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“Renew and Unwind in Stunningly Beautiful Surroundings” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Minnesota
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Renew and Unwind in Stunningly Beautiful Surroundings”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2013 via mobile

Well I just love Banana Azul. If you are looking for a relaxed atmosphere where people are not lounging about in resort wear, golfing or playing tennis then Banana Azul may be the paradise you have been seeking.

My friend and I stayed at Banana Azul for 11 nights and our room was lovely - very simple with a porch that overlooked beautiful, lush tropical gardens and the Caribbean. The porch comes equipped with a hammock which I certainly used.

Each morning we woke up to Costa Rican coffee, fresh fruit and a hearty breakfast. Then took a walk along the ocean on a black sand beach, and returned to swim in the ocean. This usually all took place by 9:30 am. This is a perfect place to reflect, renew and laugh hysterically which we did often. Or to write your memoir.

The staff at Banana Azul are gracious, warm and just good human beings. Franklin would bring us coconuts on the beach in the morning and we would drink coconut water - it was actually very good! (It felt a bit decadent truthfully) Anna was one of the bartenders who was so sweet and funny and made the best cocktails. She learned to make sidecars and they were the best.

And the meals were great if you decided to eat at the restaurant. And very inexpensive.

It is a 20 minute walk into Puerto Viejo on the beach, which is an interesting little town with a Jamaican vibe.

My recommendation is that if you truly want to relax, meet warm people, you are laid back and don't need little shampoos and soaps (which are not environmentally friendly anyway), you don't need thick bath towels and you have no interest in watching television then Banana Azul is your place. On the other hand if you are high maintenance you may be unhappy. Although anyone would agree that the gardens are absolutely gorgeous. This is an eco-resort and it is gay friendly. Banana Azul the best!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ZazuMinnesota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2013

After searching at great length online my husband and I decided on Banana Azul for a long awaited trip to Costa Rica. We could not have been happier with our choice. The hotel and grounds are far more beautiful than the pictures online can capture. We stayed in a balcony room which was just perfect. Slept with the doors wide open every night while falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean. No bugs!..The beach was steps away and was breathtaking!..Ocean warm and inviting with long stretches of quiet beautiful shoreline to walk. The surf was never too much for swimming and far more preferable to us than a flat current. The town was a short beach walk away although many days we rented bikes and explored other beaches on the other side of town. I cannot say enough about the owner,Colin, a gratious host who shared with us about the local area which we were very eager to learn about. The gardener/groundskeeper, Rick, was also such a bonus. I cannot mention our visit without a shout out to how much he added to our vacation. We felt as if we were leaving long held friends when we left.
The grounds were breathtaking! The food was fabulous and as so many others have said ALL of the staff was kind, considerate, helpful and welcoming. This makes such a big difference to how one experiences their vacation.
I had anxiously read reviews prior to our trip and have to say that we experienced NONE of the negative things that others had alluded to. The beach was BEAUTIFUL, our balcony felt very private, there was a lot of variety with meals, town was an easy and quick trip, public transportation was easy and cheap, bed was comfy and room cleaned daily...etc, etc..etc... Most importantly is that pictures cannot capture the beauty and serenity of this place. I highly recomend to anyone who, like us, is turned off by all-inclusive resort vacations but is partial to creature comforts!...We had a wonderful time with our only complaint being the sun was not out in full force every day...(can't blame the hotel for this though!)...We hope to return some day and send out our thanks to all! You will not be dissapointed if you go..of this I am sure!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AandE888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
32 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2013

This was our first trip to Costa Rica, and we stayed at the perfect hotel. Banana Azul is everything it presents itself to be. The staff was exceptional-- Franklin, Jeff, and Rosa Marie-- took very good care of us. Having the Gecko travel desk at Banana Azul was a plus. We met the most interesting and friendly people also staying at Banana Azul. It was like a family meeting at breakfast to share what we did yesterday and talk about plans for today. Meals at Banana Azul were excellent. The only down side was, Banana Azul's web site virtual tour to as acurate that it took the excitement and surprise out of seeing the grounds and our room in person. After looking at the web site a hundred times before we actually went there, when we finally arrived it felt as though we already knew this place and our room. Banana Azul is as beautiful and perfect as it is depicted on their website.

Room Tip: The dolpin room (#8) is spacious with great views off two balconies.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Todd B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2013

My husband and I traveled all over Costa Rica, from one coast to the other. Banana Azul was the best place we stayed at, by a long shot. The rooms were beautiful, clean, unique, and had so much character. It is a beach front property and the grounds are incredibly beautiful. We enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the restaurant and had the most amazing meals. We appreciated that they always offered local fare on the menu, as well as international cuisine. They were polite, hospitable, and even welcomed us with a free drink upon our arrival. The pool area is gorgeous. There were so many beautiful touches, including coffee on the beach in the morning, an onsite travel centre where you could book tours, knowledgeable staff, beautiful gardens with all of the plant life indicated with labels, free wifi, bikes and ipads for rent... We also liked that there was a wide range of clientele, ranging from young couples (such as ourselves) all the way up to older couples and groups. Our ocean view room was gorgeous and even had its own private deck with table and chairs, and a hammock. It was incredibly romantic. We loved the area - there is SO much to do. We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ACA93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elmhurst, Illinois
Level Contributor
121 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2013

This hotel is right on a beautiful, lean and safe beach with black sand. You can walk the beach into town for lunch. The rooms are spacious with a hammock on the porch, perfect spot for reading. The included breakfast is delicious and unique.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CFT99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sarchi, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
59 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 March 2013

This is a really nice, small beach hotel. There is great attention to detail and it really pays off. The gardens are well-manicured while retaining a jungle feel, the room we stayed in was impecably decorated, the beach is simply gorgeous and virtually unpopulated. It is nicely casual, with plenty of books and magazines to read, games to play, several dogs and cats roaming around, and the most pleasant staff we've ever experienced. While we ate dinner there only once and did not find the food outstanding, we noticed that the dining room was almost full for every meal, in spite of the fact that there are numerous other good restaurants close by. Maybe we just had a meal on a slightly off night. The breakfasts were uniformly good. The ambience at this hotel cannot be beat. It felt good just being there. Our only very small criticisms are these: (1) the parking lot can be extremely difficult to exit by car, particularly at night because you must be in reverse and (2) we found the shower floor to be frighteningly slippery. Neither of these things had much effect, however, on what was a wonderful stay at Banana Azul.

Room Tip: We stayed in a garden room which had recently been renovated. It was simply lovely. However, it is...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Deborah G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 March 2013

I booked Banana Azul after reading the fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor and trust me, it does not disappoint. My boyfriend and I stayed for two nights last September for some r&r after a two-week adventure trip around the country. It was the perfect relaxation spot. When we arrived, we were greeted by David on reception (who had handled my online booking fantastically - efficient, friendly and went the extra mile). In fact, all of the staff are fantastic. One of the kitchen staff made us some breakfast to takeaway on the day we were leaving, even though our minibus was arriving much earlier than breakfast was usually served. We were personally greeted by the manager one evening whilst having dinner which was a lovely, friendly gesture that made us feel as if we were at home. The rooms are perfection. We stayed in one of the Garden bath room for the first night, which was truly amazing with its own private beautifully decorated garden and bath. We then moved to one of the ocean rooms with a lovely balcony overlooking the gardens and beach. Both were incredible in their own way. I would say we preferred the garden bath room, it had that special something! The pool area is beautiful, with a pond that wraps around the bar/restaurant full of turtles and interesting fish. Another point I must stress is how amazing the food is. We usually explore local restaurants on holiday but we hardly felt the need to leave the hotel! The bar snacks made the perfect lunch poolside, or you could have it served to the private deckchairs on the beach. The nachos were delicious and authentic, but the real showstopper was the fajita night (on Sunday nights I think). Wow, what a meal! I highly recommend staying in the restaurant for dinner any night, but these fajitas were particularly delicious!
A bonus for me personally was the hotel's pets. Several dogs and cats greet you around the hotel, all of which are friendly and a pleasure.
The hotel is situated right on the beach, minutes from Puerto Viejo main town - you can hire bikes from the hotel for around $7 a day to cycle to nearby beaches (we found that Punta Uva has the best white sandy beaches). The cycle to any of the nearby beaches is an easy flat ride.
The best thing about this hotel is the price, all of this for an extremely reasonable room rate.
You could not ask for more.

Room Tip: I would recommend staying in one of the garden bath rooms. If these are booked up, the ocean rooms w...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Francesca B
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 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Family 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 fourteen beautiful guest rooms with private baths, fans, and free wireless internet. 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. Gecko Trail Adventures tour company 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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