Formerly from NYC, my husband and I live in the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Another NYC'er was coming for a visit and my husband and I were looking for a beach vacation for for us all. We heard a lot about Puerto Viejo and thought we would give it a shot.
We were hoping to stay at Banana Azul but unfortunately it was booked and since they manage this property they suggested it to us.
Overall we had a wonderful experience, but there are some things you should know before staying here.
1. Location, location, location - probably no more than 50 meters to the beach
2. Porch, porch, porch - other than sleeping or going to the beach or town, all of our time was spent on the spacious porch which came with a couch, some chairs, a hammack, and a pass through window to the kitchen . . . NICE!!!
3. Property - the grounds really make you feel like you are in Costa Rica. Lush fruit trees, and palm trees and plenty of room to roam around
4. The view. Sitting on the porch you can see and hear the ocean. Nothing beats that
5. Electric gate - very convenient especially when it is raining. . .you can drive right up and not have to get out and get soaked
6. Pet friendly - my dog Flaca loved it as much as we did
7. Outdoor shower - while it wasn't enclosed, I believe it was just intended to be a rinse off shower after the beach, I actually showered there a few times as the water temp was just right
8. Washer and dryer - that was great to bring clean clothes home, I just wish there were some directions on how to use the washer as it was all in
9. Maid service 3x during my 1 week stay
11. I believe their website says there is cable TV (but when we arrived the TV was in the closet not plugged into anything and we never bothered to figure out where it should go so we never watched anything . . . but we never missed it as there were much better things to do)
12. Great support from the Management company (the staff at the Banana Azul hotel just down the road). They were very attentive to our requests. Also, anything you did at or through the hotel they charged to our "account" so we never needed money when we were there.
13. No need for a car. 20-25 minute walk to town along the beach or a 2,000 colones (approx. $4.00) cab ride to town.
1. Water temperature in the shower - it was virtually impossible to keep the shower warm for the entire time. On the hope we have more hot water, we waited at least 20-25 minutes between showers for any chance to have any hot water and we found this out the hard way. So you need to start early for everyone to be ready on time
2. Sky lights in the upstairs bedrooms - while in theory this sounds great. . you can stare at the stars from bed, it is not so great when the sun shines in at the crack of dawn . . . literally!! I am a light sleeper and was awake every morning with the sun. I know CR is an early to bed early to rise kind of place, but that is just a bit too early for me. I wish there was a way to cover them at night. Although they are very helpful for during daylight hours as we never had to turn on any lights
3. The house needs better circulation/ceiling fans. There were small fans in each bedroom (one quite rusty looking with no protective covering) but that really wasn't enough to cool us off in the afternoons when we came back from our walk. What they really need in the bedrooms especially, as well as on the porch, are either ceiling fans or other fans mounted to the wall that circulate. The only way I could stay cool in my room was to have the fan blowing directly on me the entire night.
4. While the house comes with a large kitchen, I felt as though many of the utensils and some other items that were included were old and while not actually rusty, things that I would have thrown away in my own home. I live in CR so I was able to bring a few things with me like a blender to make smoothies, spices etc. . . but if you are coming from another country, I doubt you will be traveling with that. To be honest, had I known, I would have brought more with me. I have rented vacation homes before and the kitchens were stocked with spices, condiments, coffee, sugar, napkins, paper towels, aluminum foil, zip lock bags etc. . .this place had no amenities like that. Glasses, dishes, tupperwear and things like that were in abundance but you would still be missing a great many things to cook a full meal. In the end, we really never took advantage of the kitchen other than to make a few smoothies and a place to store my dog's food and the wine we brought with us (But the refrigerator did have an ice maker and water in the door which was quite a plus!!)
5. Since I live in CR I am very familiar with the creepy crawlers in the house but there were a lot of the tiny ants in the kitchen. Thankfully I don't have them where I live but they need to address them better.
6. Be sure to let them know if you are allergic to cats. For most of our stay there was a cat on the property, usually meowing for food. . . boy could that cat eat. There was cat food in the laundry room for it and one day there was none left so we gave it some of our dog food and it scarfed that up too. Just an FYI!!
7. While there is a safe for small items such as your passport, money, cameras and cell phones, there was no place to store larger items like laptops. We had three with us and we had to lug 20 lbs of computers back and forth to the Banana Azul every day where they graciously stored them for us.
In the end, none of these things were deal breakers and we REALLY enjoyed our stay (with the exception of being a bit too hot on occasion) and I would recommend Magic Moon to anyone. I just think it is worth knowing a few things before staying there.
We were only 3 people, and we rented it because there was a separate bedroom and bathroom downstairs so everyone had some privacy, but it can comfortably sleep 6. King bed in the master bedroom, two twin beds in the other upstairs bedroom and the downstairs bedroom can be configured with either bunk beds or a full size futon.
If you are looking for the ultimate in luxury, then this isn't it (although my husband would disagree . . . but then again, he thinks camping is luxury ;-)) but for a lovely beach vacation in the a great area (Playa Negra, just 1.5 km from the center of Puerto Viejo) close to a number of amazing restaurants (Loco Natural, Chili Rojo, Peace & Love to name a few) in a spacious house basically right on the beach, then this is a great deal.
Since I only live about 5 hours away by car, my husband and I will definitely be back. Probably not at Magic Moon's large beach house, as it is too large for just the two of us, but we might be next door at their smaller bungalow.
In the end, Puerto Viejo in general is not for everyone, as I don't think any accomodations anywhere would be considered the ultimate in luxury, but it is a very laid back town, with very nice people and some amazing food. PURA VIDA!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.