Hotel Arenal Kioro, La Fortuna - Volcano view


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Hotel Arenal Kioro, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Text Denise Hummel
Photography Denise Hummel and Hotel Arenal Kioro
What I didn’t anticipate was just how beautiful Costa Rica was going to be. We chose to go during the rainy season (the season spans May through November), our summer in the United States. While decidedly wetter, it’s also less expensive, less crowded and greener, with more colorful flora. It rained only in the afternoon, for the most part, which frankly was nothing more than a refreshing shower for all but one evening of our stay.

We landed in San Jose and rented a 4-wheel drive vehicle (which proved to be a very inspired choice given some of the roads we explored) and set out for our hotel in the town of La Fortuna. Hotel Arenal Kioro is less than two kilometers by road to the Arenal Volcano National Park, but practically “touchable” from our veranda as the crow flies (or in this case, as the toucan flies or the howler monkey swings).

The drive took us about 2.5 hours through windy, but well-paved roads (one lane in each direction) past pastures, small, quaint towns, and casual “sodas” (road-side restaurants). We stopped for fresh mangoes at one stand, strong aromatic Costa Rican coffee and butter cookies at another, and before we knew it, we had arrived in paradise.

The Hotel Arenal Kioro exceeded my expectations in almost every respect. It has a small, open-air lobby with a lovely sitting area looking out over the lush hills (I could have sat there and read a magazine for hours), a pool over-looking the volcano, hot springs tucked away among the tropical foliages and separated by waterfalls, and every room with a hot tub and view through sliding glass doors of the volcano in the background and tropical flora in the fore-ground as if staged for a photo-shoot by a post-card company.

Sitting in my cushy arm chair, my feet up on the ottoman, I opened the glass door to take in the breeze and listen to the rain. I had just poured myself a glass of wine when I heard a thunderous roar and saw some smoke and steam erupting from the volcano. Unsure whether I should grab the kids and run for cover, I called the front desk and found out that this happens periodically and to sit back and enjoy this rare wonder. The eruption happened several times a day and I was in awe each time.

Our breakfast the next day was beautifully prepared, and we enjoyed the same spectacular view. In one of the closest trees a howler monkey slept lazily as we munched our food and drank our coffee.

We were off that day to zipline at a place called the Sky Tram. I knew it would be both exciting and scary, but truly had no idea just how intense it would be. It was, absolutely, the most thrilling thing I have ever done or ever expect to do. Suited up with a safety harness and helmet, we boarded a gondola for the top of Area de Conservation Arenal Monteverde at 1055 meters. From there, we took a series of 8 ziplines, the longest of which was 0.5 miles (1 km) and 600 feet off the ground. We were warned that on zipline number six we would be moving at approximately 80 km per hour (45 miles per hour).

On our ride to the summit, I was shaking and unsure if I’d have to chicken out. The only thought that prevented me from doing so was the reality that I had set out on this trip to have an adventure with my sons, the operative word being “with” – a concept which did not include sitting on the sidelines. Our instructions included holding on to the handles of our pulley system and crossing our legs, pulling our knees up toward the cable. As the first person flew off the perch with a hefty push from one of the guides and disappeared into the mist, I became more uneasy, realizing that the next perch was so far that it couldn’t be seen from the take-off point. Looking down, we were about a hundred meters above the canopy and there would be no surviving a fall if one of the cables or the harness failed. My kids had to have been making the same observations, but their faces showed only signs of glee. How did they do it? They are absolutely fearless.

I managed to do this eight times – each time realizing that I was experiencing both terror and joy that would be difficult to surpass in a lifetime. I have no regrets even though I’m convinced that my heart-rate will be ever so slightly elevated for the rest of my life.


Matthew Hummel, 16 years old

The Kioro Hotel in Arenal gives its customers a nice sense of isolation despite the fact that it is only ten minutes outside the town of La Fortuna. With its rooms looking onto the “el Vulcan Arenal,” (Arenal Volcano), and great customer service because of the warm and kind people of Costa Rica, the hotel has a winning combination. The surrounding area includes a wide variety of fun activities, such as the “Sky Tram” and the “Hanging Bridges” hike. The Sky Tram is a 600 foot high, 0.5 mile long zipline across the Arenal mountainside in the rain forest, giving enough rush for the average thrill-seeker and enough security for the individual attempting to conquer a lifelong fear of heights. The “hanging bridges” hike itself is beautiful and mesmerizing in appearance. For the modest price of about $20 U.S.D., one can hire a guide who can unveil the secret stories behind the forest, like why ants travel for what seems like miles with leaves on their backs just to deliver the “prize” to an obviously lazy queen back in the anthill. After a long day of hiking and adventure seeking, one can easily find time to relax in the Jacuzzi provided in each room and can fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle and the occasional (but minor) volcanic explosion.

Hotel Arenal Kioro, La Fortuna - hanging bridge
Hotel Arenal Kioro, La Fortuna - aerial view Hotel Arenal Kioro, La Fortuna - view Hotel Arenal Kioro, La Fortuna - bridge
The next day we took the Arenal Hanging Bridges hike. A private guide showed us creatures as small as the ants carrying leaves back to the anthill from 40 meters away, to the “White-nosed Coati” scurrying around us on the forest floor and the howler monkeys screaming at us from high in the canopy. The “Indiana Jones” style bridges suspending hundreds of feet across the gorges added to the excitement, making this one of the most spectacular hikes I have ever taken. The kids agreed.

Sustainable efforts by Arenal Kioro:

  • Solid Waste Management
  • Management of water (rain and sewage)
  • Energy saving plan
  • Water-saving plan
  • Plant tree in Kioro Program
  • Recycling bins in the room and around the property
  • Production of organic fertilizer for green areas of the property

See next page ...  Arenas Del Mar, Manuel Antonio


Setting Tropical plantation of 29.65 acres, overlooking the Arenal Volcano.

Why we love it Lush, green, adorned with the colors of tropical plantings, there is a view of an active volcano from each of 53 rooms, a hot tub in each room, and thermal pools adorned with waterfalls.

Good to know There is free wireless internet in the lobby and every room. The spa has a special “kid massage” in addition to a plethora of adult options.

Wow factor I would venture a guess that you will never find accommodations this close to an active volcano. Sitting with your feet up looking out your sliding glass doors and listening to periodic volcanic eruptions has to be among the most awe-inspiring experiences at a hotel I have ever had.

Best rooms or suites to book Every room has a view of the volcano. Rooms from the 100s to the 300s are closest to the lobby and pool, if that’s a consideration.

Room for improvement Could use more insulation between the floor and ceiling of the unit above, more variety of pillows, and black-out curtains for late-risers.

Rates Between $320 and $380, depending on the season.

Address Apartado Postal 1164417, La Fortuna, San Carlos, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 247-1700
Fax: (506) 2290-5529

How to get there From the San Jose airport, take the Pan-American Highway North : After 74 Km (46 miles), you will find the San Ramón intersection. You will go through the city until the road ends. Turn left until the motoring traffic light intersection. There you have to turn right and take that road, which will take you through the towns of Los Ángeles, Balsa, and Bajo de los Rodríguez. There you will go through a voluntary toll booth; continue on this road and you will pass the towns of La Tigra, San Isidro, and Chachagua. Continue until you reach the corner of the Parque de La Fortuna and the Catholic Church. At the park turn left taking the road to the volcano, you will find us 11 km (5 miles) from Fortuna and we are on the left hand side.

Travel Services The front desk will book all your adventure experiences from a horseback ride to La Fortuna Waterfall, to Arenal Hanging Bridges, to the Skytram, ATV-ing, mountain biking, sports fishing and bungee jumping.

Quick enquiry

Hotel Arenal Kioro, La Fortuna - volcano view