Dominical, Costa Rica
Visitors can now travel to the Costa Rica resort town of Dominical in three and a half hours from the San Jose Airport (SJO) on some of the best roads in the country, thanks to the completion of the coastal highway linking Dominical to Manuel Antonio Quepos and the new highway linking San Jose to Jaco and the rest of the Pacific coast.
Once a sleepy fishing village, Dominical was discovered by surfers from around the world, and grew in popularity as a beach resort with the added attraction of all the activities associated with jungle and wildlife, and as a second home destination because of the congenial weather and affordability.
For nature enthusiasts Dominical is a natural base because of its proximity to seven wildlife parks which can be visited within a day from Dominical, the most significant of whcih is defined by the National Geographic Society as the most biologically diverse area on the planet, the Corcovado National Park; the Mariono Ballena National Park protects a string of pristine beaches and the sealife off the south Pacific coast; this is where one chances to swim with dolphines or sight the humpback whales. Manuel Antonio National Park, the most visited national park in Costa Rica is just 45 minutes' drive. 6 kilomters north of Dominical, the Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge definitely deserves a half-day visit, where visitors explore wall to wall wildlife, on a self-guided tour or a nature guide.
From Dominical one can visit a different beach every day for a weeklong vacation; within a 30-minute drive to the north or south, a series of beaches and coves can be enjoyed, each offering a unqiue beauty, all unspoiled. Inside the vast dense jungle around Domincal there are hundreds of waterfalls, some incredibly big, like the 600-foot Diamante twin waterfalls, and some with lovely swim pools which can be accessed on foot or horseback.
Dominical town is small enough still for strangers to greet and smile to each other and what it lacks in terms of sophistication is made up by a lot of rugged charm and welcoming faces. A handful of streets radiating from the famous surf beach, Playa Dominical, are occupied by language schools, dance schools, yoga and massage studios, rsetaurants and bars. There are a few beachfront bars here where surfers and spectators mingle.
When the time comes to take a break away from Dominical, take a drive over the mountain to San Isidro on a market day, it's well worth a visit just soaking up the town atmosphere. There are several large supermarkets too. Quepos is on the way to Manuel Antonio so it's a natural stopover for a bit of a cultural experience. 15 km south of Dominical, Uvita is convenient for banking and shopping. Check out the seafood vendors on the roadside as they frequently have fresh catch of the day to offer. Or on your morning walks on the beache you may even buy them straight out of the boat as the fishermen pull in after a night out at sea.
Things to do around Dominical
* Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving, Whale and Dolphin Watching, Explore Caves on a Kayak – at the Ballena Marine National Park – 15 minutes from Dominical
* Kayaking through Hatillo Mangrove Swamps – 15 minutes from Dominical
* Night Safari Boat Tours at Sierpe and Terraba Mangrove Swamps – 50 minutes from Dominical
* Sportfishing organized by Hotel Cuna del Angel – 10 minutes from Dominical
* Horseback Riding and Waterfalls organized by Don Lulo – 15 minutes from Dominical
* Canopy Tours, Bird Watching, Wildlife Tours, Guided Walks or Self-Guided Walks in Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge – 10 minutes from Dominical
* Visit Manual Antonio National Park – 45 minutes from Dominical
* Visit Corcovado National Park – 2 hours from Dominical
* Hiking in Chirripo National Park – 2 hours from Dominical to the base of Chirripo Mountain
* Snorkeling or Scuba Diving around Cano Island Reserve – Full Day Tour
* Horseback Ride at the Rancho La Merced Wildlife Refuge to beaches, mangrove swamps and around the ranch – 15 minutes from Dominical
Travel to Dominical Costa Rica
Driving from San Jose to Dominical there are two alternative routes; if you decide to rent a car and travel on the inland road via Cartago and San Isidro enroute to Dominical, you will come across quaint mountain villages and majestic mountain scenery; then a stopover in San Isidro presents a perfect shopping opportunity to stock up for the vacation. There are roadside fruit stands and souvenir stores when you need to stretch legs. You will arrive in Dominical after about 4.5 hours. If you take the coastal road by way of Jaco and Quepos, the scenery is completely different, here you will see coffee plantations, ranches, palm groves, rivers and streams. You can enjoy lunching at one of the beachfront restaurant in Jaco and do the shopping in Quepos. This journey will take around 3.5 hours. If you decide to hop on a 40-minute commuter flight from San Jose to Quepos or Palmar Sur, via either SANSA (from San Jose International Airport) or Nature Air (from Tobias Bolaños Municipal Airport), you can have a rental car pre-arranged for your arrival, or have a taxi take you on the 40-minute ride to Dominical.
Traveling to Costa Rica for the first time, the best way to get to Dominical is by airport shuttles, which are small air-conditioned minivans that accommodate up to 8 people, and have your pre-booked rental car delivered to your hotel or villa on arrival. This way, you avoid the stress of finding your way around and out of San Jose and ensure a relaxing journey.
Dominical Rentals Highlights