Arenal Observatory Lodge
Stay Right Next to the Volcano


Third time visiting the Arenal Observatory Lodge - located in El Castillo, a small town at the southeast corner of the lake, opposite side the volcano from La Fortuna...

And yet again - it was quite the sight.

It's so true, volcanoes - and yes, *especially this one* here on the Rich Coast...

Arenal Observatory Lodge
The Arenal Volcano, in La Fortuna Costa Rica

Are often one of the first things that come to mind - when we think about exploration and nature, here in Costa Rica.

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Here on this page of the site...

Talking about the Observatory lodge, the volcano, and even about an early morning nature hike we took part in - one that lead throughout the grounds, into the rainforest, and all the way down to a secluded waterfall...

Please read on to learn more!








Arenal Observatory Lodge

After the town of La Fortuna, driving in from the southeast - en route from the Juan Santamaria International Airport, in Alajuela...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Birds
Lush Vegetation and a Hercules Beetle

It was amazing to see, just how dense and lush the vegetation became - as we drew closer and closer, to the volcano.

And yes - just as mentioned in an earlier article on the site...

Life simply *explodes* it this area...

Its soils rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, and other essential ingredients - resultant of past volcanic eruptions.

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Heading along highway 142 now - wrapping around the very base, of one the country's 7 natural wonders...

It was a little ways past Tabacon - when after taking a left at a T-intersection, we continued along down a bumpy dirt road - flanked by the volcano itself on the left...

And by Lake Arenal, on the right.

Not too much further - taking one more left at a fork in the road (a right would have taken us into El Castillo) - driving way uphill, twisting and turning toward the volcano...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Entrance
First Sight, After Entering the Arenal Observatory Lodge

We eventually made it to the entrance, of the Arenal Observatory Lodge.

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And wow - again! (this being a third-time visit)... what a beautiful place!

Arenal Observatory Lodge Coati
A Coati at the Arenal Observatory Lodge

Everything is so vibrant and green up here.

And the smells - incredibly fresh.

So much to take in, we took our time - enjoying a walk around the grounds, before eventually...

Checking in with Cesar, at the front desk of the Arenal Observatory Lodge.

At one point, walking along the path - and quite close to where our room was located...

We came across this curious little coati - an animal resembling a raccoon - not the least bit disturbed by our presence.

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And yes, about our room...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Clouds
Inside Our Room, at the Arenal Observatory Lodge

We stayed in one of several "Smithsonian" rooms at the Observatory Lodge - each one boasting, a spectacular front-row view of the Arenal Volcano.

And regarding the views - I do think, it's important to note...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Cloud
A Little Bit of Cloud Cover

During a stay near the volcano - or any volcano for that matter, Poas, Irazu, and others...

Do keep in mind - there will be times when it becomes clouded over, making things a bit difficult to see...

Especially near the top.

Of the three times visiting here - each time, toward the beginning of the year (I've heard September is one of the best months for clarity, by the way)...

It was on the second trip to the Arenal Observatory Lodge, especially - when cloud cover was quite thick, and we couldn't see too much.

The first time ever (back in 2010) - it was amazing, and I was able to see lava, streaking down the side.

And same with this trip, while we didn't see any molten rock - there were some great opportunities, to see the volcano in full view.

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Well, as things were getting a bit darker - and having worked up quite the appetites...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Restaurant
Eating Dinner at the Observatory Bar & Restaurant

We made our way over to the Observatory Bar & Restaurant - same place where we'd be eating breakfast the next morning...

Ready to take part in a guided nature hike.




Morning Nature Hike

Early the next day, right after breakfast...

We made our way over to the entrance of the Arenal Observatory Lodge, meeting up with some of the other guests, and also - with Eduardo Bogarin - all set to lead the way, on a morning nature hike.

And just like that - we were off...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Hanging Bridge
Crossing Over the Danta Hanging Bridge

Crossing the Danta Hanging Bridge ("danta" means tapir, by the way - in English)...

And making our way over, to an area in front of the museum - a place to learn all sorts of interesting things, about the history of the Arenal Volcano, and about seismology too...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Tour
Eduardo Leading the Way

Information detailing the day to day measurements of volcanic activity, throughout the year.

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Quite knowledgeable about flora and fauna, in the area (and as we eventually discovered - about he volcano and its history too)...

Eduardo was a lot of fun.

Tripod-mounted binoculars in hand, patiently pointing out and describing - various kinds of plants and animals, along the way...

He was so full of enthusiasm.

We could easily tell, he loved what he was doing.

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At one point along the journey - coming to an opening in the canopy, one that revealed a beautiful, bright blue sky - LUCKY US!...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Volcano
An Excellent View of the Arenal Volcano

We had an incredible view of the Arenal Volcano.

And yes, this was really something.

Taking this tour with Eduardo - and walking around the side (notice how the smoke is blowing to the left in the photo) - we were able to see the cone, completely unobscured by cloud cover.

Arenal Observatory Lodge Look
We Finally Saw One!

Made for plenty great photos! :-)

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And yes, the nature hike continued...

Back into the rainforest - making our way down a long and winding path (stopping every so often to observe various plants and animals along the way)...

The sound of falling water - off in the distance - became louder and louder, as we drew near.

Very soon enough - beautiful and secluded as ever...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Waterfall
A Waterfall, in the Middle of the Rainforest

There at the very end of the path - a waterfall, was exactly where we ended up.

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Taking in the beauty, there in the middle of the jungle - there was still one more surprise in store.

Next up...

Gathering in a large open space along the path - perfect spot for some much-needed rest...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Story
Eduardo Bogarin, on the History of the Arenal Volcano

Eduardo shared with us a story - recounting the July 29th, 1968 eruption, and the events that followed thereafter.

Definitely...

After everything we'd already seen and learned from Eduardo, on our tour through the grounds - here at the Arenal Observatory Lodge...

Arenal Observatory Lodge Rainbow Eucalyptus
A Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree

This was the icing on the cake!

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Well...

From here, it was back on foot - this time, heading along a different path...

Passing by a number of rainbow eucalyptus trees - with their vibrant, orange and lime-green bark...

To a tractor-pulled shuttle, waiting to take us back to our starting point.

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And there you have it...

Another adventurous and educational outing - here on the Rich Coast!

I hope you enjoyed the read - lots more to come, here at ThisisCostaRica.com.

Pura Vida!