Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Santa Elena, Monteverde Region, Costa Rica: Arco Iris Lodge
Nominated By: Allison and Michael from Darn Good Digs, Brooklyn, NY, August '12
Price Range: US$ (breakfast extra) # of Rooms: 20 Kid-Friendly: yes
What makes Arco Iris Lodge so Darn Good? Arco Iris is conveniently located just off Santa Elena's central triangle, yet its collection of immaculate cabins set among lush grounds makes it a world its own. We loved coming back to our cabin after a day of hiking in the cloud forest to relax on our front porch while looking forward to the next morning's scrumptious breakfast buffet.
Vibe: Supremely comfortable and relaxing - an excellent base for Monteverde adventures.
Location: The cool little mountain town of Santa Elena, three hours from San Jose, is the gateway to the Monteverde region. While a few attractions such as the lovely Orchid Garden, as well as restaurants and grocery stores, are within walking distance to Arco Iris, you'll need transport to take advantage of all that the region has to offer. We recommend hiking in the Children's Eternal Rainforest and the Curi Cancha Wildlife Refuge, touring Bat Jungle, and zip-lining at the Original Canopy Tour (Jimmy Carter did it too!).
Rooms: The lodge's twenty cabins, all built by local craftsmen using local materials, are set on a hill connected by stone paths winding through landscaped gardens abounding with tropical flowers and fruit trees. Our Standard Room had two beds, a blue-tiled rain shower, and honey soap.
Food: A huge shout-out to the breakfast buffet! With three types of fresh-baked breads (favorite: banana), an assortment of home-made jams (favorite: guayaba), tropical fruit salad, yogurt, granola, gallo pinto, plantains, potato pancakes, meats and cheeses, who could not come back for more? The lodge harvests much of its own produce right from its fruit trees and herb and vegetable garden behind the kitchen. For other meals, Santa Elena and the surrounding area have enough yummy restaurants to keep you busy for awhile.
Keep in Mind: The friendly and informative staff at reception will steer you right and set you up with reservations for transportation, guided hikes, tours, and restaurants. Upon their recommendation we went to some of the smaller reserves and saw the resplendent quetzal along with a plethora of other birds and animals.