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“Unbelievable!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
British Columbia
1 review
“Unbelievable!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2008

Banana Azul is truly a tropical paradise. We stayed there for 15 days and it wasn't long enough! The accommodation surpassed our wildest expectations. It is meticulous, unique and affordable. The included breakfasts were varied and delicious, the hamburgesas and choice of grilled sandwiches for lunch fabulous and the dinners were to die for! In fact, perhaps we did expire and were in heaven! Every night they had a salad bar and a choice of 2 entrees and the food was so good we only headed into Puerta Viejo for dinner once . . that was a Sunday as their restaurant was closed. The hosts, Colin and Roberto, were wonderful as were all staff who proved to be helpful and accommodating. It is apparent that they are very happy to be working at Banana Azul. The grounds are spectacular thanks to master landscaper, Rick, and Nina, in the office was a delight to deal with. She arranged our river rafting adventure (this is not to be missed . . unbelievable) and our overnighter to Tortaguero for a real jungle adventure. If you plan on visiting Puerta Viejo, Banana Azul is the best place to stay. You will not be disappointed. WE LOVED IT!

  • Liked — Absolutly everything
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Littlesirecho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,412 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (382)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Campbell River, BC
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2008

Staying at Banana Azul was like staying with family. Colin and Roberto made our vacation very special. It was by far the best trip we have ever had. Their entire staff went out of their way to make us comfortable. Always attempting to communicate with us despite the language barrier. Nina and Augustine were always helpful with excursions. The gardens are beautiful and gardener Rick was always eager to share his latest plant discoveries. Meals at the restaurant were excellent and always varied. We ended up not eating anywhere else. The nearly secluded miles of sandy beaches that sit out front of the hotel provided daily walks of early morning solitude. If you want a unique vacation that feels like home Banana Azul is the place to go. I know we will be back.
Colleen and Ken, Campbell River, BC, Canada

  • Liked — The friendly staff.
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank c0la
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, CA
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2008

What an amazing vacation experience we had at Banana Azul. Colin and Roberto and staff are nothing short of spectacular. This is a quaint and cozy B & B style place. You can view our entire vacation trip to Costa Rica at MeetTheGordons (dot) com.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank melncali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
miami
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2008

No need to reiterate what others have said about Banana azul. I'm one of those fortunate people who rarely gets bitten by mosquitos. There were a lot in the room, though. The hotel provides bug repellent that plugs in (kinda like the glade deodorizers). Although I saw the mosquitos I wasn't bitten by any. A thin layer of bug repellent at night should do the trick. Although it was hot during the day, it cools off significantly at night. For me, the best part about my stay was the ease of scheduling and paying for tours. Nina was extremely helpful. I was even able to book a hotel reservation in La Fortuna, as i was spending 2 nights there, and Nina booked the reservation, the volcano and hot springs excursionis, and billed everything to my banana azul account. I didn't have to worry about checking in at the other hotel, everything was paid for. It was GREAT.

The public areas were also immaculate. The staff was constantly cleaning.

In puerto viejo, i guess i didn't look hard enough, but i found the food to be a little pricier than expected. I paid about $10 for lunch. Im told, however, that there are spots where the locals go that are much cheaper.

The only thing that freaked me out were the bats. I went for a walk around dusk in the forest just behind the hotel, and as the sun fell, swarms of bats emerged. They're harmless I'm told, just a little creepy.

The zipline tour and the whitewater rafting on the pacuare were the highlights of my stay. Well worth the fees.

  • Liked — Accommodating staff.
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank reddboyy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 16, 2008

We booked our honeymoon here for the end of October, 2008. My wife fell ill and we could not go. (She's okay, just can't travel.) I paid a $150 deposit many months ago. I paid almost $400 for excursions via the contacts there, Agustin and Nina.

Since I canceled only ten days before arrival, according to their cancellation policy, I still owed them about $75 or so. (If you cancel 30 days or more away, you get a full refund.) That's fine, they could have charged my card they had on file.

1. They didn't charge me the extra money.
2. They said the $150 I paid several months ago could be applied to a future visit. (Technically, it should have been forfeited.)
3. They refunded the full $400 that I paid for excursions. (one of which was to a 3rd party hotel that was booked for an overnight excursion. So, they called them and got me my money back.)

And all of this one done with incredible ease. Emails were returned usually within minutes. They did exactly what they said they'd do and even went beyond.

I definitely hope to reschedule and come in the Spring when we are able. I wouldn't dream of trying anywhere else.

  • Stayed October 2008
    • Value
    • Check in / front desk
Helpful?
1 Thank sillyrabbitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
denver
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2008

Let me begin by saying thank you to Nina (Banana Azul staff member). I could go on and on about her personal attention alone, but that would leave little time or space for my raves about owners Colin and Roberto and their bartender Franklin.

Banana Azul is simply perfect and I will add that Puerto Viejo is also just Wonderful. If you love to completely unwind and still your mind, body and spirit, while feeling completely relaxed, comfortable and at home (a nice home mind you where someone else does all the cooking and cleaning) then you will love Banana Azul.

Banana Azul is the perfect blend between a Great bed and breakfast (but you don't feel uncomfortable like you're in someone else's home) and a Great traditional large hotel chain (e.g., Marriott or the InterContinental, but without all the impersonal trappings of a large hotel chain). This hotel has the best of both worlds. Banana Azul is not a resort per se. Although it sits right on a beautiful unspoiled black sand beach, has a wonderful housekeeping staff, bartender, event planner, and kitchen crew (and soon to come amazing pool). No, it’s not a traditional resort, but it does offer the quiet personal attention of a five star resort, with the local’s stamp of approval for comfort, ease, and affordability.

I must also mention the restaurants in PV. My husband and I are true foodies. As a matter of fact he is an award winning chef and we have travel quite a bit. We have visited the Caribbean on numerous occasions and we pretty much know what to expect as far as food (what local eat, which is our preference) a lot of fish (which we love) and chicken (which we love), beans and rice (which, again we love). But typically the preparation and inspiration leaves a little to be desired.

WE WERE ABSOLUELTY BLOWN AWAY BY THE RESTAURANTS IN PUERTO VIEJO. We visited several and found more than one that served world class cuisine. Our favorite was a somewhat finer dining establishment called Cafe Viejo. My hubby said he liked it almost as much as Mario Batali's place, Del Posto, and he said he'll let me know where it stacks up against Per SE, Thomas Kellers world famous restaurant in New York (I'm taking him for his birthday in February).

We also found this great place called Restaurant La Papaya Loca. It has a great bar scene and also a great restaurant that serves some things not typically found in the Caribbean, like wings, beer battered fish & chips, burgers, vegetarian selections, killer traditional salads, omelets, and ham. Of course they serve things like fish and chicken, but also things like crepes and yuca croquettes and fried plantain-cheese balls. WOW!!! This place is filled with locals and tourist (surprisingly, you will have a time telling them apart. You've got to love that). It sits just across from the beach with an amazing view which makes for some incredible sunsets. The down stairs bar is called Sunset Sports Bar and the bartender Antonio is AWESOME. We made our way to this hot spot a few times to play pool. We missed the pool tournament on Monday nights. They even have foosball table and gambling machines. This may sound a little to American, but trust me it fits right in especially after being away from home for a few weeks. It's what's different in PV and the local flock to it. It's great.

I'll end with this...Our trip to CR was the best vacation we’ve ever had. We visited the pacific side and explored San Jose and we fell I love with the Caribbean side and Banana Azul was a large part why we will return year after year.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank SnookaBear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2008

We stayed for 5 nights in mid-late September. As you can see from this site, people have great things to say about the place and they all appear to be true. Couple of highlights of things:

1. People. The owners/staff are great. Very personable. We talked with Colin and Roberto on multiple occasions. You can tell with talking to them about the hotel that they do not want anything negative associated with the hotel. Not just the hotel but the trips that they help organize from their office/website. They really emphasize organizing tours that are safe, secure and reliable. The other staff are also very friendly... Franklin, Augustin, Michele.

2. Rooms are clean and minimal. No TV. No phone. But all of that is for a reason... the noise level would be disruptive with a TV or phone in people's room. It also makes you actually enjoy the location. Did you really come on vacation to watch TV? We spent more time on the balcony, enjoying the ocean. The mattresss is not the most comfortable mattress I have ever slept on but I did sleep well. More of a problem is the bugs. There are a lot of mosquitos and other insects. This is of course not a hotel problem but a region problem. We took DEET and used it often and used a mosquito net but still left with a few bites. Go prepared with a couple of bottles of DEET (get 25% at least)

We would definitely recommend this place. The breakfasts were great (not just cereal and toast but a really good hot breakfast). The dinners were good, especialy for the price. Id saw it's worth having dinner here at least one night as food in Puerto Viejo is not better than this.

  • Liked — Close to the beach
  • Disliked — the bugs
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank timequaker
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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