Dominical is the gateway to the Costa Ballena – a 30 mile stretch of beaches, river valleys, and lush jungle covered mountains. This sleepy beach town sits 30 minutes south of Quepos/Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes west of San Isidro del General. For years it has been a surfing destination, but even if you don’t surf the 2.5-mile beach is perfect for long walks or just relaxing. After a long day of fun and sun, enjoy a cold drink and live music at Tortilla Flats, a popular bar/restaurant on the beach.
This small town has always been a popular destination for travelers on a budget, but Dominical is evolving with stronger tourism and investment. The local municipality has improved the initial access off the Costanera Sur (The Coastal Highway) with asphalt and has begun construction of a concrete promenade along a 1km beachfront section. In addition, the opening of Patron’s, an elegant steak house and bar with live music, looks to attract a wider range of people.
South and Beyond
Drive five minutes south of Dominical, and you will find its younger brother Dominicalito. The waves are smaller at this crescent-shaped beach and there are a few stand-out restaurants close by. The land and luxury homes on the hillside sport some of the best ocean views on the entire Costa Ballena, and there’s even a gorgeous waterfall called Pozo Azul that is two-wheel drive accessible. For these and other reasons, it is also the strongest vacation rental market. If you like to explore, continue driving south. The small towns of Uvita and Ojochal offer fantastic day tour and restaurant options, respectively.
If you are tired of snow and cold, Dominical is the place for you. Even in the rainy season, which runs from May through November, the climate is warm like the Costa Rican people. In July, the area typically gets a second summer—less rain, more sun.
This is the country of “pura vida” or “pure life”, and it is ever-present in Dominical. Like the wildlife, the area has quickly become a melting pot of residents… each adding their own unique colours and flavours to the community.