Hacienda Baru is NOT about a luxury resort or retreat with five-star comforts. It's not about $200 massages and $100 facials and sleeping on expensive European linens. Hacienda Baru is about living in the midst of a tropical "jungle" with pretty acceptable, somewhat perhaps modest comfort(s). It is NOT about spending $600/night for luxury. It's about spending a reasonable, modest amount, and in return, being surrounded by nature. If you need air-conditioned comfort, luxury milled scented soaps, $3000 mattress on your bed, or a concierge to attend to your special needs or requests, then look elsewhere. Neither is it a bohemian flop house either. The night time is quiet, somewhat humid to very humid, just cool enough to sleep comfortably. We did not hear anyone in a nearby cabin snoring. or a television set blasting. I don't recall if there were phones in the rooms, perhaps if one wanted to call the front desk. Daily maid service freshens up the beds, however, not with new sheets or towels. There's a towel rack in the sun on which damp towels, bathing trunks, etc., can dry in the sun.
It's at best "three-star" comfort when compared to other places in nearby Dominical. In pure American standards, it's at best one to two stars. However, the rooms are CLEAN, they are modest, and unless you have some issues, you should sleep quite comfortably. On warmer nights, it is perhaps 72-74 degrees (F), so a fan in your room can provide a gentle breeze and you sleep under a sheet, but no need for a blanket. We were here in December, during Christmas week, and we did NOT experience the insect "infestation" others seem to complain about. Our cabin was insect-free during our stay. In the forest during the day, there are insects, but we found a light application of insect repellent did the trick without any issues.
Our cabin had two bedrooms and a small living room. A "kitchen" featured some aluminum pots , a coffee maker, a fridge and an electric two-burner cooktop. We chose NOT to cook in our cabin, as we didn't particularly like the cooking equipment/pots/pans, etc., which were very, very modest and cooking tools like spatulas etc., barely present. A tea kettle will suffice if you need to make hot tea. The tap water is potable. Not air-conditioned, the cabin got very very warm during the day, however, it cooled down enough at night so that we slept well (with a small fan providing a breeze). A front porch provides an alternative to sitting inside.
The warm to very warm damp tropical climate made taking "hot" showers absolutely unnecessary. Even during December, it got into the upper 80s and low 90s during the day and low 70s at night. Unless you suffer from 'hypothermia' (you're cold even in the baking hot Sahara desert), you'll probably want to take a cool shower to refresh yourself. The "cold" water was at best, "cool", not cold and we found taking a "cool" shower absolutely refreshing. Additionally, there's a swimming pool to refresh yourself, as well as the ocean beach some 300 yards down a short two to three minute walk. By the way, the beach is essentially deserted, so bathing "au naturel" (in the nude) is a possibility. There are NO chairs or lounges by the beach, so bring an extra towel or a straw mat. Ask management for their help, they might offer something to lie on when you're at the beach.
The owner, Jack Ewing is all about eco-friendly. He does everything reasonable to use natural elements to reduce the carbon footprint and any unnecessary negative impact on the ecosystem. You can stay here relatively guilt-free, knowing that when you leave, there is not a ton of trash that has to be processed nearby.
What makes Hacienda Baru very endearing is because of the attractions it offers on site: Nature trails, bird/animal-watching, tree (rope) climbing, zip lines, beach swimming, and eco-friendly lecture-touring. They have tours around the property, and unless you cannot walk at all, you should be able to join. The tree-climbing requires effort, and you have to hike up perhaps 200-300 vertical feet to enjoy the zip lines, but you'll find the place very family friendly. Wheelchair-bound persons will NOT enjoy the property completely, but can venture to some parts of the property. I don't recall if the bathrooms are handicapped-friendly. If you are in very poor physical shape (you can't really climb steps, you can only walk a few yards on flat terrain) then you should consider elsewhere, perhaps. Folks in great shape will find the hikes here a "breeze". If you're not in the best of shape, but can walk hundreds of yards without issue, and you can climb a relatively small amount of vertical feet, you should have no problems at all.
Dining on site is excellent and reasonable. The restaurant is OPEN AIR! It's basically a large covered "patio" open to fresh gentle breezes; overhead ceiling fans operate as needed. Food is fresh, tastefully prepared, and definitely you are not targeted as trapped into paying exorbitant prices for average food. We found the portions ample, not enormous, but not ridiculously tiny either. The fish was often VERY fresh, and we liked the salads. The desserts were nice, but we didn't indulge. Food service was good, however, staff don't necessarily speak perfect English. It helps if you speak Spanish!
Nearby Dominical isn't a luxury town, but change is on the way. Populated with surfers, it has some very modest lodgings, a few restaurant choices and provides some alternative interest to just remaining on Hacienda Baru property. Apparently, a few upscale lodgings are making their way into Dominical. Thus, its somewhat bohemian atmosphere is changing. By all means, explore nearby. Remember, though, there are some rough roads here, and small rivulets to cross! In any heavy rainy weather, you'll want to be in a SUV rather than a car. We voyaged around and a little south we found a river to swim in with a waterfall, and some fun hikes. We ate in town and elsewhere. Jack will share with you the better places to dine at. We very much appreciated his candor and honesty, he's a remarkably modest and delightful person. (Remember, some owners will tell you to steer clear of other places, so as to coax you back into their restaurant).
Sign up for tours EARLY in the morning, or the day(s) before. No need for dinner reservations. Ask Jack about internet connections and cell phone service. When we stayed here, internet connections were not ideal. They may have improved since. We shut off our cell phones before we left the U.S. and said "see-ya" to the world during our stay.
Transportation: while there is bus/limousine service, we really recommend you rent a car. The bus service is very modest to essentially bohemian; you'll want a car otherwise you could feel trapped.
There is laundry service, but expect that due to humid conditions, some items can take up to two days to dry. Remember, "eco-friendly"!
Other tips: if it's rainy season, don't bring "sneakers" ("trainers"). Trails can get muddy and boggy. You might want to consider wearing light hiking shoes designed for wet conditions. Open sandals might not be as ideal as you think because your feet can remain wet, unless you prefer that. Bring plenty of socks, as cotton socks can day days to dry. Consider synthetic materials that can dry quickly in the sun. Some folks said "bring mosquito netting"; we didn't and found that we did NOT need to. However, there may be a mosquito season. Ask management for recommendations when you make your reservations. (The east coast of Costa Rica is known as the "mosquito coast"; Hacienda Baru is on the WEST coast of Costa Rica.) The on-property "store" is stocked reasonably well with hats, bug repellent, sun screen lotion, chilled beverages, energy bars, tee-shirts, and many other delightful things including local arts and crafts, post cards, etc. After a long tour, or tree-climbing, they gave us an iced towel to place around your neck. Boy, was that a great way to help cool down!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The lodge is located at the entrance to Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge which protects 330 hectares (815 acres) of tropical forest, wetlands, mangrove and 3 kilometers of pristine Baru Beach. The refuge offers seven kilometers of well marked nature trails and a bird watching tower for a modest entrance fee. Guided tours with sharp-eyed local guides include two different types of canopy tours, five hiking tours, a camping tour and three bird watching tours. Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge & Lodge is situated on Costa Rica's Southern Pacific Coast. This is a region of distinct natural beauty where forest covered mountains rise up from the dramatic Pacific coastline. The village of Dominical is just 3 km from Hacienda Baru located. Hacienda Baru Ecolodge's bungalow style cabins are large and roomy. Each one has two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with one double and one twin bed. Each bungalow has a bathroom with hot water shower, living room, porch, and kitchenette. For your convenience, they come equipped with fridge, coffee maker, hot plate and fans in all the rooms. They are ideal for families. In addition to the cabins, Hacienda Baru Ecolodge is now offering six new Pool View Guest Rooms. Each of these superior units has a large bathroom, a porch and ample space for beds and other furniture. Each will normally have a king size bed and a twin bed , but they can be equipped with up to four twin beds. Each has a frige and coffee maker as well. The attractive tile roofing is made from recycled plastic bags. A well ventilated design, insulation between the roofing and the polished teak ceiling, and overhead fans all insure cool comfort for our guests. All of the teak and gmelina wood used in the construction came from Hacienda Baru's own plantations. The wood for the pine beams and cypress furniture all came from plantations as well. Not a single piece of the wood used came from a natural forest. Solar heaters provide plenty of hot water for the bathrooms. The outside walls are slate and polished teak. The new guest rooms are conveniently located right in front of our new swimming pool. Our breezy open air restaurant allows you to observe the gardens and natural surroundings as you dine. We have five private ranchos for guests that want an intimate setting perhaps for a romantic candlelight dinner or a special family meal. Our menu is primarily very tasty typical Costa Rican food, but we do offer a variety of dishes for those who either don't like or want a break from rice and beans. We offer a selection Costa Rican fruit drinks known as FRESCOS meaning refreshing, soft drinks, a selection of Costa Rican beer, you must have heard of Imperial, wines and other licors. The swimming pool at Hacienda Baru Lodge is disinfected with ozone produced by an ozone generator which injects a constant flow of this eco-friendly gas into the water. This system of disinfection allows us to maintain a very low concentration of chlorine in the pool. The chlorine level is so slight that it is imperceptible to pool users. The swimming pool is open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Guests from both the cabins and guest rooms are welcome to use the pool during these hours. Bird Watching, Canopy Exploration and Ecological Tours are our specialty. Our bilingual grass roots naturalist guides will help you discover the wonders of the tropical rainforest, such as leaf cutter ants, the sleepy sloths and the nesting site of the Common Pootoo. On our tours you can experience everything from the Rainforest Canopy to Mangrove Swamps or the Jungle at Night. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hacienda Baru Hotel Quepos
- Hacienda Baru Costa Rica/Dominical