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“Tico Treasure”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Mt. Dora, FL
Level Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Tico Treasure”
Reviewed 26 October 2011

This was our second trip to Banana Azul. It's a place that allows you to pursue your holiday/vacation in your own style. Our last visit found us exploring and doing some of the more exciting things Gecko tours and Banana Azul have to offer. This time it was like coming home with a warm welcome from Colin, Roberto, Fred and David and the rest of the staff. The restaurant, which was quite good, has moved up a notch with an evening meal selection of vegetarian,meat and fish entrees. For price and quality, it can't be beat. Drinks are always made with personal attention at the bar. We relaxed and enjoyed the restful ambience amidst the hotel's lush garden, pool and beach.

The unexpected treat was being invited by Colin to celebrate his 50th birthday at the Koki Beach restaurant. A fun time, a great crowd and a fitting tribute!!!

Can't wait to return!

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Brooklynese
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2011

I recently got back from a 10 day trip to Costa Rica. For five of the nights I had the opportunity to stay at Banana Azul. I cannot say enough positive things about my stay at the hotel. Upon arrival we were greeted by the fantastic staff who showed us the grounds, our room, and all of the amenities that Banana Azul has to offer. From day one we were constantly attended to and surrounded by the helpful concierge staff, housekeepers, bartenders, owners, etc. Every detail at Banana Azul was accounted for. Each day we were greeted by friendly faces who helped us plan activities and dinner plans for the day and evening. Bravo to the Banana Azul staff! You made my trip to CR fantastic!

Room Tip: The Ocean Rooms are awesome!
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Katie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2011

this was an awesome hotel in a great location. It is on a really nice, quiet beach and is about a 30 min walk on the beach into town. the staff was really friendly and helpful and the dogs and cat running around made it even more cozy. the food we had for breakfasts and dinners was good and very fresh. the tour company there, Geck Trail Adventures, arranged our whole trip including transportation from San Jose to Monteverde to Arenal to Puerto Viejo with all of our tours as well. they were extremely helpful and made our trip a great experience.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank amb204
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukie, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 October 2011

To ground my review in our experience, I provide very brief run-down of our trip; We began in Samara, camped in the jungle in Curu, spent time in Monteverde, and stayed in ‘Luxury’ in La Fortuna at La Baldi. We ate with locals at a number of sodas, and went to some of the coolest rustic local restaurants in the country.

At Banana Azul, every single person on the staff was quite friendly, and helpful. I, in fact, felt so comfortable and safe there that we did not us the in room safe at all and frequently left our room unsecured when we were on the grounds or playing on the beach out front.
The ground of this hotel were beautiful, simply stunning! I spent some time talking to the gardener (Richard?) and he was quite knowledgeable about all of the plants that I asked him about.

There were several dogs on the premises as there were just about everywhere in Costa Rica and they were wonderful. We will miss Pinta a great deal; she slept outside our door the last night of our stay.
Collin, the owner stopped and spoke with us several times and wanted to ensure that we were enjoying our stay as well as just having nice conversation.
The rooms were beautiful, like something out of a book. While they share a common deck, they have privacy screens separating the rooms. Some may feel that there was a lack of ‘privacy’ when it comes sound but it did not bother us at all as it seemed everyone that was there was respectful and quiet. In fact I think our group may have been a disturbance as just the act of getting 5 people coordinated and out the door at 5:30 or 6:00 am for adventuring creates some noise. This place makes you want to be quiet to enjoy the ambient sound anyway. It is not a place to practice your adult film star vocal parts ;-). We spent every night with our door open and loved it.

The set menu at dinner was always wonderful with 3 options. The lunch menu offered many mostly ‘western’ options but was delightful as well. (If you wanted something else town was close). Breakfast was simple cereals or Gallo pinto, eggs and toast. All of it was very affordable finding a nice balance between ‘local’ prices and prices that allow the hotel to maintain a great staff. We paid higher prices at some of the Sodas that we ate at.
Before writing this review I had to look at what the negative reviews were because I was surprised that there were any to begin with. Having read them I understand why someone might write a bad review. A bad review would be produced by individual expectations, not on reality. Do not go to Banana Azul and expect all of the conveniences of the rest of the world. Do not expect to come here and party like its spring break. Do not come here and expect absolute privacy. Do not come here and expect air conditioning. Do not come here and expect ‘local’ prices.

Having said all that, I my wife, adult niece and 2 female traveling companions were VERY pleased. We spent the last 5 nights (we booked four and upon arriving were lucky enough to be able to extend our stay for an additional night) of our mostly self-guided tour of Costa Rica.

We can’t wait to return and have already started planning our next trip!

Special thanks to Collin and the staff

Pura Vida!

Nick and Sissy Harris, Lisa Barry, Jennifer Harris

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Nick H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
121 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2011

Despite a few faults, Banana Azul is well worth the money and has a staff that is solely interested in your satisfaction.

We and another couple stayed at the Banana Azul for two the first two nights of our visit to Costa Rica. Our reservation situation was a little comical. I only mention this because I had reserved online, but had some confusion when I called to give my credit card information. It took another email (after being told there were no rooms available) and David was able to confirm the rooms were unavailable due to him holding them for us.

We arrived after a long taxi drive from SJO. The staff took us to our rooms and also knew (due to David listening to my request) that we wanted to go to Malbec for dinner. The Ocean View room was of decent size, and has a view of the ocean, but the view is not direct. There is no air conditioning in any of the rooms, but there are two fans in the room that provide enough of a breeze to be comfortable. As all of the rooms are open air, there is a mosquito net above the bed. This is nice, but takes some time to get used to (I woke up one night thinking something was crawling on my foot, just to find out it was the net rubbing on my foot. I was not amused). Our friends stayed in the Red Frog room, and this had some pluses we didn’t have (and a minus, too).

Our Ocean Room was very nice, but the deck is shared with all of the other Ocean View rooms. It’s not a bad thing (unless you’re next door to a burglar). The Red Frog room has its own private deck and little koi pond. I think the shower was bigger in the Red Frog room.

Here are the negatives: While in the bathroom, I could hear everything that was going on in the bathroom next to us (to the last detail!). I assume it was the same the other way around. Our friends in the Red Frog room said that the people flushing the toilet in the room above was disturbingly loud to them.

The beach sand is HOT! I tried to run to the water to get away from the hot sand. This was a very stupid thing to do. I ended up getting blisters (second degree burns!) on the bottom of my feet. REALLY!!!

Now the pluses: The staff is outstanding. They are wholly interested in the best experience for your stay. They warn you about walking on the beach or to/from town at night. They have a security guard all night long. Our taxi driver to Malbec didn’t speak much English, and the owner of Malbec told us to pay too much for the ride. I asked the desk person how much we should have paid for the trip. When I told him we overpaid by about $4 each way, he called the cab company to complain. He said they give them a lot of business and should be overcharging their customers. I made sure to tell him the owner of Malbec had misled us, and he thanked me for my honesty. I was just blown away about his call to the cab company to state his dissatisfaction with the service provided to us!

The meals provided by the hotel (for free or for sale) were excellent. They weren’t five star, but they were well worth the money and plenty tasty.

The grounds are great, and we dominated a table on the other side of the pool one night. It was very private for the four of us, and very enjoyable.

They provide two phones: One local, and one international – both for free! This was awesome!

One more thing: They claim that 100% of their customers come from tripadvisor. I can’t argue with this, as everyone we talked to found Banana Azul on TA. So did we.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Snoweman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 October 2011

Friendly service, an excellent bar, the beach in walking distance and a minimalist yet comfortable room made this location perfect for my two friends and I. You can easily rent a bike or walk to town and nearby beaches or just lounge at the hotel and enjoy the laid back, private vibe. I'd highly recommend this place to couples or friends looking for a relaxing getaway from crazy everyday life.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mike F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 October 2011

In a great location on the Carribbean, the Banana Azul came across as a deliberately understated, classy hotel, well run with all amenities, and yet done almost on "tico time." So, while honoring the almost unbelievably laid back life style that this part of Costa Rica is famous for the Banana Azul provided a quality, if simple, menu, excellent bar service and, this is the bonus, seemed to attract a wide range of engaging guests who, for me, made a great vacation, fabulous. Do the polished floors creak occasionally, Yep, could the noise from a) some guests, b) the howler monkey be bothersome, possibly, but to me, again, that's the magic of this place. None of the possible issues were anything more than vaguely minor. As one guest said if you're gonna complain about too many seeds in your watermelon, don't come. I was looking for relaxation and got it, plus found that bonus of great guests; all in the comfort of the natural kind. Banana Azul did it for me. I was told around the town, Puerta Viejo, "The BA is booked solid all year, mon." It looked full the eight days I was there and a lot of the business was repeat. Would I go back...in a heartbeat, Yes!
Noel Summers, Victoria, Canada

Room Tip: Upstairs is a bit quiter I was told and on the ground floor some minor, very minor, squeaking from t...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Noel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Banana Azul

Property: Hotel Banana Azul
Address: Playa Negra, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Banana Azul 3.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Banana Azul hotel is a small and simple hotel north of town on Playa Negra. The small boutique hotel has been created with care using local products and a philosophy that emphasizes relaxation. We cater to adults, 16 years and over. Blooming gardens adorn the property, as does several freely-hanging hammocks, providing the perfect spot for afternoon napping or leisurely reading. A meandering pond inhabited by fish and turtles flows through portions of the property adding a lighter element to the ongoing natural soundtrack of waves crashing against the shoreline. The hotel consists of 22 beautiful guest rooms with private baths, fans (some with A/C), and free WiFi. Most rooms are on the second floor of the main building, and open onto a large veranda with sweeping ocean views and of the garden. Banana Azul offers its guests a quaint restaurant that serves a complimentary filling breakfast, variety of lunch options and refreshing drinks throughout the day and a relaxing three entre dinner option in a romantic atmosphere at night. Caribe Fun Tours is on site to assist with tours and transportation needs and can assist with a variety of package options including visits to the Arenal Volcano, canopy tours, snorkeling trips, and even rafting excursions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banana Azul Hotel
Banana Azul Puerto Viejo
Hotel Banana Azul Costa Rica/Limon

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