Dominical is a small village at the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Together with Uvita and Ojochal it is part of the ‘Costa Ballena’. Dominical is known for its waves, but you can choose from many more activities in the area. Read about ten examples of things to do or to visit in the area of Dominical.
This blog is also available in Dutch: Dominical: een relaxed surfdorp in Costa Rica
Dominical is a small touristy village at the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. You’ll find some small supermarkets, an ATM and several restaurants. In case you are traveling with public transport you can also arrange some shuttle services if necessary. There is a daily tourist market and every friday there is a farmers market.
Calathea Lodge is located off the beaten path at about 30 / 40 minutes from Dominical. Read more about our location.
1. Nauyaca waterfalls
Put on your hiking boots, make sure you wear light clothing and have a well-stocked water bottle. It is about an hour hiking, but at the end you will be rewarded. Maybe you’ll see some wildlife on the way, in Costa Rica you always have to pay attention. Don’t forget your swimwear: after the hike you want to take a cooling dip.
It’s one of the popular daytrips in the area. You can choose to hike the 4 kilometers (about an hour), to go by truck or by horse. During the rainy season the path can be muddy.
2. Waterfall Eco Chontales
Roadtrip! Travel off the beaten path and visit the unkown watervall Eco Chontales. Enjoy the beautiful views of the countryside on the way and support the Costa Rican family by visiting this waterfall. It’s a short walk to the waterfall, bring an extra set of clothes.
Visit Rancho La Rana Roja afterwards for lunch. You’re still off the beaten path and you’ll support another Costa Rican family.
Location (do not follow the directions of Google Maps).
Read all about driving in Costa Rica.
3. Playa Linda
Popular among the Tico’s: Playa Linda! This beach is not touristy at all and there is plenty of space. Hopefully we can enjoy the sunsets soon again: due to the corona virus measurements the beaches close at 2:30PM.
Playa Linda is located close to the beach village Matapalo which offers some nice places to have something to eat. Matapalo is number ten in the list of things to do in the area of Dominical.
4. National Wildlife Refuge Hacienada Baru
Hacienda Baru is the example that you can turn things around. It used to be a farm, but since 1979 the owners have been trying to restore the natural habitat of several species that used to live in the area. And with success! It is a National Wildlife Refuge since 1995 and species like the puma and all four monkey species have returned.
Hacienda Baru organizes several tours but you can also discover the refuge by yourself and visit the self-guided trails. You can find more information on the website of Hacienda Baru.
You want to see one but you don’t want to see one… You know that Costa RIca is a home for different kinds of (dangerous) snakes. In Reptilandia you can observe them and many more reptiles in a save environment. Check the website of Reptilandia for more information.
6. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Rescue – Rehabilitate – Release. As a non-profit organisation Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary takes care of wounded and orphaned animals with the goal to release them again into the wild. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary offers the opportunity to volunteer and tourist can support the sactuary by taking tours. Make sure to reserve your spot, read about it on the website of Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary.
7. Eco Termales Quepos
Relax in the hot springs on the countryside of Costa Rica – it is located right next to Calathea Lodge. These hot springs are not as warm as some other hot springs in Costa Rica because there is no volcano around. Therefore it is even more special that you can find hot springs in the area of Dominical. Enjoy the five pools and the view or even a dip in the river next to it.
Read more about Eco Termales Quepos.
Location (don’t follow the directions of Google Maps)
8. Playa Dominicalito
Dominical’s little sister. Dominicalito has some nice waves for surfing or you can just sit back in the shadow and let the surfers entertain you. The access from the highway is easy, make a combination with for example visiting Poza Azul.
9. Waterfall Poza Azul
Located close to Playa Dominicalito you’ll find the small waterfall Poza Azul. It’s a nice little place hidden between the trees where you can have a swim. Everyone can access the waterfall for free. You’ll park the car next to a public road, so don’t leave anything valuable.
Matapalo is a quiet beach village between Dominical and Quepos. Enjoy the sandy beach together with the locals. When you are in Matapalo, ask the locals if they know where you can see a sloth… Maybe they can help you locate one.
During the season turtles visit the beach to lay eggs. There is a local organization where you can take tours and where you can volunteer: ASVPA. There are several restaurants around. We can recommend a pizza from A Kachete, visit the soda next to the highway for a traditional dish or go for El Patio at the exit to Playa Linda. Langosta Feliz is a seafood restaurant with good reviews.
10 things to do or to visit in the area of Dominical: which activities would you choose?
Eliseo and Anouk are the owners of Calathea Lodge. Read more about the lodge. Anouk also founded ‘Bestemming Pura Vida‘, the Dutch travelblog about Costa Rica. Some of the blogs are translated and published on this website.