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“Some places get it right, this is one of them”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 17, 2012

Had a enjoyable 4 night stay at Banana Azul, and can now heartily agree with all the positive reviews. A beautiful beach steps from the hotel. Great, filling food in the restaurant at good prices. Coffee service on the beach at 5:30am (huge bonus points for this). Friendly staff all around, Christian, David, Roberto, Silver et al. Bar service also on the beach; more bonus points for chilled coconuts brought around late morning. Always a friendly and protective dog to sit with you on the beach or take a walk with you. Lush gardens and a nicely sized pool, not to mention all the wonderful birds and the sloth hanging out right above the chairs on the beach.

Fantastic rooms ~ I stayed 1 night in the Howler Suite and 3 in the newly remodeled Red Frog Room. The Howler Suite had an excellent breeze, lovely view of the beach, huge bathroom w/jacuzzi tub, and very generous deck; the Red Frog was brand spanking new and they did a thoughtful and creative remodeling job. The Red Frog now has 2 large ceiling height doorways that lead to your own garden area, an additional door leading from the bathroom, a/c (which was nice to have at night) and a tv (which I didn't use). The patio remains as it was - large with several seating arrangements, a table and your own koi pond. Sealing the deal was an orange tabby, the friendliest cat I have come across.

Colin the owner is a delight to talk with and obviously cares about each individual enjoying their stay. If you are looking for a very reasonably priced hotel to stay at, with beach at your doorstep and more challenging activities close by, I would not hesitate to recommend Banana Azul. Cheers!

Room Tip: The Howler Suite if you want to wake up looking at the beach and ocean; the Red Frog if you prefer a...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank midori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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840 - 846 of 1,479 reviews

Reviewed June 15, 2012

Our experience with Banana Azul was fantastic even though this was not the place for us. We selected this hotel for our honeymoon and thought that the room we selected would offer the privacy we needed. The resort is very nice and the security and service was great. We tried to change rooms but none that were available at the time would suffice. We did however decide to change hotels and go to another place we had stayed before.

The staff and owners were more than accommodating and are in large part why we are so happy with our experience. Things happen, but when they do it says a lot about a place when they handle it wonderfully! Many of the rooms are open air, and I can not fault them for being explicitly what they are. I thought because I selected a room with AC that it would be more private. I do hear that they have other accommodations that are more private. Although this was not the place for us we were very happy with the respect we were treated with. Good service goes a long way and if this is a setting you love then this is the best there is!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank wtb1086
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2012

Having just returned from a third trip to Costa Rica, I think I can safely say that the Banana Azul was the most welcoming, beautiful property I've experienced in Costa Rica. The gardens are lush, the beach is beautiful and secluded and the staff extremely welcoming. Would most definitely recommend this property to any visitor to Puerto Viejo and fully intend to visit again.

Room Tip: The Howler Suite is probably the best room in the main building. For added privacy, book the apartme...
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank sir_radley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2012

We waited for 2 years to get to Banana Azul but it was surely worth the wait! It provided everything we look for in a getaway--comfortable accomodations, friendly staff, beautiful and natural surroundings, and far away from the crowds and hub-bub of some spots. We loved the small, intimate feel with just a handful of other guests. The gardens were unbelievably beautiful. We appreciated the refreshing pool. The food was reasonably priced and absolutely delicious! Our favorite was the ocean at the doorstep! We couldn't believe that this gorgeous stretch of beach was either ours alone for much of the day or shared by so few others! We SURELY will return as soon as possible!!
Lynne and Carl H.

Room Tip: We appreciated the AC in the Garden Bath Room as well as the delightful, private room with soaking t...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lynne507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2012

Potential guests should not consider this place a 'hotel' in the traditional sense: Banana Azul is more like a luxury hostel. The rooms have limited privacy, no air conditioning (with a few exceptions), and almost no amenities beyond a pool (and of course the lovely area of Puerto Viejo). You get what you pay for: a uniquely beautiful beach, a decent but not outstanding kitchen, reasonably priced drinks, nice gardens, enough 'I am totally isolated from the outside world' vibe to make you forget even the most pressing problem back home, and the best cat you will ever meet. The staff were generally friendly and willing to help out. This is THE place to go if you are looking to just get away from everything and sit on a beach for a week or two (or go zip lining, white water rafting, snorkeling, etc.)

That said, I give this place an 'average' rating for the following reasons.

First, our room was in rather poor condition. We stayed in the Sloth Cabinas, which admittedly are the lower-end rooms. Our bathroom did not feel like it had been properly cleaned in a while. The floor had lots of grime that looked like it had been ground into the tile, while the shower was filled with hair, soap scum, and mildew. Moreover, the entire Sloth Cabinas facility smells terribly musty and dank. Just because Banana Azul offers 'Cabinas' is not an excuse to allow mold to run wild. Our bed was a lumpy old spring mattress with lumpy old moldly smelling pillows. Weak.

Secondly, the hotel allows a huge number of (presumably) wild dogs to roam freely around their establishments. When you are walking on the beach, packs of dogs--often six or seven at a time--follow you for miles, regardless of how much you admonish them to stay away. How is this Banana Azul's problem? They encourage the dogs to hang around by feeding them once or twice a day. It's annoying if you just want a few moments peace on the beach to have packs of dogs hovering around you begging.

Thirdly, for an establishment that prides itself on being an 'adventurous' alternative to pre-fab vacations, they certainly try their best to make you pay for the 'adventure'. They offer no 'free' amenities beyond the swimming pool--everything else will cost you $5. They have a huge stack of boogie boards that mostly just sit around in the corner all day because no one is willing to pay $5 an hour to use them. To the Banana Azul staff: just make the bikes, boogie boards, and snorkel gear free guys--your customers will thank you for it.

Finally, while the staff were almost uniformly friendly, I did feel like most of them were there for the paycheck. I didn't feel like anyone was genuinely interested in how my stay was going, whether I was having a good time, or whether my meal was cooked perfectly. Moreover, one sever in particular, Eduardo, seemed to have a slight attitude with us the whole time, refusing to let me order drinks for my girlfriend at the bar until she came over and told him herself what she wanted. This happened several times and was not the result of a miscommunication or language barrier. It appeared he was giving me a lesson in civility which I did not appreciate.

The little details matter, and while Banana Azul gets the big picture right, they still need to improve their attention to detail to become a five-star rating in my mind.

Room Tip: Stay in any room except the Sloth Cabinas and you should be fine! The other rooms looked pretty nice...
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Rocky C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2012

I can't say enough wonderful things about Hotel Banana Azul and its staff. The hotel itself absolutely stunning! The grounds have lush gardens, there is a small pool and bubble pool for sunning, and the beach is a stone's throw from the hotel. The beach has many lounge chairs with umbrellas.....however most of the time I had the beach to myself! The breakfast was wonderful everyday. They have serve yourself cereals and fruits, and then one or two hot entrees. I only had dinner at the hotel once, but it was delicious (red snapper.) The bar was great and the bartenders were friendly and professional.

I stayed in the apartment and loved it! It has a beautiful funky vibe to it.....I honestly could have lived there for weeks! We had a stretch of pretty hot weather when I was there, and the soaking tub with cool water felt so good after a long hot day! I had no need for air conditioning, even with temperatures in the 90's. The bedrooms have circulating fans in the ceiling that really cool the room off.

The staff really make the experience at Hotel Banana Azul. The were all warm and welcoming and completely focused on their guests. I thankfully had no problems when I was there, but I would imagine if something did come up, they would be on it immediately. I would not hesitate to encourage people to stay at Hotel Banana Azul. It is a gem!

Room Tip: The apartment is fantastic!
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Jennifer C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2012

After spending the first month in so so hotels and cabinas I found a jewel. I spent the next 4 weeks at Banana Azul and could not have been happier. The staff are some of the most professional and courteous employees I have been around in a long time. The prices for lodging , meals and cocktails were very reasonable. I would just like to say thank you to all the staff and to Colin for making this a great experience and will recommend Banana Azul to everyone I know.
Once again thanks.
Robert(San Diego)

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Robert S
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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range: $74 - $162 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Banana Azul 3.5*
Number of rooms: 18
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 22 beautiful guest rooms with private baths, fans (some with A/C), and free WiFi. 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. Caribe Fun Tours 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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