With a jungle-covered coast and small village at its core, Dominical is the epitome of a laid-back Costa Rican town. Top surfing beaches and meandering streets give the area its easy-going vibe and reputation as a hippie hotspot. Beyond the waves and hammock-lined sands, you can venture up into hills to see dazzling waterfalls or wind your way through mangrove forests where you'll pass monkeys, sloths and colourful birds.
Hostels in Dominical let you experience life by the beach or in the region’s tropical rainforests. You can stay in rustic Caribbean-style huts whose private balconies provide the perfect place to spot wildlife in the surrounding greenery. You’ll find Dominical hostels with swimming pools, comfortable communal spaces and handy extras like air con, a mini bar or an on-site restaurant. If you prefer to cook, look out for a Dominical hostel with self-catering facilities.
As there are only two major roads in Dominical, it’s easy to explore. One road runs through the town and the other sits parallel to the beach, where there are artisans selling tapestries, jewellery and even hammocks. There are also restaurants serving international cuisine, grocery stores and bars in town. Its main beach is 4km long and is renowned for its consistent waves. If you’re a beginner, you can rent a board and take some classes at the camps that line the shore.
For days away from the beach, hike to the Nauyaca waterfalls. After passing dense rainforest, you’ll be able to bask in the natural swimming pools. You can check out some of the national parks including Marino Ballena National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park and Chirripó National Park. Marino Ballena is a 20-minute drive from Dominical in the neighbouring village of Uvita, where you can go on a humpback whale-watching tour. Love yoga? There are a couple of studios in town to practise your downward dog.
The closest airport is Quepos La Managua Airport and daily buses will bring you to Dominical. There are also buses running every day from San José and San Isidro de El General. In Dominical you’ll be able to get around by foot. If you want to head into the mountains, you can hire a 4x4 jeep. The coastal highway (Route 34) can take you to Uvita and Marino Ballena National Park.