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Hacienda Barú Lodge and Ecotourism


Name of Lodge or Ecotourism Project: Hacienda Barú Lodge and Ecotourism.

Location: Hacienda Baru Lodge and Ecotourism is located on the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica, three kilometers northwest of Dominical Beach on the coastal highway.

Website: www.haciendabaru.com

Year Established: 1987

Tourism activities & tours: A variety of ecological tours are conducted within the Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge. These include: 1.) Two birdwatching tours, one in the lowland habitats and one in the rainforest on the upper slopes of Hacienda Baru, both with expert birding guides 2.) Two overnight camping tours, one in the lowland habitats and beach and one in the rainforest on the upper slopes of Hacienda Baru, both with excellent naturalist tour guides. 3.) Two hiking tours, with excellent naturalist guides, one in the lowland habitats and one in the rainforest on the upper slopes of Hacienda Baru. 4.) Three canopy tours: a.) The Tree Climb -- Using special climbing equipment you scale a rope 35 meters (110 feet) into the top of an enormous rainforest tree. Your naturalist guide is beside you at all times. b.) The Canopy Platform tour is similar but we hoist you into the top of the tree with an electrical winch. c.) The "Flight of the Toucan" tour is a zip line tour with eight cables. You walk through three different kinds of habitat before arriving at a primary rainforest where most of the tour takes place. Additionally we have a butterfly garden, orchid garden, bird watching tower, and seven kilometers of nature trails available for our visitors.

Ecolodge / Accommodation details: Accommodations are in family style cabins. Hacienda Barú's 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 cabin has a bathroom with hot water, fans, kitchenette, fridge and porch. They are ideal for families. The breezy, open-air restaurant serves delicious typical Costa Rican meals..

Responsible tourism practices. How is impact upon the local environment minimized?: 1.) Hacienda Baru has helped to create and maintain the Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge, which protects over 800 acres of natural habitat. 2.) Hacienda Baru supports local environmental organizations such as the Asociación de Amigos de la Naturaleza del Pacífico Central y Sur (ASANA,) Amigos de Ballena and the Foundación para el Corredor Biológico Paso de la Danta (FUNDANTA), both morally and financially. All of these organizations take an active part in restoring and protecting the environment in Costa Rica. 3.) Hacienda Baru abides by strict environmental practices in the operation of the ecolodge. The following are some of the measures we take to minimize energy usage and protect the environment: a.) Use compact flourescent bulbs wherever possible. b.) Heat water for the cabins with solar hot water heaters. c.) Dry the laundry in a solar clothes dryer. d.) Use biodegradable products for laundry and cleaning. e.) Buy food for the restaurant as locally as possible. f.) Buy organically grown foods for the restaurant whenever possible.

How is the local community involved?: Hacienda Baru hires at least 90% of the employees from local communities. Our management and employees are active in community organizations and activities. The company contributes to community organization. We invite more than 20 school groups annually to visit Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge, receive a lecture about the environment, and go on a hike with a local guide. We buy locally whenever possible and also services locally whenever possible.

Does the presence of ecotourism leave a positive impact upon the local environment and community? If so, how?: Ecological tourists are interested in nature. In general, they don't drink to excess, use drugs, gamble or engage in practices that tend to erode local moral integrity. They come to observe and appreciate nature, and when they return home, they take only photographs and memories. The money they spend stimulates the local economy.

Who owns the lodging facilities (ecolodge)? Is it communally, or individually owned?: The company is owned by Jack and Diane Ewing, who have lived in the community since 1972. Some of the employees are minor shareholders.

Further information: In 2008 Hacienda Barú was awarded the "Ecological Blue Flag" in two categories, Nature Reserves and Beaches. This award program is sponsered by the Costa Rican Tourist Bureau and the Costa Rican Water Institute. It recognizes communities that have worked effectively to protect the ecology of beach and/or nature reserve. The Baru committee is constituted of neighbors of Hacienda Baru and employees. Hacienda Baru is planning on building six more lodging units this year. They should be available for rental by October of 2008..


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