Nature-Inspired Hotel with Tropical Gardens Close to Arenal Volcano
Until 2010, Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano, known for its impressive eruptions of ash and elongated lava flows. Today, the volcano is in an indeterminate resting period; it could be months or even years before its next explosion. But the lush rainforests around Arenal are very active, overflowing with tropical birds, bubbling hot springs, and gushing rapids and waterfalls. Casa Luna Hotel & Spa is located close to the volcano in the rural town of La Fortuna, making it a convenient spot for travelers to explore these natural wonders. Its setting certainly helped the eco-friendly resort earn a place on TripAdvisor’s 2013 list of Costa Rica’s top hotels.
Nature lovers founded Casa Luna, and it shows—the hotel's tropical gardens grow native plant species, creating a natural ecosystem that attracts toucans, iguanas, howler monkeys, and other wildlife. The hotel also hosts its own nature walks, canopy tours, and horseback rides. Resident bilingual guides can lead tours to some of the area's most prominent sites, pointing out the flora and fauna along the way. The hotel owners have also made an effort to minimize the resort’s ecological footprint, using reforested wood and other recycled materials during construction.
Nature also inspired the look of the hotel. It has a colonial-style aesthetic with vaulted, exposed wood-beam ceilings and wicker armchairs. Wooden doors open into guest rooms tiled in terra cotta. The onsite restaurant also reflects the hotel's rustic ambiance with wrought-iron chandeliers contrasted by the dark woods of the tables and seats. This is where guests gather for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sample an eclectic variety of dishes, including steaks and pastas.
Adventure or Nature Tour Through Arenal Volcano and Rainforest Wildlife Refuges
For this deal, Casa Luna Hotel & Spa offers one of two excursions via Ecoterra Costa Rica, a local tour company. Both packages include English-speaking guides, roundtrip airport transfers, some meals, a hot-springs visit, and a tour of Arenal Volcano.
Nature Lover's Package: This laid-back tour focuses on appreciating the surrounding rainforest and wildlife. You’ll take a tour of La Fotuna, which has 200-foot waterfalls. Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is a remote spot that serves as a flyover for many birds, including the green-backed heron, the rare Nicaraguan grackle, the glossy ibis, and the American anhinga.
Adventure Lover's Package: This tour ratchets up the adrenaline with two hours of whitewater rafting on the Balsa River. On another day, your guide will lead you up to Arenal Volcano on horseback to a zipline that spans 12 cables and takes you nearly 2 miles through the forest canopy. After the trip, you can unwind with a dip in a natural hot spring. You’ll also pay a visit to a farm restaurant and sugar-cane processing plant.
Between excursions, you'll have days off to relax at the hotel or join another activity. La Fortuna is a convenient jumping-off point for a variety of natural attractions. You can also make the two-hour drive south to San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, which has a wide selection of museums.