La Fortuna Hotel Guide: Where to Stay Near Arenal Volcano

La Fortuna is a destination for almost every type of traveler. It offers a huge selection of lodging that ranges from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels with volcano views all the way up to the most luxurious resorts. In this guide, we’ll help you narrow down the list and give you our insider tips on where to stay in La Fortuna/Arenal. Our recommendations are listed from budget to high end, and we made sure to note their location.

La Fortuna Hotel Guide

Tips for Finding the Right Hotel in La Fortuna

One of the biggest factors in deciding on a hotel in La Fortuna is location. If you do not plan to have a rental car, you will need to rely on taxis or the bus to get around. And because things are more spread out in this area, many people find it easiest to stay in the downtown. This is where most restaurants, shops, and other amenities are located. Note that the downtown tends to be on the loud side so pick a place outside the center if this is important to you.

If you will have a car, you will have more flexibility. Many of the best choices for lodging are outside the main area of town on the road leading to Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. This is where you will find lush rainforest and some fantastic volcano views. One thing to keep in mind when comparing the options is that some hotels are a 30 minute or more drive away from the downtown.

Budget Hotels in La Fortuna

Arenal Hostel Resort

If you’re traveling on a budget, check out Arenal Hostel Resort. This hostel is located in the middle of downtown La Fortuna. It has its own restaurant, bar, and pools. The vibe is cool, and because of the variety of rooms offered (both dorms and private), it draws a diverse crowd. Shared dorms starting at $10 a bed; private rooms, $40-70, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Hotel Bijagua

Another good budget option is Hotel Bijagua. This small hotel is right outside town on the road going to the volcano. The private rooms are simple, but clean and comfortable. People love the beautifully landscaped grounds, but the friendly staff is what makes their stay. It’s a good option for those traveling with kids, with a nice pool and larger family rooms. $50-85, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Hotel Monte Real

Hotel Monte Real is another option in the downtown, but is far enough out so that it isn’t loud. We stayed here on one of our first visits to La Fortuna and really enjoyed it. It is only a short walk to the main area of town, restaurants, and shops. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and offer amenities like A/C, TV, and hot water. The property has a nice pool. $70-100, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Recommended Hotels in La Fortuna - Hotel Monte Real
Hotel Monte Real just outside of downtown.

Selvita Lodge

Selvita Lodge is on the other side of La Fortuna, on the road leading to La Fortuna Waterfall. This location is not within walking distance to the downtown, but is an inexpensive taxi ride away. Selvita offers a handful of rustic, but clean and spacious, cabins. It’s family run, and many guests say it feels like a homestay. Cabins have a private hot water bathroom, air conditioning, and cable TV. $70-110, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Hotel Rancho Cerro Azul

Our last recommendation for budget lodging is Hotel Rancho Cerro Azul. This small, five-cabin hotel is also located on the road to La Fortuna Waterfall, about 1.5 kilometers outside town. The cabins are made of beautiful local wood. Each has its own porch with a hammock where you can enjoy the gardens. The lodge is run by a welcoming local family. $80-130, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Mid-range Hotels in La Fortuna

Arenal Observatory Lodge

One of our favorite properties in the Arenal area is the Observatory. This lodge is as close to the volcano as you can get so has incredible views. The property is located more remotely, next to the national park, so the grounds see a lot of wildlife. Staying here also means you can access the lodge’s many trails through the rainforest. If you want to stay here, it’s best to have a car, as the drive to La Fortuna is about 30 minutes. Rooms range from budget-friendly options in La Casona building to nicely appointed Smithsonian Rooms and Junior Suites. $90-200, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

La Fortuna Hotel Guide - Arenal Observatory Lodge
View of Arenal Volcano from a Smithsonian room at the Observatory

Heliconias Nature Lodge

We loved our recent stay at Heliconias Nature Lodge. This is a small lodge run by a very friendly local family. They have bungalows set in the rainforest and a few treehouse rooms too. Rooms are nice and clean and have plenty of amenities (A/C, TV, mini-fridge, restaurant on-site). It is about 25 minutes outside La Fortuna so a good drive away, but its country location is part of what makes it special. For the best rainforest views, stay in a Deluxe Bungalow. We loved the Glass Bungalows too, which have cool floor-to-ceiling windows and overlook the vegetable/pineapple garden and small coffee field. $150-200. Check Rates and Availability Here.

La Fortuna Hotel Guide - Heliconias Nature Lodge
Deluxe Bungalow abutting the jungle at Heliconias Nature Lodge

 

Hotel El Silencio del Campo

For a little more comfort, but with more character than a resort, there’s Hotel El Silencio del Campo. They have individual bungalows and also their own thermal pools and spa on-site. The location is good; the hotel is on the road going to Arenal Volcano, only a short drive to town. This is one of the most popular hotels in the area so be sure to book in advance. $180-220, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Arenal Springs Resort & Spa

For a more affordable resort, check out Arenal Springs. It has spacious, clean rooms with good volcano views, but the main draw is the big, multi-layered pool. The property is spread out, with several nicely equipped bungalows with modern touches. Arenal Springs is located about 10 minutes from downtown La Fortuna. $150-240, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs

Arenal Manoa is another great choice for a small resort with hot springs. We stayed here recently and loved it. The hot springs were small, but nice, and the large cool water pool was good for the daytime when it was warmer. This is a very family-friendly resort, but it draws all types of travelers. Accommodations consist of bungalows (2-units per building). Each has a nice outdoor sitting area surrounded by gardens and overlooking Arenal Volcano. The restaurant on-site is excellent. Arenal Manoa is located about a 10 minute drive from the downtown. $120-250, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

La Fortuna Hotel Guide - Arenal Manoa
Pool at Arenal Manoa with Arenal Volcano in the backdrop

High-end Hotels in La Fortuna

Lost Iguana Resort & Spa

Lost Iguana is a more affordable high-end resort in the Arenal area. The resort is located outside town near Mistico Hanging Bridges and has nice views of the volcano. With romantic suites as well as rooms that can be connected, it is a good option for both couples and families. The property is built into the hillside and has two pools, one regular and one heated (not hot-spring fed). Because this option is well outside town, it is best with a rental car. $175-500, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

Tabacon is one of the area’s most famous hotels. Its elaborate hot springs resort is a destination in itself for day visitors, but if you stay at the hotel, you can use the springs for free. Tabacon has a variety of rooms. All are well equipped and modern, with A/C, cable TV, and a mini bar. It is located outside town on the road going to Lake Arenal, about 15 minutes away. Because it is a resort, it has a few restaurants/bars to choose from. $300-450, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

La Fortuna Hotel Guide - Tabacon Resort and Hot Springs
Orchid Room at Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa

The Springs Resort & Spa

Another popular high-end resort is the Springs. With beautiful, well-maintained rooms, five restaurants on-site, 28 hot springs pools, and even its own adventure park, this place has just about everything you would need. Although the property is fairly large, it doesn’t have too many rooms so service is still personalized. The Springs isn’t far from town, but is in a secluded location on a bumpy dirt road. $350-700, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

Nayara Hotel and Nayara Springs

The most sought-after resort in La Fortuna is probably the Nayara Hotel and its luxe sister property, Nayara Springs. These eco-friendly boutique hotels have beautiful grounds, excellent food and service, and nice volcano views. The Nayara Springs, where each villa has its own private plunge pool fed by hot springs, is the perfect getaway for couples. $300-1,000, double occupancy. Check Rates and Availability Here.

La Fortuna Hotel Guide - Nayara Springs Resort
Private plunge pool at Nayara Springs. Photo Credit: Nayara Springs

Those are our picks for hotels in the La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano area. As you can see, there is something for just about everyone, whether you prefer intimate, family-run lodges or big resorts with all the amenities.

Where is your favorite place to stay in La Fortuna? Leave us a comment below (Email subscribers, click here to post your comment online.)

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you book a hotel using one of the links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.

Looking for more information to plan your visit? Check out these posts:

La Fortuna: What to Expect from Costa Rica’s Most Popular Destination – If you’re visiting La Fortuna, you will want to read our destination guide all about it. Learn how the Arenal area is set up, the best things to see and do, where to eat, and more.

Costa Rica Rental Car Discount – If you’re staying outside town, a car is your best option for getting around. Check out our discount to save 10% and get free extras.

Monteverde Hotel Guide – If you’re planning to head to the Monteverde cloud forest after your time in La Fortuna, check out our hotel guide for ideas on where to stay.

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46 Comments

  1. Hotel El Silencio del Campo was one of our favorite hotels when we were for a round trip in February in CR. Great location and very friendly staff.
    Btw. great web site.
    Regards from Germany

    1. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed El Silencio because I just booked a villa there. Can you comment on best villa location within the property? I would prefer a quieter location, rather than being near the road, etc.

      1. We had #8 and it was in my opinion far away from the road and we had a beautiful view to the Arenal volcano.
        There is not to much traffic on the road.
        Very nice location.

  2. For Arenal Manoa Did the pool have water heater or was it regular outside temperature? Btw, I was in CR last year in December and couldn’t be more happy with the amount of tips I got from you guys. I also booked a hotel right off your site when I went up to Monteverde. I am thinking of going again soon, so keep up the great work. It would be great if you guys created a YouTube channel as well!

    1. Hi Edgar, Arenal Manoa has a few hot springs pools, and in another location, a cool water pool. I don’t think that one’s heated but it’s in the sun so was plenty warm when we were there.

      Thanks so much for booking a hotel through our website and glad our tips helped you with your trip planning! We do actually have a YouTube channel with a handful of videos. Wish we had time to make them more regularly – we will try to work on that.

  3. Great website guys. We are a family of four (2 kids of 8 and 10) from Phoenix, AZ visiting Costa Rica during christmas time in 2017. I have booked both Arenal Observatory Lodge and Hotel Silencio.
    I’m in a dilemma on what to choose. The kids love the pools and my wife likes hot sprints and i like I hiking 🙂 .

    Need help in picking one.

    BTW, thanks for your pointers and that form with booking a car. I’m going to use that.

    1. Hi Sadha, Both are great choices. El Silencio is much closer to town than the Observatory, which is convenient for going out to eat. We love the Observatory, though, because it’s such a unique experience to stay so close to a volcano. It has a pool and the trails too. It’s also really close to other great hikes. El Silencio has a handful of hot springs pools and the property is gorgeous, but you could always take your wife to Tabacon or somewhere for the springs. Tough call, but with kids, I think I’d go with the Observatory.

  4. 3 couples coming into experience Arenal for 4 nights in Feb.2018 before heading to Tamarindo for a week. Flying into Liberia. If we stay in La Fortuna will we be able to take taxi to sites at volcano? We want to hike and bike and enjoy the interior. Would it be best if we rent a car? Are there drivers that we could arrange to bring us to La Fortuna? Thanks in advance.
    We have been to the pacific coast twice and just had drivers transport us b/t the airport and our vacation lodging.

    1. Hi Lisa, La Fortuna is more spread out so many people choose to rent a car as taking taxis can get expensive. A lot of people will shuttle from the airport and then rent a car once they arrive, or you could rent one right from LIR Airport if you’re comfortable driving long distances. Taxis are available though, and if you wanted to do guided tours, those usually include transportation from your hotel. Let us know if you need any help arranging a shuttle from the airport. We work with a few very reliable companies.

  5. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    Have you heard anything about Baldi Hot Springs? Looks big and might be fun for kids with water slide and park.
    Thanks,
    Jamie

    1. Hi James, Baldi is a really popular resort too. It’s bigger and has a lot of hot springs on site, which is great. The rooms are nice and like you said, it’s good for kids with the big slide and park. Some people find it a little over the top for Costa Rica/commercial-feeling but most really like it.

  6. There seems to be quite a bit that is sold out for our dates already in March 2018. What do we think of Baldi? Is it a good choice for the price?

    1. Hi Glenn, Baldi is a decent value because of the hot springs on site, and the rooms are nice. Drinks and other things are a little pricey but you can always go off the resort to eat. Not sure if you have checked if Arenal Springs Resort has availability, but that’s another excellent choice. It’s a little smaller and still has the springs right there.

  7. I am so excited I found your website! Just booked two nights at the Arenal Observatory Lodge!

    Do you have any suggestions on a quiet west coast beach town for our last two nights in Costa Rica? We will be flying out of San Jose.

    Thanks!!!!

    1. Hi Nichole, If you’re flying out of San Jose and only have two night, we would recommend somewhere on the Central Pacific Coast so that you don’t have to drive as far to get back to the airport. Most of this area is developed, but you might like Playa Esterillos. That’s a quiet stretch of coastline with only a few hotels.

  8. Hi, We are looking at booking Arenal Kioro. Is this a hotel you would recommend? 2nd choices are Arenal Manoa or Arenal Springs. Family of 4 with 2 adult children ages 20 and 22. We would get two rooms each night.

    Tabacon is avail but expensive….double the cost of the 3 listed above. Is it worth it? Happy to splurge but only if it is over the top wonderful!

    Thank you !

    1. Hi Sharon, Arenal Kioro is a wonderful choice that we recommend to clients. It is a good alternative to Tabacon and has a few hot springs pools on site and more at another facility a little down the road. Tabacon is more expensive but is really great. Good service and very nice facilities- feels more like a resort than most other hotels in the area. The other good thing about Tabacon is that you have free use of the hot springs, which are arguably the best in the area. Entrance is around $85 pp so if you were planning to go anyway, that is a good savings.

  9. We are planning a25th anniversary in October flying into San Jose .I have narrowed the choices down to 6.The cheaper choices being Casa Luna Hotel and Spa,Volcano lodge and spa,and Arenal Springs.next is Baldi,The royal Carin thermal water spa and resort and the most expensive hotel el silencio del campo.What are the pros and cons of each….Before finding your sight I was leaning towards the Volcano lodge and spa or the Royal Carin thermal water spa and resort. Plus what are some must dos when there?How is Costa rica in Oct?Best food,tours and prices in general….I am a planner….Thanks

    1. Hi Shannon, There are lots of differences between those hotels, two prominent differences being the size and amenities, since not all of them have hot springs on site. If you’re looking for something smaller and more intimate feeling, we’d go with El Silencio. For something that feels more like a resort, Arenal Springs. People really like the Volcano Lodge and Spa too, which is more affordable.

      On your other questions, our La Fortuna: What to Expect post has some ideas for must dos in the area, and you could also check out our book, Top 10 Costa Rica Itineraries. La Fortuna is covered in the Best of chapter and some others. For weather, read our Weather post and Rainy Season post. For food, we have a guide about traditional foods, and for prices, our Money Matters post will help.

  10. We are planning a trip to Costa Rica in mid May and have some questions. We would like to rent a car, drive from San Jose to La Fortuna, take the taxi/boat/taxi shuttle to Monteverde, and return to La Fortuna after three nights in Monteverde. Questions: Is there somewhere we can leave a rental car in La Fortuna while we are gone to Monteverde? How can we get around Monteverde without a vehicle? Other questions: Is there any problem with safe drinking water (i.e. from hotels, restaurants, park entrance stations, etc) or do we have to buy bottled water? What about safety of food purchased at markets/grocery stores?

  11. I just asked a question about a place to leave a rental car in La Fortuna while we traveled to Monteverde via the taxi/boat/taxi. I’m now wondering if it would be possible to return the rental car in La Fortuna, go to Monteverde, and then rent another car when we return?
    Would the car rental company that you work with (sorry, I forgot the name!) do something like that in La Fortuna?

    1. Hi Joan, Yes, we would recommend what you just suggested: renting one car for your initial time in La Fortuna, then making a separate, second reservation for the later dates. You can just make the reservations through Adobe Rent a Car using the widget on our website, doing the two reservations separately.

      It is fairly easy to get around Monteverde without a car. Often, tours include transportation or it is available for a small charge. Taxis are relatively affordable too from most hotels in the area. If you’re staying near Santa Elena, you will be near restaurants and other amenities. There’s also a shuttle that runs a few times a day for a few dollars a trip that you could ask your hotel about.

      Drinking water is fine in most of the country, including La Fortuna and Monteverde. We wouldn’t drink water from spigots at national parks, though, just in case. Better to bring as much as you will need for your hike. Food is safe here, just wash and prepare as you normally would at home.

  12. Thanks SO much for your helpful information, both for the above questions, and on your website. It really helps to have inside information from a veteran:)
    This will be our first trip, and we are really looking forward to it!

  13. Hi, I am doing a solo trip to Costa Rica at the end of August. Two questions – is it possible to do a day trip to Monteverde from La Fortuna or do you recommend staying the night near Monteverde before moving on to Manuel Antonio? Second question – if I want to hike the volcano without a tour is that easy to do from any of the resorts or do you suggest I stay in a hotel closer to it? Thank you!

    1. Hi Meghan, We recommend at least an overnight in Monteverde so, yes, a night there before Manuel Antonio would be good. If you don’t want to do a guided tour, it would be easiest to pick a hotel closer to the volcano, like the Arenal Observatory. Taxi fare from many hotels is quite high because the volcano is a good distance from town.

      1. Thank you! Okay I think I will spend 1-2 nights in Monteverde. The other issue I am running into is I am tied to the bus schedule (looking at interbus CR) which isn’t too much of an issue for Monteverde or Manuel Antonio but I will lose a day getting to La Fortuna as they only leave at 2pm from San Jose. Have you ever used any of the airport shuttles through the hotels/resorts in La Fortuna? I land on a Saturday night and would prefer to go straight to LF or leave in the morning on Sunday.

  14. Hi, we’re traveling with three families (7 kids ages 9 -12) to Costa Rica in February. We won’t have a rental car so would like to be fairly close to town. We have two questions!
    1. Would you recommend Hotel Arenal Manoa or Tifakara Boutique Hotel? (2 nights)
    2. We will be spending a few days after Arenal at the beach in the Guanacaste area. On our last day, we’re driving to Liberia (because we have an 8 am flight). If our kids don’t see enough animals/wildlife in Arenal, would you recommend driving either to Palo Verde National Park or going to Rincon on our way to Liberia?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Lauren, 1. Tifikara is nice and closer to town, but Arenal Manoa has better facilities with a few hot springs pools and a huge cool water pool with swim-up bar. We’d go with Arenal Manoa. 2. You can see a lot of wildlife at either Palo Verde or Rincon so it depends on if you want a boat tour or hiking tour. You could also stop at Las Pumas Rescue Center to see a lot of wildlife close up, guaranteed. Hope that helps!

  15. Where would you recommend for a solo traveler to stay who enjoys hiking and nature more than the city life? I want to spend my time in nature, hiking. Possibly take one night in the city for dinner, but other than that I would use the hotel and do hikes nearby. Not planning on renting a car, just use shuttle services. Spending 3 nights in La Fortuna with 2 full days. Debating on a day trip to Monteverde. Then I’m heading down south to San Manuel Antonio for another 3 nights and 2 full days.

  16. Hi! We’re a group of 5 (4 adults and a 2 year old) flying to CR (San Jose) in April from the 27- May 1. We want to see the volcano and beaches. We were thinking of either Baldi or The Springs for 2 days. What do you think of those two options?

    Also, which beach do you recommend we visit for the remainder of the trip before heading back to San Jose to depart?

      1. Thanks! The Springs does not have the three rooms available that we want so we were checking out The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa and Resort. Do you recommend it or we should just get the rooms available at the Springs?

  17. Great info guys. We are a couple reaching San Jose on Thursday late night and travel to La Fortuna same time. Could you give me some shuttle recommendations to go from San Jose to our hotel in La Fortuna or would you recommend getting it booked through the hotel? Appreciate your help

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