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Reviewed November 17, 2010

We stayed here for 3 nights on our honeymoon. It was a charming place - cute room, great cocktails and right on the beach. They gave us a fruit hamper and wine on our arrival because it was a special occasion which was very sweet.

Would definitely agree that the dinners are overpriced ($11 plus tax for fajitas and ice cream seems a lot for Costa Rica!) but the breakfasts are good and staff (and dogs) are friendly. Cocktails really are special (especially the mojitos) but the bar was pretty quiet (... bit boring) when we stayed. Although the lamps make it feel very romantic.

We used the bikes for a day (old... but totally free!) to cycle to some local beaches and also arranged a local tour (it was to the sloth sanctuary but wouldn't recommed it... have heard that Jaguars is better).

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Victoria F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2010

We stayed at the Azul for 5 nights in late August. When management found out it was our honeymoon they welcomed us with a great gift basket which really set the tone for the next few days. The staff here are very friendly and accommodating, even lending me icepacks when i had sprained a knuckle! The ocean view rooms were definitely nicer than the sloth cabins, so our advice is that you stay in the main hotel. The food is absolutely amazing and the portions are huge. We gained a few pounds at the tail end of our stay although with everything being home cooked with organic ingredients, we did not feel too guilty about it. The laid back, safe atmosphere, with everything needed at our disposal (and seconds from the beach to boot!) made our stay at the Azul a memorable one. Before even realizing the hotel was jointly run by Canadians, we had the feeling of being on home soil amidst the unfamiliarity of Puerto Viejo.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank GiggerOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2010

We arrived around midnight, and coming down the dark, narrow, rutted roads, I was holding my breath, hoping my choice for the 4 of us (2 married couples celebrating our wedding anniversaries) would prove to be at least comfortably addequate. Well, we were all gratefully thrilled to enter through the colorful gate, into Banana Azul. Our 6 night stay was comfortable and exciting, as our every need was met, and the adventures we sought were delivered. My goal is always to take the path 'less traveled', and Banana Azul's location and intimate capacity (only 13 rooms), fit the bill. We certainly hope to return soon, and stay longer. Also, they had the best food in the area! Excellent!

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank rokubanlu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2010

Six couples spent a week at Banana Azul and had a great time, It is a very reaxing and beautiful. The only problems we had were with Gecko Travel which is on the resort property. they set up all the transortation to and from San Jose and all the tours. The van trip from San Jose was 4 1/2 hours and went fine . We booked a zip line trip and the transportation and zip line went well. Four of us tried to schedule a fishing trip and it took three days to get it booked than the time of departure was changed twice. The captain and mate did not get along and as soon as we would star fishing the captain would start fishing his own lines. There were four of us but only two had rods at any one time. The boat was large and there was plenty of romm for all of us to fish except the captain had the prime spot. When we got back I reported all this to a lady who said she was the manager and she said she would check on it. We were there for three more days and I received no feedback. We all went on a snorkling and nature walk that was very pretty and interesting. The only problem was they had 18 people in the boat seated four across and the tour guide wanted everone in the water quickly and kept telling us to hurry up. The problem was tryin to get fins on with no room. There were several other boats in the area and none had more than six people aboard. The final straw was when we got ready to go back to San Jose. There were eight of us and they sent a mini van. We talked to the lady in charge about getting a larger van. She said this would work. They put most of the luggage on top but the passenger in the back had bags all around him. The restof us had bags under our feet. It was a 4 1/2 hour trip in very tight quqrters with only one 15 min. stop. We reached San Jose and the driver who spoke no English got lost. He asked directions and was told we were five min. away from the airport motel. After 1 1/2 more hours we spoted our motel. The motel was right next to the airport and he could not find the airport. We were in the van for six hours. After we returned home my wife talked to Gecko travel and they said they were sorry. We paid $40.00 each and they just said they were sorry. It was a great trip and the people at Banana Azul were great except they did not help us with Kecko Trave;

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank abbyamarillo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
colinsito, Owner at Hotel Banana Azul, responded to this reviewResponded October 28, 2010

Thanks for taking the time to let us know how we are doing. We are sorry to hear that your experiences with our travel & tour partner company were substandard.

In an efforts to try and help our customers get to see and do the things they want on an adventure vacation like the one we offer at Banana Azul, we used to try and make all these arrangements ourselves. We found out very quickly (the hard way) that it was impossible to control the experiences and qualities of excursions, transport services, accommodation etc. So, in an effort to provide these much needed services to guests, and not be directly responsible, we have partnered with Gecko Trail Adventures.

We have been in that relationship with Gecko Trail for over 2 years and it has been highly successful. We feel our collaborative relationship has greatly contributed to the overall success of our hotel. However, as with our experience in running the hotel, there are things that are sometimes beyond your immediate control and in the customer’s eyes, you failed or did not meet their expectations.

In an undeveloped and very unregulated area like Caribbean side of Costa Rica, it has been very hard to get consistent standards with almost anything you do. It is also not like North America where you have a Yellow Pages book full of other companies waiting to do the job. It usually comes down to that you have to work with the people and suppliers you have and hope for the best. And if the best is not good enough anymore, you have the long hard task of trying to replace them.

Over the past 2 years Gecko Trail Adventures has booked thousands of people in travel arrangements on behalf of our guests. I would say conservatively that at least 60% of all Banana Azul guests book some sort of travel arrangement through Gecko Trail. With all these bookings, I can comfortably say that we have about a 98% satisfaction rate. I really feel given the parameters of how you have to operate a business in Costa Rica, that percentage rate is very successful.

I know this is all probably little comfort to your concerns, but at this point there is not much we can do given Gecko Trail is a separate company and we cannot act on their behalf. I will raise your concerns with the owner of Gecko and see what we can do so these same issues do not arise again.

Thanks again for choosing Banana Azul. Sincerely, Colin & Roberto.

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Reviewed October 22, 2010

This hotel was our first stop on our honeymoon trip to Costa Rica. I cannot say enough good things about this place! The people are more than nice. David and Cindy at the front desk made us feel so welcome! The food was amazing- especially their chips and guacamole. The airline lost our luggage for the first 2 days of our stay, but it didn't even matter! They have beach towels and sunblock for their guests and easily directed us to the best place to find a cheap bathing suit in town. Which, but the way, is all you really need in this laid back village. We traveled to Arenal and Manuel Antonio after our 4 day visit at Banana Azul and both myself and my husband tell everyone that when we go back to Costa Rica we are headed straight for Banana Azul in Puerto Viejo!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank JDakin17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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