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“Beautiful beach, welcoming staff, so-so food and not much privacy”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 18, 2013

I had a lovely stay at the Banana Azul in September, but I am a touch surprised that it is the number one ranked hotel in the area. The service, in general, was some of the friendliest that I have had, and I don't think I could ever get tired of lounging on such a gorgeous, secluded beach.

However, I certainly wouldn't recommend the hotel for a romantic getaway (unless you can reserve one of the suites--from the reviews it sounds like they are more private). The Ocean Room where I stayed completely lacked privacy. I could hear everything being said in the rooms next to me, and the balcony is divided only with folding screens. Wouldn't seem to be such a big deal, but as the room itself is a tad on the small side (not a problem), I am sure most people keep the big french doors to the balcony open so the fresh air can circulate (wonderful--just not private).

As for the food... Because the beach tables and chairs are just so deliciously inviting, we decided to eat lunch there a couple of days so as to not have to pry ourselves away. Unfortunately, that was a mistake. Unless you like Cheez Wiz, which I can't say I have really enjoyed since the 80s. We had dinner one night, which was much better--a typical Caribbean-style barbecue. All in all, though, you'd be better off eating somewhere in town or at one of the nice restaurants along the road just outside of town.

I would stay here again, but have slightly different expectations.

Room Tip: Choose a suite for more privacy.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Carrie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 17, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I stayed here 4 days and loved every minute of it. We stayed in #9 garden room, everything about the room was amazing. The bar and restaurant had amazing food and drinks all day. The hotel grounds are perfectly maintained and are inviting and relaxing. We used gecko travel to book our trip and they have an office on site which was helpful. The hotel is so close you can hear the waves crashing while your eating at the bar. The staff were so nice, helpful and fun. The night we arrived we used the on site laundry service and our clothes were ready the next morning. They have a massage therapist on site and he came and gave my wife and I a hand massage on the beach. The business district is close enough to walk or ride a bike, we took a cab to town which cost $4 usd, then walked back and had a beer at a bar on the way back. They have 2 dogs and a cat onsite which my wife and I are animal lovers ourselves and having to leave our 'kids' at home made new friends during our stay. We will be returning to this place, Pura Vida

Stayed: December 2013
Thank Medicmoore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2013

This was my third and my husband's second visit to Costa Rica. I've only been to the Pacific side so we wanted to explore the Caribbean side a bit. In exploring the options the positive reviews and value of Banana Azul peaked our interest and we decided to book our annual Thanksgiving trip there. We wanted to be very unambitious with this trip, maximum beach time and lounging. The option of a room with a private pool for such an affordable price was too good to pass up.

The journey from San Jose is not difficult and Gecko Trail Adventures helped us book the transportation which was quite affordable. It's about 4+ hours depending on the traffic and the roads are windy and can be bumpy. If that doesn't suit you you might want to look into flying from San Jose which we might consider next time.

Check in was super smooth and we were really pleased with our room which I'll elaborate on more below. We found the food to be yummy and satisfying and ate many of our meals on the property out of convenience and satisfaction. I'd agree with some of the other reviews that having a few more options from the day menu available at dinner might be good but I understand that might be a bit hard at the moment. The staff were friendly and accommodating.

The grounds are just gorgeous and considering it's the jungle and the beach, impeccably clean. There are critters but really not as many as I've experienced in other parts of C.A. and we did pretty well with our natural bug spray which you only really need when there isn't a breeze.

Some of the activities we did locally were rent the bikes and ride to Punta Uva to check out some different beaches on the way. The bikes are single speed so even though it's only about 7-8 miles, it's not going to be super quick. We ate in town and at one of the local fancier restaurants one night and really enjoyed the variety. My husband went on a fishing trip with a local fisherman and caught a few mackerel which the chef prepared for our dinner and they were absolutely delicious. I took some yoga classes at a nearby studio that has 8:30 AM yoga Monday-Friday and both days I went I was the only student so a private lesson for $8 can't be beat!

I do hope to make it back someday and definitely recommend it for you to consider for your Costa Rican/Caribbean holiday.

Room Tip: We loved the Red Frog room. It was the perfect size for us, not too big or small. We appreciated the...
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Molly N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2013

The hotel is very nice, service friendly, the beach is great. What is not so recommendable are the rooms downstairs, there is no window at all and a lot of noise from people walking in the upper floor. Apart it would be great if in the night the "normal menu" would be available.

Room Tip: Ocean view rooms are great!
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Chillango
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2013

We were looking for a great place to stay in Puerto Viejo area and asked a friend who recommended Banana Azul without reservation. The property is immaculate and comfortable. The staff are friendly and accommodating. Its location is convenient on the beach, and very accessible to town and country activities. I'd recommend this hotel to anybody looking to stay in this area.

Room Tip: Book in advance - it's a popular location should you decide to stay an extra day or two!
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2013

We loved Banana Azul. The staff and service was amazing, food was delicious, drinks were cold, the property is beautiful...loved the fish and the turtles, rooms were awesome...we LOVED the howler suite, very open, great view of the beach (closest one) huge patio, can watch the waves from the giant bathtub. We also stayed in and liked the red frog suite but we preferred being on the second floor and having a view (howler). The hotel has everything you need for a wonderful vacation, awesome little umbrella huts and chairs on the beach. Breakfast was wonderful. It is a little ways out of town, we walked to town the first day on the beach (saw the wild horses and many dogs!) and then rented bikes all the other days (very nice bikes and only 6 bucks a day...totally worth it to check out all the other beaches etc) and when we went into town at night for dinner or drinks we would just get the front desk to get us a taxi (i think it was 4 dollars). Also great that gecko trail adventures is located at this hotel as they were also amazing. Loved the hotel pets also! Had a bug net in the howler suite as it is so open and had some cool visitors in our room but what else do you expect being on the beach and in the jungle...we loved it! Will definitely recommend this hotel and will definitely return.

Room Tip: We stayed in both the howler suite and the red frog suite and the howler is AMAZING! We definitely l...
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank tasha_tro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2013

We live in Costa Rica. This was our second time at Banana Azul, and it is our hotel of choice in Puerto Viejo. Beautiful small hotel with real Caribbean flavor in southern Cost Rica. Grounds are beautifully landscaped, and there is a great koi pond that runs along the edge of the lobby/restaurant. The hotel is located on a long, beautiful stretch of black sand beach. Rooms are lovely and clean, but without air-conditioning, which you don't really need because of the sea breeze. You sleep under mosquito netting with the doors and windows open, or you can forego the mosquito netting, close the doors and sleep under fans. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Food is great, especially the Sunday night Caribbean BBQ. Online reservation system can be tricky, but don't let that dissuade you. Just call the hotel for help with reservations if it gives you trouble. Great tours and massage services available onsite.

Room Tip: Some rooms are closer to the beach and have better views than others, but these rooms are above the...
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank RetroBeto
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 Family 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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