Arenal Observatory Lodge
Close enough to Arenal Volcano for visitors to hear and feel the nearly constant rumbling, this observatory (on a hillside just over a mile from the peak) gets excellent views of the eruptions. Most of the lava flows, however, are now on the far side of the volcano. Much more than simply a vantage point to see Arenal in action, the lodge has a buffet restaurant, a swimming pool, guided hikes, nature walks, tours of the surrounding macadamia nut farm, and a museum about the observatory and volcano. You need not be a guest to make a day visit or dine at the restaurant while keeping an eye out the window on the smoldering mountain.