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Volcano Lodge & Springs 3.0

La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • All but Superior Rooms have private outdoor hot springs pools surrounded by greenery
  • All rooms have terraces, many with great volcano views
  • Excellent free breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelets and other hot items
  • Open-air restaurant serving international cuisine for all three meals
  • Freshwater pool with swim-up bar and a big public hot springs pool
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free water, nuts, candy, and beer in Junior Suites
  • All rooms have AC, coffeemakers, and cable TVs
  • Located 10 minutes north of La Fortuna and not far from attractions on the west side of the volcano 
  • Spa offering massages and facials (was under renovation during our visit)

Cons

  • Traffic noise from main road is loud in lobby
  • Some complaints of thin walls
  • Some rooms have better volcano views than others
  • Wi-Fi strength can be weak in some rooms

Bottom Line

This 11-acre, 68-room resort appeals to families with kids, couples, and travelers who prize privacy, and is centrally located 10 minutes north of town on the way to the Arenal National Park entrance. Rooms are perfectly adequate for a mid-range property, and feature wood ceilings and photographs of old La Fortuna; all have outdoor space and most have a private hot springs pool and volcano views. A public freshwater pool with swim-up bar and a hot-spring pool are also available. It may also be worth considering Arenal Kioro, where all rooms have indoor hot tubs and even better volcano views. 

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Scene

A family-oriented property that proudly displays reminders of La Fortuna's pre-tourism history

At this 11-acre property with the mostly nondescript buildings of white paint and dark wood, children abound -- they can be found splashing around in all the pools. The hotel is owned by a La Fortuna native, and he's made a point of emphasizing the local history through the artwork on the walls, which consist of photographs of the pre-tourism cow town that was La Fortuna (as well as photographs of wildlife by a San Jose-based National Geographic photographer -- a nice change of pace from the area's usual flamboyantly colored paintings of hummingbirds and tree frogs). "We're 100 percent La Fortuna," as a staff member put it. The majority of guests are Americans and Canadians (though there is a notable chunk of middle-class Costa Ricans who come here), mostly shepherding their children to and from the pools or hot springs.

Location

Centrally located between nearby downtown La Fortuna and the attractions on the west side of the volcano, but lacking a rainforest setting

The town is conveniently close by for shopping, mingling, or arranging treks, and the volcano attractions are a 30- to 45-minute car or bus ride away. (The hotel is right on top of a curve in the main road circling the Arenal volcano, and is one of a cluster of similar resorts in the same area.) Nature lovers will probably be disappointed if they were hoping to immerse themselves in the rainforest, however: The wildlife consists mostly of the groves of recently planted rainforest trees on the grounds, and there's only a single trail that rings the property. 

Rooms

Slightly basic rooms with a few rustic details; the private hot springs pools in most rooms are the highlight

Rooms are housed in long one-story buildings scattered throughout the 11-acre property, and are mostly standard squares, dressed up in white and light green paint and dark wood (used in both the furniture and the ceilings). They don't have a ton of character, and the grout between the terra cotta tiles could use scrubbing, but there are photographs on the walls displaying either scenes of life from pre-eruption La Fortuna, or wildlife by a San Jose-based National Geographic photographer. It's well worth the upgrade to a Thermal Superior Room or Junior Suite to take advantage of one of the hotel's big selling points: the private outdoor hot springs pools, where guests can relax in the bubbles without worrying about their bathing-suit bodies. The pools are surrounded by greenery for added privacy. (The regular Superior Rooms do have terraces, but no pools.) Junior Suites also come with free bottles of water and cans of beer (two of each), nuts, and candy, as well as mini-fridges. Amenities in all rooms include AC, cable TVs, coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi (though the strength can be weak depending on room location).

There's parking by each building with guest rooms, so you don't have to lug your baggage across 11 acres from the front desk. Note that while many rooms have a great volcano view, the volcano views at Arenal Kioro are a bit better and equally good from every room. 

Features

A freshwater pool with swim-up bar, big hot springs pool, and restaurant serving all three meals

There are both a hot-spring pool and a regular freshwater pool with adjacent kiddy pool and a swim-up bar butting up to the restaurant. A regular in-ground hot tub (rather than hot springs pool) is also on hand. The lobby features foosball, a pool table, and its own bar (though the traffic noise from the nearby main road make hanging out here considerably less attractive), and when the clouds are amenable, the Arenal volcano is clearly visible from most spots on the site. The open-air restaurant serves international cuisine for all three meals, including the free breakfast buffet that includes make-to-order omelets and plenty of hot cooked items. 

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Address

La Fortuna de San Carlos-Arenal Lake road, 7 Km West from Downtown, Road To Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela 21007, Costa Rica

Also Known As

  • Volcano Lodge & Gardens

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