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“Could Be Better But Not Bad At All”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
pittsburgh
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Could Be Better But Not Bad At All”
Reviewed 24 February 2009

flew into san jose airport...spent a few days in san jose. ho hum nothing really to say about san jose. typical larger city. no problems or anything but nothing exactly to write home about. hopped on the bus to puerto viejo. wanted to take an earlier bus but it was full. so heads up to anyone busing from san jose to puerto viejo...show up early to get on the bus you want. bus ride wasn't that bad. kinda boring...felt a lil sick on the way back going through the mountains. ive got a weak stomach though. made in into puerto viejo and banana azul....the location itself is very nice. outside of town...kinda off the beaten path. my girlfriend (lives in san jose) and i stayed in the garden suite which was directly next to the hotel office. the room itself was beautiful. outdoor tub, hammock, plants....very attracive. it was clean upon arrival and cleaned well everyday. i thought the bed was pretty weak. not very comfy and kinda noisy. due to the location of the room we there was a good bit of hotel noise that was easily heard while in the room. the walls are far from soundproof. we are a young couple in a long distance relationship....soooo being next the the office with thin walls made us feel a little shy if you know what i mean =).....the pool was still being built so that was a mess but there wasnt a ton of noise or inconvenience. staff was great. colin, roberto, the young male bartender and female waitstaff in the morning were all very friendly and helpful. the breakfast in the morning was good. bugs were a minor issue but its costa rica sooo it should be expected. we had dinner a few times which was affordable and tasty. im not sure the drinks at the bar had any alcohol in them but they were well put together. all the drinks were made from scratch. the hotel dogs were a blast to hang out with. the best touch of the experience though was after a long day of bike riding to cahuita (sorry mal) roberto had put together a fruit basket, bottle of wine and had a bath with oils ready for us upon return. my girlfriend and i were both speechless. so as a whole i would stay here again. i would try to stay in another room and would recommend any other young couples or honeymooners do the same.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tanner12oz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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St. Louis, Missouri
Level 4 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2009

My boyfriend and I stayed here for a week. We booked the Garden bath suite. We arrived very late due to a late flight in and long bus ride. When we got there Colin was checking us in and told us that he had the Ocean Room open for two nights if we wanted to change it up a bit. He showed us both rooms and we decided to stay the first two in the Ocean room. It was great, there was a private balcony with a hammock that overlooked the grounds and the ocean. The rest of the trip we stayed in the Garden Bath suite, it was also wonderful. On our second to last night they gave us a surprise, when we returned to our room they had filled the tub with floating hibiscus flowers and set out a bottle of wine with fresh fruit.

My biggest concern with this trip was the amount of bugs we might encounter. I was amazed to find out that there was not many at all. There are more mosquitoes in my back yard in St. Louis then were here. We did not even need the mosquito net and we left the doors and windows open every night. I gave up on using the bug spray I brought. I did get some bites on my ankles from walking around on our tours in the jungle, but they were few.

The commons area was serene, many little lounging areas perfect for lounging and reading a book. There was a pond that ran the length with turtles and koi. You were never lonely there was always Forrest the cat or Lucky a spunky puppy who loved going on walks with you or playing with the other resident dogs.

Franklin is the bar tender there, he was so perfect. He remembered not only who we were but what our favorite drinks were. He also makes a killer fruit smoothie! No detail is over looked every drink had perfectly cut fruit, every thing made from scratch only missing those cheesy little umbrellas. The meals were incredible. Every day the menu changed, each meal was made with such care and elegance. Also Jungle Love is another great place to eat. It is a bit of a taxi ride there, but well worth it.

We went on a horseback riding tour with Vanessa Petin through their website. It was more than we could ask for. It was not your normal tour you would get in the states. She took us through the jungle and onto the beach. She allowed us to gallop and run along the beach! That was a dream to just freely run along the surf. She took us into town and we stopped for coffee before heading back.

This is the type of place that makes you want to never leave. Everything was so wonderful, we cannot wait to come back!

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EHMM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Helena, Montana
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 February 2009

We wanted a place to stay for our 40th wedding anniversary that was fun, friendly, and clean. The Banana Azul met all these requirements for us, and more. As out last stop in C. R., it was also one of the best. We loved the people who owned and worked at the hotel. We met wonderful people from all over the world in a relaxed atmosphere. This is the place for quiet peaceful fun, not for wild night life. Perfect.

  • Liked — Friendly people, beach, helpful staff, good food and drinks
  • Disliked — No dislikes
  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank MontanaWanderers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 February 2009

I stayed at the Banana Azul with my family of six. Even though it rained the whole time we were there, we still had a wonderful time. We had rooms 7 and 8 which were great for a group because the divider on the balcony can be opened up to connect both rooms. We also had a good view of the ocean. The staff here are great and they arranged things for us to do even though it was raining. They take a lot of time to help with anything that you need.

We liked the restaurant and we ended up eating there some nights and once for lunch. The menu for the evening is posted every morning so you can decide early if you want to eat there. Breakfast each morning is always good and I usually ate too much for my diet. I get up early and I would go down to the restaurant each morning about 6:00 AM and the coffee was already made. I enjoyed taking the coffee up to my room balcony and relaxing early in the mornings.

I liked having a bar there at the hotel and I was a regular for wine and beer.

Because we had six people in our group, we could not all get in a single taxi so they arranged for us to get picked up by a great driver by the name of Rubier. He has a large van and his number is 8897-1491. If it was raining and we did not want to walk then we would call him from where ever we were and he would come and pick us up. He speaks English too.

This is not listed as a tourist attraction but if you like animals then go to La Casa de Serpiente. Ask Nina to make you a reservation because they only take small groups but they have all kinds of animals which they rescue and you get to hold many of them. Nina arranged this for us one day as a good place to visit when its raining.

Our favorite place to eat was Jungle Love but its small and you have to get the hotel staff to make a reservation for you the day before. The second best place to eat was De Paso where you can go most any time.

I am including a few photos of our experience. The Banana Azul is a great place to stay with a group even when it rains. I can't wait to return.

Thanks Colin, Roberto and staff.

Dan

  • Liked — The staff
  • Disliked — Acording to other reviews, we heard there was supose to be a rooster crowing at 4:00AM. He was not there and we were looking forward to hearing him.
  • Stayed February 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank willy1945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
USA
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2009

What a great destination! My wife and I stayed here during the last week in Jan 2009. We were very please with our entire stay. We just wish we had more time there. A quick review of some important features:

Beach: Looks more like a beach from "Lost" as opposed to a more wide, expansive beach. Lush jungle greets the coast line with tons of privacy and great little nooks to get some sun and relaxation. The water temp is great. As others have mentioned, the water is not the aqua blue "Aruba" type water, but it's clean and has some great waves that are fun to get in- not dangerous.

Room: We stayed in the sloth cabina. The room was a touch small, but had a nice bathroom. When combined with the nice deck with hammocks and shared kitchen w/ fridge, it felt much larger and open. We always had a 2 Liter of Cola and a few beers in the fridge.

Staff: Very friendly and helpful. Nina, Colin, Roberto and the rest of the staff could help with anything from Laundry, room requests, to excursion planning. They were extremely helpful here as they planned and booked our excursions to the many things that we did. Recommended tours: white water rafting and zip line tours. Nina went so far as to plan our last 3 days in Costa Rica, including ride to La Fortuna/Arenal with white water rafting along the water, hotel room in LaFortuna, horse back/jungle hike and volcano hike with Tabacon Hot water springs. All of these features were included in the final itemized Banana Azul bill, which was very organized and convenient.

Town:We walked into town almost every day. it's a 20-25 min walk down the beach. There are plenty of shops and restaurants worth seeing and grabbing some cheap eats. We highly recommend Loco Natural- great seafood, eclectic fresh dishes, and good prices. Take a taxi home during the evening- i think because of the possibility of getting hit by oncoming traffic. No sidewalks, just plenty of dirt road. Barter for your cab fare before he takes off- don't accept anything over $4 from Puerto Viejo to BA.

Things to do: virtually unlimited. It's Costa Rica- eco-tourism is the greatest asset here. Beautiful scenery and culture to enjoy.

Hotel Features: Have Franklin make you one of his stellar Mojitos at the bar. He make everything from scratch- fresh squeezed limes the size of baseballs to make a margarita. Internet is readily available. They are building a pool- it was not an annoyance at all. The included breakfasts were amazing. Homemade pancakes, omelets, bacon eggs and toast were some of the great meal we had...included with price of the room.

You will feel welcome and relaxed here. Enjoy!

  • Liked — comfortable, friendly environment.
  • Disliked — Noisy bed.
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank imonthebeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 February 2009

We had a wonderful seven night stay. We enjoyed staying here because it was first of all very clean, the staff is friendly and very well trained, and the price is so reasonable. The owners genuinely want to make this a good vacation experience. Roberto, Colin and Nina were very helpful with recommending good restaurants and tours. If you’re looking for something that is not too commercial and located right on the Caribbean , this is the place for you. Breakfast is included in the price and was always very tasty. They also offer a very reasonably priced lunch and dinner menu if you don’t want to go out. I think it is nice to have this option available, but, I will say, we found our better meals in town. We walked or used bikes to go to town during the day. In the evenings we usually took a cab ($4.00 each way) because the roads are very dark at night. It is the rainforest so make sure, if you don’t want a lot of rain, to go during the dry season. I think Colin said the dry season (in that part of Costa Rica ) is in September and October, but you may want to check. Banana Azul is adding an outdoor pool too! This is something we didn’t see very often in this part of Costa Rica . Franklin, thanks for the great Mojitos! As for transportation to and from Puerto Viejo from San Jose , I highly recommend the Interbus or doing a tour where you are dropped at your hotel. We met someone who had their bag stolen out of the luggage compartment in the public bus. The public bus is cheaper, but you will save time and arrive with your luggage on the Interbus.
The only down side is that I have to agree with " YouHaveToBeKidding, Alberta" when it comes to the beds.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank WinterwandererUsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2009

Friendly staff and clean rooms. We would suggest they offer an alternate location other than Casa Tua 69 to overnight in San Jose (a real disappointmet), next time we'll stay at the Holiday Inn Express at the airport. Appreciated the friut basket and wine on arrival. We had asked for 4 Bavaria Gold and 2 Bavaria Negra to be waiting on ice for us in our room when we arrived, they dropped the ball on that one and we never did receive our request. The bed was horribly uncomfortable and the frame made entirely out of bamboo which made for a lot of noise even when shifting sleeping positons in the middle of the night. The pillows were paper thin and also uncomfortable. The television in our room did not work at all (we are news junkies) and we stayed in one of the few suites that had a TV which was a definite upgrade. The continental breakfast was most disappointing (perhaps offer a few baked goods or at the very least a piece of toast?) as were the evening meals (as echoed by other guests we dined with). On a positive note, Franklin (our bartender and server) was wondrful, as were Nina and Roberto. Blackie the young pub was also a delight. Give this property another year to work out the kinks and it will certainly be a gem

  • Liked — Ambiance, View, Beach
  • Disliked — Bed and Meals
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CanadianFlashPacker
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 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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