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“BAD Vibes, Checked-out EARLY!!”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 21, 2008

I chose this hotel because of the TA reviews. I never did meet the owners, they were traveling at the time. My experience was so horrible I checked out early!!
I have never been treated so rudely by a hotel manager in all of my years of travel. The manager was so disturbed by any little request that I began avoiding the front desk entirely, using the back set of stairs so as not to offend. Dirty cigarette butt-filled ashtrays were scattered throughout the hotel, including the reception desk, the lobby and the restaurant. The hotel manager was the biggest contributor to the stench. I never seen him without a cigarette. And while you may wake to the sound of the waves, the permeating smell of cigarette smoke, wafting up from below was so disgusting it canceled out any hope of delight. Such a beautiful location to be polluted by the constant stench.
At check-out time I wanted to pay with a credit card and after a heated verbal argument with the same hotel manager, he finally succumbed and took my credit card. This guy is in the wrong business.

The other staff members were friendly, some spoke English. Unfortunately I can not recommend this hotel to anyone unless the have a change of management.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank HappyTales4You
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 14, 2008

Banana Azul and Puerto Viejo are a must visit. Dont listen to any of the scary on line articles on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

My partner and I spent 1 week there and have visited Costa Rica on 2 other occasions on the Pacific coast and the interior. We love it all but maybe the caribbean coast the most.

The hotel is beautiful, clean, run efficiently and about a 25 minute walk into town. We rented bikes and rode into town or you can take a taxi. No car needed if you like to bike. The roads can be bumpy in this area and a little dusty.

Colin and Roberto and all the staff were amazing from the minute we pulled up. The staff is friendly, informative and make you feel right at home.

Food is great!!!! Breakfast is fresh fruit, juice,and lovely baked home made breads, with fresh eggs and all sorts of lovely items each day. Dinners are great too! Sea Bass, Filet Mignon, etc with dessert for 10-12 bucks! We ate at both the hotel and in town. WE loved all the restaurants serving delicious, healthy fresh foods.

The owners are wonderful and even drove us to meet our shuttle in the morning because they had left without us to San Jose.

The dogs are a great part of the trip, but totally behaved and unobtrusive. It was great seeing them everyday.

The people of Puerto Viejo are friendly and never was there any problems but always be conscious of your surroundings as in any place.

If you have wanted to try the "other side of Costa Rica", do it and stay at Banana Azul. It is just a tad out of the town but I thought it was just right. Grab a hammock and an Imperial and just enjoy as lazy or fulfilling vacation as you would like. Puerto Viejo and Banana Azul have it all.

Thanks again Colin and Roberto, we hope to return again soon.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank drdanieldc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2008

Banana Azul is beauitful! Loved my stay there! Staff are so wonderful, welcoming and accomodating. Stayed in the garden suite- very afforadable, a little close to the reception area- but truely beautiful room, with outdoor bath, hammock, and bedroom. Great food, great beach access. A little hike from downtown Puerto Viejo, but very tranquil. Wish I could have stayed longer!

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank helpfulhintsCR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2008

I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone! I booked our stay at Banana Azul based on the reviews on TripAdvisor and even with high expectations, I was amazed. This place really made our vacation special. It was our first trip to Costa Rica and I really didn't want to leave! We stayed in a standard room which was basic but clean and comfortable. I always felt safe, and compared to another hotel we stayed at, security was far better. The bathroom was awesome. The only thing missing was a mosquito net, which we asked for at the front desk and promptly received (we tried the first night with no net and got bitten, the best configuration seemed to be with the net and the doors closed).

The meals were fantastic (and a great value!). Breakfast was delicious with fresh fruit every day. I've never eaten so much pineapple and papaya in all my life! We only ate lunch once at the hotel, but dinner was the best. Most nights it was only $10+10% for a fantastic 3 course meal including fresh salad, a main course, and a dessert. We were never disappointed. Best of all was Franklin, the friendly bartender/waiter. He made the best gin & tonic I've had in a long time as well as fresh pina coladas and non-alcoholic juice smoothies.

We went on lots of tours through the hotel (definitely do the canopy/zip-line tour if you can!) and other days just played in the water (the beach is literally footsteps away). We had dinner with other guests and everyone was so friendly. The town was easily reachable by foot (although not a good idea in the mid-day sun or after dark) or by taxi.

A bit of travel advice, stay a night in San Jose before your flight. We thought we'd have plenty of time taking the Interbus back the day of our flight and ran into a huge traffic jam which delayed us 2 hours. We had to stay another night in San Jose since we missed our flight and the added stress and cost wasn't fun.

Overall, this has to be one of the best small hotels I've ever stayed at and it really made the vacation. I can't wait till I can go back!

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank djkronik57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2008

The Banana Azul is a gem on the Carribean side. It is right on a beautiful and pretty much deserted beach with waves big enough to bodysurf or boogie board but not so big they tire you out. The rooms are clean and pretty private, we stayed in the Dolphin Room which is at the end and overlooks the driveway/courtyard but it was really never noisy or anything. All the rooms have a beach view and view of the beautiful fan palm tree in the courtyard. The dining area has these green chairs which glow in the afternoon sun and it's just so amazing looking. The food was excellent, breakfast lunch and dinner, and extremely reasonable prices! I don't think we really ate anywhere else except when we went on a couple excursions. The helpful staff makes you feel very welcome and at home, they go out of their way to help you if you need it, or just to talk to you!... something that was missing from a couple places we stayed in CR. Go on the jungle hike and go to the sloth sanctuary down the road near Cahuita, it was the best experience to meet some sweet little sloths in person!
The ONLY gripe about the Banana is that the beds are not the most comfortable, but the overall experience was wonderful and we would stay there again regardless!

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sbnative22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2008

We can't say enough how amazing this place is: a little oasis in the middle of an out-of-the-way surfer town. We found it by way of some friends who discovered it on Trip Advisor -- and we bought plane tickets the night we read all the great reviews. None of them exaggerate; in fact, they don't do justice to Banana Azul.

First, the management and staff of the hotel (esp. Colin, Roberto and Michel) are welcoming, more than accommodating and feel like people you've known forever. They are relaxed but responsive and always willing to offer suggestions or impressions of restaurants, trips, etc. They also have solid connections and are highly respected in town. When they found out we were celebating our first wedding anniversary, Roberto called in a favor to a local restaurant we wanted to try and arranged a special reception for us.

The rooms, grounds/beachfront and restaurant are impeccably well maintained. And you will read this everywhere, but the food is truly amazing (and we are serious food people!). The fact that breakfast -- with all the gorgeous fruit and hot dishes -- is included in the rate is astounding. You'd be hard pressed to find service like this nearly anywhere else.

We made a list before we departed of all the cool activities and restaurants other travelers had suggested in their reviews and attempted to experience as many of them as possible. The reviews contain some great tips. Among our favorites: zip lining in the jungle, rappelling in the waterfall, and horseback riding on the beach. Rather than repeat what's already been said, we recommend you check out the other reviews, write down your favorites and just go!

For eight days, we walked everywhere, ate well, were super active during the day and generally loved the getaway from reality. Go here; you will be impressed.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kRw07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2008

My husband and I stayed at Banana Azul and we were both throughly impressed, not only with the friendly atmosphere, the accomidations, the location and the service but one thing I didn't see mentioned too often was how delicious and wonderfully priced their meals were. Breakfast was delicious and huge, served with fresh fruit. Dinner was *MORE* than abundant, delicious, well thought out and well executed all that for a steal! A HUGE filet mingon, mashed potatoes, veggies, lasagana and a salad bar with bread for $12? Sign me up!

The location was wonderful, the beach was empty, perfectly clean, clean water and after walking down the coast a considerable amount it was by far the cleanest location around. As we got closer to town the water and beach were a little bit more...well used :) Banana azul is away from the hustle and bustle of the town but close enough to walk.

The hotel staff and owners were wonderful and as other people have said really do make you feel included and welcome. There is always a friendly hello waiting for you. This was our last stop on our trip and Banana Azul made it hard for us to leave the country. We will 100% be returning.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank stinkyshermy
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 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range: $66 - $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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