Dominical, located in the Southern Pacific part of Costa Rica, is the northern most town in the Costa Ballena. Dominical is located about 40 minutes south of Manual Antonio/Quepos and 45 minutes west of San Isidro del General. It is a small but fast growing surfing town with some of the most consistent (and powerful) waves in Costa Rica. There is so much to do besides surfing in Dominical. The landscape is lush, tropical mountains that crash down into palm tree lined beaches. There is wildlife everywhere, in the rivers, mangroves, mountains, beaches, in the ocean. Every year, the whales from the North and the South come and mate and have their babies in our warm tropical waters. This area of Costa Rica is still beautiful and fairly untouched.
There are so many other things you can do in Dominical and the surrounding areas. If you would like more information on these tours, please feel free to ask and we can set you up with a trip of a lifetime! Besides Kayaking and SUP, these are some of the many options you can choose from :
Caño Island Snorkel/Scuba
In Shore/Off Shore Fishing
Beach Horseback Riding
Night Jungle Hikes
Spa & Massage
Corcovado Day or extended stay tours
White Water Rafting
How to get to Dominical:
BY CAR: You can rent a car at the airport. Head towards Route 27 and go west towards Jaco Beach (about an hour). Take Route 24 south (Jaco Exit) and drive south another 2 hours or so to Dominical.
BY BUS: There are two options for buses, Musoc or Tracopa. Musoc bus will leave San Jose every hour on the 1/2 hour and drives 3 hours to San Isidro. From there you can take one of 2 daily buses from San Isidro to Dominical (about an hour and 1/2) or a taxi (about $45). Tracopa has direct buses to Dominical every day and there is a terminal just 15 minutes south in Uvita.
BY PLANE: You can fly on Sansa from San Jose to Quepos in about 30 minutes. Quepos is about 45 minutes north and a taxi from Quepos will cost you about $75.
BY SHUTTLE: There are two Shuttle options from San Jose to Dominical. One is Monkey Ride and the other is Easy Ride. The both leave around 9:30am and 3:00pm from the airport. Monkey Ride is $44 and Easy Ride is $55. We can help you arrange your shuttle if necessary.
BY TAXI: There are many taxi services based out of the airport or taxis from Dominical. The going rate is $180 but you can sometimes bargain to $150.
Where to Stay:
Tropical Sands Hotel is a lush paradise a few hundred feet away from our office. Behind the mysterious gates is a tropical heaven with gorgeous landscaping, a hammock zone, hidden nooks and free bikes to use!
Tortilla Flats is the center of it all. Located on the surfer’s favorite beach, complete with lifeguards and crowded by palm trees, Tortilla Flats offers 18 rooms at ridiculously cheap prices. The accommodations are nice, but the bar and restaurant are even better. Tortilla Flats, by far, offers the best food and bar in town. No matter what time of day, you will find your favorite local surfers hanging out there. The accommodations are very basic, for surfers and backpackers.
Mavi Surf Hotel is a newly built hotel on the end of town. It is very clean and quiet and the family who built it and owns it is SO sweet! Villas Rio Mar is a bit more luxurious, if that is more suited to your tastes. Situated on the Rio Baru, a short walk from town, this tropical resort offers everything you could possibly imagine to make your stay in Dominical a realistic fantasy. For its amenities and beauty, it’s even surprisingly cheap compared to American standards.
Villas Alturas is about 15 minutes south of town and up a 4x4 road, but wow, is this place amazing! It is also home to the Villas Alturas Wildlife Refuge.
Tree of Life Cabinas is In the mountains of Escaleras above Dominicalito. This newly built,beautiful place has 3 cabinas for rent, all situated around a magical Mango tree.
Liquid Magic Surf Resort on Facebook is an affordable place to stay in a magical location. This tropical mountain retreat has incredible views and zen-like
landscaping. Casa Nautika is a gorgeous retreat center located in the Escaleras mountains above Dominicalito. Explore nature, do yoga, listen to incredible music, eat deliciously fresh food, or meditate by the mother tree.
Costa Paraiso is another option for accommodations. They are located about 2 miles south of town, in Dominicalito. The location is much more secluded than any other hotel in town.
Coconut Grove offers a tropical escape as well. You get your own cabina, right on the beach of Dominicalito. It’s just south of town.
Pacific Edge Lodge is up a 4x4 road with the most amazing view you can possibly imagine. Cool Vibes Hostel is the coolest hostel in Dominical. It is where everyone meets up and hangs out. It’s also safe and clean.
Can I rent a house in Dominical?
In my opinion, a house is the way to go. Picture it: an infinity pool, watching the sun set into the pacific, hearing the howler monkeys in the distance, all while drinking a margarita.......
There are so many houses to rent, in town and in the mountains. Prices range from $1000 to $10,000 a week (!!). You can check out these links. We love to support local people, so try to rent from these houses! We also have more information at our office, so please stop by… Check www.vrbo.com or www.homeaway.com for more on house rentals.
How are the beaches in Domincal?
We have some beautiful, black sand, palm tree-lined beaches with a very consistent and large beach break. Playa Dominical is known in the surf world for it’s great waves….and it’s dangerous rip currents. Luckily we have a great team of lifeguards, watching over swimmers and surfers all day long. We support our lifeguards because they have made Playa Dominical one of the safest beaches in Costa Rica. Without them, the strong rip currents can be deadly. These guys work long, hard hours and deserve much respect.
Just south of Dominical is Dominicalito Beach with a more mellow beach break at high tide. Or even more south is Playa Hermosa, about 15 minutes south and has lifeguards.
Where to eat in Dominical:
Cafe Mono Congo
Del Mar Taco Shop
En Sueños Cafe
There are many more in town but those are my favorites!
Good Bars and Hangouts
Fuego Brewery is a gorgeous brewery, fairly new to town. They make their own drafts. This is a great sunset spot too!
Tortilla Flats is busy day and night, 7 days a week. A great time to go hang at the bar is from 4-6PM, during the sunset hours. Everyone gathers there to watch the spectacular sunsets and for the 2 for 1 beers!!
Rio Lindo Hotel and Bar has a great sunset view and casual vibe. Great pizzas too!
Tiki Bar has the coldest beers in town and good food too!
Que Nivel is where the locals go to play pool and fooz ball.
Maracatu, is a Rasta-vibe bar with live reggae music and dancehall beats. Wednesday is ladies night and it is usually hopping on Wednesday and Saturday.
What’s the vibe, how do people dress in Dominical?
Well, Dominical is all about the Pura Vida. Flip Flops and surf trunks, tank tops and sarongs are the typical garb for people living it up in Dominical. Just remember it is HOT here!
What should I bring to Dominical?
Bug Spray, Sun Screen, Bathing Suit, Camera, Flash Light, Hat, pretty much your basic necessities for a tropical environment. Just leave your drama at home!
Is there a bank/ATM/money exchange in Dominical?
There are only ATMs in Dominical at the moment. One is in front of Mama Toucans Natural Food store and one is in front of the Dominical Supermarket.
What are my options for healthcare in Dominical?
There is a small clinic and pharmacy in Uvita, about 15 minutes south, but the local hospital and/or private modern clinic is in San Isidro, about 45 minutes away. Just a reminder that healthcare is very cheap and pretty decent.
What else is there to do in Dominical and the surrounding areas?
These are some of my favorite tours around, check out these links, or come into the office to check out more information. LET ME HELP YOU BOOK YOUR TOURS AND MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR YOU!
There is so much to do on the Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica. Obviously you can spend days of fun with Pineapple Tours, but here are a few other options and their websites. Please also check out section “Movie& Links” for more links on Dominical and Costa Rica.
COSTA RICA SURF CAMP SURF LESSONS - We work with this surf camp because they are fun, reliable, hard working and will get you up on a board on your first day surfing.
COSTA CANYONING WATERFALL RAPPEL TOUR -
Want to do something exciting? This tour offers 6 waterfalls, ranging from 15-80 feet, through a jungle gorge. It is unlike anything you have ever done.
HACIENDA BARU WILDLIFE REFUGE -
(Canopy tours, Zip Lines, Tree Climbing, Bird Watching, Over-night Tours).
Great place to hike, bird watch, hang out at the beach.
OSA CANOPY TOUR - This is the best zipline around, with 11 ziplines, 2 rappels and one tarzan swing!
RANCHO LA MERCED WILDLIFE REFUGE - Horseback rides on the beach at sunset (need I say more??) and all sorts of other horseback tours and hikes.
(Horseback ride to the most amazing two tiered waterfall).
Two National Parks are nearby: Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita, and Manuel Antonio National Park in Manuel Antonio.
Also, Quepos and Manuel Antonio offer some of the best sport fishing around. This town is known for it’s many charter boats to catch some amazing fresh fish. Ask us about more information on charter recommendation.
One of the best hiking experiences in Costa Rica is Cerro Chirripo National Park. It is a hike 11,000 ft up to the highest peak in Costa Rica. If it is a clear day, you can see the Atlantic and Pacific oceans! It is an enduring, yet adventure filled hike.