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Reviewed 12 October 2017

I am 70, well-traveled, and a 45 year horseman. So I never expected to be on a trip that would have a major impact on me. I just returned from 10 days at Leaves and Lizards retreat in the Rain Forest of Cost Rica. Superlatives do not cover this experience. The featured Eponicity, Equine Experiential Learning, with the exceptionally well trained horses, friendly and professional staff, rustically modern, and wonderful cabins, combined with one of the most beautiful settings on earth at the Arenal Volcano, leaves one breathless. I think we all dream of one of these experiences. I never dreamed a horse would make that happen.

Quickly, day one-sat blindfolded in an arena and Beauty, a beautiful black Costa Rican, Quarter Horse and her filly Juvia selected me. Together we journeyed thru the week spending hours together, either on the trail, swimming in a river with her, playing games in the arena, or just relaxing. 6 others human friends were there and all shared the same experiences with their own horses and came away enchanted. I highly recommend this journey to young, old, single, married, or with a family.

Room tip: All cabins are upscale rustic
Date of stay: September 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank zrexroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Debbie L, Owner at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 14 October 2017

Mr. D. Thank you for your fabulous review, it was our pleasure to have you here to take part one of our 'magical' retreats. Connecting back to nature in a location at what some people describe as the 'beginnings of life', near a volcano, all life comes from volcanic forces, can be a powerful experience. We will look forward to seeing you again!
Pura Vida, Debbie, Steve, Sally and Staff

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Reviewed 11 October 2017

I was a little nervous about booking this with small children but it was AMAZING! Our family of 5 (kids ages 6, 5, 3) had a wonderful experience here and we are all dying to go back (and stay longer). Everyone was incredibly friendly, the food was amazing, and there was more to do on-site than I realized if you are able to embrace an unscheduled, non-activity-oriented pace. We rose each morning and watched the sunset from our deck and then headed down early to the barn. The kids would help collect the eggs and milk the cow and take everything up to the kitchen. After a leisurely breakfast, we'd either go for a swim on-site (the pool is beautiful) or just hike around the property. I'm not a horse person (or I thought I wasn't) so I wasn't planning to participate in a class but my daughter wanted to so we signed up. It turned out to be a very special day that brings tears to my eyes even now. Debbie really empowered my 6 year old daughter to find her inner confidence and she ended up being able to manage one of these enormous horses independently as we rode around the countryside. These are not nose-to-tail horses so that is a big deal for a small child! She still talks about it with so much pride. I really recommend doing at least one class with Debbie if you are there with children. If you have small kids, I wouldn't plan on using Leaves and Lizards as a base for lots of exploring of the Arenal area because the drives are pretty long (and because the kids just wanted to climb and explore the area around us!). We were there three days and did one off-site activity and that felt like as much as you'd want to do. Just stay, relax and enjoy the beauty and the amazing people around you!

Date of stay: March 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank tepirby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Debbie L, Owner at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2017

Offering children the chance to really be part of nature is amazing for us. Seeing kids come running down to the barn for 'chores' in the morning is a beautiful sight! I remember one child who was milking the cow one morning, she said, 'THIS is where milk comes from! REALLY, Mom?' Uncovering how powerful they really are when our amazing horses show them they CAN do things that look overwhelming is something special to witness. It was a pleasure to have you here and best to your family, we hope to see you again!
Pura Vida, Debbie, Steve and Staff

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Reviewed 11 October 2017

This is a special place. It overlooks the Arenal Volcano. Debbie and Steve are the owners of this amazing place, they are helpful, insightful and just super kind. All the other people that work there are like a close knit family Alejandro, Enrique, Sally and Leila and everyone else I can't list are THE BEST! They have onsite horses that are incredibly cared for. The rooms are very clean. They are all separate cabins with amazing views and outdoor showers if you prefer the nature. We stayed in the Treehouse. It was amazing! The other cabins had fabulous decks with hammocks and seating for relaxing. I highly recommend this retreat! There is Wifi in the restaurant/bar pool area. Not in rooms. this is a GOOD Thing! You really do unwind here!

Room tip: Bring Jeans for riding! Swinsuit for the awesome pool!
Date of stay: October 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Scoutwonderworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Debbie L, Owner at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2017

Our guests are special too! We wouldn't be here without our wonderful guests. We are happy to have been fortunate to create an oasis for people to come and enjoy time in our little wonderland for a break out of the 'real world'
Thanks for staying with us!
Pura Vida, Debbie, Steve and Staff

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Reviewed 10 October 2017

I spent a week at Leaves and Lizards as part of a photo workshop, and then a second week my wife joined me for more adventures in the area. I’ve never vacationed in one place for this long and will easily do it again. Owners Steve and Debbie certainly understand how to make one feel welcome and at home, and the staff they have hired shows their care in making this a true place of quality. Alejandro, keep the coffee ice cream with chocolate cold for me for the next visit. If in the Arenal Volcano area, don’t stay anywhere else.

Room tip: Stay in the Monkey Room to see most animals. We saw a sloth from our from porch
Date of stay: September 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank dhedgi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Debbie L, Owner at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2017

Hi David! Thank you for your kind words! It was a pleasure to meet you and your wife, you became part of our family! We are happy to hear you felt the same way. Hope to see you again in the future.
Pura Vida, Steve and Debbie and Staff

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Reviewed 7 September 2017

We had SUCH a great time here. We stayed in June of this summer and although I'm late in finally writing this, it still feels like we just left! Debbie and Steve are such friendly, knowledgeable, and respectful hosts - easy-going people. There are so many activities they can help you plan and we took advantage of several during our stay. I highly recommend the eponicity and the horseback ride to the private waterfall - exquisite! The chocolate tour and wildlife sanctuary and Cano Negro river trip were all spectacular as well. It's hard to narrow down my favorite. This is casual family-friendly place and when some of our girls had a stomach thing, Maria made them tea from the guava tree bark and it fixed them right up. You will have such a great time here - book it now!

Room tip: Congo cabin has a great outdoor shower :)
Date of stay: June 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank JulianaK702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Debbie L, Owner at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 12 September 2017

Dear Juliana and family! It was a pleasure to have you stay with us. We are so fortunate to be able to create an environment where people can feel cared for and comfortable in our little place of discovery and connection!
Hope you see you again in the future!
Debbie and Steve and Staff

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