Fortuna Travel Guide

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Volcano Watching at Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica

May 23, 2007 at 9:10 AM | by | ()

[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven Tim Leffel checks-in with HotelChatter today from Costa Rica.]

Some hotels try to wow you with their bath butlers, silky soft sheets, and fawning helpers that answer every request with, "My pleasure." Ones like Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica don't need all that. They've got a frickin' live volcano!

"There is a Rolling Stones concert every night here," says the guide on our adventure tour. It's a good joke: sounds like rolling peals of distant thunder are rumbling every few minutes in the distance, a sound really coming from hot boulders being ejected from the Arenal crater and then rolling down the steep slope.

If you are lucky, you will go to sleep watching a show out your window. The morning alarm clock is howler monkeys, eight types of woodpeckers, 11 types of wrens, and 12 types of noisy orioles.

The lodge was originally housing for vulcanologists studying the volcano from a safe distance, away from the path of destruction. Now it's a comfortable hotel with killer views from every direction and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at.

Apparently you shouldn't let your guard down totally though, judging by the notice in the room, over a map of "Emergency Gathering Areas:"

DO NOT look for danger. DO NOT panic, ALWAYS remain calm. VALUE YOUR LIFE. We wish you a pleasant stay enjoying this natural wonder.