• Introduction:

Hacienda Barú is a pleasant ecolodge on Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast, where rainforest-covered mountains rise up from the dramatic coastline. An incredible variety of habitats makes this an ideal place for birdwatching in Costa Rica.

• Location:

Hacienda Barú is located about 2 kms west of the coastal town of Dominical in Southern Costa Rica. It is connected with good paved roads all the way to San josé, a beautifull journey of about 200 kms (about 4 hours by car)  that will take you through some dramatic mountain scenery. Alternatively you can catch one of the daily flights to Quepos or Palmar Sur from where you can easily take a taxi to Hacienda Barú and be there within one hour.

• Facilities:

Hacienda Barú offers 3 rooms categories: the 4 superior bungalows have been recently renovated and have 2 bedrooms, one with a kingsize bed an another with a double and a single bed, one bathroom with hot shower, a living room, a screened porch and a kitchenette with basic cooking and eating utensils. The economy bungalows are similar but have not been renovated. Both superior and economy bungalows are seperate units and are located throughout the gardens and near the forest edge. The recently added superior rooms (6 in total) are in front of the also recently added swimming pool and are equipped with 1 kingsize bed and 1 single bed, have a large private bathroom with hot water and a front porch. All rooms and bungalows come with overhead fans. Near the bungalows there is  a simple restaurant servinge Costa-rican and international dishes, the reception and souvenir store, a butterfly garden and small orchid garden. Everthing is part of the Hacienda Barú privately owned reserve that protects about 330 ha of tropical rainforest  offering a great natural experience to their guests. A well maintained trail system gives good acces to a wide variety of habitats like primary and secondary rainforests, a pristine beach, grasslands and wetlands. Good knowledgable English-speaking local guides are available.

• Birding and wildlife attractions:

White-faced Capuchin Monkey
White-faced Capuchin Monkey

Hacienda Barú offers a great introduction to the unique avifauna of the Southern part of the country, one of the most rewarding parts for birdwatching in Costa Rica. The forest edge near the cabins and pool is the ideal place to start your birdwatching day and can produce big lists with some of the mos colourfull birds of Costa Rica like Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Red-lored Parrot, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Violaceous (Garthered) Trogon, Cherrie’s Tanagers, Golden-hooded Tanagers, Red-legged and Green Honeycreepers, Blue Dacnis, Yellow-crowned Euphonia and many more. Besides that some of the southern endemic species are relatively easy here like Spot-crowned Euphonia, Fiery-billed Aracari and even Golden-naped Woodpecker. Colourfull Heliconia and Ginger flowers and the verbena-bushes near the rooms attract many hummingbirds, most common the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, but Violet-crowned Woodnymph, several Hermit-species, Purple-crowned Fairy and the migratory Rubby-throated Hummingbird (only during northern winter) are often seen too. The forest trails are worth a visit too and can produce a complete set of other species. The easiest trails are the ones going through mostly secondary rainforest behind the cabins and pool area. This trail normally produces some of the more common rainforest-birds like Cocoa Woodcreepers, Plain Xenops, Black-hooded Antshrike, Chestnut-backed Antbird, Riverside Wren, Tropical Gnatcatcher, White-shouldered Tanagers etc…there are also several leks of Orange-collared Manakins and with some luck the Olivaceous Piculet and a Double-toothed Kite might show up. This trails gives acces to a beautifull beach dotted with coconut-trees and with the emerald rainforest on the background. The coastline can produce some interesting waterfowl like Willets, Whimbrells, Sanderlings and sometimes Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets. Brown Pelicans, Magnificent Figatbirds, Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns are common and sometimes Brown Boobies can be seen flying far away in the sea. Other more fysically challenging trails run through steep mountains and give acces to more primary rainforest. Additional species like Black-throated Trogons, Ruddy Quail-doves, Red-capped Manakins, Black-faced Antthrush, Rufous-breasted Wrens and Tawny-crowned Greenlets and Long-billed Gnatwrens among many others can be expected here. However trails can be steep and muddy. Other wildllife can also be seen in Hacienda Barú. Both 3-and2-toed Sloths are quite common in the area, spotting them however is not easy…White-faced Capuchin Monkeys  are a common sight in the rainforest. Besides that White-nosed Coatis are seen ocasionally and groups of Mantled Howler Monkeys and Central American Spider Monkeys move aroud mostly in the primary forest. Both Green and Black Iguanas are common and several lizard species can be seen in the forest. There are good local natural history guides in hacienda Barú who will be happy to share information about a special sighting. A few of them are also very good birdwatchers and might know the location of stakeouts of Common Potoo and Spectacled Owl.