Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa , Costa Rica

The historic Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa offers 48 comfortable hotel rooms in various buildings spread over the property, and two unique Costa Rican vacation home rentals.

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is easily accessible from the nearby town of La Fortuna. The lodge is well located to enjoy the many adventure tours in Arenal, such as zip lines, whitewater rafting, hot springs, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, fishing on Lake Arenal, etc.

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa was originally built in 1987 as a scientific research station for the world-famous Smithsonian Institution. After Arenal Volcano’s sudden and dramatic explosion into life in 1968, Smithsonian Institution scientists began frequenting the area and would camp on the family’s land because of its strategic location. They built cabins and a small hotel to take care of them and expanded over the years.

Enjoy delicious meals in the lodge restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for gazing at the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal, and a huge observation deck just outside. The Observatory Spa will help you relax with massages and other body therapies.


Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is a sustainable eco-lodge with a rating of Three Leaves in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST) by the Costa Rican Tourism Board. Additionally, Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa consistently wins TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence award every year and is a proud member of its Green Leaders program.

Five rooms are fully equipped for disabled travelers, with rooms, bathrooms, hallways, parking areas, and even the new swimming pool designed accordingly.

Selected Rooms:

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

La Casona

La Casona’s five rooms are ideal for groups or individual budget travelers. It is located 500 meters (0.3 miles) from the main hotel building down a moderate slope.

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Standard Room

Spacious and comfortable Standard Rooms at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa all feature two queen-sized beds, a private bathroom, a coffeemaker, a room safe, sitting chairs and a writing table.


Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa


Very spacious Smithsonian Rooms all showcase huge picture windows which frame the majestic Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal or the beautiful rainforest and gardens. Five Smithsonian Rooms are outfitted for wheelchair access.

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Junior Suite

Our two Junior Suites are the most spacious rooms with grand views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal, and a large private terrace.



Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Be on your own schedule. Activities or day tours can be private or shared. Join a scheduled, multi-day group tour. All-inclusive travel by cruise ship.

Including accommodations, transportation, and activities/tours.

Any specific destinations or interests (e.g. culture, food, wine, romance, adventure, wildlife, etc.)? Special occasion? Relaxing vs. fast-paced trip? What would make this your dream trip?

Travel Tips
Snacks such as nuts, granola, or jerky go a long way, whether for the airplane journey or to share with guides or new friends.
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