View Surf Spots in Costa Rica in a larger map
Dominical is a beachfront city in South Costa Rica in the province of Puntarenas about 45 kilometers south of Quepos. The city is well-known for its large, consistent waves that attract the surfers from all over the world. Besides being a renowned surfing platform, Dominical is acclaimed for its splendid silvery beaches, verdant jungles, sunny clime, sporty adventures and a wide variety of accommodations and restaurants. Be it a honeymoon, surfing retreat a backpacking venture or a family respite, Dominical serves as an excellent holiday destination for all manner of vacations.
Dominical used to be a small time fishing village which gradually gained popularity among surfers and other tourists. With its exceptional waves, warm climate and beautiful scenery, the town has won the hearts of numerous people. You can access the city from three routes. Most commonly used route is from the east through San Isidro. Fly from San Jose then take a bus or rent a car and go south to San Isidro. The eastern route offers travelers amazing sights such as cloud forests, mountain trails, green valleys and rivers. The drive is about four to six hours long. The other two routes include driving via northern highway from Quepos and flying from San Jose to Palmar Sur and then taking the road to Dominical.
It would be helpful if you have some idea about accommodations, places to see and restaurants beforehand. The town is getting busier and more touristic day by day. El Coco is a super budget friendly hostel with simple rooms and basic amenities. It is highly popular among backpackers, surfers and vacationers looking for a cheap place to stay. Rio Magnolia Nature Lodge and La Tierra Divina are two marvelous bed and breakfast services in a serene location offering wonderful views and great facilities. For a good dose of luxury, Costa Paraiso and Villas Alturas are remarkable abodes that provide the best experience possible. Travelers will discover several restaurants, cafes, bars and bakeries with all kinds of delicious cuisines and food.
There is no doubt that surfing is big in Dominical. The beach is its most significant attraction and the waves are highly appealing. Dominical is one of the few cities in Costa Rica that provide lifeguards on the beach to ensure utmost safety. After surfing, sportfishing and waterfall tours come next in popularity. Other adventures include trips to caves, zip lining, canopy tours, horseback riding, eco tours, nighttime ventures and whale watching expeditions.
Surf Spots in Dominical
Playa Dominical features a beach break that peel to left and right over a sandy bottom. The waves are fast, hollow, powerful waves and quite tall often riding up to 10 feet! As the break approaches Rio Baru rivermouth, the surf gets gradually bigger in size. There are many stable and well placed sandbars that generate challenging yet fun lefts and right with demanding barrels. The best time to surf is at a mid to high tide with swells rising from the northwest, west and southwest and wind blowing from southeast, east and northeast. The break is potentially dangerous and is suitable for only experienced surfers.
Dominicalito is located just south to Dominical. Those who can’t surf the strong waves of Playa Dominical should try the beach break of Dominicalito. It is a protected surf break that peels to left and right over a sandy bottom. The point is best ridden during mid to low tide. The spot is great for novices and intermediate surfers.
Cambutal, also known as The Point, is a reef break with a long left. Its swells can get as high as 15 feet. The break is recommended to advanced surfers only.
Playa Ballena is a pretty beach featuring a superb surfing platform for novices and intermediate surfers. It has a beach break with very consistent surf that breaks over a sandy bottom to both left and right. The waves are quite smooth, gentle and ride up to the distance of 150 yards. The best time to ride is at mid to high tide when swells rise from the southwest and wind blows from the east. The beach break is safe and remains deserted most of the time. Only dangers include stingrays and jellyfishes. The months between June to September offer the best condition.
Surf Camps in Dominical
There are several surf camps in Dominical that offer superb packages, surf lessons conducted by professional instructors, access to surf gear, transport service and accommodations. Some of the popular camps are:
Dominical Waverider Surf Camp
Dominical Waverider Surf Camp is a luxury surf retreat located in Playa Dominical. The camp proffers excellent vacation packages that include tours to the best surf spots, many amenities and visits to other attractions. It is owned by a seasoned surfer who has years of experience as a lifeguard and a surfer. The camp is an ideal place for couples and families on a surf vacation. Along with surfing, the camp arranges adventurous activities such as zip lining, canopy tours, waterfall tours, yoga session and so much more.
Green Iguana Surf Camp
Green Iguana Surf Camp is an acknowledged surf camp situated in Playa Dominical. The camp was founded more than a decade ago and over the years, it has earned itself a great reputation. Striving to give a superb experience to their guests, Green Iguana is a perfect place to learn surfing and improve your skills. You can accommodate in one of the following hotels; in a beachfront hotel called Roca Verde, in a riverfront lodging at Villas Rio Mar, in a budget friendly beach side Hotel El Coco or at a serene lodging at Sundancer.
Kalon Surf Resort
Kalon Surf Resort is a premiere surf camp and resort located in Dominica. The deluxe school is inclusively built for people from the business world who wish to take some time off from their busy routine. The surf resort offers charming accommodations styled with comfort and lavishness, delicious gourmet meals and outstanding surf sessions. Each guest is accommodated in a private en suite room located in a mansion.
Pura Vida Adventures
Pura Vida Adventures is a surf camp and yoga retreat exclusively built for women. The enticing haven allows you to revivify yourselves, experience new things, learn to surf, mediate and practice yoga and have a most fabulous time of your lives. Other than surfing, enjoyable activities such as hiking through the verdurous jungle, trip to Montezuma waterfalls, zip line canopy tours, horseback riding, stand up paddling, ATV tours, fishing expeditions, and guided tour of Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve can be arranged.
Tres Olas Surf Camp
Tres Olas Surf Camp is located in Dominical. Their ultimate goal is to provide an unparalleled surf adventure to their guests in the tropical waters of Costa Rica. They organize surf tours to various breaks, offer pre-planned and customizable packages, leisure tours and fantastic trips to waterfalls and jungles tours as well as zip lining, stand up paddling, horseback riding and many other thrilling activities.
Surf Shops in Dominical
In Dominical, there are many surf camps and schools with their own shops that allow students to choose their equipment readily. South Wave is the very first, full service standalone shop that offer a huge variety of surfboards and other gear.
In South Wave, customers can find a good range of board rentals, boards for sale, surf apparel, beach clothing, footwear, ding repair, fins, leashes, wax, rash guards and other accessories. It carries some of the famous brands such FCS, Reef. Dragon, Bill Johnson, Quicksilver, Head Hunter, Al Merrick, Dakine, Sticky Bumps and Volcom. Their phone number is +506 2787 0048. For more information, visit South Wave Facebook Page.
Activities in Dominical
Dominical is lined by a beautiful coastline. The water is sparkling clean with a backdrop sublime beaches and exquisite jungles. As mentioned before, whale watching, sportfishing and waterfall tours are rather popular in Dominical. Due to the presence of a plethora of marine organisms, snorkeling and scuba diving are quite entertaining. Other water sports such as sea kayaking, rafting, fresh water fishing in Savegre River and sailing are similarly enjoyable. Fun land activities include horseback riding, canopy jungle tours, zip lining, hiking, bird watching and guided eco tours of the jungles.
Nauyaca and Pozo Azul Waterfalls
For a change of scene, take a break from the sand and ocean to visit Nauyaca Waterfalls and Pozo Azul Waterfalls. The spectacular falls are surrounded by verdurous scenery and colorful birds. The tours are lead by bilingual and experienced guides who will ensure your safety and guide you through the trails. People can enjoy eco tours of the waterfall on horseback as well! The horses are fully trained and experienced so beginners don’t have to be scared. Nauyaca Waterfalls is located 10 kilometers away from Playa Dominical. The horseback riding tour is about two hours long and takes you through some of the most exotic places to the impressive 60 meter high waterfalls of Nauyaca. Pozo Azul Waterfalls are just as stunning and no less beautiful than Nauyaca. Go trekking, swinging off the ropes and swimming in the refreshing waters of Pozo Azul. On the way, you will meet sloths, howler monkeys, iguanas and plenty of frogs. The tours are suitable for all ages, however kids are under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
The water encircling Dominical’s shorelines are flourishing with many interesting fish species. Anglers, beginners and seasoned, love to go offshore and inshore fishing here. There are many sportfishing charters in the city mostly operated by local fishermen that offer fishing tours to the best spots. Common fish species include mahi mahi, roosterfish, dorado, marlin, snapper, sailfish and yellowfin tuna.
Whale Watching Tours
Dominical is less than 5 miles away from Marino Ballena National Park, a well known nature reserve with a huge population of sea creatures. The park is home to whales for about 9 months of the year. This part of the Pacific Ocean is considered unique as it is one of the two places in the world where whales migrating from the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere meet. Several species of whales can be seen but Humpback Whales attract the most attention and praise. Besides whales, playful dolphins often steal the show. In Dominical, many tour companies with their own boats provide whale/dolphin watching expeditions in very reasonable prices.
For more information on Dominical and its surf spots, please visit:
Dominical – A Surfer’s Sanctuary – Learn about accommodations, hotels and camps in Dominical on costaricasurfing.org
Guide to Surf Spots near Dominical/Uvita – An article on suf breaks in Dominical and Uvita on costaricasurfing.org
Dominical Travel Guide – All about the town on wikitravel.org