Last updated on January 24th, 2021 at 05:21 pm EST
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Playa Dominical photos
Playa Dominical fast facts
- English name: Dominical Beach
- Distance from San Jose: 215km (approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes)
- Closest Town: Dominical (small town), Quepos (large town)
- Beach Status: Public beach
Playa Dominical beach details
Sand, shade, scenery, and unique features
Playa Dominical is adored for the stellar waves that break offshore, not the beach itself, which is a long, partly rough, partly smooth, brown-sand beach that’s often covered with rocks and debris.
Crowds and noise
Playa Dominical receives a steady number of visitors, mainly because it’s the principal beach that fronts the town of Dominical. Though Playa Dominical is less busy than some other popular surf beaches (namely Playa Tamarindo), crowds and noise can be an issue, especially on weekends, holidays, and when the town hosts surf competitions.
Cleanliness and Ecological Blue Flag rating
Costa Rica’s Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica (Ecological Blue Flag Program) promotes sustainability and public health (to learn more about the program, see our related blog post: Costa Rica’s Ecological Blue Flag Program: Safe and Sustainable Beaches). Every year, several beaches in Costa Rica compete for top honors, which are bestowed annually according to strict criteria that span the topics of water quality, beach sanitation and garbage disposal, the treatment of industrial waste, beach security, and environmental education. Beaches that participate in the program and meet 90-100% of the eligibility criteria achieve a 1-star rating. Additional efforts invite beaches to achieve 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star ratings (5 stars is the highest rating).
In 2019, Playa Dominical participated in the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica and received a 2-star rating. You may see the achievement displayed at Playa Dominical on a sign that reads Playa Galardonada (Award-Winning Beach).
Development at Playa Dominical
Hotels, restaurants, tours, bathrooms, etc.
The town of Dominical provides an assortment of establishments, including hotels, restaurants, surf schools, yoga centers, and shops. Most line the town’s main drag (aptly named Main Street) and are within walking distance of the beach.
Playa Dominical safety
Swimming and water safety
Swimming is allowed at Playa Dominical, however, as a well-known surf destination, the water can be wavy and rough. As always, exercise caution in and around the water, especially if you plan to visit with children or inexperienced swimmers.
Never bring items of value with you to the beach and always keep an eye on your belongings. Remember to lock your rental car if you have one. Do not visit the beach before sunrise or after sunset.
Playa Dominical location and road conditions
Access to Playa Dominical and 4×4 requirement
Playa Dominical is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. It fronts of the beach town of Dominical, which sits south of Quepos/Manuel Antonio and north of Uvita/Bahia.
Main Street, the town’s principal road, provides a direct route to the beach from Highway 36. A 4×4 vehicle is not required to reach Playa Dominical.
Map of Playa Dominical Costa Rica
Parking at Playa Dominical
There is no official parking at Playa Dominical. Locals park randomly along the back of the beach (which runs parallel to Main Street) among the trees.
Best reason(s) to visit Playa Dominical
Playa Dominical isn’t worth traveling to purely to experience the beach. However, if you plan to station yourself in the Dominical area of Costa Rica primarily for another reason, such as to surf, Playa Dominical provides decent waves. Go for the surf, opportunities to practice yoga, or Dominical’s small-town surf vibe, not the beach itself.
Beach hopping from Playa Dominical (or alternative beach options in the region)
Recommended day trips from Playa Dominical include visits to Playa Uvita, Playa Ventanas, and/or beaches in the Manuel Antonio vicinity such as Playa Manuel Antonio, Playa Espadilla Sur, and Playa Espadilla Norte.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Playa Dominical? What did you think?
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