Dominical travel guide

Dominical Tourism | Dominical Guide

You're Going to Love Dominical

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.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Dominical

1. Whale and Dolphin Watching

Go on cruise excursions and get up close and personal with dolphins and humpback whales.

2. Hiking

Surround yourself with Dominical's green majestic forests as you hike around the flowing waterfalls.

3. Surfing

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.

4. Snorkeling

Explore Dominical's clear, blue waters and get a glimpse of Costa Rica's fish, corals, rocks, and natural habitats.

5. Canopy Tours

Launch yourself on a zip-line and get a breathtaking view of the sky, majestic forests, and waterfalls.

What to do in Dominical

1. Fall In Love With These Idyllic Falls

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.

2. A World Of Natural Wonders In A Compact Package

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.

3. Get To Know Some Quirky Critters

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.

4. You'Re Sure To Have A Whale Of A Time

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.

5. Unwind, Relax, And Learn To Surf

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.

1. Fall In Love With These Idyllic Falls

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.

2. A World Of Natural Wonders In A Compact Package

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.

3. Get To Know Some Quirky Critters

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.

4. You'Re Sure To Have A Whale Of A Time

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.

5. Unwind, Relax, And Learn To Surf

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.

Where to Eat in Dominical

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.

When to visit Dominical

Dominical in May
Estimated hotel price
$73
1 night at 3-star hotel
Dominical in May
Estimated hotel price
$73
1 night at 3-star hotel

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.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
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How to Get to Dominical

Plane

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.

Car

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.

Bus

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.

Airports near Dominical

Airlines serving Dominical

United Airlines
Good (3,009 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,431 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,552 reviews)
KLM
Good (366 reviews)
Air France
Good (450 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,624 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,212 reviews)
SWISS
Good (498 reviews)
Iberia
Good (978 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,349 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,744 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,910 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,342 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,657 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (162 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (846 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (776 reviews)
Avianca
Good (854 reviews)
Frontier
Good (1,436 reviews)
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Where to stay in Dominical

Platanillo - Platanillo is a small town between San Isidro and Dominical and offers horseback tours in the Nauyaca Waterfall.

Popular Neighborhoods in Dominical

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.

Where to stay in popular areas of Dominical

How to Get Around Dominical

Public Transportation

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.

Taxi

There are only two local taxis but you will need to negotiate the price because both taxi drivers set their own price.

Car

Alamo has a variety of rental cars starting from ₡4,667.82 a day.

The Cost of Living in Dominical

Shopping Streets

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.

Groceries and Other

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.

Other popular cities in Puntarenas