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“Unforgettable!”
Review of Cristal Azul

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Cristal Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 November 2012

Cristal Azul was our favorite place we visited in our two week trip to Costa Rica. The infinity pool over looking the ocean and the jungle, the monkeys, geckos, puzzles and games, and access to beautiful Playa San Miguel all make this a phenomenal place to stay for awhile. It is off the beaten path and requires a lot of time on dirt roads to get there, but it was well worth it. Our three young children had a great time - playing games, swimming, boogie boarding, helping release baby turtles, visiting Mike's butterfly farm, and much more. They had boogie boards and beach umbrellas for us to use and were incredible hosts with advice on what to do and help getting around. The food was absolutely delicious! This is an amazing B&B that we hope to return to some day.

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Pam G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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101 - 107 of 207 reviews

Reviewed 19 November 2012

What an amazing little pocket of paradise! My boyfriend and I went for a week and we can't stop talking about it and wondering when we can go back! It's hard to choose a favorite memory at Cristal Azul: the infinity pool on top of the world looking out at the ocean, the Rancho full of fun, great company, and delicious beer, the comfy cabinas secluded away complete with an outdoor shower, (so incredible) or the monkeys and toucans playing in the jungle-type landscape surrounding you while you bath in the sun enjoy fresh fruit? "Pura Vida" is sort of the motto in Costa Rica, and if anything lives up to this "pure life" lifestyle, it's Cristal Azul. Zene and Henner (the owners) really have something special here. They make you feel completely at home, with your every need tended to in the heavenly tropical getaway. It's a perfect romantic getaway or a fun, adventures family trip. Words can't describe this paradise and it's absolutely not to be missed!!

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sarah M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2012

What struck me was when looking out from the Costa Rican mountains over the infinity pool at the pacific coastline.. That the owner distracted me by saying-- 'over here is the bar, make what you want whenever you want; just pencil it on your tab-- it's the honor system here,, when your here you're family..'
It really is like staying with relatives that happen to own a resort.. And the service is unrivaled. The owners literally make all the phone calls and drive you to where you want to be. I also found it very cool to not feel like a tourist,, this place is much off the beaten path which adds greatly to the character and romance of Cristal Azul. Amazing value and trip.
Oh and the food is spectacular!!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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Thank Jeffg26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2012

"Cristal Azul" provides you with an ambience of peace and relaxation very difficult to find elsewhere. The sight of the ocean, together with the jungle that surrounds the place creates a frame of a masterpiece scenario! As soon as you start climbing the mountain to reach this wonderful resort, you start feeling something magical and adventurous...The flora and fauna, the winding road, the welcoming smiles are clear clues of great things to come… The ranch has a deck, a bar, hammocks, sofas, pool table, kitchen and bathroom. Here you can spend hours just watching the spectacular ocean view, listening to music, taking a nap, playing board games, chatting with friends, and/or enjoying first class food. The infinity pool is just what the doctor ordered! Wow, you can spend hours and hours just daydreaming.....while getting a suntan. Sunsets are pure gifts, a marvelous miracle to experience… Henner and Zene are a perfect match, and the cherry on top! Both are passionate about the paradise they live in. They take care of every little detail and beyond...personalized menus, candle light dinners, music selection, sightseeing recommendations, interesting conversations, helpful tips for traveling around Costa Rica... A+ hospitality! It's a hotel that feels as home! The cabins are a mix of romance, simplicity and good taste. They have comfortable beds with delicate linings, air conditioning, wall to floor windows that allow an incredible view of San Miguel beach, and an outdoor shower that makes you feel totally integrated with nature. During the day you can spend the time at the San Miguel beach, drive to other nearby beaches and towns, go horseback riding, mountain bike(if you have your bikes with you), visit a Butterfly Farm or Pretoma to watch the turtles, an if you are lucky, you can even watch a bullfight. “Cristal Azul” is a place to return again and again…

Stayed: October 2012, travelled with family
1  Thank SMM1962
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2012

Arrived for a week stay with my husband, first trip in years. We work very hard back in the states so I thought it would be hard for us to unwind and just relax for once. The owners Zene and Henner were wonderful. They made our stay the best I could ever imagine. Their place is beyond wonderful. It is paradise, truly.... The view of the ocean was just incredible. The food and hospitality was beyond our expectations. It was the best trip we have ever had. We will be going back there each time we visit. Not only did we have a great time, we made great friends! Thanks Zene and Henner!!!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Amanda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2012

Cristal Azul was the perfect paradise home base. My husband and I enjoyed waking to the amazing ocean view and to the sights and sounds of wildlife. Our day started with hearty local breakfast foods which were the perfect fuel for days full of adventure or relaxing at the ranchero. Zene and Henner were so welcoming and friendly it was hard to decide weather to venture out and explore or relax by the pool with a book and natures seclusion. Their knowledge and our adventurous spirits brought us to great local restaurants and shops, beautiful beaches and towns, often the drive alone was an experience not to be forgotten. Our top excursions were Mike's Butterfly Farm and our night beach walk with Pretoma. We were lucky enough to witness a sea turtle nest and lay her eggs. It was an intense and graceful event we will never forget. It was a tough choice but after several days of hearty breakfasts, delicious dinners and naps on the hammock porch at Cristal Azul we drove to Arenal. Zene encouraged us to make the trip and we are so thankful! Although the ride was longer than anticipated walking the hanging bridges and hiking around the volcano was worth the trip!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Maggie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2012

Everyone else can tell you how great Zene and Henner are. I would like to mention some things that others have not. While this place takes a little effort to get to, it more than makes up for that with one of the most beautiful settings you will ever encounter. The photos don't really do it justice.

While my wife and I enjoyed sitting by the pool or in the hammocks being quietly pampered by the staff, what really made our trip memorable were all the great day trips we took to surrounding "attractions". With just a little gumption you can see a ton of the Pacific coastline and nearby "towns".

We spent one day just lazing in the Pacific at the lagoon that is just at the bottom of the hill. While it looked like something out of the movies, there were local families and fisherman also enjoying the day. Seeing seven year old boys opening coconuts with a machete takes a little getting used to, but it is definitely something you won't experience at The Hilton or Sandals.

Just "up the road" is Butterfly Mikes outdoor butterfly farm. While the tour is called a butterfly hike , it is more of an ecology lesson on the whole Guanacoste region of Costa Rica. On his 50 acre parcel he has several specials of bats ( that you can get very close to ), beautiful flower gardens ( to attract the butterflies ) and depending on the season a few hundred varieties of butterflies. He also harvests and sells all natural honey from four different species of bees, all of which are distinct in flavor and texture. Be sure to bring cash so you can bring some home.

As a former professional chef and life time hospitality industry worker, I am always looking for culinary treats. Zene, Henner, Chrisly and the rest of the staff did not disappoint. Local eggs, fruit from the garden, and bacon, made at a nearby farm just for them, are a great way to start the day. Even the hot sauce they make on premise is amazing. For dinner you will have to put up with some of the freshest seafood you will ever see, unless you catch it yourself. You can literally watch the boats bring it back to the beach as you take a dip in the pool.

While they don't typically serve lunch, we found this to be a great excuse to go see what else was happening up and down the coast. If you haven't traveled much in Central America, the decor and laid back attitude of some of the local restaurants takes a little adjusting to, but you will be well rewarded. Remember that they are serving you the same food they feed their friends and neighbors. It is made with love and you can taste it. My wife had one of the best fish sandwiches of her life, while a few chickens pecked at bugs and grandma ironed shirts nearby. These are things you probably won't see in San Jose, or at Arenal for that matter.

We also spent a day going to Punta Islita and Samara. These were more touristy in flavor, and for us we enjoyed the ride more then the towns. Samara especially has a gringo infested feel to it, but it could be a fun place to do some dancing at one of the many nightclubs and bars. And there were some great places to sit on the beach and have lunch. The drive there and back however is one ridiculously beautiful vista after amazing beach after jungle after quant little church. Bring extra camera batteries, you will need them.

To sum it up, if you want to see what Costa Rica was like Fifty years ago while still enjoying all the amenities of modern life, this place can not be beat. Great food, great staff, great rooms (gentlemen be prepared to explain why you can't have an outdoor shower back home or start saving for it now) wifi access if you can't live without and all requests greeted with a sincere " not a problem", than this is a great place to visit. If you think getting drunk at Sandals is great vacation this place probably isn't your cup of tea. Don't get me wrong, the bar is stocked with everything we have in the states, it's just not the focus. If you have a mildly adventurous spirit then this place makes an amazing base camp to enjoy the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Room Tip: It is very possible the monkeys will wake you up in the night if it is raining. You get used to soun...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Saverio F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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: £143 - £190 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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