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Travel Blogs from La Fortuna
We arrived to Costa Rica at the Liberia Airport. Throughout our entire trip we used the company Desafio to take us around the area and for day time adventures. Although we had slight trouble finding our driver at the airport, the three hour trip to the Arenal area surely made up for it. The guide was young man whose English was more than …
... etc can be quite suspect at times! Also, editing, while possible, is quite cumbersome. Woke up to rain this morning. Not so surprising as the clouds rolled, literally, into town last night. We are, after all, in a cloud forest area. Our teammate Nicole described the rain as the mist on the veggies at the grocery store. Though this morning's rain was pretty much a downpour. Between the rain and the sunrise 5 am wake up... The birds all awake at ...
... expensive though - esp. the fresh vegetables. We enjoyed going up and down the aisles, deciding what to buy for each of our meals. We even bought some drinks as a treat.
Oh yes, I think I remember a post that I just made - not too long ago. The goal was to live off the land. Well, I guess that is not going to happen... lol There aren't many choices of fruit during this time of the year so we had to go to the grocery ...
... most of the way. Plus a down-climb some amazing waterfalls and river trace along a pristine, rainforest canyon.
Two extras were thrown in. First was to bomb or jump into the creek bed and the second we sat down on the river bed like a train one behind the other. One of the guides was ...
... felt very good for my shoulder, we had a buffet dinner for 5.00 a person. It was a warm day with a mix of sun and cloud and a little warm rain in the evening.
Cindy has been very good to find local eating places for us to have breakfast and lunch at reasonable prices. She has assured us that the water supply in Costa Rica is safe and so I am taking a chance and eating salads. Rice and beans is a very tasty feature of almost every meal.
How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Continental Breakfast
- Swimming pool
- Room service
- Free High-Speed Internet
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Historical Traveler Reviews Arenal Kioro La Fortuna
Great place, even greater potential
The location of this hotel is simply spectacular, and the rooms take full advantage -- every one (we're told) has a floor to ceiling window looking on the volcano. We could literally lie in bed at night (or sit in our hot tub) and watch the red lava flow down the mountain. The place is less than a year old, and still getting its act together. No hotel bar yet, or sundries shop, but I understand both are planned. Food could stand improvement and variety, but the grounds, pool, spa and service are all world class.
Given Some Time It Might Be Good
The Arenal Kioro & Mirador has an identification problem. Maybe because it is not yet a year old. But if you look it up it has various names all of which are variations - Arenal Mirador & Kioro, Arenal Kioro, Arenal Mirador. That is a hint of the problems with the hotel. However, it trys very hard and with time, might be really good.
Supposedly it is the best hotel in Arenal. It is certainly less crowded than the Tabicon Lodge which is about a quarter mile down the road. If you go to Arenal to see the volcano, you cannot get any closer nor can you get a clearer and unobstructed view of the volcano. It is a mere 800 meters away, which, when the volcano rumbles, which is quite frequently, is a little spooky. We were fortunate to be there for three days and two nights; two days were perfectly clear, which is rare. We watched the volcano explode (yes, explode!) several times. Once at 1:30am when we could see the red hot lava flowing down the mountain. We actually asked the desk to call us if Arenal popped, but the didn't; but it wasn't necessary, since the noise and rumble were enought to wake us up!
The hotel is clearly built for tourists, but the amenities are yet to be resolved. It looks a little like garden apartments. There is no advantage to be at any location so I would suggest being closer to the reception rather than farther away. The rooms are spacious and well layed out. Every room has a Jacuzzi, which is a lovely feature. It is fabulous to be there every evening to watch the sunset from your own tub. There is one problem, though. The Jacuzzi has a very heavy top which has to be removed. Unfortunately, the design of the room is such that there is absolutely no place to put the top which is quite heavy and awkward. If you call the reception, they will send someone to take the cover off, but you may have to wait an hour which spoils the spontenaety. The real problem is putting it back on, which is best left to the hotel staff, but in the meanwhile you will have this humongous thing in the middle of your room.
There are two king beds in every room and there is a large bathroom with a seperate shower area. There are two floors. We chose the top floor because the bottom floor has absolutely no landscaping or privacy and anyone walking by can look in the room if the window shades are open - which you will want so you can look out at the gorgeous view of the volcano.
Breakfast can be served in the room, which for us was preferable to the restaurant. The hotel was about to open three restaurants. One for regular guests, which was open; one for tours, which should be open by now and the third for guides and taxi drivers. The regular guest restaurant is merely a big, spare barn of a a room. The food is very expensive by any standards, especially Costa Rica. The food is only fair and does not justify the prices.
The staff tries, but is not well trained. Many speak poor English. We booked some tours through the front desk, but we were pretty much on our own because the young man helping us knew nothing much about the tours and the various things in the area. They did send us to a hot spring (not Tabicon). It was fun and different, but hardly intimate or private. If you want to eat at the hot spring, the hotel must make a reservation, which the young man did not do or tell us to do, so we had to go to town and eat, which turned out to be fun. We did book the zip line, which is the highest in Costa Rica. We loved it. I am 64 and my wife 54. If we can do a zip line then anyone can. I was sorry when it was over. We also did something called a Safari Float, which was one of my favorite thing on our whole trip. The Safari Float was a raft going down a beautiful and quiet (no rapids) river. Just us and a guide because we booked it as a private tour (it only cost a few dollars more than going with a group and was well worth it). A photo taken on the river is now my screen saver.
If you don't have a car, they will call a taxi for you. It is a 15 minute ride from the town, but don't expect a taxi in 15 minutes. It may take a half an hour or more. Once we discovered that they forgot to call the taxi.
All's well that ends well. It was a fun two nights and I guess I would recommend the hotel with reservations.
Best time of the trip
My Fiancee and I stayed at Arenal Kioro from August 5-8 before travelling on to Monteverde and Playa Conchal. Our stay at Kioro was definitely our favorite part of the trip. Without going to to detail on the great tours that we went on in the area(whitewater rafting, Horseback riding, and the canopy tour) just sitting on the balcony of our room or in the hot tub listening to rumble and watching lava shoot out of the volcano was absolutely amazing. The Hotsprings at Tabacon are great but it is like Disneyland there. The dining aspect of the hotel could use some improvement but it is still a new place. There were a great places to eat in and near the town of La Fortuna so that minor flaw did not bother us one bit. The minibar stayed stocked and that was all we needed. We have already talked about going back to the country and spending more time at Arenal Kioro. Leonardo is one of the Concierge people, he is a real nice guy and will take care of you. Definitely go through Desafio for your tours. They have great guides and know all the prime places to go. Pura Vida!
New hotel worth the stay
The 3 nights I spent in La Fortuna were in the Arenal Kioro hotel. It is a newer hotel with the best viewing of Arenal Volcano. We selected this hotel over Tabecon because it was less "touristy" and more secluded. The hotel is new, and they are still working out some of the bugs; however it is MUCH improved over some of what I have read.
The hotel: The grounds and beautifully done, and walking paths give an impressive view of the volcano. The pool is in the nice gardens and again has a view of the volcano. The staff is very friendly and attentive. This really was 5 star service. We were even walked to each shuttle under an umbrella if it was raining (a few steps). Watch out for cabs in the area. The cab called for us by the front desk staff had no meter (in NY this is a no-no. Well it is in Costa Rica as well). We were charged 8 USD for a ride that cost 2 USD in another cab).
The dining room is overpriced for what you get, but again it is the view that you pay for. That being said the food was good, just not great. There are better dining options in LaFortuna. Our favorite is a little steak place a mile away - El Novillo. Nothing fancy, but good flank steak and soup. 2 steak dinners with soup and salad, and 4 beers for 30 USD. Also there are several options in town.
Room: Very large and nice room. Large sliding glass doors (really the whole wall facing the volcano open so you can see and hear the volcano. The screens were put on wrong so they were unusable. You get used to living with all kinds of insects in CR so it didn't bother us too much. The hot tub has a perfect view of the volcano as well. Fair priced honor bar. Clean room with A/C. Really can't find too much to complaint about. During the rainy season you had to be patient to see the volcano. After a heavy rain is the best time. But it periodically clears up. I awoke at 3 am to the volcano noise one morning to see an incredible display of bright red lava rolling down the volcano. You have to be patient - but it is beautiful.
If you want a packed pool, free flowing booze, and lots of people young and old I would recommend Tabecon. If you want a more serene atmosphere with impressive views of the volcano, choose Arenal Kioro. Even if you stay at Kioro, you can still pay to visit Tabecon hot springs. It is a fun time and I would recommend trying it.
There are a lot of tours in the area. Pure Trek Canyoning has you do 5 rapells in 4 waterfalls. This was the best tour of the trip for me. Very safe, the guides were awesome, and it was some of the most fun I have ever had - despite being pretty nervous about trying it. The Canopy tour in the area at Arenal Paraiso were a lot of fun, and this was my Fiancee's favorite tour of the trip. 11 zip lines.
3 nights at the Kioro
We are just back from a 10 day trip to Costa Rica arranged through EcoVoyager. Our first stay was at the Kioro Hotel near Arenal. The hotel is still under construction and the staff still has a ways to go to match the great location and beautiful rooms. The enthusiasm is there, but the service doesn't do justice to the facility. I'm sure in time the front desk and waitstaff will improve.
The food was adequate in the diningroom, but the menu never varied and would benefit with some lighter fare for lunch. The breakfast (included in our rate) included very good omelettes, but the rest of the food was hit or miss. Right now there is no gift shop or real bar, but each room has a well-stocked minibar. The lobby had two computers available with free, but slow, internet service. The rooms were huge with in-room hot tubs, but they are slow to heat up, so turn yours on as soon as you arrive.
The real star of the hotel is the active volcano just outside your picture window. The peak was often obscured by clouds, but when they lifted we were treated to quite a show. Bits of lava are thrown from the caldera to solidify into rocks that bounce down the mountainside, cracking open to reveal their red-hot centers accompanied by booms similar to thunder. Every night was like a fireworks show just for us!
This is the rainy season in Costa Rica, but our stay was lovely in the Arenal area. Just plan to do your tours in the sunny mornings as each afternoon and evening gave way to rain. We had a guided hike through the lower reaches of the nearby national park, traversing rainforest, lava fields, and temperate areas all in one morning.
Even the rain could not diminish the fun of the nearby Ecotermales hot springs that we visited in the late afternoon. Transportation and entry to these hot springs are included in the room price, a $14 per person value. The springs provide towels and changing facilities with lockers. Take a little money for refreshments and to tip the driver. We were practically alone at the springs, a series of five manmade pools of varying temperature that capture both direct hot springs and a small naturally hot creek flowing down the hillside.
Kioro Was Great!
My husband and I stayed at the Arenal Kioro for two nights on a road trip through Costa Rica in May 2006.
We were pleasantly surprised to see the beautiful cabins of the hotel as we drove up the long, steep and winding driveway. The lobby of the hotel was amazing, full of beautiful flowers. The staff was helpful and very nice.
We were blown away to walk into our huge room. There were big windows, two very comfortable beds with a sleeper sofa, tv with cable, nice bathroom with a separate room for a shower, fuzzy bathrobes, a fabulous hot tub with windows that opened up to a breathtaking view of the volcano and two chairs in front of our sliding glass door that looked out to the volcano. What was amazing was that you could actually sit on the beds and watch the volcano erupt at night (apparently the volcano was spewing from the other side until a few weeks before we arrived and it changed sides -- lucky us!!).
The restaurant was nice but a bit pricey. We ate breakfast there every morning but opted to eat at the great little "soda" at the end of the hotel driveway for lunch and dinner.
The spa was still partially under construction, but very nice. I got a fabulous 90 minute massage. You could hear some of the construction at times but the staff tried very hard to make you feel relaxed.
There was also a pool that was very nice, but it was a little tricky to get to as there was no direct path from our building to the pool. We swam at night while watching the volcano erupt (which was sooo cool!!) but it was tricky to climb the grassy hill to get back to the room.
Kioro also has a deal with a great hot spring (Ecotermales Fortuna). They provide you transportation there. It is very peaceful and beautiful and much less crowded than Tabacon (although I would recommend everyone see Tabacon as well, it is amazing).
Overall I have to say Kioro is a great hotel. We had such a wonderful time, the rooms were amazing, the view breathtaking and the staff was great! I highly recommend this hotel to anyone planning to stay in the Arenal or La Fortuna area.
Not quite worth the price
This hotel has a great location for volcano watching - while we were there in June 2006 the lava was flowing directly toward the hotel making for thrilling night time viewing. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed with comfortable beds and spa. We were the first people to stay in our room (#1104) and there were a few problems with room - the biggest was that the AC did not work.
After telling the front desk, we had to endure hours of hotel staff fiddling around with the AC unit before they acknowledged it did not work. We were offered a lesser room but would have sacrificed a great view if we had moved. So we toughed it out, unfortunately the room did not have screens on the windows so leaving the windows open to catch the breeze allowed lots of bugs into the room. The hotel did kick in a free dinner for us to make up for the problem, but we did not sleep as well as we should have.
Only stayed that one night, paid $225 + tax, it included breakfast and entry into the Eco-thermales hot springs.
GETTING THEIR ACT TOGETHER
When planning to visit arenal vocano area, we originally booked the Tabacon. After reading the reviews at Trip Advisor, I asked my travel agent to look elsewhere. She suggested The Kioro Arenal. SMART MOVE!!!! The hotel is brand new. It opened 12/15/05. Although the Spa had not yet been completed, it will be open 5/1/06. ROOMS ARE HUMONGOUS! 2 QUEEN BEDS PLUS A SLEEPER COUCH. Nothing beats a Jacuzzi for two at midnight overlooking the volcano erupting. The staff was always helpfull and the restaurant had great food. We usually stay at The Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton Hotels so we are used to nice places! We would go back.
Great Facility - Poor Management
Just returned from a three day stay and feel this is probably the nicest physical facility in the area, but they have serious management problems. Front desk staff is very inadequate, no internet for guests. Restaurant management nonexistant. We found the restaurant to be poor - the worst food we had in the country. Service slow for a country known for slow service. All the rooms have yellow light bulbs only - terrible to read by. They say the bulbs don't atract bugs, but that's a crock. If they want to keep bugs out, they need screens for the sliding doors. Take your own lightbulbs or a clip on reading light.
When they get their act together it will be a great place to stay.
Just got back from the Kioro. We spent 3 nights there before going to the Parador near Manuel Antonio National Park. The rooms at the hotel are fantastic. Huge, beautifully furnished, clean, etc. The staff at the hotel were incredibly accomodating, willing to do almost anything to make your stay more pleasant. The restaurant there is also quite good; a little expensive, but still considerably cheaper than what we had at the Parador Hotel. There is a great view of the volcano, but don't expect to see any lava. The only area lava can be seen from is from the North, and the Kioro is in the South (I think). The hotel also gave us free transportation and access to a local hot springs facility (not as big as the Tabacon, but MUCH less crowded, which makes a huge difference). The only issue at this point is that the hotel is really not close to being finished yet. It just opened 3-4 weeks ago. There is no main lobby yet. The spa has not been built. The grounds surrounding the hotel still need some work, particularly in the area around the pool. That said, when it is finished, it will be one of the best(if not THE best) places to stay while at Arenal.