Hotel Banana Azul is a great little resort located on a black sand beach just north of the popular surfer/backpacker town of Puerto Viejo. The hotel is a laid back place with lush grounds, a new pool, ... read more
and a large cool-water Jacuzzi. There's a good range of reasonably priced rooms--from basic garden level to a two-bedroom apartment--that feature rich local hardwoods and artful decor; a full breakfast was included in the rate the last time I checked. The only bummer, which is kind of random, are the bamboo beds frames, which creak at the slightest movement (the owners definitely are aware of the situation, though, and are dealing with it). It's also located next to Cahuita National Park, which in combination with Puerto Viejo, has tons of outdoor options beyond snorkeling and diving: hiking, animal-spotting, zip lines, river rafting, kayaking, fishing, and of course, surfing. It's easy to plan your own excursions but if you prefer to let someone else do the work (it's your vacation afterall!), there is a recommended tour operator on-site, Gecko Trail Adventures.