Staying in La Fortuna
Arenal/La Fortuna is one of the most scenic regions in Costa Rica, known for its stratovolcano, the country’s largest lake, and several thermal pools. Although the village of La Fortuna is the area’s hub, you’ll find many hotels outside the town and a bit closer to Lake Arenal and the sprawling Arenal Volcano National Park.
There are many ways to enjoy Arenal’s volcano and national park, including family-friendly hikes, horseback riding, and catching views while walking across hanging bridges. But you and your family may also enjoy soaking in the area’s hot springs, which is one of the best things to do in Arenal/La Fortuna. For more details on how to experience the region, check out our ultimate guide to Arenal.
As for where to stay in the region, kimkim has several family-friendly lodgings to recommend, including options with a bit of luxury, hot spring hotels to keep the kids happy in the pool, and a standard choice for the budget-minded. Families will appreciate room categories with multiple beds and a little extra space, onsite activities and amenities geared toward children, and access to onsite dining, all of which make things a bit easier throughout the day.
The Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal
Aptly named for its 28 mineral hot springs, The Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal is an enormous Costa Rican playground of thermal pools, rooms, amenities, and meeting spaces stretching across 165 acres next to the volcano. The resort has 74 rooms (and 14 different room types) on the property, the highest tier being villas modeled after Swiss ski chalets and equipped with private golf carts for getting around—especially fun for kids! All rooms have a rustic-luxe motif with wood, bamboo, wicker accents, and enormous marble bathrooms with jetted tubs. The best part: Each unit has a spacious furnished outdoor space with volcano views, which, on a clear day, is a sight to behold.
Thanks to its five bars and five restaurants, including a sports bar, sushi restaurant, and fine dining options, you don't even need to leave the property if you don’t want to! Of course, the onsite hot springs are the main draw for the whole family, with multiple pools ranging from 83 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit situated on a volcano-facing slope surrounded by greenery. There’s also a 14,000-square-foot fitness center, including a rock-climbing wall, plus rafting and inner-tubing on the hotel's private stretch of the Class-III Arenal River. Basically, families don’t get bored here!
Additional amenities families will love: horse stables, a wildlife sanctuary with 22 types of animals, and several rainforest trails that lead to hot springs and waterfalls. The spa offers a range of massage and beauty treatments, including a floating water massage and body wraps using therapeutic volcanic clay, plus a steam room and sauna.
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Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs
Of all the family-friendly hotels on our list, Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs perhaps has the best views of the volcano. You’ll find this hotel perched atop a hill in the Palma area, the midpoint between La Fortuna town and the entrance to the national park. Each suite is a private bungalow with outdoor spaces, minifridges, air conditioning, and volcano views. Families might prefer the premium suite for a bit more space, plus a large deck with outdoor dining and a Jacuzzi bathtub.
In addition to the bright, large, and comfy bungalows, the onsite hot springs are a hit with families, featuring two pools, a hot tub, a swim-up bar, and an accessible ramp. The mineral waters in the pools are known to offer several wellness benefits, but for extra pampering, check out the onsite spa using local ingredients like volcanic mud.
The property's La Saca Restaurant offers a unique mix of flavors in its Costa Rican dishes, an extensive wine menu, and some of the best views of Arenal Volcano from the outdoor dining area. But families and kids might prefer a meal or two at the other restaurant, Alambique Bistro, which serves wood-fired pizza and sandwiches.
Baldi Hot Springs Hotel Resort & Spa
If your family prefers a livelier experience, consider staying at Baldi Hot Springs Hotel Resort & Spa. The resort has 25 mineral pools certified by the National Water Laboratory, with each thermal hot spring featuring a different theme and temperature (from 93 to 152ºF). The pools are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with one option available 24/7 for hotel guests.
With so many different pools, amenities, play areas, waterslides, colorful lighting, swim-up bars, and expansive grounds, Baldi can feel more like an attraction than a Costa Rican hotel. Families with kids will surely appreciate the high energy and long list of entertainment. However, you can still find a pocket of quiet by walking along the winding paths and choosing a pool with a more mellow vibe.
At Baldi Hot Springs Hotel Resort & Spa, you can choose from three categories of rooms, but all feel a little dated, especially the “standard” rooms. If your budget allows, we recommend upgrading to a Junior Suite, which is much more spacious (great for families), more comfortable, and will let you enjoy the property’s essence with a balcony or terrace. All rooms have air conditioning, cable TV, and minibars, while deluxe rooms, superior rooms, and suites add outdoor patios or balconies. Learn more
Casa Luna Hotel & Spa
Casa Luna Hotel & Spa is a boutique hotel with just 42 guest rooms, all featuring views of Arenal Volcano and Cerro Chato (Arenal's little brother). The standard rooms are cozy, warm, and inviting, with tile floors and wood ceilings. Superior rooms and suites add a bit more space, so it might be best for groups or families. Buildings surrounded by tropical plants house rooms in groups of four and offer modern amenities that families will appreciate, like air conditioning, minibars, and flatscreen TVs.
There's a swimming pool (with a waterfall), a kids’ pool, and Jacuzzis on-site, which can keep kids entertained. When you need a quiet moment, the Luna Spa has several treatments, including deep tissue and hot stone massages. Casa Luna's open-air restaurant, Luna Grill, offers quite a memorable dining experience on a tiled patio surrounded by encroaching green gardens with views of the volcano. Plus, its extensive menu will please even the pickiest eaters! It's a great place to enjoy your gallo pinto, the traditional Costa Rican breakfast. Learn more
Arenal Country Inn
A decent option within walking distance of La Fortuna town is Arenal Country Inn. This property has the most basic rooms of all the options on our list, but they get the job done. All lodgings come in the standard category, ranging from one to four beds. Families and groups may want to choose a bigger option with one queen bed and two or three single beds. Although simple, you’ll still get amenities like air conditioning, minifridges, and flat-screen TVs.
What makes up for the basic rooms are the ground facilities and the exceptional staff—you may even interact with the owner, who is heavily involved in the hotel's day-to-day operations. Enjoy splashing in the large outdoor pool, surrounded by trees and tropical plants yet still offering views of the volcano, or take a stroll through the property via nature trails. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the open-air lounge with quirky wooden furniture, pool tables, and foosball. You’ll appreciate the hotel’s proximity to a few restaurants when you're ready to eat.