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 Fodor's Choice

This wildly family-friendly, comfortable eco-lodge makes a great base for exploring vast tracts of surrounding forest, both primary and secondary, plus mangroves, and a beach with nesting turtles. Birders take note: The current count of bird species here is 366. 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. A solar-heated system provides plenty of hot water for showers. 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 35-meter-high (114-foot-high) tree with ropes, or stay overnight at a shelter in the heart of the forest or in a platform tent in the jungle (tours from $25). A netted-in butterfly garden and a charming orchid garden are ideal for children to explore. 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 or under a conical thatch roof. There's a great gift shop with lots of local crafts, Boruca textiles, and nature books, including books of wildlife stories written by owner Jack Ewing, a great storyteller and local historian.


  • prime wildlife viewing
  • excellent guides
  • trails and outdoor activities
  • great value


  • older cabins are not fancy
  • no air-conditioning but rooms and cabins are well ventilated with ceiling and wall fans


Near the beach
Local Flavor


Phones: -2787–0003


6 cabins, 6 guest rooms
Rate Includes: Free breakfast

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