To the south of Matapalo, 1 km before you get to the Río Barú, and 2 ½ km before you get to Dominical, located on a private nature reserve. A bridge crosses the river and you will reach the village of Dominical on the south bank of the river mouth. You will need to cross several bridges to get here, including a one way metal bridge. From the west side of the bridge after Barú, a steep but paved road goes up 35km towards San Isidro de El General, so, you can make the journey from San José to Quepos, Dominical, San Isidro de El General and to San José. The highway to the south of Dominical continues on through Uvita and joins the Interamericana to the southeast of Ciudad Cortés.
It is a private nature reserve with an extension of 336 hectares, but you will be able to find a large amount of species. This is because it is on the coast and has a varied habitat, including 3 kms of beach, 16 hectares of magroves and 1km of the Río Barú, pastures and plantations, such as the rainforest in the low lands and the mountains with an altitude of 320 meters above sea level. Around 80 hectares of primary rainforest, 50 hectares of felled rainforest, and 25 hectares of secondary forest with pasture land. There are areas which are filled with trees, fruit orchards, cocoa plantations, open pastures and bushy areas. The reserve also has several Pre-Columbian cemeteries and petroglyphs. The list of birds that have been seen in Hacienda Barú passes 330 species, 56 mammals, including 23 species of bat, amphibians and reptiles total 49 and there are still frogs, toads and snakes to be identified, the list of botanical species is more than 100 varieties of trees and 75 orchids. The owners, Jack and Diane Ewing, have lived here since 1970.
Hacienda Barú Ph (506) 2787-0003, Ph + (506) 2787-0004. E-mail: email@example.com / www.haciendabaru.com. The gas station El Ceibo, belongs to the Ewings, it is located 1.7km from the Hacienda, it is the only one in this area. They also have some provisions such as fishing equipment and lists of the tides.
Three footpaths have been opened to the public and a new wooden tower to watch birds. The fee to use the footpaths are 3 US$ per person (60% goes to the governent, the rest goes to the maintenance of the footpaths). For an extra 3 US$ per group you can hire the services of scholar in the area who knows the footpaths and has been taught how to find birds and animals of interest for visitors. There is an information leaflet available for 3 US$. If you want to enter the park at sunrise, or even before, you can pay the previous night or when leaving. Entry is free for guests from the Hacienda Barú. Offering several circuits, which include the ornithology trip through the lowlands for 20 US$, its lasts 2 ½ hours, an on foot excursion through the rainforest 35 US$ meal included, lasting 5 ½ hours, a combination of the previous circuits 40 US$, an on foot excursion through the mangroves and to the beach 20 US$, and an overnight stay in the rainforest or on the beach with meals included and comfortable tents for camping 60 US$. These prices are per person, and a minimum of two visitors. To go horse riding 25 US$, 2 hours, 5 US$ plus every hour. A kayak excursion through the mangrove estuary costs 35 US$. Canopy, there is a 32 meter platform, built on a tree that you arrive at after a 15 minutes walk through the forest, with a safety helmet, climbing harness and a winch that takes you up to the platform. You will spend 45 minutes on here, accompanied by a guide that shows you all the interesting points. You will able to see the ocean from a distance and wild fauna. This circuit costs 35 US$ per person, with a maximum of three people. You can also go up on a cable that hangs from a tree. There are no platforms, only a rope to go up some 35 meters, accompanied by an experienced climber that is also a nature guide. Normally you will go up two trees. Prices are 45US$ per person. The vuelo del tucán has eight cables with distances of 20 to 91 meters. There are 15 platforms with different landings and take off points, some from the floor and others in the trees. The cables run from tree top to tree top. The nature guides will try to explain every thing you see and respond to any questions about the rainforest. The circuit costs 30 US$.
Where to eat and sleep?
Hacienda Barú Ph + (506) 2787-0003, Ph + (506) 2787-0004. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.haciendabaru.com. Double 70 US$, extra person 11,50 US$; breakfast included. There are six spacious cabins with two and three bedrooms, each one with an American cooker, fridge, private bathroom with hot water, dining room and a mosquito net. The restaurant serves lunch for 7.50 US$ and dinner for 8. 50 US$.
How to arrive and leave
The bus makes the following route: Quepos-Dominical-San Isidro and stops at the entrance of Hacienda Barú. The buses that cover the route: San Isidro-Dominical-Uvita leaves you at the Río Barú Bridge, 2 km from the Hacienda office.