With 12 years of guiding adventure and nature tours in Costa Rica you start to get a pretty good idea of what people think of the area and different hotels. This post I want to talk a little bit about the Arenal Volcano area and the different style of hotels in and around the volcano. You can find everything from backpacker hostels to some of the finest resorts in the world.
What people are thinking when they arrive to Arenal is jungle, rainforest, and bomber views of the volcano but in an area that was almost completely stripped of its rainforest due to the cattle industry you often do not get the lush tropical rainforest surrounding your room like you might expect. Also with the tourist boom you might have many other tourist venues in and around a hotel in some areas cramming 4 different hotels into one small area.
So we are dealing with the affects of the cattle boom (1980′s due to the fast food boom in the US to supply beef for burgers) and the tourism boom early 2000′s both of which can affect your stay at the hotel you pick. What I see guest like best is to stay at a place that makes you feel like it was there before both of these booms. There are two hotels that come to mind when thinking of this and for this reason are probably my two favorite hotels in the Arenal area. They are both surrounded by lush tropical rainforest with great view and isolated from the touristy areas.
These two hotels are the Lost Iguana Resort and Lomas del Volcan. The Lost Iguana is a high 3 star hotel and the Lomas del Volcan is a 3 star hotel. When staying at these two hotels you can feel like you are the only hotels around and that no cattle industry has wiped out the rainforest for as far as the eye can see.
Another plus these two hotels have is that they are both 4o room hotels. Compared to some of the larger hotels that have gone up to over 120 rooms the Lost Iguana Resort and the Lomas del Volcan happen to give you a small hotel feeling.