We stayed at the Hotel Banana Azul in early October, 2012
Getting there: Not an easy task. The hotel is about a 4 ½ to 5 hour drive from the San Jose Airport over winding, twisting roads so you will need a rental car or hire a transport to take you there. If you are driving, you need to leave San Jose by 2 PM latest. It is dark by 6 PM year round, the roads are narrow and winding, and if you are not used to driving them, it could prove a significant challenge. We have driven in Costa Rica before, and even for us it was a little nerve racking at the end of the trip when it was getting dark.
Accessibility: there is a small ramp from the parking lot into the lobby. The bar and restaurant area are on the first level, as are a couple of guest rooms and there is a ramp over the koi pond to the pool. There is a decent path to the beach that anyone. including those in wheel chairs, should be able to navigate.
Special note: There is a resident cat and two dogs on the property. Because the lobby/restaurant/bar have no walls or doors, the dogs and cats keep native wildlife from coming to visit the guests. They do their job very well. You may return to your room to find a cat lounging on your bed, or you may have to step over a sleeping dog or cat on the stairs on the way up to your room.
Rooms: are somewhat small but lovely. There is a wicker “closet” with a small rod and a couple of hangers, and three shelves covered by a pretty drape. There is also a shelf unit in the corner that you can use to put things on. There is a night side stand that has a lock for placing valuables in. The bathroom is large and squeaky clean, with a bromeliad in a piece of drift wood hanging from the ceiling of the shower (please spray daily) There is a wonderful balcony with a hammock, Adirondack chair, table and a couple of benches where you can hang out and enjoy the ocean breezes.
Bar/restaurant: There is a small, very friendly bar, with great bar tenders. The margaritas and the mojitos are GREAT. Small but serviceable selection of wines to have with dinner. Breakfast (included in the rate) starts with juice, fresh fruit, coffee or tea. There are also several cereals on the breakfast bar. Hot breakfast is a choice of standard breakfast (rice and beans, eggs, toast) or the daily special, which when we were there were burritos, yucca hash brown with eggs, and egg Benedict. All of the breakfast are cooked to order, and are delicious. Thank you Franklin for the great service and the offer of fresh coconut water. Dinner is a set menu, with a choice of beef, fish or vegetarian. The price is always extremely reasonable (much more reasonable than town) and cooked to order. We ate dinner there every night, and found the food to be well prepared and delicious.
Beach: there is a several mile beach for walking. It is essentially deserted on the weekdays, and only slightly busier on weekends. There are lounge chairs, umbrellas and lots of trees to provide shade during the hot midday sun. In the morning the hotel puts coffee out on the beach starting at 6 AM. Nice way to wake up. The only draw back is the rip tides that may carry you out. There are warnings posted in several locations, including instructions on how to get out of a rip tide if you are caught in one. While most of the guests braved the waves and possible rip tides, we chose to take long walks on the beach instead.
There is a tour company on site to help you plan excursions. There is a delightful animal rescue center near-by where a guide provides an educational tour of the facility, including the monkey house where you can play with and hold baby monkeys. The hotel also has several bicycles for rent. The town of Puerto Viejo is about a 20 minute walk or a 10 minute bicycle ride. The town is not for everyone. The surfer, backpacker, and counterculture crowds are firmly rooted here and dominate the scene.
- 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