Fonda Vela is set in tropical gardens at 1,400 metres in Monterverde Cloudforest. Rooms, all en-suite, with their wood-panelled walls, comfy beds and polished furniture offer cosy accommodation, and little touches like fresh flowers and colourful pictures, add a homely feel. Amenities include cable TV, phone, coffee maker and minibar. Junior suites are similar but offer greater space.
The 2 restaurants provide a choice of dining scenes. The larger Galleria, has banks of windows overlooking the cloudforest, while the more intimate Fireside Room is warmed by a wood-burning stove and has a terrace for al fresco dining. The bar serves hot and cold drinks, and there's a TV where you can catch up with the latest news and sporting action. Recreation facilities include an indoor pool, 2 jacuzzis and table tennis. Therapeutic massages can be arranged, ideal after lengthy forest treks.
From the hotel you can go for guided walks and hikes in Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve and in the less-visited Santa Elena reserve where on a clear day you'll get views of Arenal Volcano. A series of suspended bridges and platforms offer views of the forest canopy. The hotel can arrange horse riding, visits to a local cheese factory, coffee plantation and women's co-operative where you can support the local community by buying locally made handicrafts, clothing and jewellery. There are butterfly gardens and a herpentarium where you can observe over 20 species of frogs.
Enjoy the freedom of the open road as you explore the varied scenery, exotic flora and rich wildlife of this amazingly diverse yet compact country.