Is eight days in Dominical too much?

Aug 29th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Is eight days in Dominical too much?

My partner and I will have about eight days of leisure and whatnot based in Dominical at the end of December. We will have a small 4x4 rental for getting us around. For sure we want to explore down to Uvita and beyond.

Since we have eight days in Dominical (Hacienda Baru), we want to do all there is to do there but M.A. seems feasibly close too. Is it worth it to go as a day trip?

We are basing almost our entire time here and have never been to eight days too much for this one area? We are trying to avoid cramming too much into our total of 12 days in-country.

Thanks for any and all advice.
sfuller82 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 04:07 PM
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BTW, we know Dominical is known for surfing but we are not surfers and aren't really interested in learning so that sort of eliminates that activity during our eight days....
sfuller82 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 04:32 PM
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We really enjoyed the time we spent in Dominical (4 nights at Pacific Edge) and we're not surfers. We did a hike on Hacienda Baru's reserve and also on another reserve. We mostly like driving/hiking around looking at wildlife/nature/particularly birds. And we saw a lot there. You'll be there in dry season so won't have any issues with bridges being out etc like we did. In fact, we had planned to go to Manuel Antonio after two days but didn't because of road/bridge washouts. But that road between dominical and MA is rough - so, it depends on your priorities whether it's worth it. Not sure you'd see any more wildlife in MA than you would at reserves in Dominical. There's more development/restaurants/etc. in MA - a plus or minus depending on your point of view.

We loved driving the nice big wide road south of Dominical and would have explored further had there not been bridges washed out. With 8 days I guess you could even get down to do something near Drake Bay, Osa.

On the other hand, having said all that you could also split the time with some place else. . . An easy thing to do we found was to drive from SJ to the area near San Isidro (San Gerardo de Dota) and stay at one of the lodges there - Savegre or Trogon - there are more - then go on to Dominical. A nice way to get a feel for mts./valley and coast. Understand your need not to cram too much in and race around. ... Are you primarily interested in wildlife? birds? other?
glover is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 05:41 PM
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For us, 8 days in Dominical would be too much. I'd move around a bit more and that might not appeal to you! BUT for sure you should spend a night or two at MA (my opinion). The road is too rough for just a day trip! It takes about an hour and a half to go a fairly short distance.

A couple of hours would get you to the area Glover is talking about (San Gerardo de Dota)--great area to experience some cloud forest. Savegre Mountain Lodge is a beautiful little hotel where it is very cool at night (you'll use every blanket on your bed) and a fleece jacket comes in handy.

You are positioned (at Dominical) to experience some wide variety. I'd try to take advantage of that a bit, if you could.

You could also split your time with a place like Puerto Jimenez on the Osa (Glover mentions Drake Bay, but I'd tend more toward PJ, although I've not been to Drake Bay). There are a couple of little hotels down there (Iguana Lodge for one) that get very nice reviews.

Tully, if you're reading this, what's the name of that place where you stayed in May? Isn't it at the top of the Golfo Dulce and not so far from Dominical?

sfuller82--you've got a LOT of options! And when you mention "8 days" in Dominical, all of us obsessed trip planners swarm like a bunch of sharks to help you "make the most of all that time"!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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shillmac it was Playa Nicuesa. Not sure they can access it though other than by boat from either PJ or Golfito (it's actually closer to Golfito and about a 30 minute boat trip from PJ).

Sorry to butt in but what are the options from say 1/2 north of Palmar Sur to get to PJ? Other than renting a car is a taxi/driver the only route? What is that - about 5 hours?
tully is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:07 PM
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Wow...thanks so much for your help, folks, so far. Our interests are food, wildlife, beach time, snorkeling (Uvita?). I guess that's why we settled on Dominical area from what I have read here and other travel forums.

We have all nights reserved at Hacienda Baru so don't really have the option of staying overnight elsewhere.

Since we live in Seattle, we are not too sure we want to experience more cold and wet at that time of year so don't know about venturing into the mountains.

I have heard about how terrible the road is between MA and Dominical so, assuming Hacienda Baru has lots of wildlife, I don't think we are going to bother with MA.

Sure appreciate all the advice!
sfuller82 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:12 PM
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Hi sfuller,

I hope you'll report back on Hacienda Baru. The owner, Jack Ewing wrote a book called "Monkeys are Made of Chocolate", which I read last year after my first trip to CR. I've been interested in visiting Hacienda Baru ever since.

What was your impression of the place, glover?
cmerrell is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Tully, not sure I understood you right. 1/2 north of Palmar Sur?

I'm thinking drive from Dominical to Puerto Jimenez is about 4 hours. Depending. Always depending! In fact, it COULD be a little less. I remember well the bus ride we took from Puerto Jimenez to Palmar Norte, but not how long it took exactly. Maybe just 2 hours--then another hour to Dominical, approximately? It's been a few years! But I don't think 5 hours. . .

sfuller82. . .didn't realize you were committed to all 8 nights at HB. Oh well. . .you can certainly do some interesting little day trips and have a LOT of nice relaxing time on the beaches! Do drive down to Playa Ventanas. There are some cool rock formations in the water, little tunnels (windows).
shillmac is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Uvita is a funky little town to check out. The whales tail sandbar is interesting to see but have shoes with sturdy soles because the fluke part is quite rocky. Flip Flops won't be good for that part. You need to go at low tide. Ojochal is further down there but you can find some great food. Exotica is a wonderful restaurant. Doesn't look like much but the food is excellent. A little pricey and you do need a reservation. The roads in Ojochal are a little exciting to drive on particularly at night when I did all the driving there. Another place is the El Jardin pizza place, ask locally for the exact name if you are interested. It is a challenge to get to and when you do it doesn't look like it is open but park and walk to the back. Wonderful pizza. Opens at 6pm. We went back here twice. The road to Ojochal from Dominical is excellent.

There are a couple of good places to eat in Dominical. I have eaten at La Parcela and San Clemente. Both were good. Beautiful views from La Parcela.

The Ballena marine reserve is along that way. Nauyaca waterfall and horseback tour would be a good option. You can head towards MA for the day or go half way and go rafting with Rafiki Lodge.

Ask around, I suspect you can get a snorkeling trip to Cano Island or a day deep sea fishing. We haven't investigated those options yet from there. I have been to Cano Island and deep sea fishing from Drake Bay so it hasn't been a priority for me.

For me 8 days seems a bit long for just about any one place but you will have options for things to do. There are obviously going to be things to see at Hacienda Baru as well. Down time is not a bad thing either.
Suzie2 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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While you're at Hacienda Baru, be sure to do the "Night in the Jungle". I thought it was great. You can find details on the Hacienda Baru web site. I also enjoyed getting winched up into the top of the tree.

batson57 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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sorry shillmac, I was really tired last night, same now, so hope this'll make more sense: From Rafiki to somewhere like say La Cusinga I'm sure would be easy to arrange thru Rafiki. I think they're about 40km apart? But after La Cusinga, which is (I think() about a half hour north of Palmar Sur, how would you get to PJ and how long? Sure if I contact BdC they would know I'm just thinking out loud and wondering if it'd be too complicated.
tully is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 04:50 PM
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I think about 3 hours, Tully, give or take.

You're way ahead of me--I know very little of La Cusinga OR Rafiki--are you thinking of either one? It's good to know there's a BIG part of Costa Rica we've still to explore!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:22 PM
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oh shillmac you know how it goes -too much time now in advance leaves me to all types of wanderings (or wonderings). Yeah I was thinking of flying to Quepos, 4 nights at Rafiki, then 4 nights at La Cusinga then somehow getting to PJ and 5 Nights at BDC with a night in Alajuela before coming home. If it's only 3 or so hours from La Cusinga to PJ, doesn't seem like it would be too complicated to find a taxi or driver to do it for some reasonable amount. I know I was on about PV a couple days ago and that's still an option, plenty of time, but I'm really liking the above. We shall see! So many places to go to!
tully is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:40 PM
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Tully, the lodge we stayed in, Finca Bavaria, in Uvita was just a little north of La Cusinga. It is about 3 hrs from PJ. If I had known you were interested I could have gone in to check it out. I know people have taken a taxi from Drake Bay to PJ or vice versa. I remember it being pretty pricey and that was some time ago. We were in Uvita for 3 days and didn't see any taxis. They may have had some but I sure didn't see any. Before you get your mind set I would go ahead and check with someone at BdC and ask about a transfer. There may be taxis in Palmar Norte because we took one from PN to Sierpe to catch the boat.

My husband has stayed at Rafiki twice when doing his guy thing with Orlando. He thought the tents and the food were great. The people too. I remember him being a little disappointed in the birding trails. It has been a couple of years so it may be better now. People seemed to love the horseback riding and rafting.
Suzie2 is offline  
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