The Baru River
By Jack Edwing
Photo Jack Edwing and CamaleonEstudio.com
Above the village of San Juan de Dios, we find the Caña Blanca River, which flows into the Guabo River, which later joins the Barú River at the village of Barú. About ten kilometers to the southeast of San Juan de Dios, near Las Tumbas and San Salvador, we find the river basin that feeds the major arm of the Barú.
This is composed of two rivers, the Diamante and the Barucito. The Diamante, in turn, receives a large portion of its flow from the Torito River. The head waters of the Barú River are located near the village of La Florida between the Tinamastes ridge and the Alivio ridge, at about 700 meters above sea level and around 20 kilometers upstream from the Pacific Ocean. It is the longest of the eight rivers, which originate between the Tinamastes ridge and the coast.
The highway bridge that spans the Barú River at Dominical was built in 1986. Prior to that time, people could cross during the dry season at a place called the Guanacaste crossing, about 100 meters downstream from present day Villas Río Mar.
During the rainy season, it was necessary to travel up the river to where it could be crossed on a suspension bridge, then cross the Guabo River on the same metal bridge that is there today, and drive down the other side of the river.
Go to the river bank or the bridge some afternoon. Scan the surface of the river and marvel at its beauty. Look for a sleek, dark, brown head moving across the surface. That will be the neotropical river otter (Lutra longicaudis), still at home on the most pristine river, north of the Osa Peninsula.