When we arrived in Costa Rica, the Arenal Kioro was our first stop. If you are flying into San Jose just be aware that the location is a 3 hour trip up to Arenal by car or taxi. It isn't too far from La Fortuna if you do have a car so you can get supplies from there if needed. If not then try and stock up on some bits in San Jose before you leave as there isn't anywhere within walking distance to get bottles of water or snacks from. So after a long 3 hour ride in a taxi up to Arenal we had the most amazing welcome to the Rainforest.
When we first drove into the entrance we were stunned. It felt so surreal, driving down the long road to the front door of the Arenal Kioro. With its bright green colours, sounds of birds that we’ve never heard before and new smells it was truly a wonderful welcome to Costa Rica
We were welcomed by a wonderful bellboy, who took our luggage to the front desk. If you’ve never been to Costa Rica before and stayed in then Rainforest then you will be in for a shock that most of the buildings are open. There are no doors just walk up straight to the desk in the front building. A welcome drink in hand and surrounded by the mountains and volcano is truly wonderful. The girls couldn't stop looking around at all the overhanging trees and listening to the birds and other sounds that come from the forest. This place really is a kids dream of wonder.
Once we were checked in we walked up to our lodge, in between all the beautiful plants was the path up to our door. The room is huge, really high ceilings and rustic feeling. There is a small bed in the front or you can use it as a futon to lounge on. A desk to get that much needed blog writing done. Behind the separator are two queen beds beautifully presented with a table and chairs in front of a giant window and balcony overlooking the Arenal Volcano. I mean you cannot get better than that. What a truly wonderful hotel where you can lay in your bed and watch the sunset over the volcano.
Also in the room is a Jacuzzi, I'm not sure if we were more excited or the kids, either way we all had a blast using it. It also has a window out overlooking the volcano too. It has a separate toilet and sink, and a huge walk in shower room with a rainfall shower head, with plenty of space for more than one person. There were plenty of towels and robes, for a family of four we had so much space it was a fantastic room.
Just bear in mind that if you are on the ground floor like we were you may have a small ant problem. It wasn’t too much of an issue, they sent someone over with some spray, but at the end of the day you are in Costa Rica. Ants populate most of the country and you can’t escape them, just keep your bags and shoes off the floor and make sure the kids aren't throwing crumbs all over the place like they do and you will be good to go.
The Hot Springs and Pool
They have a pool and hot springs onsite at the hotel. Cascading pools for you sit in different temperatures, they have 8 in total and it is exclusively for hotel guests. We were slightly disappointed in the temperature as they were all quite mild, I wouldn’t call them hot springs.They do look beautiful but they weren't as hot as you'd expect. The hotel does give you complimentary access to Titoku Hot Springs with a shuttle that goes there. We didn't get time to visit as we were doing some tours but they are supposed to be really beautiful.
They pool is great for the kids, its not too deep and it has the wonderful view of the volcano. It is a bit on the chilly side so if its an overcast day it won’t be fun for the adults. Kids don't seem to mind the temperature of pools they would swim in ice if it meant they get to swim all day.
Spa and Grounds
They have a great spa and we were offered a free mini facial at the Neidin Spa, but didn't get time to visit. They have a whole bunch of treatments that you can get, its open 7 days a week and you can book yourself in before you arrive at the hotel if you wish.
It’s a beautiful walk down to the spa, through the amazingly green gardens, there is plenty of places to relax outside and an amazing hammock you can chill in and take the views of Arenal in. The kids loved being out here, there was so many new noises to hear and different birds you can see flying around. Watch where you step as there are leaf cutters in abundance, our children were obsessed with these ants and watching them carry the leafs along trails throughout the gardens. They are a fascination to anyone that lives outside of Central America. Read up some facts before you see them as its a great little lesson for the kids to learn about.
On the way to the spa you may spot an outbuilding where you will find some amenities, they have restrooms here and the gym is located here, which has treadmills and weights. Large glass windows with great views while you are exercising. They also have a games room with table tennis and pool, so don't forget to check it out if you are having an indoor afternoon, as it likes to rain then.
The dining room is set in the open restaurant called Heliconias with a view over the volcano, it was always cloudy this time of day when we ate, so the top of the volcano was always covered. They have a typical Costa Rican buffet breakfast here. This was our first experience with the local food, and we enjoyed it. Rice and plantain is a must here and you will eat plenty of it while in the country. It’s nice to be around a country that enjoys healthy eating, made a change from being in America. Plenty of new food to try and they also have kids cereal and yogurts if your children are fussy eaters.
They have two restaurants to eat in there at Kioro. They have Heliconias and Orquideas. Heliconias is located in the same place as breakfast. The menu is great and they are very accommodating for the children. The burger meal they brought for the kids is enough for two, as it comes with two burgers and fries, so save the cash and just get the one meal to share between two if you are travelling with two children. The main menu for adults is amazing, they had chicken and steak and other dishes. All were beautifully presented and tasted amazing. The deserts were on another level also, top marks for presentation as thats the only reason I ordered dessert, I saw someone else get it and had to try it.
Orquideas is by the pool and set outside. Mosquitos were few and far between as we were quite high but there were a few lurking around so just make sure you use the spray just to be sure. We shared a BBQ meal platter as it was themed BBQ night. This was enough for two adults, kid enjoyed the kids menu too which has standard kids food of chicken strips and burgers. All reasonably priced. Nice atmosphere being outside by the pool and sunset views over the volcano. All the staff at both restaurants and accommodating, they make a great chocolate milkshake for the kids if you fancy giving them a treat. They both loved these.
Overall its a great hotel for families, plenty to do and lots of space. Staff are exceptional and always helpful. They are on hand 24 hours a day, so don’t worry if you need anything.
You can check out prices and availability here.