreciation for the incredible world we live in.