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“Best stay ever!”
Review of Cristal Azul

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Cristal Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Saint Louis, Missouri
1 review
“Best stay ever!”
Reviewed 4 September 2012

My wife and I went to Cristal Azul with a group of 10 friends total and it was the perfect place. We each had our own cabana and it was extremely private. It is the most secluded resort that I have ever been to and I could not have asked for anything more . Zene and Henner made the trp even more unbelievable by making sure that everything was taken care of for us; We had a massage therapist come to the resort, car rental, surf lessons, and badmitton. Not to mention that the food (especially the ceviche) was out of this world. We had a wonderful breakfest every morning with fresh fruit bacon eggs etc. Ceviche and fresh salsa as snacks and unbelievable dinners from fresh seafood to beef ribs. Henner makes a fantastic hot sauce that accompanies alomst anything.
The vanashing edge pool had a remarkable view with unforgettable sunsets. I cannot imagine a better place to stay in this part of the world. It was extremely clean and comfortable and I could not have asked for anything more out of my stay. I returned completely relaxed. Getting there could be difficult because of the roads but we were given fair warning and chatered a flight out of San Jose directly into town and were greated by Zene and Henner. This is definately the way to do it. The drive I would imagine to be very cumbersome, but worth it once you arived. This is truly a relaxing oasis.
Our days consisted of waking and eating breakfast reading and playing games with the group while relaxing by the pool, playing badmitton, going to the beach to surf or swim. We would then start drinking and eat lunch and apps and go back to the canbanas to get ready for more drinks dinner and games. The Rancho was put to good use. Tons of games and a pool table that we played almost non-stop. It was so nice to be so far away and still have such comforts. You can not find a better view anywhere. I would definately go back to Cristal Azul; and I recoomend it to anyone traveling to Costa Rica.

Room Tip: All rooms are equal. Great Views and extremely Private
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Patrick B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
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English first
Goshen, Connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2012

Cristal Azul (CA) is located in an area of Costa Rica that is off the main byways but should certainly be part of any visit to Southern Nicoya. The road to CA has no river crossings in Nicoya and is pleasant as we traveled from San Jose. It took about 3 - 4 hours and the road from Jicaral to San Miguel is not that bad. It is a lovely drive with some very beautiful farms to see along the way. Jicaral is your last stopping point for gas and supplies. It is a town that has everything that you may need. No need to take the ferry from Puntarenas - go over the Amistad bridge.
Zene is the ultimate hostess and lived up to all her promises when it came to rates and expectations. The setting is very relaxing and we had the place to ourselves for one afternoon. I had previously booked for 3 nights but switched to two after I had a concerns about making my flight in Liberia in the AM. Zene refunded the money with no questions asked. There is no question that I will be back next time we are in the area. Zene and Henner were extremely pleasant and even prepared great BLT sandwich's for lunch that were unexpected and tasty.
I made the drive up the driveway to the hotel without any assistance and I was surprised to find this quiet retreat. When you get to the Playa San Miguel meet Henner at the beach, have a few pops and make the drive with him so you don't feel like you are lost. Cristal Azul is a special retreat. The rooms are very clean and the showers were very refreshing.
I can tell you that if you have 4 couples (each with their own cabina)...reserve the place for a few days and have a blast. It will be that much fun.

Room Tip: Can't go wrong with any room.
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank jamesgoshen4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 19 August 2012

I've been traveling to Costa Rica for the past 18 years. Crista Azul is my favorite place I've ever stayed. It is such a special place. Every detail about Crista Azul is amazing. It is such a peaceful place with birds and howler monkeys. The views from the beautiful infinity pool and palapa where the meals and bar are are stunning. Every breakfast and dinner was absolutely delicious. We came for 2 nights and stayed for 4 since we loved it so much. We hated to leave and we will be definitely going back. It was the most lovely room I have stayed in in Costa Rica with the most comfortable bed and spacious bedroom. Plus each room has super great views to the ocean. My husband and I were looking for a peaceful oasis where we could relax and enjoy nature and Cristal Azul far exceeded our expectations. It's a hidden gem. And with only 4 bungalows, it's nice and quiet as are the other people who tend to stay there. Hener and Zeen were such attentive hosts. They were so friendly and helped us feel right at home. And we loved they let us borrow all the coolers, smash ball, umbrella, and boogie boards when we headed to the beach each day at no extra cost. It was really fun playing pool on the professional pool table in the palapa and hanging out in the hammocks. Thank you Hener and Zeen! I can see why Cristal Azul has such outstanding reviews on tripadvisor.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Emily60713
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2012

You know when you find a vacation spot so magical that you really hesitate to share it with others lest it become too touristy and popular... Thank God for the horrible drive!

We recently had the pleasure of staying at Cristal Azul from July 14th -19th. From the moment I contacted Zene via email until we departed Thursday morning, everything about the experience was first rate. As we said to Henner and Zene as we left - "We arrived as guests, and departed as friends."

OK, the drive is a bit of a schlep... having said that, if you are booking Cristal Azul, then you want off the beaten track and you want authentic Costa Rica... and that's what you get. The roads in Costa Rica are among the worst I have ever driven, but in San Miguel there truly is both a light at the end of the tunnel and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Cristal Azul is PARADISE...

Zene and Henner are incredible individuals and wonderful hosts. You truly feel part of the family... dogs, monkeys, and parrots oh my... Whatever you want... incredible meals, local restaurant advice, you name it and they deliver with a smile. Or you can just lounge around the Rancho and chat with Zene and Henner and enjoy their wonderful stories and history. Magical.

We wanted a place to relax and lounge after driving around Arenal and Monteverde for two weeks and Cristal Azul delivered on all counts. We spent mornings walking the beach, afternoons and a few evenings visiting local restaurants for lunch or dinner and the rest of the time enjoying the incredible breakfasts and dinners prepared at Cristal Azul...

Speaking of the beach, it might just as well be labelled "private". On more than one occasion we pretty much had the 14km stretch of heaven to ourselves. I have never seen so much living sealife... Great for swimming, shelling and surfing - - though we only watched the latter.

As for the property itself... it is breathtaking. Now be forewarned, you will run into Howler Monkeys aplenty, more than a few large reptiles, turkey vultures galore and the list goes on. Oh and you can set your watch... if you bother to wear one... by the bi-daily flyby of parrots. They come by in the morning and reverse their bath around cocktail hour... give or take a beer here or there...

So, I really hate to do this... share this hidden gem... but I must. It would be wrong to deprive others of the same wonderful experience. So, if you want the real deal... grab a car and drive to Cristal Azul. The roads are bad but the trip is unforgettable and well worth the effort. If you want the same old same old... go to an all inclusive on an over run beach becasue this is not the place for you.

Pura Vida!

Room Tip: All excellent!
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank BauldToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, New York, United States
1 review
Reviewed 28 July 2012

I took my wife to Cristal Azul for our honeymoon, and it was the best experience we could've hoped for. After a very busy week at our wedding, we drove down to Playa San Miguel and were greeted by the most amazing beach landscape. Henner came down at met us at the beach, then escorted us to their beautiful mountain top hotel, where we were greeted by a breathtaking view. From there we spent a week in the most relaxed state, enjoying the scenery, and the amazing freshly prepared food that Zene and the staff made for us. Everything from beginning to end exceded our expectations, and we left having enjoyed the most memorable honeymoon we could've hoped for.

Definitely will be back the first chance we get!

Room Tip: It doesn't matter which room, they all have an amazing view of the beach!
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Rick T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yellowknife, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2012

Sorry for the late review. We travelled as a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids (13 and 10) and drove to Crystal Azul from the ferry in Puntarenas. The drive there was quite the experience and when we arrived at Playa San Miguel, Henner was waiting for us. Crystal Azul was breathtaking and we can't say enough about Zene and Henner and how helpful they were in helping us to plan excursions. We had the cabin with a queen bed and bunk beds and there was plenty of room for all of us. This is a more laid back part of Costa Rica and it was the best 7 days of our 3 week travels across the country. Playa San Miguel and Playa Coyote were beautiful beige sand beaches. Great waves for surfing or boogie boarding and at times our family was the only one on the beach! Zene and Henner gave us beach chairs/umbrellas and a cooler for the beach. We drove out to Playa Samara (a short and gorgeous drive) and spent time at the beach market and meandered through the many shops, explored the local art galary in Punta Islita and took Jungle Mike's Butterfly Farm tour (...and came home with honey harvested right on the farm). There were a few local restaurants that we enjoyed ('The Pizza Tree' - homemade pasta and pizza, 'Tanga's' - fresh seafood and right on Playa Coyote and of course the meals at Crystal Azul were amazing!) This is a very quiet area of Costa Rica, a slice of what Costa Rica was meant to be. We felt safe at all times and were given some great direction and advice from Zene and Henner. Out of all of our travels across the country this was our family's favorite location and our children are trying to convince us to go back!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Fia R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2012

This is a true hidden gem that is not visible from any of Playa San Miguel's roads. Zene and Henner, the proprietors, were extremely friendly and helpful and made our four-night stay comfortable and relaxing.

And on to the food. We left with full stomachs each morning and evening after a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit and delicious eggs. Cristal Azul's staff sometimes included green beans and other veggies with the eggs in the morning. What then made us feel like we were dining at a 5-star restaurant in paradise were the dinners. Three tremendous main courses, all prepared fresh. We traveled in late June to early July, during low tourist season, and were the only guests there during our stay. The weather was perfect and it was the perfect ending to our fantastic trip to Costa Rica. We're already trying to plan a return trip!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Pete M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cristal Azul

Property: Cristal Azul
Address: Norte Entrada de Residencias San Miguel 1KM, Playa San Miguel 50906, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa San Miguel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Playa San Miguel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Cristal Azul 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cristal Azul is the perfect destination for those looking to step off the beaten path and experience what Costa Rica was like before the world arrived. A totally private property with no public access, guests enjoy 180’ panoramic ocean views and the ultimate in barefoot luxury in a rustic setting. Prepare to unplug, unwind, and get lost in paradise! Great times are had here and memories of a lifetime are created! Four cozy "cabinas" guarantee there is never a crowd; each is equipped with AC, ceiling fans, screened doors that let in the ocean breeze and sound of the surf below, hot water, outdoor garden showers, fine linens, Raw Botanicals organic bath products, and the most impressive views in the area. An oversized, open air Rancho provides a luxe “Glamping” experience with an honor bar and billiards table as well as dining and lounge area ample enough for all guests. The vanishing edge pool overlooks six miles of undeveloped beach and provides a front row seat to the most amazing stargazing under the canopy of the Milky Way! A full typical Costa Rican breakfast is served daily and a chef prepares dinner nightly for guests in the Rancho upon demand. The only Costa Rica owned and operated hotel in San Miguel, your hosts also own LocosCocos (#1 Restaurant in area, #1 Beach Bar in Costa Rica; Lonely Planet)which is a guest favorite for sunset dinners on the beach. It is also a great place to spend the day steps from the surf with cold beers and catch of the fresh fish and seafood ready at your beck and call! 4WD and love adventure required too reach this area! Reservations required-gated entrance for guests only. For best rates, book direct! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cristal Azul Hotel Playa San Miguel
Cristal Azul Costa Rica/Playa San Miguel

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