Fodor's Expert Review Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge and Ecolodge

Off Costanera Hwy., 3 km (2 miles) north Dominical, Dominical, Puntarenas, 11909, Costa Rica

This wildly family-friendly, comfortable ecolodge makes a great base for exploring vast tracts of surrounding forest (both primary and secondary), plus there are mangroves, a beach with nesting turtles, and 366 bird species. There are a dozen rooms in various cabins and guest rooms, and all have hot water. The original cabins have sitting rooms with wood furniture, kitchenettes, screened-in porches, and lush flower borders. Four of them are superior cabins, with higher ceilings, bigger bathrooms, and sleep three or four people, in combinations of single and double and king-size beds. Two economy cabins have three bedrooms each. Six handsome guest rooms built with plantation teak have high ceilings, tiled showers, and small porches looking onto a swimming pool aflutter with birds and butterflies visiting the surrounding flowering shrubs. Knowledgeable bilingual guides interpret the miles of trails, or you can follow the self-guided trail. The open-air restaurant has excellent fruit smoothies and coffee, and flavorful local food, and you can also dine at a private wooden table set under the umbrella canopy of an almond tree. There's a great gift shop with lots of local crafts, Boruca textiles, and nature books, including books of wildlife stories written by the original owner Jack Ewing, a great storyteller and local historian. Linger for an hour or two atop a lofty bird-observation platform in the hotel's rain-forest canopy, zip along the canopy tour, climb a 114-foot-high tree with ropes, or stay overnight at a shelter in the heart of the forest.

PROS

  • prime wildlife viewing
  • excellent guides
  • great value

CONS

  • older cabins are not fancy
  • no A/C (but rooms are well ventilated with ceiling and wall fans)
  • pool is in full sun (wear sunscreen!)

QUICK FACTS

B&B/Inn
FamilyGreen
Casual
Near the beach
Local Flavor
$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 2787–0003

HOTEL DETAILS

12 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

What’s Nearby