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“Lives up to all expectations”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 December 2009

Two couples, senior citizens, joined the mix of nice customers staying at the worlds best deal, Banana Azul, for almost a week. We were delighted with management, staff, accomodations, service, food, drinks, atmosphere, VALUE, place, location, beach, town, and everything else. The hotel isn't for everyone: I had to cold shave, and missed room service (though only when we wanted to have drinks on our large veranda at cocktail time). The nice rooms are a bit hot during the day, but cool off nicely at night (with the help of an electric fan). Don't expect shampoo and handcream, or those types of amenities, but for the price you can afford to buy everything needed at the supermercado. We also missed the Limon airport (closed - perhaps to open again in January) because getting there and back by other than air is a hastle. The place was short a few lounge chairs for sun sitting at the beach or by the pool, but they will figure that out as they go along.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BFreeLincolnshire_IL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 November 2009

It's only been a week, and I miss Banana Azul already.

I arrived at Banana Azul on a rainy Sunday night, after a long journey. I was amazed when I first saw the grounds. I was greeted by beautiful landscaping, smiling faces, and friendly dogs running around. I stayed in the Ocean Room #2, the second room from the ocean. Every night, I kept my french doors open so I would wake up to the waves, wild animals, and the smell of breakfast being cooked downstairs. The breakfast is very tasty, and it seemed like it was something new and fresh everyday. Yum! And I miss the delicious coffee that was ready around 5:30 every morning. I would grab my cup of coffee and either walk out to the beach, or relax in one of their many hammocks.

I loved the fact that Banana Azul is a small hotel; I received a very personal experience. Not only did I meet fellow travelers, but I also was pleased to meet Roberto and Colin. They are fantastic and their attention to detail is impeccable. Being a solo traveler, safety was also important to me. I never had any issues with anyone at the hotel or the staff. Everyone had kind smiles, and I felt very comfortable.

I could go on and on about how wonderful and magical this hotel is. I would recommend Banana Azul for anyone visiting Costa Rica or making their way through. I have already talked friends into visiting and I also plan on going back. Pura Vida!

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled solo
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2  Thank SLeigh83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2009

We REALLY enjoyed everything about our stay. Everything about the place was just as we had hoped for. We stayed in the Dolphin Room in the western corner of the second floor. The wooden-floored and wooden-walled room is spacious, with french doors that open to a wrap-around balcony (complete with table, hammock, and adirondack chair). Before arriving, I was concerned the room - directly above the hotel office and closest to the road and small parking area - might be noisy...Not an issue. Indeed, my memories are filled with the sound of the crashing waves on the black-sand beach (which could be seen - through a stand of trees - from our balcony).

On the first floor, beyond the hotel and tour desks, are a comfortable lounge where many took advantage of the free wi-fi; a dining area which offered terrific breakfasts (as well as lunch and dinner, neither of which I can speak to); and a quiet, but well stocked bar. The whole of the first floor is surrounded by a "stream" - stocked with colorful koi and turtles - on the other side of which is the small pool and landscaped grounds. Beyond the grounds, across a small dirt path, is Playa Negra and the ocean. The hotel has a little palapa and a couple plastic adirondack chairs out here, plus a handful of hammocks...a great place to relax before and after a tumble in the ocean - the water here is rough, but definitely didn't feel dangerous - or a walk along the beach.

Speaking of walking along the beach, the hotel is maybe a 30 minute walk along the black sand beach from Puerto Viejo...close enough to be convenient, far away enough to be peaceful. The hotel is also a healthy bike ride south to the beautiful beaches of Punta Uva, and if you're really feeling it, the laid-back town of Manzanillo and its terrific waters. We weren't feeling it, and chose to drive the pothole-filled road to Manzanillo, as we did the smooth highway to Cahuita, about 15 minutes north of the hotel. Here we had a fun walk through the Park, seeing (and hearing!) howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin (aplenty!), a three-toed sloth, birds, and butterflies.

Anyways, we had a great time in the area. And Banana Azul was the perfect place to call home during our stay. The location was ideal, the grounds were lovely, the room was spacious and clean, the staff - all of them - were nothing but friendly. Highly recommended to anybody who visits the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank bsmoove1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2009

Looking for a great get away? Try the Banana Azul. The staff will take good care of you, while the excellent cooking will spoil you. Need a cold drink, then Franklin is your man. The owners are gracious and they make the place like a paradise. Enjoy many activities if you choose. I found horseback riding with Vanessa one of my highlights. Ride along the beach and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Vanessa has brochures at the lodge.
Seeing is believing is seeing!
Raymond

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled solo
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1  Thank ScamperMichigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2009

I had a fantastic 4 night stay at banana azul, i have zero complaints. The staff were helpful and friendly. The rooms clean with a great balcony. The breakfasts were fantastic. I didnt eat dinner here but I hear the food was good from other guests, personally when on holiday id rather explore the local area for dinners.

They arrange any trip you want here with great ease and just add it to your bill. I am surprised to read any bad reviews of this place. I stayed in 8 different places around costa rica all within this price bracket, this was one of the best, and by far the best we stayed along the whole carribean coast.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank lpentelow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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
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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 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range: £44 - £139 (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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