HOTEL: Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, 1.5 hours south of Limon
OVERALL: We’d definitely stay there again.
DETAILS: Banana Azul is located approximately 1.5km north from the edge of Puerto Viejo. It is right on the beach and all the rooms overlook the Caribbean. There is both English & Spanish speaking staff on the premises. (The owner is from Canada and a Canadian flag flies out front next to the Costa Rican flag.) There is a full-service restaurant and bar. Breakfast is included in the room rate. Free WiFi is available on the property.
We stayed in the Apartment at Banana Azul for a week. The Apartment was the owners’ residence until they finished their home just a few meters away from the property. As a result, their pets would often wander up and sleep on the furniture in the Apartment. We had two cats who regularly visited and Benji the Dog. All were polite and lovely pets and it really made it feel like home for us because we have three dogs and two cats at home. There was an amazing open-air bathroom with a deep tub and shower that faced out into the forest. The apartment is on the second floor so no one was “looking in” while we showered. Also, Banana Azul has American plumbing with toilets that you can actually flush toilet paper down. (Most toilets in Costa Rica have smaller plumbing or some such thing and you cannot flush the toilet paper; it goes into a small wastebasket by the toilet.)
We ate dinner at the restaurant the first night. We had grilled mahi-mahi and beans & rice and veggies, along with a salad and pineapple cake. Simply excellent. 10USD/per person, plus 10%service and 13%tax. The menu offering changed each evening and included steak, tuna, and fajitas, but the price stays the same. They also have a small lunch menu of sandwiches and the like. Most of the bread they serve is made by a Jamaican woman down the street named Boi-Boi - she also serves a wicked good jerk chicken dinner at her house on Fri, Sat, and Sun... 4500CRC or so, including beer.
The pool and cool-water Jacuzzi had just been finished before we arrived and it’s the coolest pool – fully tiled with these cool natural rocks for steps that double nicely as spots to sit in the pool.
Colin and his staff are actively working on continuing to improve the property. However, it is immaculate as it is (save for those bugs, but such is life in Costa Rica!). There is a night security staff who opens up the gate if you come in late and everyone there is simply wonderful and sweet. There are loads of birds in the trees on the property and crabs and turtles and all sorts of interesting things to see. A couple of wild horses were wandering next door in the field some of the mornings we were there.
On the bad side, the mirrors in our bathroom were hung too low for me to see my face in. I'm all of 5'11" so maybe I'm just a bit too tall for Costa Rica. Also, in the mornings, there are a LOT of birds chirping and making tweets early in the morning.
We had an excellent time in the Puerto Viejo area and enjoyed the Banana Azul. The Puerto Viejo area is not for everyone, but those who like to travel without a group and discover things for yourself, this is a great place. Would we stay again? Absolutely without a doubt.