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“Exactly what I needed”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 10 November 2009

I just got home from Banana Azul the end of October. My wife and I spent a week in the Dolphin room. We really liked the corner room so we had 2 sets of balcony doors. These doors remained open the entire week. I dont know if it was just the time of year for no mosquitos, but we never even used the mosquito net.
I must respond to the reviewer just before me, concerning safety and privacy. We did not even feel the need to use a safe, nor lock any doors, nor close the doors. We felt very safe the entire time we were at Banana Azul, walking around Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo.
Tip for cigar fans, you can buy your cubans in the San Jose airport and bring them into the country. You probably wont find them near Puerto Viejo.
We booked excursions and transportation thru Gecko Trails. A private van/taxi took us between the airport and Banana Azul. This was worth the money, its an excursion just to see everything. Prior to 10am you can usually see all the volcanoes during the drive.
We went with Riqui thru the Jungle south of Manzanillo. He did a great job finding wildlife for us to see. Bats, yellow eyelash vipers, red dart frogs, sloths, howler monkeys and other things.
Thomas took us fishing and then snorkeling around Punta Mona down near Panama. Then his other captian, Pino, met us in Manzanillo and took us fishing a bit longer. Then we went to his place in Puerto Viejo and cooked up some fish. Mackerel and yelllowfin tuna, and he made his famous Rondon with lots of lobster and crab, plantains, coconut milk, and everything else, wow!! After about a case of Imperial we called it a day.
The dinners at Banana Azul are well prepared. We had seabass and snapper dinners. Some other meals we ate in the villages. 400gm lobster meal ran approx 8 USD. We also had some that were larger, but never over about 17 USD for the biggest lobster dinner.
One thing that turned out to be a great time for us, was cheap and took the least amount of time. We went to the Jaguar Rescue Center near Cocles. They ask for 10 USD per person for the tour. Worth twice this much, so go ahead and donate extra. Monkeys will crawl on you, wild cats will enjoy you scratching their chins, and I even got to hold a sloth for a bit.
One thing that was nice about this whole area, drinks and beers are very reasonable. Usually, 3 or less for Imperials or Pilsens and drinks made with real fruit are around 4 bucks.
I could go on and on, but you can go find out for yourself.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank kstatejim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 November 2009

This was the absolute worst vacation I have ever had to endure in my life. My vacation was ruined by several factors at the Banana Azul, but mostly, the owners of the inn,were totally unprofessional and they completely violated my privacy. Beware! I caught one of the owners in my room when I returned to the Banana Azul one day. He had let himself into my room and he had opened the safe was rummaging through my personal items. When I caught him he said he was "changing the locks" to the safe. I've never felt so violated in my life. All my personal things (passport, money, plane tickets, etc.) were in there. I could've never imagined that something like that would happen at a place like that--especially since I spent so much on the room for the week. I tried to cancel my reservation for the remainder of the week after that incident, but Colin and Roberto wouldn't let me and I was stuck paying for the entire week when I felt like I was in jail. So, basically, I spent the rest of my vacation imprisoned in Blue Banana Hell; it was a nightmare--so horrible I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy.
I warn you; if you don't want a completely horrible vacation experience, then avoid Banana Azul like you would avoid the plague. I certainly would've preferred the latter.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank B_insane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
colinsito, Owner at Hotel Banana Azul, responded to this reviewResponded 11 November 2009

Dear B_Insane,

Wow! That is quite an accusation. I am surprised if this was the "worst experience in your entire life" that you would take 1 year to leave your review. If I remember correctly, you were in fact on your honeymoon.

It took us a while, but we did manage to recall the event after discussing your review with some of the staff. Our recollection of the events were somewhat different then yours.

Just to be clear... the person that was supposedly rummaging through your security box was my partner and co-owner Roberto. We were in fact changing all locks on security boxes as we recently had some staff changes and were taking standard security precautions. We have not had anything taken from anyone's safe to date and want to keep it that way. Anyone with experience with travels in developing countries knows that security is always an issue.

Yes, you did make it very clear to us (and everyone else in earshot) that you felt totally violated. We apologized profusely. We even met after that privately (since we could not communicate with you) with your husband to re-assure him that we were very sorry. He did seem a little bit surprised and confused as well at the intensity of your response. At the time, he seemed satisfied with our explanation and accepted our apology.

As for your second accusation about us refusing to let you cancel your remaining reservation... you are correct. We did not feel the confusion warranted us to loose a weeks revenue on our honeymoon suite. It was your choice to stay.

Given that it seemed there was no way to satisfy you while staying at our hotel, I hope you and your husband were able to enjoy the remainder of your vacation after you left Banana Azul.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 November 2009

This Hotel really does live up to its reviews, and as stated before, those looking for a laid back and quiet, not crowded and over developed beach hot spot, this is your place. Puerto Viejo is close enough to make getting to town easy, and far enough to feel the privacy and serenity of Banana Azul. We split our meals between Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo and the resort, and all were good. I have to say though, after spending all morning in the ocean my husband and I came back to BA for a quick bite and had the best nachos ever. Homemade chips and salsa and fresh avocado, they were delish!! The rooms are beautiful, we were in the Dolphin room and had a view of the beach to the right and a canopy of trees between us and the Sloth house to the left. The sound of the ocean, various birds and gecko's was relaxing and soothing at night. We were never too hot at night; you could definitely feel a drop in temperature when the sun went down (around 6!!). We never used the mosquito net, and I can't say for sure if I even ever had a mosquito bite me. My husband did use the fan provided in the room when we slept at night. We kept our balcony doors open our entire stay and enjoyed the sounds of nature and the gentle breezes that came off the ocean. We were frequented by one of the resident cats, which we were fine with having two at home. I think the cat took to our room because we have cats. Interestingly, the cat slept on my suitcase a lot and our cats at home do the same when I return from a trip. The staff was wonderful, friendly and helpful getting us to our excursions and suggesting places to eat in town. I highly recommend the Jaguar Rescue Center on the south side of town. Lots of opportunity to see and spend time with the animals and you can feel the love given to rescue these adorable creatures.
We will post other pics of our other excursions with those reviews. It is all too much to cover in just one review.
Overall, a great little place in a very laid back village.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank KStateDi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 November 2009

We have been travelling in Costa Rica for about a month at the time of this writing and Banana Azul is the nicest hotel/resort we have had the pleasure of staying at.
Initially we stayed for 4 nights, but ended up returning for a further 6 nights and days, due to ll of the above reasons and more.
There is so much attention to detail in the furnishings and decorating, I don't believe there is anything the owners and staff could do to make our stay better or more tranquillo.
BA is pet friendly and have 4 or so resident dogs and 3 resident cats. The bird life around the property is also quite spectacular.
The surf at the beach were BA is can be quite high at times, at other times it can be small enough to body surf or boogey board or just wading at the edge on the long mostly desert beach.
Their brand new pool is also very inviting with its freeform shape, crystal clear water right beside the lounging area and bar.
We really love this place and plan on returning in the not too distant future.
Pura Vida

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SteveandFrance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2009

My husband and I went to CR from Aug 30-Sept 9, 2009 and we stayed at Banana Azul the entire time except for our last night (we had an early flight so we stayed at casa 69 in San Jose). We loved, loved, loved Banana Azul. The staff was great, they we friendly and helpful and they all seemed to like their jobs (makes for better staff). We stayed in one of the ocean rooms, which I would definately recommend. The breakfast was always good (as long as you like eggs). We also had snacks and dinner often there. It is not on the menu, but we asked for salsa (de la casa) and guacamole with chips and they made it fresh and it was unbelieveable. We also asked for plantains (Franklin's sister made them - sorry I forget your name) and you must ask for them if you like plantains. One thing about the location - it is not in town and it is a good 30 min walk into town, which you only should do in the daylight hours. However, it is really nice to not be in town because it is much quiter and feels more secluded at BA, it feels like you are in the jungle, especially in the morning when the animals wake you up so you can make the most of your day. There is so much to say, I don't know where to stop. We planned a bunch of trips including the full day Jungle Tour, which was amazing and the whitewater rafting on the Pacure for our last day, also amazing. We did the waterfall and chocolate house tour which was just ok, but it also included the sloth tour, which was great. We were hoping to do more SCUBA diving, but we went one day on a dolfin tour, we didn't get to see dolfins and the diving was mostly just looking at reefs, not a ton of fish. We also rented bikes from BA and went to Cocles beach and took surfing lessons with Topo and his son and after the lesson we biked to the Jaguar rescue center. We got to play with howler monkeys, jaguar rundis (the size of house cats) baby racoons and sloths - if you like animals, you must go to the rescue center and don't forget your camera. We also took a local bus to Cauhita Natioal Park, which was beautiful. We saw lots of monkeys, butterflys, sand crabs, and a snake. We packed lunch and ate on the beach and sat in the crystal clear water (we sat because the water is only about 2 feet deep for 100 ft out).

One warning about this vacation: if you are not an outdoors type of person, this is not the trip for you. This location is for people who don't want to be at an Americanized beach resort and want a different type of a vacation - it is for the more adventrous types.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank lovetovacation13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2009

The staff at Banana Azul are great. Everyone is so friendly and nice. All staff made sure that we were well taken care of and that we had the best stay possible. The owners are great and make sure to always come and chat with you to make sure you are enjoying yourself. The staff are very accomodating and the rooms are kept very clean. I would recommend Banana Azul to anyone planning to travel to Puerto Viejo.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Ronda404
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2009

My wife and I enjoyed our 3 night stay at this property very much. We stayed in the Dolphin Suite and enjoyed the large deck with hammock. We attempted to stay in the Howler suite, but it was booked during our stay. The top floor rooms here are numbered 1 to 8 with the Howler Suite being number one and the Dolphin suite being number 8. Rooms 2 to 7 are the Ocean view rooms. The lower the number, the closer you are to the ocean. Although our room was farthest from the ocean, we could still see the ocean from our deck and could clearly hear it from our room.

The food at the resort was good and reasonably priced. The tour operator at the property, Gecko Tours, was very helpful. We did a snorkeling trip to Cahita with a hike of the park. Our guide, Javier, was very good. We saw sloths, monkeys, frogs, snakes, iguanas, butterflys, and a variety of other insects and critters. We also scheduled a horseback ride/massage excursion with guide Vanessa. It was a great excursion and I highly recomend her.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Brett30
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

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
Price Range: £48 - £124 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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