A Review of Amor Arenal Costa Rica: an Adults Only Hotel Near Arenal Volcano National Park
If you are traveling with adults over the age of 13 and your travels to Costa Rica are bringing you anywhere near the La Fortuna area, you may be wondering where to stay near Arenal Volcano. Well, you have to check out, what we would now call, one of the best hotels near Arenal Volcano. This was our second visit to Costa Rica and it was love at first sight for my husband and I when we pulled up to Amor Arenal, a secluded adults only hotel.
Amor Arenal Reviews
The hotel is relatively new so you won’t find an overwhelming amount of Amor Arenal reviews online, but of the reviews available, all of them are excellent. As of the posting date of this article, 96% of google reviews are 5 star and after being there we can see why. So I am so glad that we stumbled across Amor Arenal as we planned our anniversary trip. Read on for everything you can expect from this beautiful location.
General Information about the Amor Arenal Hotel
Amor Arenal is a 5 star adults only hotel located in the foothills of the Arenal Volcano with breathtaking views of the rainforest and volcano. It is around 2 1/2 hours from both of the major airports in Costa Rica: the San Jose Airport and the Liberia Airport. The property houses 31 luxury cabins, or casitas, all with their own private deck and a mineral spring plunge pool. The hotel only welcomes guests 13 years and older so the romantic setting is a perfect choice for a honeymoon or anniversary.
The Rooms at Amor Arenal Costa Rica
The cabins at Amor Arenal are all located along a beautifully landscaped stone walkway, accessible only by foot or golf cart. Depending on where your room is located, you should prepare yourself for a short, but strenuous uphill walk. The hotel has golf carts at the ready if you prefer to hitch a ride, but my husband and I embraced the forced exercise and chose to walk each time.
If you would prefer a less heart rate inflating walk, I would call or email ahead of time and request a room between numbers 5 and 15. This should put you at a reasonable distance from the restaurant where breakfast is served and from the parking lot and reception area.
The private villas at Amor Arenal are all the same in size and layout except for the choice between a King bed or 2 Queen beds. They are laid out in such a way that even though you are at a resort with other guests, you feel truly secluded in the rainforest.
Based on photos on the hotel website, I think at one time the rooms all had a view of Arenal Volcano, however we noticed during our stay that the greenery has grown up significantly since those original photos were taken. We asked other guests staying further up the hill if they were able to see from their rooms and they reported that their view was blocked as well. And after talking to hotel employees it seems they decided it was better to allow the natural growth to provide more privacy then to cut back the vegetation on a weekly basis.
Lack of volcano view aside, the rooms are awesome. They feature tall ceilings, large windows, and luxurious hardwoods native to Costa Rica. If there wasn’t so much to see and do at the hotel and in the nearby town, we would have happily stayed in our casita for 2 days straight just enjoying the plunge pool and the sounds of the birds and monkeys from our private deck. The rooms perfectly combine coziness with luxury and I would stay here over and over again if I could.
We have never seen a shower quite like the one at Amor Arenal. They are massive! I was secretly hoping to see a passing spider monkey through the huge 5 x 8 window as I showered. Although I’m not sure if that would have been really weird or ridiculously awesome!
Either way, this is a shower you’ll remember!
Amenities in Rooms at Amor Arenal
We found everything we could have possibly needed in our room. In the bathroom you will find an eye mask, sewing kit, dental kit, shaving kit, exfoliator sponge, shampoo and conditioner, and ear plugs. In your closet you can find slippers and robes, along with yoga mats and weights for an in room workout. If you want to venture outside after sunset (which in Costa Rica is 5:30 pm year round!) the hotel provides flashlights as well as umbrellas for the almost daily rainshower.
You will also find a minibar filled with water, soda, beer, and housemade kombucha and sangria.
Room Cost at Amor Arenal
Amor Arenal is by no means a budget hotel. Rooms cost right around $400-$450 a night plus taxes and fees. This rate does include a 5 star breakfast and a complimentary minibar.
Amor Arenal Booking with Points
We stumbled across Amor Arenal on the Chase travel portal and after reading several amazing reviews we booked 2 nights with Chase Ultimate Reward Points. With taxes and fees our point total came out to around 30,000 points a night. For comparison’s sake, we recently booked an all-inclusive in Punta Cana for just under 20,000 points a night. So even though it felt like a bit of a splurge for us as far as points go, after staying there, I would spend those points again in a heartbeat.
The standard sign up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred would be enough to cover 2 nights here! You can learn more about that card and apply here. It is our favorite recommendation for people new to the points and miles hobby!
You can read more about how we got started in the points and miles hobby here. It has quite literally changed our lives!
Dining Options at Amor Arenal
El Rancho Amor Arenal
El Rancho is the main restaurant at Amor Arenal and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. This is where you will go for breakfast which is included in your stay. All food at the hotel is organic and locally sourced. The menu was the same both mornings we stayed but there were several options to choose from. All breakfasts are served with oatmeal, a fresh fruit plate, a basket of pastries, coffee, and a daily fresh juice offering.
And did I mention the views? Oh the views!! Those are included with breakfast as well.
Tip: For a postcard worthy photo of the volcano head to the restaurant early and grab a table outdoors. You’re more likely to get a clear view of the volcano before the afternoon haze sets in.
Amor Arenal Menu Pool Bar
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab a bite to eat and a cocktail at the Tuanis Wet Bar, a hot spring fed pool with food and drink service. We found it to be a bit pricey but the food was excellent. I ordered the “Tostada Del Rancho,” a piece of brioche toast with grilled skirt steak, mushroom tapenade, guacamole, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. Yum! My husband is pescatarian so he ordered the Ceviche. He was kind and let me try it… I approve and would recommend that as well :).
For 2 meals, 2 cocktails, and a bottle of water we spent around $75 American dollars. Something to keep in mind when eating at your hotel, is that your total will include a 13% VAT tax and an 8% service charge.
La Jaranita is the hotel’s “fun zone” with live music, DJs, Karaoke, and small plates. Somehow we missed this and never got a chance to check it out. We arrived at the hotel during a rain shower the first night and opted to settle into our room instead of venturing out, and our second night was spent in the town of La Fortuna where we grabbed a super low cost meal at a typical Costa Rican soda (sodas are mom and pop type restaurants with affordable home cooked food).
If you feel like venturing out (you should at least once), we really enjoyed our meal at Soda Viquez. Our tour guide at Mistico Hanging Bridges recommended it. After arriving it was pretty clear that this was where a lot of tourists must be sent, but regardless, the food was delicious AND cheap. For 2 full dinners, a bowl of black bean soup, and 2 fruit smoothies I think we spent around $19.
Amor Arenal Pools
The pools here are fed by the hot springs and blend easily into their surroundings. The main pool is along the walkway to the restaurant. Right next door is the swim up bar where you can sit and chat with other guests while trying one of their unique cocktails.
The second pool is further down the main path where the rooms are located. Our room was #24 and our casita was right across the way from the pool.
Things to do at Amor Arenal Hotel
Amor Arenal Nature Trails
One of the things that peaked our interest about Amor Arenal was that there are nature trails on the property for guests. We figured it would be one less thing we would have to leave the hotel for. There are 2 trails available. The first is called the serenity trail and we were told this was the more challenging of the two and would take about 2 hours to complete. The sign at the trail head was covered in warnings and photos of animals that all looked like they would want to kill or eat me, so I voted we try the other trail.
The second is called the Nanciton Trail that was supposed to be an easy 30 minute walk. It was easy, yes… but it definitely took us more than 30 minutes (at least the path we took!). The signage was a bit lacking along the trail and there were a few points where we had to choose one of two ways to go, never really sure if it was going in the right direction! There was a brief moment during the walk where I was afraid I would need to learn to live in the wild because this was going to be our new home. In the rainforest everything starts to look the same after awhile!
A word of advice now that we’ve walked the trails… take a guide! They are included in your stay and would likely have been able to ease my fears about never seeing my children again.
Amor Arenal Exercise Pavilion
If I was more of the “I exercise regularly” type (fyi, I’m not), than I would have taken advantage of the fully equipped exercise pavilion. You’ll even find a tv with an exercise video ready to play.
Amor Arenal Spa Menu
The spa at Amor Arenal looked beautiful and I only wish I hadn’t run out of time to take advantage of it. You can see the full menu of spa services below. I was provided with this from the hotel in the summer of 2021 so if you’re reading this months later you may just want to confirm prices and treatment availability with the hotel.
Amor Arenal Meditation Platform
Things to do Nearby Arenal Volcano
Mistico Hanging Bridges
During our first full day we took a 2 hour guided hike in Mistico Hanging Bridges Park. We booked our tour through the Chase travel portal with 8,640 Ultimate Reward points. If we had paid cash it would have cost us around $130 US dollars. That cost includes transportation from your hotel, entry to the park, and a bilingual naturalist guide.
We booked this tour at the last minute but it ended up being a highlight of our trip. The park is only about 20 minutes from Amor Arenal and has 15 hanging bridges with views of Arenal Volcano. You can book your tour and find more information here.
Tabacon River and Hot Springs
While on our tour at Mistico, our tour guide let us in on a secret that locals use to gain free access to the hot springs. Resorts in the area offer day passes to the hot springs, but you can also park along the road near the springs and use free public access points.
We decided to give it a try and found several other groups of locals and tourists enjoying the warm waters.
Tip: Remember to bring a couple of dollars to tip an attendant who keeps an eye on your car. Any time you park in a public area near a tourist attraction there seems to be someone there offering to keep an eye on your car. I think this is just common practice in Costa Rica and they aren’t just being nice, they are working for tips.
Costa Rica Travel Requirements
Travel requirements are changing constantly these days as the pandemic seems to change requirements almost weekly. Currently visitors from the US are not required to test for Covid upon entry, but ARE required to fill out a HEALTH PASS online form here. Guests must also obtain mandatory medical travel insurance that will cover lodging in the event of a mandatory quarantine. For the most up to date Costa Rica travel requirements you can visit this page at visitcostarica.com.
We purchased our travel insurance from a company called Trawick International as it was the best price we found for the minimum coverage required.
Covid Testing at Amor Arenal
Covid testing is available onsite but guests should contact the hotel for current pricing and to schedule their testing before departure.
Why I think Amor Arenal is one of the best hotels near Arenal Volcano
- Complimentary minibar including beer and wine
- Coffee, tea and cookies at reception
- Awesome views of Arenal Volcano
- Proximity to town with restaurants and shopping
- Several adventure options nearby
- Private and romantic setting
- The shower!
- Private spa tub in every room
- The service, the staff, and the attention to detail
- Free farm to table breakfast each morning
- Golf carts available to shuttle guests throughout the resort and to drop off and pick up luggage
Things we (only kind of) didn’t like about Amor Arenal
- Can’t see volcano from rooms
- Long distance from airport (about 2 hours)
- Lots of walking up hills
- No shades on big window so it can be hard to sleep in
- Poor signage on the nature trails
Amor Arenal is not just one of my favorite hotels in Costa Rica, it’s one of my favorite hotels anywhere. Coming up with a list of things I would change was hard to do, as we truly loved this hotel. So if you’re looking for the best hotels near Arenal Volcano, it’s hard to beat Amor Arenal. If you stay there I’d love to hear what you think! Leave us a comment below and tell us more about your trip!
More Travel Ideas and Tips
For more helpful Costa Rica travel information you can read my previous blog posts about our travel there.
- Hyatt Andaz Costa Rica Review
- Zip Lining in Costa Rica: All You Need to Know
- Costa Rica with Kids: A 10 Day Itinerary
- Travel Hacking for Beginners: How to Take Your Family on Vacation for Free
- 5 Reasons Travel with Young Kids is Worth the Headache
- How to Survive Airport Security With Kids