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Dominical Costa Rica

Dominical Costa Rica is located on the Central Pacific coast about 40km/25mi southeast from Quepos, and 34km/21mi southwest of San Isidro.

Dominical Costa Rica - Dog on the Beach
Following the pattern of many coastal towns, Dominical is a formerly sleepy fishing village turned rustic surfing outpost. The surfers and backpackers that made the town popular have created a development buzz that has resulted in a host of businesses catering to travelers and the construction of numerous luxury villas for those wishing to stay a while.

Still, development is slower than some other towns due in part to the rough roads into town and locals who want to prevent Dominical Costa Rica from turning into just another overdeveloped coastal boomtown full of fast food restaurants and ugly high-rise hotels. The town vibe is very laid back and fun, with an abundance of younger travelers looking to mellow out in the sun.

The surfing at Playa Dominical is still the main draw here. Though quite pebbly, the beach is nonetheless beautiful and stretches 4km south from the mouth of the Rio Baru down to Punta Dominical. Here on the lee facing side of the point you will find the tiny fishing village of Dominicalito.

While the surfing is great along Dominical beach, the rip tides can be ferocious. Swimming is a risky activity. For this reason lifeguards are on duty from 8am-5pm. During high season the lifeguards will often mark off safer swimming zones with flags. The waters off Dominicalito are much calmer and better suited to swimming and bodyboarding.

Dominical Vicinity Attractions

  • Escaleras is a delightful little village just east of Dominicalito set in lushly vegetated hills that make for tremendous horseback rides.
  • Reserva Biologiaca La Danta is a fruit farm located in Escaleras that is spread out over 10 hectares and features around 100 different species of fruit bearing trees. The American owners provide an interesting tour of the orchard, or for the more adventurous they will even lead hikes to nearby Santo Cristo waterfall including an overnight stay with a local family.
  • The Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge is just 3km north of the bridge into Dominical and is an excellent example of ecotourism and conservation at work. Come for excellent birding and wildlife watching opportunities with highly skilled guides. You can go for the day or stay over night at the Hacienda Baru itself. Be sure to check out the treetop observation tower.
  • Parque Reptilandia, 11km east of Dominical towards San Isidro, is one of the best animal exhibits in Costa Rica. Here you'll find over 300 specimens of snakes, frogs, turtles, lizards and other reptiles and critters in a variety of terrariums. You can eve see Central America's only Komodo Dragon, not to mention gila monsters and a 150lb African spur-thighed tortoise. For extra special action, go on Friday when they feed all the creatures!
  • Nauyaca Waterfalls (Cataratas de Nauyaca), alternately known as Don Lulo's or Santo Cristo or Baru River waterfalls, are one of the more beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica. They stream down 70m into two deep pool that make great swimming holes. Located on private property, the only way to see them is to schedule a horseback tour with Don Lulo's or in Escaleras.

Activities in Dominical Costa Rica

As mentioned, surfing is the major draw in Dominical and there are a number of shops to rent boards from and receive lessons. Costa Rica Dive & Surf offers both surf equipment and dive tours, including PADI certification.

Hiking tours, horse back riding, mangrove safaris, rappelling, and zip line tours can all be easily arranged in town, along with sport fishing and white water rafting trips.

For something truly unique, you can book an ultralight aircraft ride with Adventure Aviation (tel. 506/2787-8277, adventure_aviation@gmail.com). Or stick with a Dominical canopy tour for something with a little less altitude.

Click Here for Dominical Hotels!!

Getting to Dominical Costa Rica

Transportes Blanco buses leave San Isidro for Dominical at 7am, 9am, 1:30pm, and 4pm. Buses from Quepos south to Dominical leave at 5am, 9:30am, 1:30pm, 4pm, and 7pm.

Alternatively, you can take the Easy Ride shuttle - air-conditioned mini-buses which go to and from San Jose twice daily.

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