Mostly known in the surfing world, Dominical area is a natural paradise perfect for adventure travelers, family vacations and romantic getaways. Water is the element that governs it all here. It runs wild from the mountains of the Coastal Mountain Range that separate the coast from inland valleys and tall mountains of the south of Costa Rica to the majestic south Pacific Ocean of the country, where the rainforest is again in charge of a lush natural life.
Those experienced surfers know the beaches at and around Dominical have reliable waves all year long. But those of you new to surfing or to the area, be aware of where you decide to take that dip in the ocean; there are strong swells and rip tides here. Just to give you an idea, this is one of the few beaches in Costa Rica were lifeguards actually exist. But don’t despair, other bodies of water will cool you down and give you the opportunity to play around.
Located only 30 miles south from Quepos along the coastal road, getting to this laid-back and scenic town is very easy, both driving and using public transportation.
The 4 km long Dominical beach is only the excuse to bring together the green from the forest with the deep blue of the ocean, adorned with a line of beach palm trees worthy of anybody’s tropical dreams. Another thing to keep in mind, Dominical area is known for stunning beach sunsets!
“Surfing Heaven” & Where to Swim!
The beaches around Dominical offer perfect waves for experienced surfers and less intimidating waters for newcomers to the sport. There are many surfing schools and small stores in the popular town of Dominical for you to learn about surfing in the area.
A beach for expert surfers, waves can reach over 10 feet high. These left and right waves are powerful! The swells are from the northwest and the south, and they hit the open beach, but to have that perfect wave, the sandbanks must be in the right position. Waves are known to be better closer to the Barú river mouth, and it is easier to surf at high tide. At low tide, the waves turn fast and are more hollow.
Just south of Dominical Beach, the name Dominicalito says it all, it is a small version of Dominical in all senses, from the length of the beach to the size of its waves. A perfect place for beginner surfers and those that want to take that dip into the Pacific ocean. The waves break left and right, over a sand bottom and some rocky spots, so be aware of those.
Point Dominical Beach
Another big wave spot, Point Dominical is located at the south end of Dominicalito Beach. It is a stunning sight since the common tall waves crash onto the rocky shore where green and blue merge again. With swells as high as 15 feet, Point Dominical has a long and left-hand reef break.
Located just north of Dominical Town, on the coastal road, Matapalo is a small black sand beach with a nice left and right beach breaks on a sandy bottom. Another spot for beginners, swimmers and tired experienced surfers to explore.
Also, a dark sand beach, the Hermosa Beach of the south is located 8 miles south of Dominical town. This very long shoreline offers a beach break for new and old surfers and another opportunity for a casual dip in the Pacific ocean.
The Land of Falling Waters
The coastal mountain range is not the tallest range in Costa Rica, but it does have the characteristic of cascading down quickly (almost to the shore), therefore other things like water also follow that path. Here are some of the best waterfalls to visit which are included in our Spirit Trekker itinerary.
Also known as Barú Falls, this magnificent waterfall is two-tiered and ends up in a big pool where swimmers can enjoy the fresh water as they witness the stunning view of chute surrounded by natural beauty. There are several ways to access this falls, in our Spirit Trekker itinerary travelers approach the fall from the top and then hike down to enjoy the water, two views that mustn’t be missed.
The highest waterfalls in Costa Rica, accessible only by hiking through primary rainforest, this canyon offers the visitor not only stunning views and relaxing waters but an immersion into the wild spiced with adrenaline, since waterfall rappelling can be done here. In our Spirit Trekker itinerary travelers also experience another adventure, glamping inside a cave whose doorways are the falls themselves.
Pozo Azul waterfall
Usually a bit crowded, compared to the other falls, Pozo Azul waterfall is also worth your time trekking up and down to enjoy the waters of this blue hole, as the name translates. It is located near Escaleras village, south of Dominicalito.
Many More Things to Do in Dominical
Paddle Boarding at Barú River
Calm waters and great animal life will surround you if you decide to go paddle boarding in this river. Just be aware of the crocodiles. Surfing schools and stores can help you with this adventure.
Many places around Dominical offer the opportunity to go horseback riding, like Nauyaca Waterfall or Pozo Azul Waterfall. Service is offered by locals and can be arranged from Dominical town.
Paragliding from Dominicalito Mountain to Dominical Beach
For those adrenaline junkies, this is a “must,” which will not only give you the rush you hope for but an amazing view of the green and blue forces colliding at the beautiful Dominical beach.
Whale & Dolphin-Watching from Dominical
If you are visiting during the months of August to October or December to March, find the time to go on a whale and dolphin watching tour. Close encounters with Humpback whales and schools of dolphins are common and an unforgettable experience.
Sport Fishing from Dominical
Charter boats can be hired from Dominical to go catch-and-release fishing for big trophy fish like Sailfish or Marlin.
Food Lovers Paradise
Dominical is a melting pot of cultures since many of the surfers and visitors that came never left, and started their own dining businesses. Therefore, Dominical offers an incredible dining experience, starting with Costa Rican food, which in this part of the country involves mostly seafood, and then finding Indian curries, Italian pasta, German bakeries and all kinds of fusion cuisine.
Laid-Back Souvenir Shopping
The small unpaved road that unfolds parallel to the beach always has local and passerby artisans offering their crafts in a very relaxed and friendly environment.
Dominical marks the beginning of a natural splendor that no other part of the world hosts. Biodiversity has a completely new meaning in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. It will be common to find sloths and monkeys wandering the trees on the side of the road, and if you stray off the beaten path a little bit, it is very likely you will encounter animals, insects, and plants that you never imagined, like a golden pit viper. Birders will find exciting tropical birds such as toucans, pelicans, frigate birds, and also many rare bird species. The ocean also holds opulent wildlife. Many private reserves exist around Dominical. Choose one and go natural treasure hunting! You will not be disappointed.
What the Weather is Like at Dominical
Dominical is also known for its comfortable weather all year long. The hot/warm days precede cozy nights cooled down by the ocean breeze. Highest temperatures average 30°C and descend to an average of 18°C. It rains between May and November, with September and October presenting the most rain. December to April are very dry months.