Dominical, Costa Rica
Central Pacific Region
Province of Puntarenas
Marino Ballena National Park
Dominical Beach Travel Guide
Dominical is a beach-front town in the province of Puntarenas, in the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica, approximately 45 km south of Quepos. It is a rather off-the-beaten-path surf destination, well known for large, year-round waves. Even though it is a small town, Dominical is now home to a thriving and friendly community and offers natural beauty, restaurants, hotels for all budgets, a wealth of activities and local amenities. Swimming might not be recommended because of strong swells and rip tides but visitors can kayak off the coast or enjoy some diving and snorkeling opportunities in the area, rain forest hikes, horseback riding to the Nauyaca Waterfalls, and wildlife observation in the nearby National Park Marino Ballena.
Things to do in Dominical
These majestic waterfalls tumble over a combined 200 feet (61 meters) into a large natural swimming pool. They’re the perfect place to experience the raw power of nature in Costa Rica, and make an excellent day trip from many popular nearby beach towns, such as Uvita and Manuel Antonio. Nauyaca Waterfalls is a Costa Rican family business founded in 1992. You can visit on horseback or hike.
These take you either through the nature-filled mangroves or to the ocean. The mangrove river takes you along the calm water to learn about this important ecosystem and you get to see wildlife like monkeys, herons, kingfishers, crabs, raccoons, sometimes even crocodiles and sloths.
Dominical tours to other destinations nearby
Marino Ballena National Park
This National Park was created as a safe area for humpback whale migration. Humpback whales arrive every year (from July to October) to carry out their reproductive cycles, at a point in the park with a rocky and sandy formation resembling a whale’s tail. This curiosity is the park’s main attraction. Inside the park you can enjoy and walk along the beaches, snorkel or scuba dive to see a wide variety of marine life. You can also enjoy the calm ocean that bathes these shores or take a boat trip to nearby islands. In addition to humpback whales, species like the spotted dolphin can be found in these waters, as well as bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, parrotfish and mackerels.
The uncrowded beach borders the Marina Ballena National Park. The beautiful golden sands and palm trees feature a tropical rainforest right up to the sand. It is a great place for whale and dolphin watching and sea kayaking. Uvita may be small but it has all the basics such as supermarkets, pharmacies and local restaurants. It has a very quiet vibe and atmosphere, perfect for a tranquil trip to the beach.
Ventanas Caves Ocean Kayaking
You will get the opportunity to paddle on the turquoise ocean waters north and south of the mountainous coastline of Ventanas Beach. If the wave conditions allow, you will pass through a cave or two and will have the opportunity to check out sea turtles, pelicans, frigatebirds, shore birds, toucans and monkeys. This is an adventure full of adrenaline.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Just 30 km north from Dominical is Manuel Antonio National Park, the most visited park in Costa Rica, and also the smallest. Like other parks here, Manuel Antonio is brimming with wildlife, including white-faced monkeys, squirrel monkeys, sloths, colorful tropical birds of 350 different types, and many lizard and insect species.
Location and Map
From San José, it takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes (205 kms/ 128 miles south) via San Isidro de El General or down the coast from Quepos through Route 34 (Costanera Sur). Although similar in distance, the trip down the coast is much faster due to the winding nature of the inland route. Farther south are the villages of Uvita, Ojochal, Coronado on Route 34.