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“Perfect start for our honeymoon” 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 from $79
Helsinki, Finland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Perfect start for our honeymoon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

If you have been reading all the 5 star reviews of Banana Azul, then you already know all this. Banana Azul is just one perfect place to stay if you want to relax in a cozy, familiar hotel with beautiful surroundings, located next to a beautiful beach.

If you are looking for nightlife or a luxury resort, this is not your place.

The staff at Banana Azul is very friendly, and they will all make you feel welcome. The atmosphere is relaxed, and all the guests are like one big "family". The gardens are beautiful, and the beach is only a few meters away from the hotel. If you wake up early, you can enjoy a cup of fresh coffee at the beach (from 6 a.m.) before breakfast.

We enjoyed some dinners at the hotel restaurant, and other nights we went to the town of Puerto Viejo for dinner and drinks. The town is very laid back. We had read a few reviews about the town being unsafe, but as long as you don't do anything "stupid", you'll be just fine.

We also rented bikes from the hotel and had a bike tour around the village and surroundings.

We stayed in two different rooms (our first room was only available for two nights when we booked): the ocean suite and the garden suite. The ocean suite on the second floor has a nice balcony with a hammock - a perfect way to relax after a not so busy day at the beach or the pool :) The garden suite on the first floor was a bit bigger but was lacking a window. The garden room had a tv and air conditioning which the ocean room did not have (and frankly, we did not miss the tv).

If you have read the other, more negative reviews, you can read about rooms not being very isolated regarding sounds. Yes, you can hear some noise from other rooms, but this is a calm hotel, so nobody is disturbing you. The restaurant and bar close at 10 pm. so you'll get a good nights sleep!

If you're looking forward doing some activities during your stay, you'll probably find it convenient that Gecko Tours has an office desk on the hotel premises.

The owner and the manager of the hotel talked with all the guests, making sure everybody was happy with their stay, and it seemed that everyone was indeed enjoying themselves. If you're looking for a place where you can forget all about work and just focus on relaxing, Banana Azul offers you the perfect surroundings in a small, cozy, friendly, beautiful package. This was our first stop on our honeymoon in Costa Rica, and we just loved every minute of our stay!

Room Tip: Choose one of the rooms on the second floor (for example the Ocean Suite).
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
    • 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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866 reviews from our community

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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 (234)
Date | Rating
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English first
Denver, Colorado
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

This was our fourth trip and fourth room....Dolphin room, Ocean room, the Apartment and this time, one of the Sloth Cabinas. The room was not in the main building but nearer to the apartment with an expanded view of the gardens from our hammocked patio, with only one cabina to one side of us. The staff was superb as usual, beach service for breakfast, lunch and drinks, new bicycles for rent, soft linens and towels and complimentary Cabernet and chocolate candy for Valentine's Day. Every time we return we notice some improvement to an already near perfect vacation spot. How sweet it was, again!

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Hampshire
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

Colin and Fred, the entire staff, and all the friendly dogs and the cat made our stay so relaxing and magical. They went out of their way to make us feel welcomed and relaxed, even acknowledging our anniversary with a special little gift. The ocean, the gardens, and the overall good feelings of the place make me wish that I were back there right now, and not in snowy New Hampshire.

The rooms don't have phones (not a problem for us) and most don't have TV's or air conditioning. For us, this was a plus, because it added to the relaxed Caribbean vibe and helped us to disconnect from our busy lives at home. Go to Banana Azul if you want to enjoy the jungle and the ocean and feel welcome, safe and relaxed. We will be back!

Room Tip: Our room was on the top floor, which gives you a nice ocean breeze.
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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.
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

I stayed at Banana Azul for 5 days and had an incredible time! The hotel itself was beautiful and well taken care of and the staff were incredibly friendly and always remembered my name. One of my favorite things was the hammock on my porch, where I napped every day. The grounds were landscaped beautifully and we even had a sloth in one of the trees for three days! If I ever return to Costa Rica, I will definitely be returning to Banana Azul!!

Room Tip: The Sloth Cabinas are great rooms at an economical price for 1-2 people but sit above the housekeepi...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 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.
Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Well I just love Banana Azul. If you are looking for a relaxed atmosphere where people are not lounging about in resort wear, golfing or playing tennis then Banana Azul may be the paradise you have been seeking.

My friend and I stayed at Banana Azul for 11 nights and our room was lovely - very simple with a porch that overlooked beautiful, lush tropical gardens and the Caribbean. The porch comes equipped with a hammock which I certainly used.

Each morning we woke up to Costa Rican coffee, fresh fruit and a hearty breakfast. Then took a walk along the ocean on a black sand beach, and returned to swim in the ocean. This usually all took place by 9:30 am. This is a perfect place to reflect, renew and laugh hysterically which we did often. Or to write your memoir.

The staff at Banana Azul are gracious, warm and just good human beings. Franklin would bring us coconuts on the beach in the morning and we would drink coconut water - it was actually very good! (It felt a bit decadent truthfully) Anna was one of the bartenders who was so sweet and funny and made the best cocktails. She learned to make sidecars and they were the best.

And the meals were great if you decided to eat at the restaurant. And very inexpensive.

It is a 20 minute walk into Puerto Viejo on the beach, which is an interesting little town with a Jamaican vibe.

My recommendation is that if you truly want to relax, meet warm people, you are laid back and don't need little shampoos and soaps (which are not environmentally friendly anyway), you don't need thick bath towels and you have no interest in watching television then Banana Azul is your place. On the other hand if you are high maintenance you may be unhappy. Although anyone would agree that the gardens are absolutely gorgeous. This is an eco-resort and it is gay friendly. Banana Azul the best!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

After searching at great length online my husband and I decided on Banana Azul for a long awaited trip to Costa Rica. We could not have been happier with our choice. The hotel and grounds are far more beautiful than the pictures online can capture. We stayed in a balcony room which was just perfect. Slept with the doors wide open every night while falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean. No bugs!..The beach was steps away and was breathtaking!..Ocean warm and inviting with long stretches of quiet beautiful shoreline to walk. The surf was never too much for swimming and far more preferable to us than a flat current. The town was a short beach walk away although many days we rented bikes and explored other beaches on the other side of town. I cannot say enough about the owner,Colin, a gratious host who shared with us about the local area which we were very eager to learn about. The gardener/groundskeeper, Rick, was also such a bonus. I cannot mention our visit without a shout out to how much he added to our vacation. We felt as if we were leaving long held friends when we left.
The grounds were breathtaking! The food was fabulous and as so many others have said ALL of the staff was kind, considerate, helpful and welcoming. This makes such a big difference to how one experiences their vacation.
I had anxiously read reviews prior to our trip and have to say that we experienced NONE of the negative things that others had alluded to. The beach was BEAUTIFUL, our balcony felt very private, there was a lot of variety with meals, town was an easy and quick trip, public transportation was easy and cheap, bed was comfy and room cleaned daily...etc, etc..etc... Most importantly is that pictures cannot capture the beauty and serenity of this place. I highly recomend to anyone who, like us, is turned off by all-inclusive resort vacations but is partial to creature comforts!...We had a wonderful time with our only complaint being the sun was not out in full force every day...(can't blame the hotel for this though!)...We hope to return some day and send out our thanks to all! You will not be dissapointed if you go..of this I am sure!

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

This was our first trip to Costa Rica, and we stayed at the perfect hotel. Banana Azul is everything it presents itself to be. The staff was exceptional-- Franklin, Jeff, and Rosa Marie-- took very good care of us. Having the Gecko travel desk at Banana Azul was a plus. We met the most interesting and friendly people also staying at Banana Azul. It was like a family meeting at breakfast to share what we did yesterday and talk about plans for today. Meals at Banana Azul were excellent. The only down side was, Banana Azul's web site virtual tour to as acurate that it took the excitement and surprise out of seeing the grounds and our room in person. After looking at the web site a hundred times before we actually went there, when we finally arrived it felt as though we already knew this place and our room. Banana Azul is as beautiful and perfect as it is depicted on their website.

Room Tip: The dolpin room (#8) is spacious with great views off two balconies.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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 ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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