Hacienda Barú

There are many cheaper places to spend a month at the beach than Costa Rica. One of the reasons that I was drawn here, instead of one of those many other places, is that I’m fascinated by the country itself. For example, after a (short) bloody civil war, Costa Rica abolished its military entirely in 1948. Its medical care and life expectancy are both ranked higher than the United States, even though it has a much smaller budget to work with. (We had a pleasant and affordable trial of the medical system this week after Theo fell and hit his head while jumping on a bed. He’s fine and is still jumping on beds.)

And, of course, Costa Rica has a strong focus on environmental sustainability and ecotourism. So, I’ve been trying to make a point to get off the computer/beach and explore some of the nature preserves that it’s famous for.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a solo trip to Hacienda Barú, a former cattle ranch that was converted to a nature preserve and ecotourism destination 25 years ago. I loved its founder’s book, Monkeys are Made of Chocolate, and wanted to see the preserve I’d read about. During my quick stay, I explored the turtle hatchery, hiking trails, butterfly garden, and orchard garden, as well as hung out at eye-level with some monkeys on the bird watching platform.

I also went zip-lining through the canopy. This was less “adventure zip-lining” and more a guided hike with some adrenaline-provoking activity thrown in for good measure.  After seeing a video of me zip-lining, Theo changed his mind entirely and now wants to try zip-lining himself.

Below are some of my pictures from the preserve!

IMG_3591 IMG_3599 IMG_3613 IMG_3617 IMG_3618 IMG_3621

(Turtle eggs are moved from the beach to the space shown above. While a variety of things can disturb turtle eggs, the prime danger they face is from humans, because of the myth that eating turtle eggs increases virility.)

IMG_3630 IMG_3632 IMG_3664

(The photo above shows a pathway created for animals to cross the highway. After being skeptical of the idea at first, they now use it!)


(This is a warrior ant from a leaf cutter ant nest. Apparently, they can be used for sutures! We didn’t test that.)

IMG_3666 IMG_3676