Dominical Area for a Week??


Oct 27th, 2013, 08:31 PM
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Dominical Area for a Week??

I have researched Samara, Manuel Antonio, and Dominical for a family vacation. (2 adults, 2 kids, ages 8 and 11). MA seems to have a TON to do but I really like the idea of the great snorkeling and beaches in the Dominical area. I really, really like the description of Hacienda Baru and the all the activities we could do right there. It would take us a day to fly to San Jose and then 5 hours to transport to Dominical. So that's 4 days out for travel right there. That would leave us with Monday-Friday at Hacienda Baru. I am sort of thinking:
One day swimming/beach
One day snorkeling in the Beach Reserve
Zipline tour (not the whole day, but half?)
Sea Kayaking
Maybe the horse back ride to the Nauyaca Falls

The prices at HB are really cheap. I suppose we could taxi into Dominical for different restaurants if we wanted. I am thinking it might be best to take a van from San Jose to HB. But then there is getting to the beach...

So--is 5 days too long in the Domincal area? Should we rent a car in Dominical? I will work out a detailed itinerary and ask for specific feed back later. Oh--we are going the first week in April.
StantonHyde is offline  
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Oct 28th, 2013, 04:27 AM
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I would look into getting a car in Dominical. Solid is local and rental for 5 days or so should be very reasonable, much better than trying to get a taxi to go everywhere (which would get expensive too!). From San Jose to Dominical you can do that ride in about 3 hours, not 5, with a driver. If you take a shuttle like interbus it may be a bit longer. Not sure if Interbus even goes to Dominical, think only as far as Manuel Antonio.

I wouldn't expect the snorkeling to be worth it, it can get pretty silty. But you can spend a few hours just hiking H Baru, plus a trip to Ballena Park, the caves, Rancho La Merced, etc.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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We spent a week in Dominical last March with our family and loved it. We did not run out of things to do, and the best part for us was that it wasn’t crowded. I, too, recommend renting a car for the Dominical area – either once you get there, or else from San Jose. We were nervous about driving from San Jose, but it was fine. We left very early in the morning to avoid rush hour.

We found the surf to be a bit rough, so didn’t attempt any snorkeling. I wouldn’t count on it being good, as tully mentioned.

Keep in mind that HB is down by the beach, so it’s going to be quite hot in their accommodations.

If you click on my screen name, you can read my trip report about our stay in Dominical.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 08:17 AM
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I was thinking of snorkelling down at Ballena Natl Park--the Whales Tail or a trip to the island (can't remember the name). It sounds like good snorkeling there???

I did see that we can rent a car in Dominical--I would rather have one myself and my husband is good with that too. So I think that will work. For even a 3 hour drive, I would rather somebody else do the driving while I relax (e.g. like a train, bus or, in this case, a van!)
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Oct 28th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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janenicole--thanks for such a great trip report! I don't know how I missed that when I searched for posts on Dominical???

So just how hot is it down at HB? We are flying from Salt Lake City--we are not used to heat but will be happy to soak up the sun by the first week of April.

Sounds like the horse ride to the falls is a MUST. Sounds like the hot hike to the whale's tail could be skipped--but is that the only way to get to the snorkeling spot?
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Oct 28th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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If you definitely want to snorkel, I would recommend taking some type of tour. Mainly because at the end of the whale's tail, there are rocks, and I would want to be with someone who knows the spots and the tides, etc. A tour would probably take you there by boat, I would guess. I never saw anyone snorkeling when we were there. I thought the hot hike to the end of the tail was worth it, but the rest of our group was kind of 'meh' about it.

You could look into a trip to Cano Island to snorkel and whale watch along the way.

It was gloriously hot in March. I've read that places that are higher up in the mountains feel cooler than those down by the beach mainly because of the breezes, and I thought I should mention it. Everyone has different tolerances. We were glad to have the higher elevation breeze as well as a/c at night.
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Oct 28th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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My wife and I stayed in Dominical in April 2012, and we found it to be hot,hot,hot and of course humid, so much so that I think I would recommend staying somewhere with AC.I haven't stayed at HB but hiked their trails extensively and between 10am and 4pm it got smokin' hot in the jungle and we were mighty glad we could cool off with AC at night.You might consider splitting up your visit and stay at two places- maybe Manuel Antonio and Dominical or Dominical and Ojochal(20 min. south of Dominical). Villas Gaia in Ojochal was very reasonable, has a nice pool and has some fantastic restaurants and interesting beaches close by(although maybe not the best for diving or even swimming- some areas can be treacherous). It's really a pretty easy drive from the airport to the pacific coast, taking the new highway as stated above should only take 3-3.5 hours including a stop to see the crocodiles at the Tarcoles bridge.
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Nov 1st, 2013, 04:15 AM
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Yes, Dominical is HOT. I confirm!

It is a surf spot. Big big waves down there.

I do like this little funky town.
Don't miss to go out at National Park Marino Ballena and eat at one of the great restaurant in Ojochal. By the way, I think that the little bakery at the entrance of Ojochal, "Pancito Café" is just amazing...try the "beignet au chocolat". It's heaven!

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