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“AMAZING!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Playa Negra, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica   |  
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Last Minute Rate from $79
Denver, Colorado, United States
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“AMAZING!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012

My boyfriend and I planned on staying at Banana Azul at the end of our 3 week trip in Costa Rica. We had booked on the recommendation of a lesbian couple who had just gotten married and stayed there for their honeymoon. When our 2 day rafting trip got cut short due to high water, we didn't know what to do except show up a day early as our trip planner (another highly recommended) Gecko Trails was located at the hotel. By the time we got there, Gecko and Banana Azul had a room lined up for us. One of the most comfortable places that I've ever stayed. Rustic Caribbean charm, right on the beach, wonderful staff, lovely food, very pleasant clientele, fresh everything in drinks that they serve right on the beach. Also, excellent massage service right on the beach. The resort doesn't cater to families, so if that is your need, elsewhere is better, and there are many options in Puerto Viejo. For us, it was perfect. Colin, the owner of Banana Azul, has created a jewel on the Caribbean side that is comfortable for gay and straight clientele. Give yourself at least a few days to let the 'pura vida' settle in!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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912 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (252)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

Wonderfully relaxing, whether lounging on the beach, soaking in the pool or hammocking on the balcony. Great food and drink, and friendly, helpful team running the place. Puerto Viejo town centre was a bit a wander but we didn't feel tempted to leave the property at all.

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sussex, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

What more can I say that has not been said in all the other reviews.... I had a wonderful time at The Banana Azul Hotel the first week of October, 2012. The weather was good with the bit of rain daily. The staff are so friendly and helpful. I am an early bird so the coffee on the beach was just delightful waiting for the sun to rise. Dogs always at my side. My room, #8 Dolphin Room, was great with a wrap around corner balcony. Never needed the net over the bed and with the fan is was very comfortable. The bartenders were so attentive, even on the busiest of days/nights. The food was great and good portions. The owner, Colin, is always available and always with a smile. Great stay and would definitely return to Banana Azul in the wonderful town of Puerto Viejo! Thank you everyone.

Room Tip: Stayed in #8, Dolphin Room and it was wonderful. The two Sloths rooms have just been renovated and a...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

I found this place when planning my trip to the east coast back in December 2011 for October 2012 travel. I loved the look of the place and fancied the garden bath room (although the howler room talked to me too) but the price was so right and I love a bath. Not many people seem to rave this room as the ocean view and others seem more popular (by tripadvisor) I was a tad bit nervous when there was finally a review prior my departure on this room that said it was way too humid and dark and .prior reviews noisy.

There are 2 ( I think only garden bath) are on the bottom floor under all the ocean view and other rooms. The website does say smaller than it looks... i think not. There is your bed . It's cosy bedroom with TV . There is a door leading to the garden bath room. Lovely... has plants .. a lovely feel to the room. There are 2 fans in the room that cool off the room. To the right of the room is a full bathroom... shower and toilet. I lovwd this room.

The owner advised me he has plans to better this room. He really listens to any complaints. I think it's perfect but he did mention sound proofing (which shows he listens) and a koi pond ...door in the front for privacy. I have to go back to see.

As for the rest.... gardens are imaculate. Alot of time and effort were put into these gardens I could tell.

Staff - are the best I've seen. Really!! Athough I love Franklin. Ask that sweetie to make you a frozen coconut in the morning and you will be rejuvanated.

Truely a great place. i miss my dog friends.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orlando florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

We stayed at Banana Azul four years ago and just got back from another great trip, this time with 2 friends joining us who loved the hotel just as much as we do. The second time around was even better with improvements of a new pool and some other tweaks to the property here and there. It didnt even need these improvements as it is the staff, the grounds, the service and the owner that make this place one of those places you actually feel like you left old friends or family when you leave. Any room is great at this place. The staff are warm, friendly, fun and just make your vacation their top priority. The food and drinks are amazing including the free breakfast and dinners are inexpensive and delicious. Stay for Miss Helenas caribbean night on Fridays, she is a delight to talk with, try the home made ginger ale with rum, YUMMY!! Colin the owner is such a delight and a big part of the running of the hotel. He sees to it that all guests are happy and you can tell that he appreciates his staff and many have been with him since our last visit 4 years ago. He treats them all well and you can see that everyone is happy working there. The staff just cant be beat. Ana Rosa, Franklin, Eduardo and all of the staff made our stay amazing and they should all be commended. The pool is beautiful and the beach is right at your doorstep as you walk through the most amazing landscaped grounds to it. On the beach there are hammocks and chairs and a staff member brings around complimentary coconuts to sip on. We had a massage by Luis who was very good both in the beach hut and in the room. There are a few dogs and a cat which only add to your stay. They are sweet and a good substitute for your pets at home while on vacation. They will walk along the beach with you. Colin is so nice and should be proud of what he has built in this great little caribbean town of Puerto Viejo. If you are thinking of going, do it and dont think twice, you will love it. If you want a beautiful, tropical vacation with 5 star service but in a place that is casual and not stuffy with a friendly staff for a great price in a great location with lots to do, book it now before it books up, because it will be full and you may miss out. Gecko Tours, which is on site was also great for transportation to and from San Jose, white water rafting and ziplining. Everything from Gecko went without a problem and they were always on time and did a great job. Thanks to everyone at Banana Azul for a spectacular vacation. We miss everyone and everything already.

Room Tip: The sloth cabinas are great for couples traveling together and are slightly away from the other room...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012 via mobile

My husband and I booked Banana Azul for the entirety of our honeymoon based on previous trips to CR and the wonderful reviews here on trip advisor. Unfortunately, the hotel did not work for us after we arrived, although it was not the fault of the hotel.

We live in Las Vegas, and are used to hot. I naively assumed that 80 degrees would be managable with no AC since we routinely deal with 110 degrees or hotter. So wrong. We were unable to cool off and sleeping was impossible. The humidity is hard to deal with both day and night.

The first night we stayed in a garden suite. It was a very small bedroom with AC that had a large bathroom/tub garden space in back. We appreciated the tub and the AC. Downsides was the noise from the kitchen- you could here everything.

We then moved into the apartment. It was a lovely as the pictures, but what I didn't realize (again, naively) is that open air means NO SCREENS. So you are really one with nature. I was covered in mosquito bites after the first night, despite bug spray and the mosquito net. No way to shut windows, so basically everyone could hear you, and we heard everyone ad everything. Would maybe have been fine if it wasn't our honeymoon. At this point I was so uncomfortable that I wasn't feeling very romantic anyway.

I did have to clean dead bugs out of the fridge and dusty cobwebs off the decorative rocks in the kitchen. We had a fist sized spider in the front room, and countless other bugs at night. That is to be expected in the jungle, but again with no screens make sure you are really ok with nature literally in your face!

Other small things: mattress and pillows are uncomfortable, sheets and towels very basic.

We had a few issues that staff worked to resolve right away- ants in bathroom, squeaky washer and dryer. The staff is helpful and it seemed like if they could fix it, they would. Unfortunately for us, it wasnt the right fit because we couldn't cool off and were getting sick and very tired. Most other times we may have dealt with it, but as it was our honeymoon we had to seek a bit more comfort.

Other than that, the place has much to commend it. Staff, especially the manager, were helpful and friendly. The food was really delicious, and drinks some of the best I've had anywhere (including Vegas hotels).

The design of the hotel, use of materials and the gardens are all stunning. Really well done and lovely to look at.

The hotel is right on the beach. And the beach is incredible: not rocky or too littered, warm water, fun waves. We loved the ocean- great way to cool off during the day.

We walked to Puerto Veijo one day and biked the next. Loved the animal sanctuary- don't miss it- you get to hold a baby monkey!

PV is a beautiful place, way more relaxed than the Pacific side, less crowded but still a bit touristy. Nothing is cheap but drinks and food are good.

While Banana Azul was not paradise for us, we can see how it is for so many. We wish the staff and the owners the best of luck and thank them for their hospitality during our short stay.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, October 15, 2012
While it is sometimes hard to read negative criticism, your feedback is important. I appreciate your desire to be fair and not just blame all issues on the hotel and it's staff.

I will be personally looking into more deeply the issues you mention and see what we can do to improve things. As for the downstairs room, yes, it can be noisy. We are taking steps to address this. We will be insulating walls and renovating whole room in late November.

Most of our guests are okay with no AC and some encounters with nature. But I fully understand and respect that tolerance is not universal. (I have been here 8 years and I still dont like spiders ;-)

We have always tried to communicate it in our website, that while Banana Azul is popular, we know it is not for everyone. We hope you were able to find what you needed for the rest of your vacation.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

unbeatable prizes for what you get. amazing cocktails. attentive staff. wonderful owner. great location. we spent 6 days here because we really didnt want to leave. one of the very few places in this area with direct access to the beach. thank you for a fabulous time!!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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:
Location: 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 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 14
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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