Hacienda Baru offers a genuine Costa Rican wildlife experience, as opposed to the problematic wildlife experience you’ll most likely have at nearby Manuel Antonio National Park (where there are hoards of people, many of whom feed the animals, which in turn creates a whole host of problems and unnatural experiences).

We took a 3-hour rainforest walk at Hacienda Baru with a very knowledgeable guide and saw sloths, many birds, frogs, lizards and peccary boar, as well as the amazing, beautiful rainforest.

Walking inland with our guide.
An Aracari, viewed through our guides spotting scope.
Vines, creepers, buttress roots; a fascinating environment.
Most reasonably fit people could handle the hiking trails here. There are lowland trails with little elevation change and more challenging trails heading inland and uphill.
The view from inland back down to the hacienda’s shoreline.
It pays to walk slowly and look all around. This minute frog was on a leaf at our feet.
A highlight for us were the trees and plants. There is incredible variety.
A Trogon, viewed once again through our guides spotting scope.

The owner of Hacienda Baru is Jack Ewing and we advise that you read his book ‘Monkeys are made of Chocolate’ to get you in the mood for your visit, and to discover things about the local people, history, and wildlife that you’ll never find in any other wildlife or travel guide.

You can buy the book online, or in the hacienda shop.
Chocolate pods growing wild!

After our guided tour we made our way down to the reserve’s deserted beach on our own.

The shady route to the beach. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the hacienda shop.
We stopped often to admire the trees, there are some magnificent specimens here.
There were also plenty of lizards at the side of the path. Look close mid left and you’ll see it!
The beach is wild and unspoilt.
When the heat of the beach got too much we treated to the shade of the palms.

Hacienda Baru seems to us a perfect example of how to operate a wildlife reserve; it’s a must-see attraction if you’re staying in Dominical or anywhere near. To learn more, visit the Hacienda Baru website – https://www.haciendabaru.com/