Tuscan Villa-Style Resort Overlooking Arenal Volcano and Tropical Forest
The Mountain Paradise Hotel’s low buildings are covered in terra cotta roofs; they look like they would be at home on the hillsides of Tuscany. The scenery here is a far cry from Italy, though: when you step out onto the private balconies of the guest rooms, you’ll see the towering cone of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano. The volcano is so close that it dominates the landscape; you can see it from the hotel’s restaurant, the rock-lined outdoor pool, and the jacuzzis just outside the rooms.
The interiors of the buildings feature vibrant tropical colors and furnishings made from exotic woods. High ceilings and tiled floors give the junior and premium suites an open, airy feel, and each comes with a spacious terrace with large jacuzzi tub and rocking chairs. The premium suites are more centrally located to the restaurant and pool; guests of the junior suites can walk to the common areas or hail one of the golf-cart shuttles for a ride over.
Costa Rican and international foods make up the menu at the onsite restaurant, such as the hambalayos jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon along with rice, curry, banana, and spicy pineapple. Through high arches and open doorways, you can get unimpeded views of the tropical countryside. To get closer to the peak, you can sign up for a tour, which may include a hike in the Venado Caves or encounters with exotic animals in the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.
La Fortuna, Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano, World-Famous Hot Springs, and Sprawling National Park
About 50 years ago, Arenal Volcano was dormant, and La Fortuna, a farm town tucked inland in northwest Costa Rica, was relatively unknown to the general public. Then in 1968, Arenal erupted, and it hasn’t stopped since. Tourists have since come in increasing numbers to see the volcano, which punctuates the varying geography of Arenal Volcano National Park.
The park has a diverse ecosystem in its 30,000 acres: there are numerous waterfalls and a few rivers ideal for whitewater rafting, especially Rio Toro. Several hanging bridges crisscross through dense patches of cloud forest, making for a scenic hike. Be on the lookout for howler monkeys and parrots, which are native to the area.
You can also make a more rugged trek down Sendero Coladas, or Lava Flow Trail, which leads to a field of jagged volcanic rock that formed after the eruption decades ago. Due to its almost incessant geothermal activity, the park is also home to a number of natural hot springs. It’s popular to unwind in these therapeutic springs after a long hike.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.