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“great place - make sure you bring your e-mail confirmations!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Sano Banano Village Hotel

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El Sano Banano Village Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Main Road - Town Center, Montezuma, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 19 Hotels in Montezuma
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“great place - make sure you bring your e-mail confirmations!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2009

I have stayed at this place a couple of times and think it is great value for money - especially when you take into consideration that you can use the facilities at Ylang Ylang (the pricer partner) down the beach. Fabulous food at both places. The only criticim I have is that the last time I went I had booked two double rooms, and specified that I wanted one with two single beds and one double. It was New Year so the town was packed and I am sure they had overbooked - they tried to give us one room with two double beds. I had booked months in advance to avoid this kind of thing - although they at first insisted it wouldn't be possible, after I produced the e-mails (where they had confirmed the two rooms with the single and double beds) they suddenly found a way to make it happen. Otherwise, as I said, great place - great food - I love Montezuma and I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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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165 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
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los angeles
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2009

The rooms were comfortable and service good. The location was good too, but in Montezuma almost everything is within 5 minutes.

It was raining, so the tours we hoped to take were basically all canceled. That did, however, give us an opportunity to spend an afternoon and evening at the sister resort down the beach, the Ylang Ylang. That was very relaxing as we had good drinks and food while we listened to the rain pound away.

One note, this probably isn't unique to the Sano Banano considering the climate, but the reception/restaurant area is floored with glazed tiles which can be very slippery when wet. Watch out.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
New York, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2009

We really hated the town of Montezuma and the Sano Banano in general. Well, maybe hate is a strong word but I've never really wished for a vacation to be over before this trip. What everyone says is true, the rooms are dark, musty and stuffy since you cannot open the windows. The air conditioning is a nice touch but I would rather have the option of at least opening the windows. And don't believe the reviews that say the rooms are soundproof. We had a room right next to the kitchen and every morning early morning I was woken by the sound of clanking dishes, moving furniture or stacking and unstacking chairs. We usually went to eat breakfast by 7 or earlier because it was impossible to sleep. Since our room faced the street I also heard the delivery trucks at the supermarket next door every morning. Also, since our room faced the street we never felt comfortable opening the blinds so the room was always dark and really miserable to be in.

There is a free breakfast included in the rate, but the food is mediocre and bland and we actually paid to eat elsewhere rather than eating there every day. The waitstaff is friendly but the woman at the front desk seemed like she always had an attitude (and we are from New York City-definitely used to attitudes). Literally seconds after we arrived she tried to insist that we had to sign up for a tour the following day or there wouldn't be spots left and we were like, "Jeez, can we relax a minute!!!" We actually made it a point to book tours outside of the hotel just so the cash wouldn't go in her pocket. Also, they said on the website having traveler's checks is fine but no one in the town (including the hotel) takes traveler's checks so the day we arrived we had to take a taxi to the bank in Cobano (about 20 minutes away) and change most all of our money. Waiting at the bank took about 2 hours, I do not recommend it.

Anyway, the beach in Montezuma is filthy, there is so much trash washed up on shore it's disgusting and was rather shocking since Costa Rica touts itself as such an environmentally friendly haven. We practically wanted to organize a beach clean up.

I would post pictures of the filthy beach but our fourth day there (We were farther down the beach on Playa Grande) our backpack and camera were stolen. We let our guard down for literally a second and someone came and snatched our bag and fled into the woods. We then found a chair and a clearing in the woods behind the beach where this person had apparently been watching us all afternoon just waiting for the right moment to rob us which was rather creepy. I speak spanish and after speaking to some of the security guards on the beach, they told me that unfortunately robberies along the beach are very common and that it's good that we didn't catch the guy who robbed us because they tend to be armed with guns or knives. Great!. The security guards were nice but said they couldn't do anything We really were not feeling the Pura Vida spirit. In fact, when we told the people at the hotel they had the same reaction. Just shrugged and said this stuff happens-it's a gang of teenagers who live in another city and come to Montezuma to rob tourists. So apparently they know who it is and it happens all the time but nothing can be done about it. Great. I just wish there had been more warnings about it or signs posted or something.

The town of Montezuma itself is nice for maybe one day but after that it is boring and none of the restaurants are particularly good. I would not recommend it for anyone over the age of 22. My husband and I are both 30 and still like to party and have a good time but that was not to be in Montezuma. It's filled with a bunch of ex-pats who for some reason thought it was a good idea to open up restaurants making lasagna, pizza, and organic vegetarian food in Costa Rica. Fine. Whatever, but the food they made was not even remotely good. We found it hard to get any kind of really good authentic or even Latin food there. Instead we found ourselves eating a lot of bland tofu, bland Italian food, bland fish and so on.
There was one good barbecue place on the corner but I could have gotten the same food at home. The bars play awful American music that make you feel like you're at a frat party in the United States. Chico's bar even has strobe lights and smoke machines. We preferred just sitting on the beach at night.

And finally, my husband is black and tall and so we couldn't walk two feet without someone coming up to us calling him negro (spanish for black) and trying to offer him cocaine. Costa Ricans in the town were constantly looking at him suspiciously because apparently most black people in Costa Rica are poor and live on the Caribbean coast. We found that amusing since we were actually the ones who were victims of crime and my husband is a college professor. I think if you're looking for a very inauthentic Costa Rican experience, with bland American food, a ton of American ex pats, a filthy beach and the high likelihood that you will be robbed then you might just enjoy Montezuma. Similarly, if you want to stay in a dark, musty,noisy, and stuffy room stay at the Sano Banano. I think there are much better deals in town with more privacy and more outdoor space to relax.

Overall, we just found our experience at Sano Banano and in Montezuma very disappointing.

  • Liked — The warm weather
  • Disliked — Everything else
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2009

We originally had a reservation at El Sano Banano as we read in TripAdvisor what a value it was. Yes, it is a value for $75 a night and the room was clean, but the windows in the rooms did not open. When they showed us our room, the room smelled musty, which was a deal killer for my husband who has allergies. The bathroom was moldy. Also, the room did not have a safe, which is not tenable. When you want to lay on the beach, you can't have your passports out in the open on the beach. They have a TV, but at best, it's a 10 inch TV which they didn't have a remote control for. The curtains did not close at all. We were essentially exposed.

We went down to the reception and checked into the sister hotel, Ylang, Ylang which also proved to be a problem, but at least they said that they did not charge us for the Hotel Sano Banano.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — windows that didn't open, musty and moldy bathroom, no blinds or curtains, etc.
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uumatter, Administrator at El Sano Banano Village Hotel, responded to this review, January 21, 2009
Since you, in all honesty, did not stay at the El Sano Banano Village Hotel, I think your review is quite misleading.

The Rooms are clean, the curtains work just fine and the TV's are 14 inch. Regarding any musty odor and mold in the bathrooms, this is very unlikely as our units are air conditioned.

The rooms are secure units and have fixed glass for sound barrier & energy saving reasons. They have quiet AC's and warm showers.

The rate is for double occupancy & includes breakfast as well as all taxes and service fees... no hidden costs. At $75/nite, it's a real deal.

I personally believe that no matter how good the accommodation or food may be, a negative comment would be forthcoming in lieu of the effort and love put into it.

Nevertheless, El Sano Banano offers the best deal in town and our friendly staff welcomes you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2009

The rooms will not match the photo on the site. The rooms have beds on rocks, swimming blind and the room locked with a glass instead of the window (not transparent)
Upon ceck-in fact I have a room that did not respect the photos on the site but the manager has not even submitted to talk to me, saying to the employee (by telephone) that if I did not want the room had to pay the total price of days booked ....
I strongly advise and the advise to all those who wish to make a stay in Montezuma.
It is not honest!

  • Liked — nothing
  • Disliked — all
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
batavia il
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2009

It was a result of the reviews read here that I booked us into the El Sano Banano. I am so glad that I did!! Everything about this place made us happy. Our room was simple but very clean, had comfortable beds and linens and although it over looked the road in front of the Inn it was virtually sound proof. This hotel really did exceed our expectations.

Montezuma itself can best be described as a mecca for those with a bit of the bohemian in their psyche. There is a definite mood about the place that is so mellow. Although there are many reasons that we loved this hotel one of our favorite was sipping excellent coffee at the outside table and watching the town spring to life. It sits on a fairly narrow and the only main road through the small village. It's amazing the activity from trucks delivering fresh fruits, veggies and supplies for the grocery store next door (which by the way was the only place that we found the people to be somewhat unfriendly) to the street dogs that everyone feeds and are so mellow that they simply lie down in the street or at your feet or anywhere else they're inclined to. There's the street people...harmless as well and the tourists and locals that share a distinct look of really not caring what the hell anyone thinks of them which is really refreshing.

The food was out of this world!! They don't offer red meat but they do offer sea food and chicken and the some of the best vegetarian food we've ever eaten. They also serve wine and liquor and they never failed to dissappoint us when they offered a suggestion from the bar or kitchen.

The management (Dagmar) works the reception and seems to know all the guests names and is so incredibly professional and at the same time very warm and your comfort is truly at the forefront of all the employees minds. Julio was our server for almost all of our meals and we would have packed him in our suitcase and brought him home if we could have. He's such a dear young man and never once made a suggestion for a menu item that disappointed us.

We did spend afternoons at the Ylang Ylang Beach Club which is the sister property of this one. We liked the pool and it was actually cooler and more refreshing than the ocean. Danny waited on us for lunch and he was so helpful, compatent and the food here was amazing as well.

The showers are huge and we never wanted for hot water.

We were really concerned that we would be disappointed that we didn't stay at the Ylang Ylang but after staying here we know we made the right choice. The rooms are the best value in Montezuma and we usually stay at only the best so we we're not easily impressed by a hotel but we were by this one and it is the one that we will return to next year.

That said, if you're the type of person that doesn't necessarily need to get a gimpse of the local culture or you're turned off by Hippies, Rastas, Free thinkers and the "whole earth, all one people" mentality you would probably be better off at the Ylang Ylang.

  • Liked — Location, Food, Staff
  • Disliked — Absolutely nothing!
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 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.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2008

Really can't say anything but wonderful things about my experience at Sano Banano. Everyone from Yamileth and the cute boy (who's name I can't remember) at the front desk to Mario (he does EVERYTHING) to Christian and Juan my favorite servers in the restaurant, I had an absolutely great experience! I LOVED room #5. It had windows looking out on the back side of the main street. It was very quiet considering it was downtown. It was also wonderful to be able to use the pool and other facilities at Ylang-Ylang Resort, the sister resort down the beach. (Danny was an excellent server at Ylang-Ylang!)
I was in Montezuma for my friends wedding at Ylang Ylang. For the money El Sano Banano really was wonderful! The shower was HUGE! Breakfast was great - especially the banana pancakes with citrus syrup!The movie in the evening is also a big plus. The hotel is very centrally located so that you can walk anywhere you want in a matter of seconds or minutes. The mercantile is RIGHT next door as well! Sitting and watching everyone on the front patio of the restaurant while drinking coffee every morning was one of my favorite things to do! (Thank you Juan and Christian for keeping my cup full!) The hotel was so clean and they have wonderful employees!! I slept like a rock every night.
I think I preferred staying in town rather than the resort down the beach just because I love people watching and it was only a short walk down to the resort.

  • Liked — The employees and the convenience
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Sano Banano Village Hotel

Address: Main Road - Town Center, Montezuma, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Montezuma
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 19 Hotels in Montezuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — El Sano Banano Village Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the main street in the heart of Montezuma, this hotel offers 11 comfortable rooms that are economically priced just a block from the beach. The rooms are above the well-known restaurant and have A.C., hot showers and SkyTV. The rooms are quiet and secure for those who prefer in-town comfort. Breakfast is included and the hotel guests are welcome to use the pool and hammocks at Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, just a 10-12 minute walk on the beach from Montezuma. ... more   less 
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