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“Not worth the money - go somewhere else”
Review of Verana

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Verana
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Yelapa
Reviewed October 26, 2013

I wanted to visit Verana since 2006. In turn, when my boyfriend and I were planning a trip to kick-off 2013, I shared this idea for consideration. I wish I didn’t.

He became enchanted with the place as I did. Who wouldn’t -- the photos are spectacular. Given the background of Verana’s owners; however, that is to be expected. They are in the business of creation an illusion. I just wish I didn’t fall for it, as it was an expensive mistake.

Here are some highlights:
• A visit from a snake. Having been there for less than an hour, a black snake enters our room. I understand that we are in the jungle and may encounter wildlife, however, the staff didn’t provide me with peace of mind. E.g., no one knew what to do should a poisonous snake bite us; there is a single phone on the premise at the office, however, there isn’t always someone at that location, etc. This was an unsettling start to the trip, as I realized that if something were to happen, I would have to solve the problem myself.
• Bugs. Again, I understand that when in the wild, you encounter wildlife – including bugs. However, the army of ants that invaded our room every day was over the top. There was line after line of ants (and other bugs joined the fun). I have never seen so many bugs in a room, and I have traveled quite a bit.

We changed rooms (thank goodness!), yet the bed was full of small little bugs!
• Food. I indicated on the form that I’m vegetarian, however, one night they couldn’t accommodate my dietary needs so I only had chips and guacamole. I don’t feel that this was worth the price that I paid for the “meal”.
• Beds. They were the most uncomfortable beds that I have ever experienced, which is shocking considering how much we paid for the room. The pillow alone was lumpy. Purchasing pillows alone would be a fast and cheap fix to the subpar sleeping situation.

I could keep going, but I think you get the picture: Verana isn’t worth the money unless you are solely going for a photo shoot. If living a facade isn’t your cup of tea, I recommend that you vacation elsewhere.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank goingtorwanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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48 - 54 of 188 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2013

This was our fourth visit to Verana. Honestly, each trip gets better than the last. Verana is a unique, special, almost magical destination. We love the fact that there are no TV's, telephones, elevators, walls, air conditioning (at least not in the palapa we stay in). Understandably, this may not be for everybody; the first time my wife suggested it, I had serious reservations. Now, I can't stay in any other type of resort. I can't tell you how liberating it is to truly be "off the grid" and unplugged.

Some may say its "logistically cumbersome" to arrive at Verana. That's part of its appeal. What, you don't like getting away from the tourist areas and maybe seeing a whale breach the surface on your boat ride to Verana?! Coming into Yelapa Bay and seeing the orange umbrellas of Verana makes me giggle like an imbecile. The walk up to Verana is its own reward. The many flora and fauna will overwhelm you, and you haven't even got to the resort yet.

Choosing a palapa is easy, for privacy, and the most stunning view, it's the Tea House, hands down. It also comes with its own grotto, complete with your own private dipping pool. Want a little more room, try the Palapa, complete with a hammock and a day bed for a total of three great places to take a nap. Both of these palapas have no AC, open walls but tons of privacy.

The grounds are more beautiful than any botanical garden you've ever been too. Theses grounds support the most incredible populations of birds and butterflies. Have breakfast and dinner while overlooking Yelapa bay. You should never get tired of this view. Stunning. Have lunch poolside with a view of the Bay of Banderas, equally stunning. Speaking of meals, the food is another of the main reasons we frequent Verana. Get the meal plan. How some people stay at Verana and don't take advantage of some of the best meals you will ever have is beyond me. Some may complain that there is no choice at dinner (only one entree, at the chef's discretion). Don't worry, you won't be disappointed. Can you tell that I love the food here?! Where else are you gonna get fish that was caught only hours ago?!

My wife and I pretty much did all the activities that Verana has to offer. They all rock. Now, we are content to just lounge around, enjoying the flora, fauna and well stocked library. Oh, do not bring soap, shampoo or conditioner. Verana provides you with amazing "house brand" supplies. Trust me, you won't touch the stuff you bring. Using their products, while taking an outdoor shower in indescribable. What an experience.

The staff are attentive yet never intrusive. Super friendly and eager to please, not fake, annoying or oppressive.

I could go on and on extolling the virtues of Verana. Visit the website. That should sell you immediarely. It pains me to publish this review; I want to keep Verana a secret.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
9  Thank nyseskinny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

We stayed at Verana for 6 nights in Feb 2013. We enjoyed our stay and found the views, food, and scenery wonderful. Since all the accommodations are open air, if you are at all squeamish about a few bugs this place is not for you. If you like your vacations hermetically sealed off from nature go somewhere else. Being outside is the whole point of this place. 6 nights was about the right time for us, we managed to lounge poolside and relax and go out on a bunch of excursions led by the hotel staff - Mariettas Islands, hiking to waterfall, boat to secluded beach with snorkeling, tour Yelapa, etc. We also had an afternoon at the Spa. Six night was plenty to do all that. It was great but we had exhausted the activity menu. Definitely take advantage of their Be Active Package when booking. It is the best deal that saves you money if you want to get out and do things. The Bungalo was cute, well situated to get to dinner, the bar, morning yoga. Oh yeah, be prepared to climb stairs, but it is no big deal. Not cheap but a great time.

Room Tip: The Bungalo is nice.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank LanceWC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

Perched on a hillside with a jaw-dropping view of Yelapa Bay, which itself opens onto the magnificent Banderas Bay, Verana is paradise…for the adventurer who really wants it. Accessible almost exclusively by boat, the resort is surrounded by lush, Jalisco jungle and comprised (at the time of this review) of only ten individual and mostly open-air palapas. Each “house” is unique, but all were designed with a careful eye to the hillside geography for intimacy and perfectly framed panoramas.

The staff – a mix of expats, Yelapan locals, and big city Mexicans – seems at once urbane international and low-key local. Verana is their second home and they treat each guest with true hospitality: joking around, offering information, and enjoying conversation in equally fluid Spanish and English. Given an honorary spot on payroll are the téjon, also known as coatimundi, relatives of the badger that roam the grounds and take special pleasure in stealing your coffee sugar if you’re too sleepy-eyed first thing in the morning.

Each day starts with the chorus of jungle birds and the splendor of sunrise over the bay, followed by coffee and pastries, which are delivered to your doorstep around 8 am. Once the view and coffee have soaked in, you meander down (or up!) to the main patio, which includes the hostess desk, bar, restaurant, kitchen, and firepit, to enjoy a hearty breakfast. The day is then in your hands and many guests choose to relax by the pool, chill in their palapa, walk the twenty minute path to Yelapa (or ten minutes further to the bay’s sandy beach), or head out on a grander excursion by foot or by boat. If you stick around, lunch is served just below the pool and always includes the option of fresh ceviche, guacamole, and the catch of the day (red snapper, amberjack, octopus…). The bar opens at 3 although most guests don’t congregate at the watering hole until about 5, ready for Joel to serve up some seriously strong and delightful cocktails. Dinner, usually a hearty and inspired take on more traditional Mexican cuisine, is served just after nightfall and concludes with conversation at the firepit.

But the true glory of Verana is the space between dusk and dawn. As you snuggle between the sheets, ensconced in an expertly tucked mosquito net, the crickets are already deep into song and, if you listen closely, you’ll distinguish dozens of different tunes. In the wee hours, even the insects are quiet and the bay is perfectly tranquil for a short while before the jungle birds begin their daybreak cacophony against the drum of the ocean surf.

Other pros: Wifi at the main patio means you don’t feel completely cut-off…just far enough away to ignore what you don’t want to deal with! We can’t praise the staff enough; they were amazing, genuine, affable, and discreet. The kitchen, too, served up truly scrumptious fare and catered to any dietary allergy. The cleaning staff managed to make our room seem fresh daily, despite the fact that we were completely open to the jungle. And the boat skipper who ferried us to Boca de Tomatlán: wow. With serious swells, he turned boating into an art to get us to Verana safe and dry.

Other cons: As mentioned, you have to want this adventure. The jungle location means there are scorpions (rare), spiders (medium rare), and mosquitoes (prevalent). A téjon will visit your room in the middle of the night, but by the second time you ignore him. Verana itself is working to get heaters on all pools and that will be very welcome when next we return since they were a bit chilly on this trip. The spa and activities didn’t awe us, but neither were they major disappointments.

Verdict: Imagine boutique, six-star service without the pretention of walls. Plus good food. And amazing cocktails. Overlooking the most beautiful bay you’ve ever seen. Yeah, something like that…

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank destroubadours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

i love verana! i've been twice. once just with my wife and the second time i was there for a surprise 40th bday party she threw with a bunch of friends. all the casitas are unique, we love the studio because it feels like you're in ny in the middle of the jungle. the food is amazing and the drinks are incredible. ask manny to try ricia ( spelling?) it's a local tequila moonshine and is oh so yummy. oh and get a massage, wicked good.

Room Tip: we like the studio, but all rooms, even those without walls are private.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Luis P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I were there for 4 nights and I wish we stayed there longer. These 4 nights were the most relaxing vacation ever.

Everything about this hotel is great, from the unique style of the bungalows to the amazing service.

Every morning before breakfast, we would get a tray with coffee, tea and cakes at our door. Then we would head for breakfast and get an a la carte menu.
In the afternoon, we could choose from chilling out in the great swimming pool; getting a spa treatment; going trekking in the surroundings or just hanging out in our bungalow, enjoying the great views in our hammock or daybed.

Every day, we were pleasantly surprised with great food at the different restaurants. The food is to die for and the spa is a amazing treat.

I warmly recommend anyone to go to Verana! Best place ever!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2012
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2  Thank neilou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We arrived after a two day journey from the UK, to climb up to the most beautiful jungle retreat that you can imagine. Verana is perfection - it has been conceived by a couple with great vision and taste. They have thought of everything, and if you truly want to relax and recover from a stressful lifestyle, this is the place.
Superb food, amazing views, wonderful massage, great library, charming staff.
Lovely walk to local village, waterfall and great beach.

Room Tip: Casa de Piedra is you want walls: cosier at night
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank PookieWestSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Verana

Address: Calle Zaragoza No 404, Yelapa 48304, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Costalegre > Yelapa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Yelapa
Price Range: $200 - $450 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located 30-miles south of Puerto Vallarta floating above the Bay of Banderas, embraced by the mountains of the Valle de la Sierra Oriental, carved out of lush Mexican jungle on a hillside rests Verana. It is as unusual as it is remote. Unique design that is rustic yet sophisticated. Designed for travelers with a sense of adventure and appreciation of tranquility and natural beauty. An indoor/outdoor Spa adds to the amenities of a luxurious getaway. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Verana Hotel Yelapa
Verana Yelapa

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