The incredible balance of sand, sea and mountains makes Dominical a destination worth traveling to. It has clockwork sunsets with a fiery glaze, and dark volcanic sands that warm the ocean to balmy temperatures. Moments away from the beach are pools of fresh water and natural waterfalls that cascade down the mountainside.
Dominical lays on the Southern Pacific Ocean and is bordered to the north by the Río Barú, a freshwater river that runs from the mountains into the ocean. creating a rushing current that you can find and track as you walk along the beach. To the east 3000-foot mountains create a cloud forest, and to the south dark volcanic ash creates coffee colored beaches and coves.
Since the main part of the town of Dominical is set slightly back from the beach, it seems to magically disappear as you drift into the water, leaving only the tall beach palms and mangroves surrounded by fertile green hills to guide you along the coastline.
The international surfing community has known Dominical Costa Rica for many years. It became a destination in the early seventies by a group of spirited and dedicated surfers, and because of its consistently good waves Dominical has steadily gained in popularity over the last 30 years. The town has become a haven for surfers, with local restaurants offering “Starving Surfer” specials and nonstop surf videos. The unusual conditions of the beach give the surf its size, dependability and the gentle run off and white water splash that also make it perfect for learning. The wave is a beach break with a twist that originates from the mouth of the Río Barú to the north. The river empties out of the mountains to the east and deposits sediments that form into a sand bar that spreads like a pair of sleepy rabbit ears north and south of the mouth.
Only recently have people discovered and been attracted by its natural beauty. Not more than fifteen years ago the only buildings to be found were a few dilapidated fishing huts built by local fishermen. Since then the town has grown to over 700 permanent residents with a number of small beachfront restaurants, bars and cabins. Even with the emergence and growth of the town, it is possible to walk from one end of Dominical to the other in less than ten minutes.
The area surrounding Dominical, especially to the south, is almost completely unpopulated. Because of this, the area is full of hundreds of different species of exotic animals including; three different types of toucans, giant green and red iguanas, all four types of native monkeys, parrots of all sizes and hues, three toed sloths and various small cats such as jaguarondis and montegordos.
There are two national reserves (Hacienda Baru) in the immediate area, and three more only an additional hour and a half away (Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park and Caño Island National Preserve) . To the south is the country’s underwater national park, Marino Ballena. Here it is possible to see a pristine underwater world with scores of multi-colorful marine creatures, coral reefs and jagged, ash black, volcanic rocks and tide pools. In a country full of beautiful views, lush landscapes, tropical attractions, and cloud forests, Dominical has the perfect balance between walking on soft sand or hiking along fresh water streams.