Sleepy fishing village–turned–surfer town, Dominical has undergone a lively makeover, with a paved beach road, new restaurants and shops, a farmers' market on Friday morning, and an artisans' fiesta with live music the first Saturday night of the month. As more and more luxury villas pop up all over the hillsides above the beaches, you're likely to find the private jet set rubbing elbows with the bohemian set. It's still a major surfing destination, attracting surfers of all ages, with a lively restaurant and nightlife scene. Favorite local hangouts come and go, so don't hesitate to try something new.

Dominical's real magic lies beyond the town, in the surrounding terrestrial and marine wonders: the rain forest grows right up to the beach in some places, and the ocean offers world-class surfing.

Much of the lush forest that covers the steep hillsides above the beaches is protected within private nature reserves. Several of these reserves, such as Hacienda Barú, protect significant tracts of the rain forest.

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