Dominical is a small enchanting village sitting on the sandy beaches of the Puntarenas Province. Resting along Costa Rica's Central Pacific coastline, Dominical is one of the most attractive locations for surfers worldwide.
Go on cruise excursions and get up close and personal with dolphins and humpback whales.
Surround yourself with Dominical's green majestic forests as you hike around the flowing waterfalls.
Learn to surf or enhance your surfing skills in Dominical's colossal waves. The Gato Surf Camp and Costa Rica Surf Camp both a variety of surf lessons starting at ₡43,760.83 per person.
Explore Dominical's clear, blue waters and get a glimpse of Costa Rica's fish, corals, rocks, and natural habitats.
Launch yourself on a zip-line and get a breathtaking view of the sky, majestic forests, and waterfalls.
Everybody loves waterfalls, but even seasoned cascade fans will fall in love with Nauyacal's scenery. Situated around 10 miles north of Dominical in the highlands, the falls rise to a maximum height of 45 meters, but are compressed into an 8 meter wide gorge - creating some serious power. When they crash to the valley floor, they create a huge six meter deep pool, which is the perfect place to cool off after the hike to reach the falls. If you're feeling energetic, there are also horseback riding stables near the falls, with miles of trails to explore.
Stretching over 330 hectares, Hacienda Baru is one of the Pacific Coast's leading nature reserves. The main appeal for visitors is that, unlike other nature parks, the Hacienda includes a diverse range of habitats, including secondary rainforest, highland rainforest, and lowland wetlands (as well as a couple of miles of lovely beaches). Aside from nature spotting, the park also offers a recreational center, with zip lines, hiking trails and even tree climbing into the rainforest canopy. The night hikes into the jungle are a captivating experience.
A few miles inland from Dominical, and not far from Nauyacal, you'll come across this superb nature attraction. As with most Costa Rican nature attractions, Parque Reptilandia has a serious purpose - to educate visitors about the region's amazing biodiversity. But it's really a playground for biology fans, complete with anacondas, giant turtles, and Komodo dragons (which aren't strictly local). Highlights include the venomous snakes gallery, which could be a life-saver for hikers, and the hatchery, which brings little ones into the thriving collection.
The natural wonders of the ocean are one of the most appealing aspects of visiting Dominical, and nowhere are these easier to experience than the neighboring Ballena National Marine Park. Set up to provide protection for the entire coastline, the beaches of the park are the kind of place you'll meet green iguanas basking in the sunshine, while tour operators will be happy to introduce you to the reserve's famous humpback whales during peak watching season. At the same time, Costa Rica's largest Pacific reef is a paradise for divers and snorkelers.
While Dominical Beach may be slightly more conveniently located (and that's marginal), Dominicalito Beach is much more picturesque and unspoiled. Situated just down the coast from Dominical proper, Dominicalito has an attractive, compact setting, and the waters there are ideal for swimming. The surf may not be the most extreme on the Costa Ballena, but that makes the bay perfect for novices, so you can learn the ropes before graduating to more extreme breaks. And you can even pick up ocean-fresh fish from the local community.
Mid-December to April is dry and sunny, which makes it the ideal time to visit Dominical. However, it's the peak season for tourists so it will also be more expensive.
Most tourists fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), in Costa Rica's capital, and rent a car from there. Or you can fly from SJO to Palmar Sur via Sansa Airlines and then rent a car. You can also fly into Quepos La Managua Airport and then drive one hour to Dominical.
From SJO, it's a four-hour car ride south towards San Isidro, San Jose's southern province, which takes you straight to Dominical. This route is the most stable and safest.
Most people prefer direct bus services because they are faster, safer, and cost ₡8,752.17. From downtown San Jose, La Terminal buses leave the San Carlos Atlantic Station and arrive in Dominical in six hours.
El Coco has rooms with shared bathrooms but no hot water. Villas Rio Mar is located half a mile upstream the Baru River, and its amenities include hot water, a fan, and a restaurant. Located in Puntarenas, the Danyasa Eco-Retreat-Bamboo Yoga Play Studio offers accommodation and retreat classes amidst the tranquility of Costa Rica's forest; purchase a yoga class for ₡7,001.73 and a therapeutic massage for ₡35,008.67.
Platanillo - Platanillo is a small town between San Isidro and Dominical and offers horseback tours in the Nauyaca Waterfall.
Mal Pais - this beach is mostly sand and large rock fragments four miles north of Cabo Blanco National Park.
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve - the San Miguel Biological Station located in the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve promotes, supports, teaches, and conducts environmental research for Costa Rica.
Walking is the best means of getting around. Transportes Blanco takes you from Dominical to San Isidro every 2-3 hours and costs less than ₡583.478.
There are only two local taxis but you will need to negotiate the price because both taxi drivers set their own price.
Alamo has a variety of rental cars starting from ₡4,667.82 a day.
The Boruca Gallery Gift Shop sells carved and painted wooden masks made by Borucan artisans starting at ₡5,834.78. Located next to Restaurante El Coco, Ruth's Clothing is the most popular store in Dominical. Her clothing line includes handmade apparel for men and women, jewelry, and souvenir t-shirts.
Dominical Supermarket, located at the main entrance of Dominical Village, has food and toiletries. One gallon of milk costs ₡2,818.20 and a dozen eggs ₡1,639.57. Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Foods is a whole-foods store that sells fresh organic vegetables, a wide selection of gluten-free foods, bagels, bread, ice cream, and chocolate.
Dominical's foods are a mixture of South and Central American cuisines. The Aracari Restaurant in La Cusinga Eco Lodge hotel serves organically grown food from the hotel's property and local markets. If a late night dinner is on your schedule, Que Nivel is the hip spot serving food and drinks until 2 am.