More about Hotel Banana Azul
I miss Banana Azul!!
This is probably the closest place I have experienced to heaven on earth (minus the streets of gold cause the roads here could use a little work). It took me a day to get use to the laid-back attitude, but soon I was into this caribbean grove town! I was initially concerned about traveling alone, but the staff made me feel safe and right at home. It is easy to meet people at the hotel, the hotel itself is beyond belief (I have paid twice as much to stay three times as far from the beach). Collin and Roberto will assist you with local attractions. Make sure you do the atv tour (ask for tour guide Raul). The best! I can't even remember the restaurants I ate at, all of them were delicious, so just take your pick. I will be back!
Pura Vida @ Banana Azul
Stop searching, you've found it.
Off the beaten path just a couple of kilometers north of the center of Puerto Viejo lies the oasis of Banana Azul. Having spent a couple of days just south of PV, I was expecting a similar experience, however I was pleasantly surprised upon arrival.
Winding down a bumpy road along Playa Negra, a couple of twists and turns later revealed the large gate that opens to the most inviting property that I saw in Puerto Viejo. However, that was just the beginning and it only got better.
Warm smiles and a rich cup of coffee awaited as I arrived early and my room was being prepared. First I met Roberto who is one of the kindest souls I've ever met. Being a native "Tico" he made this Gringo immediately comfortable. The main floor of the hotel is immaculate considering your jungle surroundings. The individual large palm on the grounds and it's unique shape is a perfect touch wich can be viewed as you stroll along the main floor and from all the rooms. The small colorful tiled pool with fish and the pools that line the main floor with tropical lilly pads set a relaxing tone.
A computer with internet is available for those travelling without, plenty of books, cards, and a few other little secrets will keep you busy if you decide to only stay on the grounds and take in the beach wich is 100 steps away.
Roberto showed us our room which has everything you'll need for a comfortable relaxing stay. Fans, electric mosquito repellent(not needed), fluffy towels, comfortable bed, large lockable safe, and beautiful polished wood throughout. The tiled shower, modern toilet, and sink were spotless with plenty of room to move around and plenty of shelving to place your toiletries.
French doors open to your balcony that have custom tables and chairs if you plan on eating in or want to relax in privacy. Hammock and bamboo dividers compliment the balcony area and I found myself absorbing the beautiful surroundings many times. Although there is no air conditioning, the room was cool and comfortable with the fans provided. Given this was the "green" season, I was also surprised how dry the room was. No musty smells that I found in several other properties due to the moist atmosphere.
If you're used to hermitically sealed hotels and sterile American style resorts, this is not the place for you. If your looking for a comfortable stay that blends into the environment with class, without falling into a camping experience, you can't go wrong with the boutique style hotel that is Banana Azul. Everything you'll need is right there on the property and the personal attention is top notch.
This review would not be complete without mentioning the staff. I met Colin the proprietor on my second day as he was feeling under the weather when I arrived. Hands down, he's one of the most genuine, sincere, and reliable people I have ever met. A true host that will not allow you to be dissapointed. Eduardo is the on-site cook and he was a pleasure to speak with(if you know Spanish - learn some, it will make your stay even more enjoyable). Unfortunately, I did not catch the names of the women who helped Eduardo and were taking care of light duties around the property and kitchen, but they too were very friendly and warm smiles greeted me every morning. A younger fellow, Augustin, was suprisingly professional and bent over backwards to accomodate me at dinner and throughout the night. Alfreddo is another young guy who maintains the property and I believe he also has indeginous roots from the area. Polite and soft spoken he too was a pleasure to meet. The reception staff all speak english, were charming, very personable, and will help you book any adventure that is available if you choose to leave the property. Finally, if you're worried about security, which is something you might be concerned with travelling down the east coast of the Limon province, don't be. The night watchman(I didn't catch his name), was like a guardian angel who made sure we were safe going on a night swim and he is very attentative. He wasn't intrusive and this allows you to be swept away by the tropical breezes, but you'll be relieved to know he is there and looking out for you and other guests.
Although I can converse lightly in Spanish and warmed up to the staff, this is certainly not a requirement to enjoy a comfortable, relaxing stay at Banana Azul. You'll still realize the charm and peace that is provided without ever leaving the property if you so desire.
So much more can be said and described, but this is for you to find out if you want to experience the southern Limon province and discover the difference between the overdeveloped west coast. There are plenty of Cancuns and Honolulus to visit if this is what you want. The personal attention, unique atmosphere, and low impact style of Banana Azul should be noted by the big Mchotel chains that lack this charm IMO. Here is where Banana Azul takes the lead and shines. A true boutique hotel experience which has me already planning my next trip.
In conclusion, Colin has created the perfect bridge between two worlds. Roberto's personal attention and charm are not to be missed. They and the rest of the staff made my stay a wonderful experience compared to the couple of days I spent south of Puerto Viejo. It wasn't that it was a bad experience, I just hadn't planned on returning to this area untill I experienced Banana Azul. Do yourself a favor and plan your trip around the availability of a room at Banana Azul. You won't be dissapointed if you want something a little differen't, that isn't too rustic and not overtly commercial in it's atmosphere.
East Coast Black Beach Hotel
this place cannot be described. it's more than a bed & breakfast but you know the owners and you get breakfast so i wasn't sure how to classify. it's awesome here. great food, great hotel, great service. the rooms are amazing. close to puerto veijo but on a black beach. reasonably priced.
BANANA AZUL has a Great Staff
From our open aire balcony nothing blocked the view of the all the beauty. Humingbirds were plentiful and absolutely everything is in bloom. Colin and staff made us feel so very comfortable and we enjoyed our time with the other guest in the open patio areas. The "Travelers Palm" is a center piece for a beautiful all natural landscaped garden. The whole place is just "alive" with GOOD KARMA, and the guest are made to feel so comfortable.
The resident dogs will escort you to the beach for long walks. They have Hammocks available
under the trees.
Heaven can wait. Send me back to Banana Azul
What can I say that hasn't been said. This place is a find. Thank you Trip Advisor! We came down for a week at the last moment because our Windjammer cruise had been cancelled. I used Trip Advisor to pick out the hotel. These reviews don't lie. This place was everything the reviews said it was and more. This little hotel right on the beach is a work of art. The overall design, the mosaics in the bathroom, the ornamental carvings all over the place, and the fresh flower everywhere. And most of all the friendly happy staff. We had a standard ocean view room. Someone complained about being bitten. I have to admit I got a few bites but I just put on my bug spray and I was fine. I have been all over the Carribean and there were less bugs here than any number of places I have stayed. Heck you sleep with your doors wide open. You don't even need screens. Oh the sound of the surf lulling you to sleep is hypnotic. We had no problem with noise or hot water or funky smells or anything really. I know Colin is concerned that his guests don't rave too much because then people might think that this is some sort of full boat resort. It is not. However, if you like quite and beauty and down home comfort you will not go wrong. The addition of lunch and dinner was a great surprise. Although not always available, when it was it was truly delicious and very reasonable, $5 for lunch and $10 for dinner. Colin said he has plans to make the place even better. Quite frankly I can't see how. It was the perfect vacation!
A Delicious Blue Banana!
The wonderful comments written about Banana Azul are absolutely true. My husband and I stay there for 10 glorious days. Colin and Roberto are gracious, kind, friendly, helpful, attentive and informed owners and hosts.They are genuine, unique individuals who have a conscientious dedication and abundant generosity to the diverse community of visitors, staff and others who dwell in the small oasis of "pura vida" they have created along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. .
Start the day with a splendid breakfast of fresh fruit -- watermelon, pineapple, papaya -- local fruit juice, coffee/tea, cereal, hot dish varied daily but usually an egg dish, served by the kitchen staff. During our stay they began serving a limited lunch and dinner menu and wine. We had a few tasty meals which eliminated the need to trek into town for lunch or dinner. There’s a refrigerator for guest use and a cooler stocked with water, sodas and beers which is dispensed on the honor system, i.e., notebook on shelf to write name, room # and what item(s) taken from cooler.
Rooms at Banana Azul have a small fan placed high on the wall facing the bed providing enough air circulation. No TVs, radio, newspapers. Electricity went off briefly a few times during our stay. Bring flashlight and book light as lamp lights glow intimately. Bathrooms are modern with spacious showers and hot [solar heated] water.
Beach at Banana Azul was quite pleasant, not too rough, shallow and devoid of people. It’s a good 30-minute hike to town along the beach especially in the intense afternoon sun...wear a hat and slap on the spf20 or go early or late afternoon. Preferred the beach route rather than dusty road into town. Strolled down the roads beyond the hotel which are thick with trees/vegetation, alluring and eerily peaceful.
There are dogs and cats -- I’m not much of an animal person [my husband loves them] but the dogs and cats were not bothersome. A few nights one of the dogs quietly curled itself up and slept outside our door all night, startled me [and I startled it] when I opened the door in the morning.
Took the 1+ hour bicycle ride to Manzanillo; endured a couple of minor challenging hills; parts of road are unpaved and dusty. Saw a 3-toed sloth along the way; stopped at lovely beach at Punta Uva with restaurant/bar.
Staff at Banana Azul is diligent, non-intrusive, pleasant and accommodating. On my birthday my husband requested champagne, it was attractively delivered to our room. Last few days we upgraded from a regular room to the Honeymoon/Howler suite which was a real treat and soooo beautiful with a panoramic view of the ocean through the filter of trees and garden. Our early morning tourist van failed to arrive to take us to san jose airport and Roberto and Amora(?) assured us they would remedy the situation, and they did -- promptly getting us a taxi for the 4-hour drive to the airport. Roberto thoughtfully prepared a container of fruit for us to take.
Banana Azul is built with passion, love and soul. It may not be the place for everyone but it was the perfect place for us, clean, comfortable, homey, ecological and environmentally astute with all the basic amenities we needed. Our first visit to CR, it’s an enchanting country and our stay at Banana Azul was thoroughly mesmerizing and addicting, just the medicine we needed to soothe our weary souls and gather inner peace; inevitably we must return for another dose.
Can't wait to go back!
Banana Azul was pure paradise. I chose to stay there based on feedback on the hotel and because the owners are really helpful to travelers. I was travelling alone so I wanted someplace that wasn't a bungalow and I would feel like the people there would care.
Well, Banana Azul is beautiful. The beds are comfortable and the rooms are absolutely beautiful. Although there are french doors, I chose to sleep with them open. It was like sleeping outside and I could hear the ocean all night. The balcony has a table and a hammock where I spent most of my evenings. The hammocks on the beach are key, and the beach there is very beautiful and the water perfect--wavy so you get the ocean-y feel but not so much that it feels unsafe.
The breakfasts were great (especially the vegetable scramble on the first day). And Colin and Roberto and their staff were amazing. I definitely felt taken care of and they made my stay perfect.
I liked Banana Azul so much that my boyfriend and I are going back in March. We were originally planning on staying at Costa de Papito because of the privacy of the bungalows, but have decided that we want the hammocks and the beach and the whole atmostphere of Banana Azul (this is a comment on how great Banana Azul is, nothing negative about Costa de Papito--I visited there and it is strikingly beautiful, the rooms look great, the staff was nice, and the food was really good).
I read what the another reviewer wrote about the construction. They start late (after breakfast) and always seemed to end early. One morning when I stayed in late I heard it, but that's the wonderful thing about this place---I just moved my reading perch from the hammock on the balcony to the hammock on the beach!
Paradise! Our highest recommendation!
The moment we arrived and were shown to our room at Banana Azul, we felt like we were in paradise, and it felt that way throughout our stay at this lovely guest house located on the Caribbean Sea in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. The propietor Colin and his friendly staff went out of their way to help plan our travel and activities (whitewater rafting, snorkeling, jungle hike, biking excursion), accommodate our special requests, recommend places to eat and shop in town, and make our stay there memorable and wonderful. It was affordable and convenient, and the room and propoerty were beautiful. We are recommending Banana Azul to all of our friends and family and are already thinking about our next trip there.
The Ultimate Care
I arrived at Banana Azul with a sick family member. The entire staff were extraordinarily solicitous of our needs, cooking food to order, rearranging transportation and travel plans, recommending local health care practitioners, and assisting with communication. This is a place to rest and heal listening to the rain pounding at night and the waves pounding by day, sitting on a magical veranda or ones own private porch. A massage therapist and Reiki healer is also available at the hotel. The bathrooms and bedrooms are artfully decorated, as are the grounds beautifully landscaped. If you are looking for off'-the-beaten path tranquility and personal attention, and gracious and warm hosts, this is the place! We will remember our stay with great appreciation.
Puerto Viejo, Cahuita
me and my girlfriend are traveling to costa rica in september. we would like to stay at carribean coast around puerto viejo or cahuita. we still did not make a reservation on accomodation. how is it in costa rica - carribean part during the september. is it necessary to make a reservation before we travel? is puerto viejo big town? Any suggestions about inexensive, clean and safe place to stay?
thank you for any info,
Re: Puerto Viejo, Cahuita
I was there last March for 14 days. Cahuita, beautyful! We stayed at Magic Moon, a beach house 1 km away from PV on the beach, with a fantastic garden loaded with flowers and birds plus lots of big Morphos. Beautyful weather, big waves, warm water. We walked on the beach to the grocery store every 2 days, cooked our own food. Walked to town for a treat sometimes. Make sure to visit Manzanillo, stay there if you can, it's really nice and the town is like the good old days of Costa Rica it seems. Hire Florentino as a guide to visit the Manzanillo reserve, he sees everything in the jungle!
In PV and Cahuita, watch out for freaks and weirdos. But in general, people were really nice. We had a very relaxing time.
Re: Puerto Viejo, Cahuita
I was in Puerto Viejo for 3 nights last year and loved it so much I'm going back for two weeks in October. We stayed at right on the beah at Banana Azul (www.bananaazul.com) which is located about 2km north of town. The owners also have a beach front house for rent as well. We had a car but bicycles are also provided for guests. The beach at Punta Uva located south of Puerto Viejo is really nice.
You could most likely get by without reservations but you might not get your first pick of accomidations