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“Even better than their great website”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Highland Park, IL
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Even better than their great website”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2010

We Heard about Banana Azul on the Today Show. It was even better than they said it would be. It's immaculately clean, beautiful and run by an amazing staff. They are so helpful and interesting to get to know. We hope to return some day and the price is right.

Susan and Bob Smith
Highland Park, IL

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank seco2020
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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Philadelphia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2010

Banana Azul is a rustic little hotel on a beautiful black sand beach surrounded by jungle. a fellow guest in Manuel Antonio recommended this place last year and I'm so glad we took him up on it. on the first night, the owners Colin and Roberto introduced themselves and had dinner with us. They were so warm and welcoming. the rooms are simple and clean and very open-air. You sleep to the sounds of the ocean and jungle, it can't get any better. They have a restaurant/bar in the lobby and serve very good meals for very little money( ps the bartender makes an awesome mojito). If you're looking for American style luxury, you're in the wrong town. Puerto Viejo is a bohemian surfing village that requires ripped shorts and no shirt but is totally relaxing and laid back. you wouldn't want a Four Seasons there, it wouldn't make sense. the drive from SJO took about 5 hours because the roads are gravel and filled with pot holes, plus you get stuck behind the hundreds of truckers when going through Limon. I loved the drive though, very scenic. I cant wait to go back.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dylandog421
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver
Level Contributor
41 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 January 2010

We stayed 7 nights at the Banana Azul and it was everything we wanted and more.

The staff was helpful, friendly and awesome! The food was great and we never ate out because it was more convenient to eat at the hotel than it was to go into Puerto Viejo. In fact we saved more money that way so we could go do more adventurous activities.

The rooms were cleaned everyday and the view was awesome. Though our bed in #6 was quite creaky that any movement on the bed made it sound like the bed would break.
The hammocks are great to just relax and listen to the ocean.

It only takes 20mins to walk into town via the beach or about $4US to get into town.

Gecko Trail Adventures were great help in helping us plan our little excursions as well as advice us on our solo-treks into Cahuita.

I wrote a more extensive review about the Banana Azul (along with photos) as well as things we did in Puerto Viejo and the surrounding area over on my blog: http://www.tyleringram.com/blog/costa-rica-accommodation-banana-azul

No trip is complete without visiting the Banana Azul! We're definitely going back!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank OnyxDragun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2010

The Banana Azul is where you want to stay. The service is excellent, the price is right, the rooms are comfortable, and everything you need is at hand. The other reviews are thorough and glowing and I think that, collectively, they cover it.
We stayed in a garden suite and it was great. The outdoor bath/shower combo was delicious, as was the private hammock.
Direct access to a quiet beach is priceless, although the waves are pretty wild when compared to the quiet coves at Punta Uva and Playa Chiquita on the other side of town. Bonfires on the beach or other organized activities at night would have been nice, as there isn't much to do after dark - but maybe that's nice in its own way.
I hope to go back, and enthusiastically recommend this place to all kinds of travelers.
Thank you Colin and Roberto for a fabulous time.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BuckLaFleur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Monterey Bay, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2010

More like 2 stars than the 5 I would rate three others we stayed at and this was the most expensive.
They tried to please us and it was clean, but could not as the amenities were lacking.
No hot water at sink. No tub. No TV or radio. The safe was made out of wood? The floor creaked. Two bars and 11mps for "high speed internet"?
It is very hot and humid on the southern Caribbean Coast and we needed the air conditioning that was supplied at every other hotel we stayed at.
We could hear our neighbors talk thru the paper thin walls that were open at top giving access to bugs, birds, and monkeys. We were lucky that they liked it less than we did.
The only place we went in two weeks in Costa Rica that we needed 4 wheel drive was the parking lot at the Banana Azul.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RRRoger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
colinsito, owner at Hotel Banana Azul, responded to this review, 5 January 2010
Hola Roger. Sorry Banana Azul did not meet your needs and expectations. I am not sure why you were surprised that we did not have AC, Radio & TV in your room and that the Caribbean was warm and humid. A quick browse of our website clearly covers all these issues.

This area of Costa Rica and accommodations in the area are not for the average North American traveler. Some modest research on the internet about your choice of accommodations and local area would enlighten anyone to some the challenges they may face in choosing a destination and hotels in a developing country.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scottsdale, AZ
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2010

We traveled with our young teens...this place was perfect!! We actually stayed in the Magic Moon Bungalow - we loved it - it is very rustic w/ no frills but we were sad to leave. Above all, the staff at Bananz Azul deserves a huge "THANK YOU!" starting w/ David who helped w/ our reservation and answered all of of questions, and Ciale who is an absolute doll (so helpful and accomodating) and Collin & Roberto - who helped us with the mapping and driving upon departure. Banana Azul is very special, best Mojitos ever, beautiful grounds on an incredible beach as close to heaven as you can get. Our kids took surf school with Hirschel for 2 days and had a ball! Puerto Viejo and the trek from Limon can be a bit worrysome and frankly anxiety causing (seedy could be used to describe the area at first glance.) But upon really experiencing the area and enjoying it...it is amazing and you find it hard to leave, when you do leave, you are mentally planning your return! THANK YOU TO ALL AT BANANA AZUL!! Also, PV is a blast!!!!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank njoyurkidz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Augusta, Georgia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2010

Heaven. Pure, true heaven.
Everything about this place met or exceeded my expectations. The people, the room, the surrounding area all charming and beautiful.

Making the Reservation and checking in:
I contacted the hotel back in Feb about staying over the holidays. My query was responded to by David and he is pretty much who I dealt with when it came to the room reservation. He is wonderfully sweet and was the first person we met upon check in. He showed us to our room and then showed us around the property. He, and every else at the font desk were always available and happy to help if you needed anything or had a question.
It's very nice going to a place where it is obvious that everyone loves their jobs and that is very evident here.

Our Room:
We stayed in the Red Frog room and I am very happy about our selection. The bathroom of course as the beautiful Red Frog mosaic which the room gets it's name from. It was spacious and had a very nice ceiling fan that really came in handy. The room is located in a building separate from the main hotel but still on Banana Azul property which is something we actually liked about it. We also had a large private porch which we spent a lot of time of. You can also get a good wi-fi signal on the porch if you bring a computer.

The Food:
We ate the majority of our meals at the hotel. Food in this part of CR is very expensive and the prices at the hotel where better then eating in town. Plus the amount of food that they gave you was more then enough. Breakfast was of course included in the room rate. It was always delicious and fresh. A standard lunch menu was available every day with nachos, sandwiches, burgers etc. with tax lunch was about $7.50 per person. Dinner always had a meat or vegetarian option and came with a salad and dessert. With tax it was about $11.50 per person.
We never had a bad meal there. It also nice that they would just charge your room so you didn't have to carry any cash.
Of course Franklin's Mojito's are AMAZING!! Best I have ever tasted.

The main hotel:
The main hotel building is open and airy. Always clean with plenty of comfortable chairs. The plunge pool and main pool are super refreshing on those hot days. There are always hammocks up by the beach which are great for relaxing. A stack of fresh, clean beach towels are always available. As I said before everyone behind the desk was very kind and helpful.

Gecko Trail Adventures:
If you want to plan excursions or tours while you are in CR this is the place to go. I worked with Maythe and have nothing but wonderful things to say about her. I never waited long for a response and she was always very sweet with me and all of my questions. They set every up for us from the hotel we stayed at when we first flew into San Jose, the Interbus to get to/from Banana Azul and all of of our tours and activities. The prices were very reasonable and everyone there knew a lot about the area. They were always available to answer questions about anything you can think of.

Before I go I would like to address some of the things people have said in other reviews that were not so great about the hotel:
* The people who work there love what they do and it shows.
* The towels that we had in our room are nicer then the ones I have at my house. Everyday we were brought clean fresh ones and always had more then enough to go around
* Who needs a jacuzzi when it's 90-something degrees outside? The plunge pool came in handy more then once when I needed to cool down after a long hike.
* For the price we paid for the room the bed was right on par. You are not checking into a Westin or Sheraton you are checking into a small, locally owned hotel in a jungle.
If you are looking for upgraded amenities, fine linens and someone to wait on you hand and foot then this may not be the place for you.
But, if you are looking for a place that is friendly, well cared for and very reasonably priced surrounded by stunning views and clean, soft sand beach then you'll be in heaven.

To Colin, Roberto, David, Maythe and everyone at Banana Azul and Gecko:
Words cannot describe how blessed we feel to have been guests at your hotel. Your hospitality went above and beyond and we wish nothing but the best for all you in the future. Thank you for making our trip and our first Christmas in the Caribbean something we will never forget.
Thank you!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Deepsilvr
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 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 On the Beach 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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