When we walked into Hacienda Baru, we didn’t know that we would soon be climbing to the treetops of the Costa Rican rainforest.
Hacienda Baru is an eco-lodge geared up to adventurous families and intrepid jungle explorers. Whether you want to climb to the top of a tree, zip-line through the jungle, or join a twilight trek, there is an amazing adventure waiting for you.
From humble beginnings as a cattle ranch, Hacienda Baru has grown into a national wildlife refuge and lodge. Hacienda Baru’s 815 acres includes primary and secondary rainforest, as well as wetlands and a coastal ridge.
Naturalist guides are around all day to accompany you on ecological tours, canopy explorations and birdwatching, but there are 7km of walking trails and 3km of rugged beach that you can explore by yourself too. Baru is located 3km to the north of Dominical, a popular yet sleepy surf town.
Hacienda Baru’s Cabins
Hacienda Baru’s cabins mean you have not only a room, but a whole little house to yourself. The cabins are built out of teak and gmelina wood , which came from Hacienda Baru’s own plantations. Unlike much of Costa Rica’s accommodation, Hacienda Baru’s cabins have hot water showers throughout the day thanks to on-site solar heaters.
The cabins and outdoor pool are surrounded by rainforest. After a hot afternoon hike, Luke and I were swimming in the pool when above the cabin roof tops we saw a troop of Capuchin monkeys swinging through the trees in search of lunch. They couldn’t see us down in the water, so we got to observe them play and forage among the trees for the best part of twenty minutes, which was a personal highlight of my time in Costa Rica so far.
Adventures at Hacienda Baru: Tree Climbing, Hiking and Nature
Climbing a rainforest tree is incredible. The tree we climbed was the same height as a 10-storey building, and I’m hardly renowned for my monkey-like climbing so we were going at a sloth’s pace for quite some time! However, once you’re at the top you’re rewarded with a unique bird’s eye view of the rainforest canopy.
You scale up the tree using a device called an ascender that allows you to pull yourself up along a rope, which is fixed onto the upper branches of the tree. Getting to the top of the tree took me about 40 minutes, but our guide says his record time is only two minutes and sixteen seconds! Of course being super-fit helps, but the ascender means that you can rest midway through, so anyone of moderate fitness can make it to the top.
If heights aren’t for you, there’s always a jungle hike along one of Hacienda Baru’s nature trails. When we went hiking, we had the trails all to ourself, so we were able to enjoy the sounds of the jungle, as well as the different species of plants and wildlife.
Hacienda Baru also has a small butterfly garden near to the lodge.
Hacienda Baru was a great adventurous escape into the jungle for us. Though it is a totally different style of eco-lodge to our accommodation at Tipi Jungla, the owner’s love of the Costa Rican wildlife is very palpable. The tunnels and animal-bridges over the nearby road are thanks to his hard work, and bio-diversity has been increasing in Baru for the last thirty years. If you go on their website, there’s even footage of collared peccaries (wild pigs) using these tunnels to safely cross the road. We had lots of opportunities to get close to nature and to learn about the natural environment during our time at Hacienda Baru.