When she heard we’d be driving down the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, Adam’s cousin handed us a dog-eared brochure for Hacienda Barú and said: “Oh, you’ve got to check out this place – you can see sloths from up on the zipline!”
We wouldn’t get to see this marvel for ourselves, but way down on the ground, Barú also has a green and lovely jungle walk and a windswept beach you can have all to yourselves. You might just want to hang your hat and stay awhile.
Hacienda Barú is in the southwest province of Puntarenas, about 20 minutes south of Quepos and a few minutes north of Dominical.
After making a 40+ year run at farming, from cattle to cacao, Barú has recently been designated an 830-acre second-growth jungle preserve and part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. The property features rental cabins, a small hotel and restaurant (with vegetarian choices), gift shop, butterfly enclosure, jungle paths, beach and 14-platform zip-line course.
We visited on a Tuesday morning, enroute to the Osa Peninsula with little time to spare; taking over an hour for a zip-line tour seemed foolhardy, and Baru’s sexy-sounding birdwatching/rainforest/mangrove tours would have taken even longer. So, we opted for a self-guided walk instead; for about $6US we were handed a map and pointed towards the parking-lot adjacent trail head.
Best jungle walk ever? No, that honor still belongs to the Cockscomb Basin in central Belize. But we did see flame-bright tropical flowers; big orange butterflies; a shockingly long two-way platoon of reddish brown army ants; feather flashes of little red birds; a large ripple of fungus on a tree half-sunk in a milky green bog; and every few feet, a detailed, multi-lingual placard would answer the “What is that?” nature question of the moment. (We now know a fair bit about sloths and giant palm nuts, thank you very much.)
At one trail’s end, we found ourselves on a wild stretch of beach with only pebbles, a flock of pelicans and a twisted log for company. Sometimes the pale blue waves would roll gently, but two minutes later the sky would darken, the wind would pick up, and we’d find ourselves doused if we stood too close to shore. So, no fools us, we took a little shelter upon said twisted log…and stole a private kiss.
We spent a delightful 45 minutes here, and were left wanting a little more. If we were visiting this area again, I’d love to stay here for a couple of nights (it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the place we did stay, the Quepos-area’s far swankier but less convenient Si Como No) and do the zip-line, night and birdwatching tours, drive from beach to gorgeous beach in nearby Dominical…and see sloths of all kinds, face-to-face.
Hacienda Barú‘s rental cabinas and superior rooms cost from $40-70 (depending on the season) and include kitchenettes and breakfast.
Most on-site tours cost $35 per person; the night jungle tour costs $98 per person.
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