Surfers began traveling internationally to find perfect waves even before the cultish movie with the same theme Endless Summer. If you’re not familiar with this documentary type film, it stars two surfers as they follow the sun (summertime) for one year around the world in search of the worlds’ most ideal waves. It’s not sure whether they visited Dominical, Costa Rica, but if they did not find an iconic wave anywhere else, they would probably have found it here.
Discovered in the blooming surf-era of the 1970s, wave riders have pursued Dominical, Costa Rica, for the last forty years. This is where the mouth of the Rio Baru (river) empties into the ocean. With it comes sediment and rocky deposits forming a natural sandbar off the beach. The waves consistently break right on the beach, making smooth, predictable and enjoyable surfing.
Dominical is located less than 110 miles (175 km) from San Jose, Costa Rica. The road may take some driving time, but the route is said to be one of the most (if not The Most) beautiful in Costa Rica.
Though Dominical is tiny, it has developed some amazing community social and welfare programs. Projects currently underway include ecological education for foreigners and locals alike, a sea turtle nursery, reforestation programs and a community-wide recycling program.
No matter your taste, one of the nearby beaches will help calm those stressed nerves and overworked muscles. Playa Dominicalito lies just south of Dominical proper. This spot has some smaller waves—during high tide—and has no dangerous tides. You’ll be able to practice some beginning surfing lessons at one of the numerous surf schools, or lazily swim about, or watch the morning fisherman bring in their daily catch. Punta Dominical, on the other hand, has some bigger waves crashing on a craggily shore. The sunsets are uninhibited and hypnotic. The Dominical beach zigzags crescent moon style for over 2 miles (4 km).
Another popular beach is Playa Hermosa with her extraordinary formed waves. Only advanced surfers come here because of its remoteness and strong undercurrents. Playa Ballena is inside of the Marino Ballena National Park (see below). The beach is perfect for long boarders and beginners alike. Vacationers say the snorkeling and swimming here is second to none too.
The most popular national parks in the area are the Marino Ballena National Park (Ballena means whale) with its prominent Whales Tale point and Las Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters [rocks]). Moreover, Cano Island biological Reserve lies about 9 miles offshore and can only be reached by motorboat. Here, you can hike about, snorkel and scuba dive. The island is formerly a pre-Columbian burial site. The Mangrove Forest Reserve, too, takes you onto the water. Here, you can snap pictures of an array of birds and the twisting mangrove roots as they reach deep into the water. Also, try the Corcovado National Park or the Golfito Wildlife Refuge if you want to see bio-diversity found nowhere else.