Well, after a run of fabulous hostels, we were bound to have a dud eventually. It’s not that this place was that terrible but, it just wasn’t our cup of tea..Let me explain
During our time in La Fortuna we stayed at the Arenal Hostel Resort. This hostel is tucked in behind the main strip of La Fortuna.
From the front, it certainly doesn’t look like much of a hostel, in fact it looks more like a zoo! A cement sloth hanging from fake trees acts as an archway to welcome guests. As you enter the hallway thing continue to be a little bit different. Concrete statues of frogs and lizards sit suspended on the walls, while real flowers dangle over you from the roof on which they are growing. I was pretty stoked when I saw all this. Totally funky, cool, and right up my alley
The whimsy continues as you enter the property. Large concrete trees have been erected throughout the resorts small green space. Multiple hammocks are suspended from each one. Palm trees dot the lawn with multi coloured rope lights wrapped around them.
The pool is small but perfectly located right next to the bar. They offer a full drink list, and a small food menu. There is a buffet breakfast each morning at an additional cost.
Shaun and I had our own room, with two double beds, ensuite bathroom, and TV. Shaun was happy, as this was the TV he ended up watching the Superbowl on.
Now at this point, I guess it’s pretty clear that I wanted to like this place.. It had all the makings for a really good time. I’ll get into the reasons why I didn’t like it in a second, but I should preface this by explaining where Shaun and I were at.
At this point in our trip, Shaun and I were in desperate need of a battery recharge. We had been travelling pretty intensely over the past couple weeks, so we were pretty antisocial during our stay here. Not meeting anyone new, and keeping to ourselves might have had an impact on our perspective of the place.
Also, because there isn’t a whole lot you can do or see in the heart of La Fortuna, we found we were often sitting around the hostel waiting for our next activity. This also might have contributed to our opinon.
Either way, there were a couple things that irked me about Arenal Hostel Resort, mainly having to do with the tours they offered.
The reception if the hostel is more like a tour agency then a hotel.There is obviously a commission to be had here. We were assured that all the prices in town were the same, so there was no point going to look around. In our previous experiences in Costa Rica, this tended to be the case. So we booked our first few tours at the front desk.
This was an error. I found a place that offered my first tour for 35 dollars cheaper, and most places were offering it for at least 15 dollars cheaper. I was choked at first, because you want to feel like you can trust the people at the place that you were staying. I decided just to let it go and chalk it up to being lazy and not going to look for myself.
Then we explained to them that we wanted to see the volcano, and relax in some hot springs. They booked the volcano tour, and then told us they’d heard of problems with some of the other hot springs, and recommended we relax at Baldi Hot Springs.
Things didn’t quite go as planned…
Our Volcano tour ended up being a nature hike. We actually never even went into the park itesef. Then our trip to Baldi was definitely not the relaxing experience we were looking for. Althought Baldi was fun, it was more like Disneyland then a spa.Lots of kids, thumping music, that sort of thing. I found out later that Baldi is the only hot springs that offers commission for booking for them. That made a little more sense…and how we ended up on a nature hike instead of a volcano tour, I have no idea.
Anyways, these experiences with the tours, combined with our introverted attitude, and the fact that we were bumming around the place for so long, really tainted out view on Arenal Hostel Resort.
La Fortuna is so touristy that there are TONS of options out there for accommodation. Take a look around and I’m sure you’ll find something that suits your fancy.
Have you ever found that your mindset has changed your perspective on a place? Or do you have any bad accommodation stories?
Follow me on Twitter: @caketress