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“Tropical paradise on the beach” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ylang Ylang Beach Resort

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Ylang Ylang Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Montezuma Beach | 10-12 minute walk North along the beach, Montezuma 00000, Costa Rica (Formerly El Sano Banano Beach Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Montezuma
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Tropical paradise on the beach”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2011

We loved our visit at Ylang Ylang!! This resort is located on a beautiful section of beach and surrounded by lush tropical gardens. Staff were friendly and happy and went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. Management even built a railing along the path to our bungalow which extremely helped with my husband's ability to walk around the resort. Ylang Ylang's restaurant has excellent food and fresh fish is brought to the resort daily. We enjoyed seeing all the different birds including parakeets and other wildlife such as the white faced monkeys.

  • Stayed March 2011, 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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619 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    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 (190)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2011

We decided to treat ourselves at the end of a great fortnight in costa rica and we booked for three nights. This hotel was quite a lot more expensive than we had paid elsewhere but we came away thinking it was well worth it.

After having been collected in montezuma and driven down the beach to the hotel, we were greeted with a lovely welcome drink. This typified the hospitality throughout and set the scene for a great stay.

We stayed in a private garden bungalow, as we arrived we saw monkeys directly above. The room was on the small side but very private with a large balcony and very comfortable bed.

The pool was set in tropical gardens, with a private feel and a lovely way to end the day. The gardens and pathways throughout were amazing and you feel as if you are part of the jungle.

The restaurant served a wide range of high quality food, and the service was exemplary. The views at breakfast and for cocktails at sundown are superb.

The hotel is 30m from a beautiful beach and 150m from an even more beautiful beach, both of which were deserted for large parts of the day. Hammocks are provided by the beach along with freshwater showers at the pool and the bungalows.

As we came back to the hotel on our last evening, a troupe of monkeys played around on the hotel roof, and a howler monkey could be heard up the hill.

Hand on heart: the best hotel either of us have stayed in, and we've stayed in a few.

Highly recommended!

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 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
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Mill Valley, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2011

I disagree with the review stating that this place that is "without character".

I thought Ylang Ylang was the best example of how kind and friendly the people of Costa Rica can be. From the staff to it's owners, all welcomed us with joy and openness. I can only imagine that the woman owner they encountered was either particularly busy with something or perhaps, not in fact the owner at all because the woman I met seemed very approachable.

I felt instantly embraced in a world of pleasure. it's like a pristine jungle village with all the comforts of home nestled beneath the canopy of a tropical forrest. It seemed like every structure on the grounds had been built to compliment the lush environment. The tour of the gardens, led by the woman owner of the hotel, with monkeys and tropical birds showed me just how deep into paradise I had come.

Yaan - Mill Valley, California

Integrity Marketing Company

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled on business
    • 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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Calgary, AB, Canada
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2011

My wife and I spent a full 7 nights at Ylang Ylang and definitely got a proper feel for the resort. As with all my reviews, I'll try to keep this as factual and organized as possible.

Just a bit of context....we primarily traveled to Costa Rica for the wildlife and scenery. We're not really into the new-age/hippy vibe of the Montezuma area, but my wife is a vegetarian and this resort appealed to us for that reason.

The Resort: Ylang Ylang is about a ten minute walk down the beach from Montezuma and covers a few acres. It has 3 different lodging types - tent-cabins, 'domes' (bungalow style accomodations), and small six room hotel called 'Jungle King'. It also has a larger bungalow accomodation called 'Coco Joes'. It probably doesn't accomodate more than 50 total, which is a great size in my opinion. There is a TONNE of wildlife to see at this resort....we had spent the first leg of our trip in Monteverde and Arenal but saw just as much if not more wildlife from the patio of our room or restaurant at Ylang Ylang...White Throateded Capuchins, Parrots, Howlers, Agoutis, Iguanas, etc etc. It is a WILD region, which I thought was fantastic.

The resort definitely has a 'wellness' theme to it, with healthy eating options, yoga and dance sessions, and a spa. I was happy to see they didn't oversell this feature though, and as a meat-eating down-to-earth man I was still catered to and able to enjoy the serenity. The resort's ability to not oversell itself was a trend I noticed throughout our stay.

The Pool: The pool is a good example of this. It's very well done and is mostly shaded. It could have been bigger and more extravagant, but it's perfect for this resort. Nothing out of place, and it fits well with the environment.

Our Room: We stayed in a beach bungalow. It was quite spacious and had a cozy feel to it. It had two showers, one outside for rinsing down after the beach and a large one inside. The mini-fridge is always an awesome addition and the patio was great for relaxing. Two of my biggest issues with Ylang Ylang arose from our room though. Firstly, the bed is quite small. I don't know what type of bed it is exactly, but it's smaller than a queen and seems shorter than most standards (I'm six feet tall and my feet dangled off the end of the bed after my ankles). I didn't bust out a measuring tape, but this small size might have something to do with limitations imposed by the dome's entrance, but there's definitely enough space inside the room to accomodate something bigger. My second complaint had to do with the cleanliness of the room, particularly the bathroom. Staying between a beach and jungle I knew to expect a few critters, but when the gecko feces wasn't cleaned off our sink after five days I started getting a little grossed out....I could also tell the area behind the toilet and a few other dark areas received little attention. It was really a shame as everything else in the resort is so well manicured and maintainted.

The Restaurant: As breakfast and dinner seems to be included in a lot of packages, the restaurant can be a make or break feature of this hotel as many guests eat at least 2 meals a day here. The menu is huge....well over a dozen options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They don't serve red meat, but have plenty of fish and chicken options. They also have a large vegan and raw food selection. I probably ate over 15 meals at this restaurant and never really got bored with it. The food is all excellent, healthy, and there's a wide variety of cuisine types. My only complaint is that service can be quite slow at times. This is not a knock against the staff, who are fantastic, but I feel they're stretched pretty thin at least a few times a day and it wasn't uncommon to go 20 minutes without having a server stop by the table.

The Beach: The beach in front of the hotel is nice enough....not the pristine kind you'll find in the caribbean, but it still has a lot of fine white sand and is great for tanning. You can swim leisurely during low-tide, but during high-tide it's a bit more of a challenge. About a 20 minute walk NE of the resort is a much better and bigger beach that is nearly deserted.

Overall I was very satisified with our time at Ylang Ylang and would highly recommend it. The whole resort is an experience really...between the beach, pool, wildlife, fantastic restaurant and overall atmosphere you can easily feel enchanted when you first arrive.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2011

Ylang Ylang is such a wonderful place - you should definitely not miss it during your stay in Montezuma! Maybe not ideal for single travelers, but perfect for couples or small groups cause this place offers privacy and a very romantic surrounding.
The Ylang Ylang resort is built into the forest right next to the beach - which means complete surrounding by nature and wildlife. The food in the restaurant is amazing and staff very friendly. The center of Montezuma can easily be reached via a nice walk alongside the beach which is guarded day and night. Flashlights for night walks are available at reception.
You should also treat yourself with a massage! In special, private tents with an amazing view very professional massage therapists pamper and lull you into heaven! Spa prices are ok (from around 80 Dollars for 60 Min, sometimes you can get discounts).
All in all, a place like heaven - you do not want to leave!

Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2011

Ylang Ylang, Montezuma. A beautiful, modest beachfront resort that's inaccessible by taxis or other cars which definitely adds to the charm. As someone I met told me when I first arrived, "Get ready to do a whole lot of nothing (and love doing it)." There were a couple of things that I wish I knew before I went, one that was out of the control of the hotel, and one significant one that the hotel management could have done a much better job of mentioning up front.

After a long, slow, bumpy ride along an unpaved dirt road filled with some massive potholes, you finally arrive at the small, slow-paced beachside art-inspired town of Montezuma.

You are dropped off at the El Sano Banano Hotel (same owners as Ylang Ylang), then a hotel shuttle picks you up and after a quick 5-10 minute drive along the beach you arrive at your destination. The hotel shuttle is only used for guests checking in or checking out, so to go back and forth from the hotel to town is a short 10 minute walk on the beach (be aware of the high tide times).

The room was on the smaller side but cozy. The balcony that overlooks the ocean was awesome and very soothing with the sounds of crashing waves 24/7. There's a nice pool area, a small "store" to buy a few souvenirs or drinks. Other amenities include a tent that's primarily used for yoga (upstairs from the restaurant), and a couple of individual cabanas atop the hotel hillside that are used for spa treatments and massages.

The food at the one and only outdoor restaurant was excellent. Every dish I ordered was completely eaten just short of licking the plate clean. The staff was very courteous, friendly, helpful, and work very hard. Again the view from the restaurant was fantastic.

I was there in the middle of rainy season (they say May - November), so one of things that I was pretty surprised about was the significant amount of trash and debris that was washed up along the shoreline. A sign at the hotel informs guests that the trash is from the mainland and is caused by the heavy rainfall and resulting runoff from the rivers into the ocean and eventually onto shore. The beach was otherwise beautifully scenic, and although this is obviously out of the control of the hotel, they work to keep the beach in front of the property and along the stretch connecting it to town as clean as possible.

Because of all the rain/river runoff, the water was not as crystal clear blue as I had hoped either. A tour guide on a snorkeling excursion told me that "during the dry season, the water is clear and you can see 8 meters deep." If you get a chance, head to Tortuga Island which is about a 45 minute boat ride from town. There you'll find an immaculate white sand beach where you can snorkel, grab a pick up game of volleyball, swim, or soak in the hot sun.

Lots of mosquitos. I was pretty much bug bite free throughout my entire trip to Costa Rica until I reached Montezuma where they had a field day (bring your deet!). Don't be surprised to see some howler monkeys hanging out in the trees around the resort, birds sitting on a chair at your breakfast table waiting for an opportunity to steal some food off your table, or an iguana or two roaming the walkways with you.

The transportation to and from town is limited by transfer timelines and availability. This is not as relevant when you're checking in, however it can be a big issue when you're checking out.

I was leaving from Montezuma to go back to San Jose and eventually home. My flight was from San Jose was at 1pm. When I was planning my trip, I booked my flight first, then I proceeded to find hotels to fit my schedule. When I contacted Ylang Ylang for help with a transfer from the hotel to the airport, I was sent an email with a few different options, but with no specific information (i.e. departure times). The email very much gave a message of "don't worry about it, figure it out when you get here. It won't be an issue."

After I arrived and asked for help, I was told that I had 3 options. Keep in mind that you need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight time to pay for the country "export" tax of $27/person because the lines can get long.

Taxi Boat to Jaco:
There is only one taxi boat that leaves to Jaco, and it leaves at 7am. This information didn't match what was initially sent to me via email. To get there on time you would have to leave the hotel at 5am. The boat ride is apparently an hour, and the drive from Jaco to San Jose is then another 1-1.5 hours. I spoke to a couple that had just arrived from taking the taxi boat, and based on their experience I decided not to take this option. To be fair, there may only be one taxi boat due to it being the rainy season, so just be sure to ask this specific question ahead of time. About $20/person for shuttle from the hotel to the boat + $75/person for boat & transport to airport.

Private shuttle:
This is a 6 hour drive with a hotel tour guide. I'm not sure if it takes that long because there is some sightseeing along the way or not, but a 6 hour drive to arrive at the airport by 11am again meant leaving at 5am. It's a private shuttle, so the cost is more even though the time is longer. About $200/person.

The other option was to take a commuter plane from Tambor to San Jose (Juan Santamaria). A 25 minute drive from the hotel to the single landing strip airport in Tambor, a 30 minute flight, and you arrive in San Jose. Cost was about $20/person for shuttle from hotel to Tambor + $85/person airfare from San Jose to Tambor (+ $1/person airport tax + additional cost for any luggage over 30 lbs./person). This was the best option, however there was only one flight per day and it was at 2:45pm.

So the decision was to either wake up at 4am to get ready and check out for a 5am departure, or to leave the hotel a day early and stay in San Jose for the night before my flight. I chose the latter to help break up the travel time getting home. When I talked to one of the managers about my situation and asking for a refund for the last day, she said that they had a no-refund, no-cancellation policy because of these types of situations, and because they are not a walk-by type of hotel but rather more of a destination. If they could book my room, only then would they be willing to refund my money (- a 10% "administration fee"). For the record, I received an email saying they were able to book my room, but they "had to give a discounted rate in order to be able to rent it." Something is better than nothing.

While waiting for the flight, I spoke to a couple of other groups from the hotel and found out that they had the exact same experience, and thus the reason for all of us taking that flight. We were all pretty much split as to who thought the hotel was doing it on purpose, or at least not providing all of the relative, specific information up front. Because the hotel is located down the beach and away from any roads, they do not get any walk-up guests via foot traffic. Which turned out to be both a good thing and bad.

At the end of the day with the couple of exceptions mentioned above, the positives and experience of this hotel outweighed the negatives. Just be sure to read what they send you carefully, ask very specific questions about your departure times and associated modes of transportation, or even better to book what you need well in advance of your initial arrival.

  • Stayed August 2010
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Waverly. Pa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2011

Ylang-Ylang is in a beautiful setting with the jungle coming right up to the beach and with the rooms looking at the ocean. The value was good with 2 delicious meals included in with the daily rate. We hope to return here, You do need to fly from San Jose,,;otherwise it's a 6 hour trip from the capital.

  • Stayed February 2011, 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
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 Ylang Ylang Beach Resort

Address: Montezuma Beach | 10-12 minute walk North along the beach, Montezuma 00000, Costa Rica (Formerly El Sano Banano Beach Hotel)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Montezuma
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Montezuma
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Montezuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ylang Ylang Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This family-owned resort is known for its natural tropical beauty, variety of wildlife roaming the grounds and outstanding customer service. Located a 10-15 minute walk on the beach from Montezuma, one will find romantic Beach Front Bungalows with A/C, a Spa nestled in the jungle, and a tropical pool edged by waterfalls. If you're looking to get away, this is the getaway place. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ylang Ylang Beach Hotel Montezuma
Ylang Beach Hotel
Ylang Beach Resort

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