Discover the Beauty of Dominical, Costa Rica: 5 Must-See Spots & Activities
Dominical, Costa Rica is a quaint beach town with a bohemian vibe, situated on the Western coast of Costa Rica. This pristine coastline is a surfer’s paradise that hosts multiple surfing competitions yearly and boasts consistently stellar waves. So if surfing is your thing, or a hobby you’ve always wanted to pick up, you’re in the right place. For those less inclined towards water-sports, Dominical boasts wildlife refuges, multiple waterfalls, magical hikes in jungle settings, charming cafe’s, and tons of local shops, in addition to the instagram worthy beaches. Below, we’ve included our top five must-see spots and activities around Dominical, Costa Rica. Regardless of where you land in Costa Rica, Dominical is worth a visit.
1. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
“Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is dedicated to the protection and conservation of Costa Rica’s wildlife. To accomplish this, we provide wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education and implement wildlife research.”
The Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit rehabilitation and educational center devoted to “the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured, sick and orphaned wildlife here in Costa Rica.” If an animal is unable to be released back into the Costa Rica wilderness, the sanctuary adopts the animal for life, providing both care and accommodation. “Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary offers these resident animals a comfortable and safe environment in captivity, whilst providing for their physical, mental and social needs.”
The wildlife sanctuary is an educational hub in Dominical, offering daily sanctuary tours and volunteering opportunities. “We believe that education is a key component for improving human-wildlife co-existence, to ensure the diverse range of wildlife inhabiting Costa Rica, and around the world, is maintained for future generations. Our long-term goal is to reduce human related wildlife injuries via awareness raising, scientific research and implementing mitigation strategies.”
The Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is solely funded by donations and run by volunteers, so 100% of your donation or tour cost goes right back into supporting their mission and caring for the local wildlife. We’ll be teaming up with the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary for our upcoming trip to Dominical. You can learn more about our partnership here.
2.Kayaking at Whale’s Tail
“This tour combines it all into one tour (an ocean paddle, snorkeling, walk on the Whale’s Tail, Kayak Wave Riding, a small Mangrove Estuary hike, knowledge about the park and its amazing ecosystems!”
Kayaking offers a view of the pristine waters that chillin’ at the beach just can’t quite nail. If you’re in Dominical, we highly recommend booking a kayak or stand up paddle board tour with Pineapple Tours. They do a fabulous job: their tour guides are friendly and knowledgable, you’ll feel safe every step of the way, and they offer a wide variety of options.
Their Whale’s Tail Combo Snorkel Tour may be the best kayaking excursion ever…and it’s perfect for a diversely skilled group. You get a lil’ bit of everything; paddling, snorkeling, beach time, a mangrove tour, snack time with fresh fruit, and a chance to learn about the area from proficient locals. Plan for at least 5 hours from the time you arrive at the tour center. They’ll drive you out to the Whale’s Tail, located at Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita, and provide bags for the items you’re taking with as well as an option to leave excess items in the car.
It’s an accessible paddle (you can Kayak or SUP) and the snorkeling spot offers an up-close glance at the insane amount of sea life: starfish, conch shells big fish, small fish..you get the picture. Definitely plan to bring your underwater camera if you have one. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen! A lot of the trip is in the open water. A word of advice: get your backside extra lathered before the snorkel session.
3. Sunrise (Yoga) on the Beach
While Dominical’s sunrises are less talked about, they offer exquisite lighting, less crowds, and serenity that is incomparable to other hours.
Because Dominical is located on the Western Costa Rica shoreline, sunsets are implicitly bomb. But their sunrises? Even better. On a clear day, the reflection of the horizon in waters makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Pink, orange, and purple hues dance across the skyline and provide the perfect backdrop for your next instagram photo. However, as challenging as it may be, we recommend taking at least one morning to be device-free on the beach to saturate in the ambience. The beach is relatively desolate in the early morning hours and is a perfect time for a shoreline walk, quick dip, seashell hunt, or (our favorite) yoga class.
4. Nauyaca Waterfalls
¨These majestic waterfalls are one of the main attractions of the southern region in Costa Rica”
The Nauyaca Waterfalls are a short drive away from Dominical; up a cliffside towards a canyon park. You’ll have to stop at a little hut to pay your entrance fee, then travel up a few minutes further to the park entrance. Once you cross the bridge and enter the park, it’s quite a hike to the waterfalls. Be sure to bring extra water! You’ll travel across wooded areas and sunny flatlands. There’s a shop about halfway up that sells cold beverages and offers a break in the trek. There are also options to arrive via horseback, or take a tour of the falls and a surrounding farm, if you plan early enough.
Once you arrive, there are two main falls: one is 45m high, the other 20m high. Both are worth spending time at. There’s a main “pool” in front of the smaller fall, but various smaller pools embellish both falls. Bring a book, pack a lunch, and enjoy the clear waters. Plan for at least 5 hours, start to finish, to truly enjoy the falls in their entirety.
5. Fuego Brew Co.
Local Craft Beer. Enough said.
What could possibly enhance this artistic lil’ beach town? The founders of Fuego Brew thought it was a craft brewery: and Pura Vida, we agree. We can’t imagine Dominical without it! Fuego is perfectly tucked away, right off of the main strip in Dominical. To get to the open-setting, patio style bar, you travel up and around a long wooden entryway—it’s a bit intimidating if you arrive alone your first time!
The bar has a rotating tap of beers, crafted onsite, as well as a fully stocked bar and wine selections. Did we mention they have a kombucha margarita? And their menu claims they have the World’s Best Pinã Colada! Their food is also fabulous and their menu has a wide variety of cuisines, from pizza to poke bowls!
What we love the most about Fuego Brew is their dedication to sourcing local ingredients for their food and their beer. Give them a try the next time you’re on the Western coast of Costa Rica.