Rainforests, powdery beaches, white-water rivers and towering volcanoes: this relaxed Central American country offers exceptional wilderness adventures in stunning landscapes.
Recommended place to stay:
Arenal Observatory Lodge
Arenal Volcano National Park, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica|www.arenalobservatorylodge.com|
Official star rating:
By far the best reason to choose to stay at the Observatory Lodge is that it is the only accommodation inside the Arenal Volcano National Park. And that means as guests you are in the park at dawn – the best time for seeing animals and a full two hours before the gates open to the general public.
You’re not coming for luxury. Colourful art and scatter cushions can’t disguise the functional simplicity of the older tile and whitewash standard rooms – which were built for visiting scientists in the 1970s. They do have tall windows opening onto wonderful balcony views. Smithsonian rooms are a little plusher and as well as balconies, smaller windows offer views of the volcano at every turn.
From the dining room and bedroom balconies though, the mountain’s cone is so close you could almost touch it. And the wild is literally outside your window. Guiding and wildlife-watching facilities are excellent; and include an observation tower with 360-degree views. You’ll see white-faced capuchin monkeys and ultra-rare birds like guans or even resplendent quetzal in the forest around the hotel grounds.
The hotel has a spa and a pool set in beautiful bird and tree-frog trilling woodland gardens.
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