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Caribbean Beaches Guide – Playa Dominical, Costa Rica

By Angela Braun, GoGirlfriend correspondent

Beach 411 ~ Playa Dominical Beach

30 Miles South of Manuel Antonio National Park

  • Beach type: Family oriented
  • Beach geography: Listen to the sounds of consistent waves and appreciate relatively unaccompanied sands on this forest-fronted beach of approximately 4 kilometers.
  • Ease of access: Bumpy and dusty – reach the beach by one of Dominical’s dirt roads.
  • Extra costs: No extra costs
  • Beach amenities: Amenities are limited to occasional lifeguard duty but plenty of great restaurants can be found in the nearby village.
  • Special note: Meet the mountains as they dip into the sea at this experienced surfer’s utopia.
  • Geo-Locator: Where is Playa Dominical Beach?

Playa Dominical Beach ~ courtesy anywherecostaricaRomantics and Adventurists

Catering to both the romantics and the adventurists, Playa Dominical is where you’ll witness some of Costa Rica’s most dazzling sights and become one with the sea’s active surf. For that off-the-beaten-path-adventure, an authentic Costa Rican atmosphere and natural beauty including waterfalls keep Playa Dominical on your must-visit list.

Large waves make swimming dangerous; however, safer swimming conditions can be found further down the coast at Playa Dominicalito. It’s recommended that you wait until the lifeguard is present on the beach if you do wish to swim; make sure to inquire about rip currents and water hazards prior to venturing out into the sea.

Playa Dominical activities & nightlife

Segway Adventures of Costa RicaTake on lively lefts and rights as you tackle large waves on your surfboard, stay cozily nestled in your lover’s arms as you catch rays on your beach blanket, or explore restaurants, bars, surf shops and souvenir stands all along the dusty roads of the Dominical. Go kayaking off the coast and enjoy diving and snorkeling opportunities. Hangout at a beach bar or visit a national park – then finish off your day at Tortilla Flatts with good food and great sunsets or at Maracatu, known as the hottest night spot and live music venue in Dominical. Otherwise, sip a midnight margarita at San Clemente Bar & Grill or treat your ears to the sound of a live band on Friday nights at Roca Verde.

Playa Dominical & beyond attractions

Consisting of rainforests, wetlands, grasslands, mangroves and unique deserted beaches, we recommend all nature enthusiasts to travel 2 miles north of the beach to Finca Baru Pacifico Wildlife Refuge. Within the 815 acres lives 300 different species of birds, more than a 100 species of amphibians and reptiles and 57 species of mammals.

  • Hacienda BaruGet up close and personal with nature when you take an ecological tour, bird watch or explore a canopy with Hacienda Baru.
  • Learn how to ride the waves, stand steady on the water and hang 10 when you take surf lessons with Dominical Surf Adventures.
  • Pineapple Tours will be thrilled to take you on one of many kayak and stand-up paddleboard tours.
  • Poza Azul Waterfall, approximately 5 minutes south of Dominical near Villas Rio Mar, is another must-see when you visit this beach.
  • Take the 40-minute drive to the Quepos Marina for a tour of a lifetime with Segway of Costa Rica (visit them on Facebook) – we promise you won’t regret it or ever forget it.

GoGirlfriend Playa Dominical Beach hotel recommendations

Villas Rio MarVillas Rio Mar: Hotel Villas Rio Mar is a beautiful 52-room hotel, within walking distance of the beach. It has a large swimming pool, spa, restaurant, pool bar, tennis court and tour desk. All rooms feature a small terrace, seating area and private bathroom. Visit Villas Rio Mar on Facebook and Twitter and read reviews on TripAdvisor.

Costa ParaisoCosta Paraiso: Oceanside boutique hotel offers 5-star service and 3-star luxuries. Rooms feature free high-speed Internet and kitchenettes; they’re wheelchair accessible and pet-friendly. Costa Paraiso has its own bar and lounge, restaurant and swimming pool. Toucan Nest, Monkey Loft, Coconut Cove, Dolphin Lodge and Pelican Roost room options each feature a deck with table and chairs and are spacious enough for the whole family. Visit Costa Paraiso on Facebook and Twitter and read reviews on TripAdvisor.

For more hotel recommendations throughout Dominical we recommend visiting Booking.com.

Costa Rica weather

Costa Rica weatherTemperatures remain stable throughout the year with average daytime highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and nighttime lows dropping to the upper 70s. During dry season, which extends from November to April, you can expect splendid blue skies, heat and non-stop sunshine. If you visit between May and October you can expect daily showers.

For more information or help planning your next Costa Rica getaway, visit:

Read our other Costa Rica beach guides:

Ever been to Playa Dominical in Costa Rica? We'd love hear what you love about it! Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let's continue the conversation!

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