Jungle Bungalows with Spectacular Volcano Views
The green, tropical base of Arenal Volcano's nearly symmetrical sides pushes up more than a mile the sky, culminating in craggy gloom. From The Lost Iguana Resort & Spa, the active volcano seems to be perched atop hundreds of acres of lush rainforest. The jungle spreads up to the resort as well, invading the senses as flowering plants waft foreign perfumes through the air, exotic birds call, and a hodgepodge of distant, hidden wildlife buzzes, hums, and hoots.
In each standard deluxe or luxury suite, a private balcony overlooks the mammoth volcano. High wooden ceilings create a spacious atmosphere above either two cushion-topped queen-size beds or one king-size bed covered in bright, tropical-weight linens. Local art adds a laid-back vibe, and the satellite TV, the mini refrigerator, and the air conditioning provide modern comforts after guests spend hours immersed in the wild.
Activities abound at the resort, whether it's a day of pampering at the Golden Gecko Spa, a workout in the fitness center, or a cannonball into one of the resort's two pools. The Lost Iguana's freshwater pool allows for splashing next to its waterfall, and its hot pool leads to a swim-up bar. Extensive private hiking trails reward hikers with glimpses of rare birds, as golden-olive woodpeckers and grey-headed chachalaca reside in the area, and an 80’x80’ hibiscus maze dares visitors to enter and solve riddles from an intellectual kinkajou. Afterward, the resort's open-air Blue Hibiscus Restaurant offers a romantic dinner in full view of the sleeping volcano.
La Fortuna: Stunning Natural Beauty Close to Cultural Sophistication
While The Lost Iguana Resort & Spa clings to verdant, overgrown cliffs, steep waterfalls cascade down mountainsides at the nearby La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where preserved rainforest habitats also host monkeys, birds, more than 4,000 butterflies, and a 200-pound jaguar. Another daytrip jungle option is to take local eco-tours, which frequently include kayaking, whitewater rafting, or mountain biking underneath a cool, green canopy. About 140 kilometers south in San Jose, the Gold Museum hosts thousands of golden pre-Columbian artifacts to hide from South American leprechauns. Aside from exploring hundreds of excellent eateries in the center of town, those looking for a bite to eat in San Jose can find freshly baked churros and locally grown mangos.