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“Beautiful rooms, wonderful staff, excellent views” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, CA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful rooms, wonderful staff, excellent views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2012

We stayed at Banana Azul for just under a week with our 23-year-old nephew in early July 2012. We had an excellent trip from the beginning. David was there at the front desk to greet us when we arrived and made us feel right at home. Our room was not only very clean, but it was extremely charming with a ton of character. The facilities are gorgeous and it's right on the beach. The staff is extremely attentive and responsive. They always have someone hanging out at the beach, and we had the suspicion that they were there to act as lifeguards, because the waves can get rough and sometimes there are rip currents.

Also, we're both vegan, and my wife cannot have gluten. They were EXTREMELY accommodating. Come to find out that someone on staff is also gluten-free, so my wife was able to have gluten-free beer because they have it on the bar menu. We NEVER expect to see that and it was a very welcome surprise. A nice cold beer is a great part of traveling, and it was great to have it there. They were very gracious about meals and made us excellent dishes for breakfast and dinner. They were creative, and delicious, and the staff could not have been more kind or gracious about preparing stuff for our unique and demanding diets.

It was nice having Gecko Travel tours on site, and whenever we returned from a trip, the staff was there to ask us about the experience and seemed genuinely interested in making sure we had a good time.

We accidentally left our camera's battery charger behind, and Banana Azul immediately emailed us to try and get it back to us. I'm sure shipping to the US is not that easy, and they were really great about trying to find a way to make it happen.

We rented bikes for the day and took a ride along the coast. I got a flat about 15 kilometers out, and when I rang Banana Azul, they were great about figuring out a way to get everything fixed. We found a local guy that was willing to fix it, and of course Banana Azul didn't hesitate to pay for it, and we wound up having a fun, adventurous experience. It's just part of Caribbean living!

Overall, it was a really wonderful time in Puerto Viejo, and staying at Banana Azul was perfect. It's only a 20-25 minute walk along the beach into the downtown. If we ever go back to Puerto Viejo, we'll definitely stay at BA again. Clean, very charming rooms. Friendly, accommodating staff. Great location. Great amenities, and a lot of fun.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jazzbo251
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,398 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
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (376)
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English first
Oceanside, California
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2012

We stayed in the Howler Suite and it was amazing. Waking up in the morning laying in bed watching the sunrise over the ocean was the perfect start to everyday. Our room was very clean. Coffee was ready on the beach at about 5:45 AM (promised for 6:00). Loved that first cup.

Used Gecko Trails Adventures for all our outings. Mostly half day adventures, and they had a desk in the lobby. Wonderful company.

The beach access was great, about 35 yards from room to beach, and I could sit under the jungle canopy and watch the waves. Didn’t get too sunburnt.

We couldn’t have asked for better staff. They were all friendly, attentive and relaxing to interact with.

They have a couple of dogs and cats. The dogs were the favorite part of our visit to Banana Azul. They were our faithful companions (We did bring dog treats). They were very clean. If you don’t like dogs, it’s ok. They will leave you alone.

When my wife booked the reservations, I thought it was going to be a fine vacation, but I didn’t know that Banana Azul would be one of the very best resorts on the Caribbean Sea. Their combination of beach access and amenities, beautiful grounds and facilities, and exceptional staff made this the vacation of a lifetime.

Thanks to Christiano, Shanty, David, Colin, Frederic, and the rest of your wonderful staff (including Sheba and Pinta, our canine friends). We’ll be back to see you soon.

Room Tip: If you can I would recommend the Howler suite. It was amazing to watch the sun come up over the oce...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TeamAqua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kansas City
Level Contributor
127 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2012

My husband an I recently stayed 4 nights at Banana Azul. Overall, we had a great experience. The location is very nicely located on a beautiful black sand beach which never had more than a hand full of people at a time. We loved the beachside bar and food service. Luis was great and very attentive at getting our food and drink orders, it was great!! We spent some time boogie boarding...wow..seriously, what a blast!!! Be a kid again and rent one, you will have so much fun. The service was above average both at the reception well as the bar. We found the staff to be very friendly and also helpful with tips regarding the area and things to do. Roberto and Eduard were exceptional. Colin ( one of the owners) found out that we were renting a car and created a hand drawn map for us to help navigate to the places we wanted to visit without getting lost. This was above and beyond service, and much appreciated.

The location of Banana Azul was very good for us, as it was not in town ( which we would not have liked) yet right outside only a quick cab ride away. It was only $4 each way and we found it easy to head in for dinner and shopping ect. If you do not wish to leave at all, the food is great at the restaurant and the prices are reasonable. Also, Gecko excursions has a reception area at Banana Azul which come in VERY handy for booking excursions or even answering questions.
The common areas are very nice and I found that the hotel was a very good value. I must say that I do wish that we would have stayed in the Red frog room...I was not overly impressed with our room, but to be fair we booked the least expensive room and found it WAS a great value for what we paid. I think the basic layout of the room was very nice...as was the balcony. All our room needed to take it to perfect was a slight decor tweak, a alarm clock ( they do offer wake up knocks, yet I prefer to have an alarm clock), and a fridge. The lack of air conditioning did not present any discomfort for us, it was actually nice to sleep with the open air flow.

The ONLY thing was bummed with was the breakfast. I did LOVE that they had coffee out early, even at the beach....and watching all the doggies gather at the beach for a little early morning beach play time was so adorable, even better with coffee. I also enjoyed the fresh fruit and coffee station. What I did not like was both lack of breakfast options, and quality. Everything was just okay. I think to make it a little more clear maybe just write the breakfast options on a chaulk board in the morning so guests are clear on the options, and maybe offer 2 or 3 choices?? Just my suggestion. I am actually not sure if there were choices other then type of egg prep, It could have just not been clear.

All in all, wonderful stay. I do think this is the best option in Puerto Viejo. The property is really beautiful, the beach stunning and basically empty, and the service excellent. Happy travels and enjoy Costa Rica!! thank you again to the staff who made a wonderful stay ever that much better.

Room Tip: Red Frog Room
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank PamelaVanderHeagen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gresham, Oregon
Level Contributor
45 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2012

This was an amazing travel experience for us. The property is beautiful, right on the beach, and close enough to town to be a part of the action, but far enough away that you can truly get away. The front desk staff, David and Christian, went out of their way to make our stay wonderful. In fact, every person we encountered was friendly and very helpful. We originally only planned on staying two nights, but loved it here so much that we doubled our length of stay. I wish we could stay longer. We will definitely be back, and will be bringing our friends. Thank you Banana Azul staff!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jaime G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carrboro, NC
Level Contributor
58 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2012

It was a bit of a challenge to find Banana Azul from the directions on the website. I did not see a sign on top of the bus stop, but you turn left at the bus stop past the San Francisco hardware store. Also, I don't believe that the gate to the property was green, as the directions state. But it was well worth finding. The security for the property is excellent.

The Red Frog suite had recently been updated, and was more impressive than the pictures on the website when I booked it. The suite was very spacious with a huge private patio and private garden. The bathroom is open-air, so you need to remember to shut the door to the bathroom to run the air conditioning in the bedroom and to keep out mosquitoes. The resident dogs and especially the cats love the patio area, which was fine with me.

Dinner is fixed-price ($12.95) and is supposed to include dessert, which we did not know the first night, and did not receive. The first night we had a salad bar and because I am vegan, I ordered the vegetarian option, pasta al pesto. It was okay. I love to cook, so I'm a bit picky when it comes to restaurant food. I want to be wowed, and that's hard to do.

Breakfast was an even bigger disappointment. We are early risers, so I'm grateful that they put out coffee at 6:00 a.m., as there was no coffee maker in the room. Also, they put out fruit shortly thereafter. But I was looking forward to the full breakfast promised on the website. At about 7:30, a server showed up and offered "huevos y tostada...eggs and toast." I asked for just the toast. She asked my husband how he would like his eggs, and he ordered them scrambled. Some time later, after serving several tables who had arrived after we did, the server came out with two plates, one with scrambled eggs, toast, and potatoes, and the other with fried eggs, toast, and potatoes, which she attempted to give to me. I should have just taken it and left the eggs, but I reflexively reminded her that I just wanted the toast and the (surprise) potatoes. She took the plate back to the kitchen, served everyone else in the restaurant, and then, around 8:00, I finally got my two pieces of toast, no potatoes. So I had been sitting there for two hours waiting for two pieces of toast, which seemed a bit much.

Dinner our second night was much more creative: I had a stuffed avocado that was delicious and enchantingly presented with a hibiscus blossom.

The WiFi did not work in the room, but did work on the patio and even better at the restaurant. All in all, a very pleasant stay.

Room Tip: The Red Frog room is newly renovated, spacious, and private.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Salette A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
colinsito, Owner at Hotel Banana Azul, responded to this review, 1 August 2012
Thanks for your feedback. We are happy your stay was not a total write off.

As much as we hate to hear where we went wrong, it really does help us fix things we do not realize.

First of all, it has been a while since we updated the "Getting Here" document. Well that has been completed today and now rather then a document we send people, it will be a link on our website with all the ways you can get to Banana Azul.

We are sorry to hear you did not get dessert and our vegetarian options did not wow you. They do not wow me either. We have a local Caribbean woman who has been coming in once a week to train staff on some her old recipes she used to serve at her restaurant. She is vegetarian herself and is quite a well-known cook in her day. We have also showed your review to the kitchen and make sure they are more attentive. Here.. that is not always easy. Staff in this area, has almost never eaten in a restaurant. So, getting them to know the protocol is very difficult.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
Region: 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 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price range (per night): ₹ 4,778 - ₹ 12,436
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 fourteen beautiful guest rooms with private baths, fans, and free wireless internet. 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. Gecko Trail Adventures tour company 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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