A March 2005 trip
to Costa Rica by candycorey
Quote: My final semester of college, I joined a class that ventured to Costa Rica for two weeks. Our goal was to gain an understanding of Costa Rica's growing ecotourism industry. In just 14 days we visited a number of Costa Rican Hot Spots! Join me as I recount our adventures!
The Lodge: Having learned about the volcano, you might ask, why ever stay anywhere near such a thing? The Arenal Observatory Lodge is located on a ridge 120m above Lake Arenal, between Agua Caliente and Ouebrada Danta rivers. These two bodies of water protect the Lodge from any lava flows. In addition, the Lodge sits to the southeast of the volcano and winds prevail from the east, meaning the Lodge is rarely affected by ash or other fallout.The Lodge consists of 37 rooms spread across four buildings on the property. The buildings are connected through a paved, wheelchair-accessible trail. In addition, five rooms are designed to accommodate disabled travelers. When I visited, I stayed in such a room and loved it. The room was very large and had two queen-size beds and an entire wall of glass that looked out at the Volcano. It also included a spacious bathroom. The Lodge is very clean and the staff was friendly and helpful.The Lodge also has a restaurant that serves three meals a day. We had dinner there upon our arrival and it was very good. The menu is extensive and consists of traditional Costa Rican dishes, as well as kid friendly selections such as pasta and french fries. For fishing fans, if you decide to take advantage of some of the fabulous fishing, the kitchen will prepare anything you catch! There is also a bar that stays open every night until midnight. Activities: The Lodge originally was home to scientists and researchers of the Smithsonian Institute and Earthwatch. Today the Lodge is a great place for any type of visitor. Families will appreciate the wealth of kid-friendly activities, such as short hikes to nearby lakes and waterfalls, bird watching, and butterfly gardens. Adventurers will have their hands full with nearby kayaking, horseback riding, and canopy tours. Couples seeking a romantic retreat will enjoy the area's peacefulness, abundant beauty, and can enjoy a day trip to the Tabacón Spa. The Lodge itself also has a large pool and hot tub.You can visit the Lodge's extensive web site to learn even more, see pictures and check prices at http://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/EN/home.phtml.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 26, 2006
Arenal Observatory Lodge
Arenal Volcano National Park
La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 26, 2006
Los Inocentes Lodge
Guanacaste National Park
La Cruz, Costa Rica
Hotel | "Marenco Beach & Rain Forest Lodge"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2006
Marenco Beach & Rainforest Lodge
Punta San Jose
San Jose, Costa Rica
Attraction | "Tabacón Hot Springs Resort & Spa"
The Resort: While I did not have the opportunity to spend the night at the resort, I can only imagine what a great stay it would make. The resort is nestled just by the Volcano Arenal and offers 95 rooms and 11 suites, furnished by handcrafted pieces from local artists, with incredible views. Rooms are air-conditioned (this is rare!) and offer the standard U.S. amenities that are hard to find in Costa Rica: cable TV, safety box, coffeemaker, and room service. Suites include a personal Jacuzzi on a private balcony. All resort guests have free unlimited access to the hot springs.
The Hot Springs: Visiting the hot springs is somewhat like finding yourself in paradise. The springs are naturally heated from the nearby Tabacón River, which is heated by the still active Volcano Arenal. The springs run through a maze of well maintained lush gardens. Visitors to the resort are provided with towels, and there is a changing/locker room to store belongings. While there is one regular pool with a swim-up bar, most guests enjoy wandering through the gardens along the paved path to explore the maze of springs. The floor of the springs consists of authentic lava rock and springs have varying temperatures based on their proximity to the Tabacón River. Bars are located throughout the springs for guests to enjoy exotic cocktails while relaxing in the water.
The Spa: During my visit to the hot springs, I chose to visit the Iskandria Spa. I received a Volcanic Stone Massage that lasted about 80 minutes. My massage was great! My massage room was serene and had an open window to the forest and waterfall. The masseuse used hot volcanic stones during the massage, which are supposed to improve your physical and emotional balance. At the end, I was allowed to lie in the room listening to the water for as long as I liked. It was very relaxing and I highly recommend enjoying one of their therapies during your visit. The staff is friendly and allows you to choose whether you want your therapy done by a male or female. Reservations are a must! My massage cost about the equivalent of $80, and was well worth it, and really, where else can you have an authentic Volcanic Stone Massage?
Tip: If you're driving it is highly recommended that you visit during the day and leave before it gets dark because the area experiences heavy fog during the green season (May-Nov). If you get lost call the resort at (506)460-2020. For reservations and inquiries the toll free number is (877) 277-8291.
Call center hours: Mon-Thur 8am-6pm, Fri 8am-5pm (Eastern Time).
To find out more, get exact rates and to see an array of pictures visit the website at www.tabacon.com.
Tabacon Hot Springs Resort & Spa
On Rt. 142, Just Before The Lake
La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2006