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Arenal Hostel Resort 2.0

La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica

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Review Summary

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  • Five-minute walk to restaurants, shops, and a bus stop
  • Small, lovely outdoor pool with a waterfall
  • Tiki-bar-style restaurant and swim-up bar
  • Dorm rooms feature air-conditioning, ensuite bathrooms, and security lockers
  • Private rooms include flat-screen TVs and shared garden-view balconies
  • Lush, outdoor garden courtyard with hammocks
  • Wi-Fi is free property-wide


  • Noisy property, especially at night
  • Rooms are often oversold forcing guests to nearby sister property
  • Price, mediocre restaurant food
  • Tiny common kitchen overcrowds easily

Bottom Line

Situated on La Fortuna’s main tourist strip, Arenal Hostel Resort offers budget accommodations with a solid list of amenities (for a hostel). A casual, tiki-bar-style restaurant, pool, and swim-up bar are surprising touches while a relaxed garden courtyard offers hammocks and teak outdoor dining tables. Entry-level dorm rooms are minimal and functional with only bunk beds, air-conditioning, and ensuite bathrooms. Upgraded private rooms additionally offer flat-screen TVs with cable and shared, furnished balconies overlooking the garden. Hostel Backpackers La Fortuna offers similarly priced and appointed accommodations with a larger pool.

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Tiny, 20-room hostel with a loud, party-like atmosphere

Inside and out, the design feels faintly upmarket for a hostel. Teak wood paneling, lush garden landscaping, and a surprisingly nice grotto-like pool area all seem a step above most typical hostels. Every room on the two-story property overlooks the secluded center courtyard that includes a relaxed garden area with hammocks. However, many guests congregate around the tiny pool, waterfall, and swim-up tiki bar. As the clientele skews younger, the atmosphere varies between lively and downright raucous day and night. Guests are typically 20- and 30-something backpackers and budget travelers seeking barebones accommodations near one of Costa Rica’s most famous volcanoes.


In the heart of La Fortuna’s tourist district, blocks from restaurants, shops, and a bus stop

The property is located on the main tourist strip in downtown La Fortuna. Dozens of restaurants, bars, shops, and markets are all within a five- to 10-minute walk. The nearest bus stop is less than a minute away with easy connections to the country’s affordable transit system. The property arranges regular tours of Arenal Volcano which is reachable in 35 minutes by car.

The hotel is three hours from both Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) in Liberia and San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). Private shuttle service is often the best and cheapest mode of transportation over such long distances in Costa Rica. Taxi service is the second most affordable way to get around. Both services are easy to arrange at the airport. Several brand-name rental car counters are also available in the terminal. However, rates can prove expensive with the country’s mandatory rental insurance.


Few-frills rooms with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and ensuite bathrooms

As a true hostel, rooms are plainly adorned with only essential fixtures and furniture. Every dorm room features mint green walls, basic, metal-framed bunk beds, and little else. Private rooms feature two beds and a basic nightstand and/or television stand all surrounded by wood paneling on the floors, walls, and exposed beam ceilings. Overall, the look and feel is spartan but clean and functional.

Entry-level Ensuite Dorm rooms feature only three bunk beds in either mixed, male-only, or female-only configurations. There are no noteworthy features, furniture, or amenities of any kind. Upgraded Private Ensuite rooms offer two beds and accommodate up to four on a per-guest rate. Every room features minimal facilities with only air-conditioning, hot water, and an ensuite bathroom. Private Ensuites add flat-screen TVs with cable. Free Wi-Fi is also available property-wide. Beds are reviewed as firm and uncomfortable in both categories.

All rooms feature small, ensuite bathrooms. Like each of the rooms, the decor is stripped to include only basic fixtures and tile on the walls, floors, and shower surrounds. Walk-in shower stalls and bar soap are standard.


A garden courtyard with hammocks, a tiki bar/restaurant, and a small pool

On-site amenities are limited. Most notable are the small garden courtyard with a dozen hammocks and a pool area with a tiki bar/restaurant, swim-up bar, and a waterfall. Guests looking for anything else will need to venture off-property.

At the center of the property, the garden courtyard features narrow brick pathways, a fountain, a dozen hammocks, and trees lit up with Christmas lights at night. Several wood patio dining sets with umbrellas provide additional shaded seating. The vibe is relaxed during the day with most guests quietly reading or listening to music. However, the space grows substantially livelier at night as happy hour guests from the adjacent restaurant/bar start to spill over.

Nearby, the small, unnamed restaurant provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual atmosphere. The decor is similar to a tiki bar with a thatched roof, a carved wooden bar, and local Costa Rican artwork. The vibe is lively during the day and becomes much louder and more raucous by night. Unfortunately, many guests complain of pricey, mediocre food.

The restaurant overlooks the hotel’s tiny freshwater pool which is small, even for a 20-room property. A water feature at the far end includes an outdoor shower, a waterfall, and hand carved natural stone which all add a slight grotto-like feel to the space. There are no lounge chairs or seating of any kind on the surrounding deck.

Adjacent to the restaurant, a small, open-air space provides additional seating. At the far end, a small, fully applianced kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave, and oven is available for guest use. Unfortunately, many guests complain of the cramped space quickly overcrowding at meal times.

Parking is limited only to the street which can prove frustrating given the area’s popularity.

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South side of catholic church, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Province of Alajuela 506, Costa Rica

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