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“Beautiful Quiet Retreat”
Review of Cristal Azul

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Cristal Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 25, 2012

Beautiful, private resort with only 4 rooms on a mountain overlooking Playa San Miguel. The views are incredible from the rooms and from the common area. The rooms are super-clear, well-appointed, and very comfortable. Linens and towels were exceptionally high-quality. The rooms are a one-minute stroll from the large, common area, which includes a beautiful infinity pool, multiple chaise lounge chairs with great umbrellas and shade, a bar, dining area, pool table, and collection of games and other fun stuff. The whole setup is beautiful and well-maintained. While we were there, they owners replaced the pool chair cushions (which were really nice to start with) with even more comfortable cushions. Zene and her husband (whose name I am unsure of how to spell) are great hosts. They have beach chairs, coolers, umbrellas and other equipment that you can borrow for trips to the beach and excursions. The breakfast is fantastic and it's extremely pleasant to eat on the deck overlooking the ocean.

We had one dinner at the hotel and it was excellent. I appreciated that there is the option to dine there but I also appreciated that Zene encouraged us to get out and explore the area. We were never pressured to stay for dinner but we were certainly happy that we did, as the food was terrific.

A couple of things just worth noting. The drive to the property is 2 miles up a very rough road - you absolutely need a 4x4 to make the trip safely. Because the drive is a bit intense, we tried to minimize our trips off the property (also it's so enjoyable there that we were unmotivated to leave). Additionally, there is wildlife up on the mountainside. We saw monkeys, large bugs, toads, frogs, etc. We found it fun and exciting but if you are looking to avoid nature, then it might not be the ideal location.

This is an amazing little gem. We hope we can make it back again.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank AndyB22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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127 - 133 of 205 reviews

Reviewed January 24, 2012

We stayed with Zene and Henner for 7 days in Jan. We left feeling like their family. And the view. Oh my gosh. You could not find a more beautiful picture anywhere. To wake up hearing the birds and monkeys was an experiences also. If you want to feel pampered but truely in Costa Rica this is it. And do not give up when you start up the mountain road because they are there, all the way on the top of the world. Wonderful hosts! Wonderful food! Wonderful dogs! Wonderful paradise!


Randy and Carol of Hickman, California

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Carol E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2012

This is our preferred hotel in the Guanacaste Peninsula. Its rooms, swimming pool, views, entertainment areas, and friendly attention are the best in the entire area. Zene and Heiner definitively have put a lot of thought on creating a place that is very pleasant and still preserves the best character of Guanacaste.

Playa Coyote is one of the few lasting places in Costa Rica where you can still find together the tradition, tranquility, and stunning beauty of Guanacaste coast, and Cristal Azul is the best place to stay there.

My family, and friends have enjoyed there great memorable moments that can only happen with the sincere cordiality of the owners and the almost unreal beauty of the hotel location.

There are lots of things to do there to experience Guanacaste as in no other place. Zene and Heiner have kindly helped us organize many activities such as: see the 3 or 4 different species of turtles that nest around (depending on the season), several biological preserves near by, always successful fishing or snorkeling trips, shop for unique crafts with local artisans, photography trips to several fantastic beaches and places, horse riding on the beach, or simply get wet in clear water little rivers or little pools full of little fish at low tie. I particularly recommend the amazingly therapeutic walks at night or dawn looking for crabs and shells on the beach. Or more simply yet, to lay back and relax in the wide, long, and never crowded beach of Playa Coyote.

The last driving to the place you must do it with care; but there is great chances for other great views of the coast and some native animals (specially at dawn or sunset).

Room Tip: Rooms are few. Ask for the ones with a outdoor showers.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Carlos A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2011

My girlfriend and I wanted a place to stay that was far away from the tourist areas and provided scenic views and a place to relax and decompress for a few days. With Cristal Azul, we found paradise.

Located on a hill above Playa San Miguel, a fairly undiscovered beach on the Nicoya Peninsula about three hours from Liberia or San Jose, this hotel has breathtaking views and delightful hosts. Be prepared: getting there requires a 4X4 vehicle, and there are no paved roads for 30-50 miles. The road to the hotel is steep and requires some skill on the part of the driver. But man, is the journey worth it.

We stayed here for four nights and were treated like long-time friends by the owners, Zene and Henner. My girlfriend has several food allergies, and they catered to her needs without a problem. We had fresh fish each night and delicious tipico breakfasts with fresh fruit each day. Make sure to ask about Tanga's at Punta Coyote for lunch. If you are back to Cristal Azul by 5 p.m., you will soon enjoy a glorious sunset.

For the views, the relaxing environment and the great food and service, this place is an absolute steal. If you want to get away from the maddening crowd and enjoy beauty and tranquility with two wonderful hosts, check this place out. You will not regret it.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank GratefulDawg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2011

I just finished a 3 month research position at San Miguel with Pretoma, a sea turtle conservation organization. During my stay, I had the wonderful opportunity to dine, lounge, and sleep at Cristal Azul several times. Zene and Haner were gracious hosts, never ceasing to be a great help and wonderful company.

For the following reasons, the Cristal Azul will forever be on my list of favourite hotels:

1. The breathtaking view. The hotel is on the top of the hill looking over Playa San Miguel and several of it's southern neighboring beaches.
2. The ranchero. Provides a place to relax in the shade. Includes a kitchen (see food, below) and fully stocked bar. Plus games, a pool table, music, and books.
3. The delicious food. Lunches were elaborate seafood feasts. Breakfast was a satisfying platter of bacon, eggs, and toast.
4. The infinity fool. Nicely placed between the view and the ranchero.
5. The cabinas. Very comfortable, clean beds and sheets. Outdoor showers with hot water. Large bathrooms. Complete luxury.

I will always remember this place with fondness, and will be bringing my family when they come to visit Costa Rica!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled solo
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Thank Maddie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2011

Here's the deal...We booked the trip and used Paypal to put down the payment for the first night. All our communications had been great. The people were so nice. We called them in the afternoon and told them we would be taking the coastal road and planned to meet them around 1:00 p.m. We knew we had to crosss 3+ rivers. We had a four wheel drive and were told by everyone that we would have no trouble. We got to a river (not even on our map). There were workers who, because of the flooding, would not let us pass. We called our hosts and told them that we couldn't make it because by the time we turned around and went by another road, it would take us another eight hours or so to get to them. They refunded our money.

These are wonderful people. It was not their faults that we could not pass. However, we drove about three hours south before we got turned back. I would not hesitate to try this trip again a little deeper into the dry season. We cannot tell you about the accomodations, but the reviews from everyone who has stayed there have been glowing. The hosts returned our money because we could not get there. How wonderful is that? Stay with them. I'm sure you will love it. On our next trip, we will make it down to their wonderful location.

Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
Thank jwey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2011

We cannot rave enough, Cristal Azul is one of a kind. Plays San Miguel intrigued us after reading about it in the Lonely Planet Guide but we found Cristal Azul on our own and lucky for us! A hidden gem it was by far the nicest place in the area and the privacy is unparalleled. The town itself is tiny, much smaller than we expected. There are only three places to go for food and drinks and that is it. All are very run down and in need of desperate overhauls, and each has its own set of interesting characters running them, but perfectly fine to eat at. Lots of empty summer homes, random dogs, a few residents and one of the most beautiful, deserted beaches we saw while in Costa Rica. At Cristal Azul, we had a luxurious “family camp” type of environment with the most tasteful and gracious hosts. It was an oasis in paradise! We cannot express enough the privacy we had, and views that went on and on. Unlike other places we have stayed at, there is no public access allowed whatsoever. Open only to guests there are no locals coming thru, no public pool hours, and basically no need to lock your door! For this alone we would have paid double what they charge. And we really appreciated the gated entrance with the guard at night, safety and security were never an issue for us at Cristal Azul. There is a fully equipped, well designed and decorated bar and pool area were we could have spent every day but we made sure to take advantage of the gorgeous empty beach and things that are available in the area to do at our hosts urging. Henner and Zene are excellent resources for planning trips and activities and will set everything up for you. We didn’t go to Costa Rica to race down rivers or zip thru trees but there was enough to do in the San Miguel area to keep us active. Our cabina was quite large, bright and incredibly clean with oversized windows and outdoor showers. Perfectly crisp sheets and fluffy towels along with custom made bedding made it feel like home. Pool and beach towels were provided and we were given fresh ones daily. Each morning Boogey Boards, coolers and beach gear was neatly set-aside for us to use. Our breakfasts were beyond plentiful and delicious, as were lunch and dinners. Food, best in the area for sure, hands down. Fantastic, delicious and fresh! Everything, from the sunset cocktails and “bocas”, the ambiance, the incredible Latin music selection, a beautifully set table and the delicious food impressed us greatly. Simple and elegant, after our first meal here we didn’t dine elsewhere although we highly recommend a lunch at Tonga’s at the end of the beach. Henner and Zene are a great pair and staying here is a fantastic time not to be missed, perfect for the laid back discerning type! We have been home three months since our trip and we are already planning a return trip with other couples next spring…and discussing 2013 trip with our family and kids! Cristal Azul is that fantastic!

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank Julia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cristal Azul

Address: Norte Entrada de Residencias San Miguel 1KM, Playa San Miguel 50906, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa San Miguel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Playa San Miguel
Price Range: $141 - $254 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Cristal Azul 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cristal Azul is the perfect destination for those looking to step off the beaten path and experience what Costa Rica was like before the world arrived. A totally private property with no public access, guests enjoy 180’ panoramic ocean views and the ultimate in barefoot luxury in a rustic setting. Prepare to unplug, unwind, and get lost in paradise! Great times are had here and memories of a lifetime are created! Four cozy "cabinas" guarantee there is never a crowd; each is equipped with AC, ceiling fans, screened doors that let in the ocean breeze and sound of the surf below, hot water, outdoor garden showers, fine linens, Raw Botanicals organic bath products, and the most impressive views in the area. An oversized, open air Rancho provides a luxe “Glamping” experience with an honor bar and billiards table as well as dining and lounge area ample enough for all guests. The vanishing edge pool overlooks six miles of undeveloped beach and provides a front row seat to the most amazing stargazing under the canopy of the Milky Way! A full typical Costa Rican breakfast is served daily and a chef prepares dinner nightly for guests in the Rancho upon demand. The only Costa Rica owned and operated hotel in San Miguel, your hosts also own LocosCocos (#1 Restaurant in area, #1 Beach Bar in Costa Rica; Lonely Planet)which is a guest favorite for sunset dinners on the beach. It is also a great place to spend the day steps from the surf with cold beers and catch of the fresh fish and seafood ready at your beck and call! 4WD and love adventure required too reach this area! Reservations required-gated entrance for guests only. For best rates, book direct! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cristal Azul Hotel Playa San Miguel
Cristal Azul Costa Rica/Playa San Miguel

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