Santa Elena Hotel

Arco Iris Lodge: Charming Eco Retreat in Monteverde

In Accommodation, Costa Rica by Sheena12 Comments

Arco Iris Lodge combines the convenience of a town location with the tranquility of a natural environment – find out why these hilltop cabins make the perfect getaway in the heart of Santa Elena (Monteverde), Costa Rica.

Arco Iris Lodge History

Let us here at DIY Travel HQ introduce you to Arco Iris Lodge.

Arco Iris Lodge began with 4 Costa Rican brothers in 1990, before being sold to a German couple on vacation in 1993.

It was a spontaneous purchase for Susanna & her husband, but they have since developed the property into one of the most beloved hotels in Santa Elena & Monteverde.

Over the years, additional cabins have been added, built by local craftsmen with wood & materials from the surrounding forests.

It was our favourite accommodation in our One Month Costa Rica Itinerary.

Cabins at Arco Iris Lodge

The beautiful cabins are built by local craftsmen with local wood

The property has also expanded to include many fruit trees, horses, a greenhouse & even a small coffee plantation.

Arco Iris Lodge is located close to the centre of Santa Elena but with a tranquil natural setting that makes you feel high in the mountains.

Whether you’re in your wooden cabin or sitting out in the garden, it’s hard to believe that shops, banks, supermarkets & restaurants are all just around the corner.

Relax in Arco Iris Lodge

Arco Iris Lodge is the perfect hilltop retreat close to centre of Santa Elena

Arco Iris Lodge Reception

Making a booking at Arco Iris Lodge was a seamless process. The owner, Susanna, was fast to respond to our emails & questions.The excellent customer service continued on arrival too, when we were welcomed by John & Fabi at check-in.

John gave us a thorough explanation of the hotel’s amenities & services, including breakfast & tour options. He gave us recommendations of things to do in the Santa Elena & Monteverde Area, as well as nearby restaurants & facilities.

Reception Arco Iris Lodge

Excellent customer service at Arco Iris Lodge, the staff can help with tour bookings & more

We were really impressed with John’s professionalism & on a side note, it turned out that he & Erik grew up in the very same suburb of New Jersey.

We later met Susanna too, who was also very down to earth & accommodating.

Here at reception you can also find a reading area with a large selection of books, 2 computers & filtered drinking water.

Check In Arco Iris Lodge

The cozy reading area & large library of books at reception

Arco Iris Lodge 2 BR Cabin

Arco Iris Lodge was fully-booked when we checked-in so we received an upgrade to a 2 bedroom cabin – and we were blown away when we were taken to our room.

It was spacious, elegant & tastefully decorated with a living room & 2 full bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bathroom.

The beds were very comfortable with thick, quality bedding – at an elevation of 1440m, Santa Elena gets chilly at night so it was very cozy to sleep in. Next to the bed were 2 bedside tables & lamps, including a safe to keep valuables.

Superior room at Arco Iris Lodge

One of the bedrooms in our 2br cabin

The practical touches were also there, including hooks, shelving & hanging space with hangers provided. Extra pillows & blankets were also provided.

The bathroom was almost as large as the room! The shower was separated, with very hot water & excellent water pressure. Ample toiletries & towels (about 8!) were provided.

The living room let in plenty of natural sunlight through the spider web windows – we loved this quirky feature, especially as it looked out onto the leafy gardens.

It also included a long sofa, bar fridge & coffee table, with an LED TV featuring cable channels mounted high on the opposite wall.

Living room at Arco Iris

Living room in our 2br cabin at Arco Iris Lodge

Our cabin also featured a front patio with wooden tables & chairs for 4 people. It was wonderful sitting out here with a bottle of wine, enjoying the fresh air & peaceful serenity.

Keep your eyes & ears peeled for jungle sounds & wildlife – we saw an agouti from our window & fell asleep to the chirping of insects 🙂

The 2 bedroom cabin is not normally advertised so if you’re interested, contact Susanna for more information.

Patio Arco Iris Lodge

The outdoor patio of our 2br cabin at Arco Iris Lodge

Arco Iris Lodge: Rooms Available

Arco Iris Lodge have cabins to suit every taste, group size & budget:

Budget Rooms: Smaller rooms with a combination of double & bunk beds, with ensuite bathroom.

Standard Rooms: Most rooms come with a double & single bed, with ensuite bathrooms with rain showers

Superior Rooms: Duplex cabins with 2 queen-sized bens & twin sofa beds, with refridgerator & ensuite shower with walk-in shower

Arco Iris Lodge cabin

Standard Room at Arco Iris Lodge

House: Larger cabin with fully-equipped kitchen & living room, 2 bedrooms & a private garden with hammocks

Honeymoon Cabin: Located in a secluded corner of the garden

Vacation Rental Home: Located on an organic farm, 3kms from Arco Iris Lodge

Honeymoon cabin at Arco Iris

Honeymoon Cabin is hidden in a secluded part of the garden

Arco Iris Lodge Landscaped Grounds

The cabins at Arco Iris Lodge are situated on a vast property of preserved forest & landscaped gardens, with some of the tallest trees in Santa Elena.

Native ornamental plants make up most of the garden, but other tropical species such as bromeliads & ferns have also been planted.

There are many fruit trees, too: lemons, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, guavas & wild avocados. The fragrance of the trees & flowers in the gardens attract butterflies & birds of all kinds.

A coffee plantation lies further above the property, where there are also Criollo horses grazing on their own pastures.

Garden at Arco Iris Lodge

The leafy grounds at Arco Iris Lodge feature many fruit trees & native plants

And if you potter more around the grounds like we did, you may come across the greenhouse hidden behind the restaurant. Here, we saw all kinds of herbs & vegetables growing, which are used in their breakfast menu. It doesn’t get more organic than that!

When you’re finished with wandering around the grounds and inspecting the trees & flowers, it’s time to relax! Take a seat in one of the hammock swings under the shade of a tall tree, soak up the sunshine in a wooden sun lounge and of course there are also the tables & chairs on your own outside patio.

Hammock swing tree

Relax in a hammock swing under this huge tree!

Arco Iris Lodge Breakfast

The gourmet breakfast was a highlight of our stay at Arco Iris Lodge. It consisted of a delicious buffet of mixed European & Costa Rican cuisine, where you can have yoghurt muesli alongside gallo pinto (rice & beans).

Other breakfast items included fried plantains, ham & salami, cornflakes, sweet breads & tropical fruit.

Eggs were made to order and drinks included coffee, tea & fresh juice.

Our favourite were the different types of breads & homemade jams – from multigrain & baguettes to passion fruit & papaya, there were many possible combinations but not enough stomach space!

Hotel breakfast

Gourmet breakfast buffet at Arco Iris Lodge

What’s more, Arco Iris Lodge tries to source local produce as much as possible:

  • Milk & cheese are from the famous Monteverde Cheese Factory
  • Coffee is from a small local cooperative
  • Honey is from a local beekeeper

The buffet was an excellent spread, where neither quality or quantity was compromised. The friendly wait staff were also fast to replenish any low items.

Breakfast is served from 6:30-9:00am, so you can fill your stomachs before heading out on a morning nature walk. A late breakfast a la carte menu is also available.

Price: $7.50

Open to guests & non-guests

Herb & vegetable garden

A lot of the herbs & vegetables used in the breakfast menu is from their own greenhouse

Arco Iris Lodge: Other Features

  • Free on-site parking
  • Laundry for $8.00 a load
  • Hot & cold drinks available
  • Night security guard
  • Tour desk
  • Transport reservations
  • Eco-friendly practices & policies

Things to See & Do in Santa Elena / Monteverde

  • Take a nature walk at Curi Cancha, Santa Elena or Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserves
  • Go tree climbing or canyoning at Finca Modelo Ecologica
  • Try zip lining with a Canopy Tour
  • Explore sweet-smelling gardens at Jardin de Orquideas (Orchid Garden)
  • Serpentario
  • Spot frogs, eggs & tadpoles at Ranario (Frog Pond)
  • Observe more than 50 different species of butterflies at El Garden de las Mariposas (Butterfly Garden)
  • Take a bird walk or nigh walk at Bosque Eternal de los Ninos (Children’s Eternal Rainforest)
  • Learn all you wanted to know about bats at the Bat Jungle
Hummingbird Curi Cancha

Don’t miss the Hummingbird Garden at Curi Cancha Reserve

How to get to & from Santa Elena / Monteverde

There are local buses between Tilaran & Santa Elena several times a day. The trip takes approximately 1.5 hours & costs C$900.00.

If you’re travelling to or from La Fortuna, the most convenient option is to take a Jeep-Boat-Jeep tour (which doesn’t actually involve any Jeeps but 4WDs instead). It costs around $25-30 & takes approximately 3 hours – bookings can be arranged at Arco Iris Lodge.

Scenery Monteverde

The landscape is beautiful on the road between La Fortuna & Santa Elena

In a Nutshell

Address: Carretera Monterverde a Tilarán, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Prices: Variety of rooms from $44.00 (budget) to $200.00 (honeymoon cabin)


Read their Tripadvisor reviews here

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*** The Final Word: Enjoy nature with convenience, in comfort & style, at Arco Iris Lodge ***

Have you ever stayed in a cabin or lodge? 

* We enjoyed a complimentary stay at Arco Iris Lodge – thank you to Susanna for hosting us. We only recommend great value accommodation that we would choose to stay at regardless & as always, all opinions are our own.

Visited in January 2017


  1. That is a great review of a really nice place. Your beautiful photos reminded me my years in Brazil. The luxurious nature, the hammocks and the humming birds (all dear to my heart!).

  2. This lodge is so beautiful and comfortable. It reminds me of an eco resort I visited recently and totally fell in love with 🙂

  3. Looks like an amazing stay in a beautiful spot. I love that its eco-friendly! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Looks like an amazing place to stay! Definitely adding it to my list when I finally get here. 🙂

  5. I love this post! I really enjoyed it. You have amazing pictures and it’s really wonderful to imagine the details that you mention. Thank you for making this blog and I am looking forward for your new posts. I will be following you

  6. Beautiful resort and I love that they use local products for their dining. Fresh honey for breakfast? Yes please!

  7. I love the rustic look of this lodge! When I finally make it to Costa Rica I’ll be sure to check it out.

  8. What a super chic hilltop cabin! I love the way they totally pull off that multicolored paneling, which would look idiotic in anyones house but super cool in this guest room. 😉 Nice place. I live part time in Boquete and hope I can visit there soon.

  9. How wonderful to have an eco-friendly hotel option in such a beautiful part of the world. It looks like a great place to get away from it all and hang out with nature.

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