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Pacific Edge Guidebook

Kristen

Pacific Edge Guidebook

Beach
As one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, the Southern Zone of Costa Rica has so many beautiful beaches it will be hard for you to choose which to visit! Here’s a quick overview to help you out:
Considered the most consistent surfing spot in the nation, Dominical beach starts on the south side of the Baru River and stretches for more than a mile. Typically surfed at medium-to-high tides, the waves in Dominical are both powerful and thrilling. Lifeguards are on duty daily. In addition to water sports, there are several restaurants and tons of shopping. Check out the local vendor’s tables as they offer everything from jewelry to dresses to beach gear—it never hurts to bargain to get more bang for your buck. This is the most popular beach in the area.
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Dominical Beach
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Considered the most consistent surfing spot in the nation, Dominical beach starts on the south side of the Baru River and stretches for more than a mile. Typically surfed at medium-to-high tides, the waves in Dominical are both powerful and thrilling. Lifeguards are on duty daily. In addition to water sports, there are several restaurants and tons of shopping. Check out the local vendor’s tables as they offer everything from jewelry to dresses to beach gear—it never hurts to bargain to get more bang for your buck. This is the most popular beach in the area.
Just three kilometers south of Dominical lies Dominicalito, a quiet fishing village with smaller waves than its neighbor to the north. The waves here can be very kid friendly, but it’s always a good idea to watch out for rocks when entering and exiting the ocean, particularly at lower tides. Dominicalito is also a great place to purchase fresh fish when local boats arrive during the afternoons.
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Playa Dominicalito
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Just three kilometers south of Dominical lies Dominicalito, a quiet fishing village with smaller waves than its neighbor to the north. The waves here can be very kid friendly, but it’s always a good idea to watch out for rocks when entering and exiting the ocean, particularly at lower tides. Dominicalito is also a great place to purchase fresh fish when local boats arrive during the afternoons.
Playa Hermosa is a long stretch of sandy beach 10 minutes south of Playa Dominicalito. It’s a perfect beach for surfing and bodyboarding, although the waves are typically smaller than in Dominical. There is a lifeguard on duty almost every day at Playa Hermosa, which makes for a safe beach experience. Playa Hermosa is a fantastic place to purchase ceviche from area vendors and mingle with locals on the weekends.
Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa is a long stretch of sandy beach 10 minutes south of Playa Dominicalito. It’s a perfect beach for surfing and bodyboarding, although the waves are typically smaller than in Dominical. There is a lifeguard on duty almost every day at Playa Hermosa, which makes for a safe beach experience. Playa Hermosa is a fantastic place to purchase ceviche from area vendors and mingle with locals on the weekends.
This beach is home to a tranquil waves and is almost always empty. If you are looking for a private, secluded beach look no further.
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Playa Piñuelas
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This beach is home to a tranquil waves and is almost always empty. If you are looking for a private, secluded beach look no further.
Home to the famous “Whale’s Tail,” a large, kilometer-long sandbar that can be accessed on foot at low tide, Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita is an ocean-lovers paradise. From October through March, humpback whales and their kin can be spotted close to the coast. Dolphins swim in abundance in these calm waters as well. Expect to pay about $10 per person to enter the beach.
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Playa Ballena
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Home to the famous “Whale’s Tail,” a large, kilometer-long sandbar that can be accessed on foot at low tide, Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita is an ocean-lovers paradise. From October through March, humpback whales and their kin can be spotted close to the coast. Dolphins swim in abundance in these calm waters as well. Expect to pay about $10 per person to enter the beach.
Play Uvita is 11 miles south of Dominical along the Coastal Highway. It’s a charming 2-mile white sand beach with swaying palm trees and some shady relief from the Pacific sun. The waves are smaller here than in Dominical and swimming conditions are ideal. This beach is part of the Marino Ballena National Park so fishing is strictly prohibited.
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Uvita Beach
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Play Uvita is 11 miles south of Dominical along the Coastal Highway. It’s a charming 2-mile white sand beach with swaying palm trees and some shady relief from the Pacific sun. The waves are smaller here than in Dominical and swimming conditions are ideal. This beach is part of the Marino Ballena National Park so fishing is strictly prohibited.
Playa Ventanas is a favorite beach for locals and is located near the town of Ojochal. A palm-tree laden cove that features a pair of distinct caves that can only be explored on a low tide. There’s a secure, pay parking lot directly in front the beach and several top-end restaurants located close to town. The sunsets here are second to none. It’s a great place for a family trip.
Playa Ventanas
Playa Ventanas is a favorite beach for locals and is located near the town of Ojochal. A palm-tree laden cove that features a pair of distinct caves that can only be explored on a low tide. There’s a secure, pay parking lot directly in front the beach and several top-end restaurants located close to town. The sunsets here are second to none. It’s a great place for a family trip.
Wildlife Preserve
Exploring this tropical environment with an experienced, local naturalist guide has been described by many of our guests as an unforgettable experience. Your mere presence in the habitat that contains more life, in terms of biomass and biodiversity, than any other on the planet is overwhelming. You will first hike through secondary forest then primary forest and spend much of the morning in remote parts of Hacienda Barú.
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Hacienda Barú Lodge
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Exploring this tropical environment with an experienced, local naturalist guide has been described by many of our guests as an unforgettable experience. Your mere presence in the habitat that contains more life, in terms of biomass and biodiversity, than any other on the planet is overwhelming. You will first hike through secondary forest then primary forest and spend much of the morning in remote parts of Hacienda Barú.
Waterfalls
The area of Dominical and Uvita in Costa Rica – also called Costa Ballena – is a natural paradise. A countless amount of rivers and streams run through mountainous jungle; so a waterfall or natural swimming hole is never far away. Visiting a waterfall is a great activity when enjoying a vacation in Dominical & Uvita. We selected the following four waterfalls for you; Nauyaca Waterfalls, Poza Azul, Cascada Verde and Catarata El Pavon.
The Nauyaca Waterfalls are located in a canyon approximately eighty meters wide. One of the falls is forty-five meters high in free fall and the other twenty meters high in stepped fall, forming at the foot of it, a pool of a thousand square meters and six meters deep. Then there are other natural pools of smaller size, which can be used for the enjoyment of the whole family. Nauyaca Waterfalls in Costa Rica is the ideal place for lovers of nature and adventure where the tourist can expand the cavalcade, walk, swim, climb, jump, take pictures and enjoy a wonderful day, in one of the most beautiful places beautiful of the pacific south of Costa Rica. Getting There Nauyaca is not the most easiest waterfall to go to. The hike to Nauyaca Waterfalls takes about 50 minutes to an hour (one way). But most people enjoy the hike, also because it is very common to spot some wildlife along the way. Another possibility is visiting Nauyaca Waterfalls by horseback riding tour or a 4×4 tour (you can find more information on these tours here). For all options, you first need to go to the ticket office of Don Lulo (also named: Nauyaca Waterfalls Horseback Riding Tour) which is located on Route 243 to San Isidro del General, about 10 km (6 mi) from Dominical (we have marked the exact location on the google maps area of this page). In the case you want to go hiking to Nauyaca Waterfalls you will need to buy a ticket of USD 9,- (CRC 1500,- for nationals or residents). After buying the ticket you can drive down to the bridge where you park the car (USD 3,-) and start your hike. But please note! This drive down is very steep and recommended for 4×4 cars only. If you don’t have a 4×4 car and you decide to start hiking from the ticket office, keep in mind that the walk will take quite some more time. In particular the hike back; because the last part will be very steep going up. Take sufficient water with you. Also good shoes are recommended – in particular during rainy season – you don’t want to lose your flip flops in the mud 😉
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Nauyaca Waterfalls
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The Nauyaca Waterfalls are located in a canyon approximately eighty meters wide. One of the falls is forty-five meters high in free fall and the other twenty meters high in stepped fall, forming at the foot of it, a pool of a thousand square meters and six meters deep. Then there are other natural pools of smaller size, which can be used for the enjoyment of the whole family. Nauyaca Waterfalls in Costa Rica is the ideal place for lovers of nature and adventure where the tourist can expand the cavalcade, walk, swim, climb, jump, take pictures and enjoy a wonderful day, in one of the most beautiful places beautiful of the pacific south of Costa Rica. Getting There Nauyaca is not the most easiest waterfall to go to. The hike to Nauyaca Waterfalls takes about 50 minutes to an hour (one way). But most people enjoy the hike, also because it is very common to spot some wildlife along the way. Another possibility is visiting Nauyaca Waterfalls by horseback riding tour or a 4×4 tour (you can find more information on these tours here). For all options, you first need to go to the ticket office of Don Lulo (also named: Nauyaca Waterfalls Horseback Riding Tour) which is located on Route 243 to San Isidro del General, about 10 km (6 mi) from Dominical (we have marked the exact location on the google maps area of this page). In the case you want to go hiking to Nauyaca Waterfalls you will need to buy a ticket of USD 9,- (CRC 1500,- for nationals or residents). After buying the ticket you can drive down to the bridge where you park the car (USD 3,-) and start your hike. But please note! This drive down is very steep and recommended for 4×4 cars only. If you don’t have a 4×4 car and you decide to start hiking from the ticket office, keep in mind that the walk will take quite some more time. In particular the hike back; because the last part will be very steep going up. Take sufficient water with you. Also good shoes are recommended – in particular during rainy season – you don’t want to lose your flip flops in the mud 😉
Poza Azul waterfall, Dominicalito The second waterfall that we will discuss is much smaller than Nauyaca, but much easier to get to and free of charge. The lovely Poza Azul waterfall is beautifully set in the jungle of Dominicalito. It has a nice natural swimming pool and trees provide shade to cool down in the water on a hot day. But please keep in mind that this river can (almost) dry-up in the summer months January, February and March. Getting There Poza Azul waterfall is located just outside Dominicalito which is located a little south from Dominical besides the Costanera (route 34). Take the exit next to the bus stop, drive through the village, after going over a little bridge make a right turn. It is only 1 minute up, you will see a parking area on the left; the entrance to the waterfall is on the right (opposites from the parking area). Currently there is a sign saying Poza Azul. It is a very short walk down; but quite steep and some people will have some difficulties walking over the roots of the trees. Please do not leave any valuables in the car. No entrance fee. No 4×4 car needed.
Poza Azul waterfall
Poza Azul waterfall, Dominicalito The second waterfall that we will discuss is much smaller than Nauyaca, but much easier to get to and free of charge. The lovely Poza Azul waterfall is beautifully set in the jungle of Dominicalito. It has a nice natural swimming pool and trees provide shade to cool down in the water on a hot day. But please keep in mind that this river can (almost) dry-up in the summer months January, February and March. Getting There Poza Azul waterfall is located just outside Dominicalito which is located a little south from Dominical besides the Costanera (route 34). Take the exit next to the bus stop, drive through the village, after going over a little bridge make a right turn. It is only 1 minute up, you will see a parking area on the left; the entrance to the waterfall is on the right (opposites from the parking area). Currently there is a sign saying Poza Azul. It is a very short walk down; but quite steep and some people will have some difficulties walking over the roots of the trees. Please do not leave any valuables in the car. No entrance fee. No 4×4 car needed.
El Pavon waterfall, Ojochal The last waterfall we will discuss is Cascada El Pavon a little south of Ojochal. This waterfall has a big rock stuck between the waterfall openings on the top, which makes it quite unique. You have a nice natural swimming pool at the waterfall. But this river provides more excellent natural swimming pools, like just before the path going to the waterfall. On the way to El Pavon waterfall you will pass a restaurant which has their own tilapia farm. Even if you do not like fish, it might be nice to stop for a while to see the giant old Ceiba tree. Getting There El Pavon waterfall is located in the far south of Costa Ballena in an area called Punta Mala (between Ojochal and Coronado). It makes a good combination with a visit to Playa Ventanas for a day trip from Dominical. Go south on the Costanera (rout 34), after passing Ojochal you have to watch out for a couple of signs besides the road (left hand side), with one of them being from the El Pavon Talapia farm & restaurant. Take this exit and keep following it, there will be a sign on the left hand side saying ‘Cascada el Pavon’. No entrance fee for the waterfall. No 4×4 car needed.
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Cascada El Pavón
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El Pavon waterfall, Ojochal The last waterfall we will discuss is Cascada El Pavon a little south of Ojochal. This waterfall has a big rock stuck between the waterfall openings on the top, which makes it quite unique. You have a nice natural swimming pool at the waterfall. But this river provides more excellent natural swimming pools, like just before the path going to the waterfall. On the way to El Pavon waterfall you will pass a restaurant which has their own tilapia farm. Even if you do not like fish, it might be nice to stop for a while to see the giant old Ceiba tree. Getting There El Pavon waterfall is located in the far south of Costa Ballena in an area called Punta Mala (between Ojochal and Coronado). It makes a good combination with a visit to Playa Ventanas for a day trip from Dominical. Go south on the Costanera (rout 34), after passing Ojochal you have to watch out for a couple of signs besides the road (left hand side), with one of them being from the El Pavon Talapia farm & restaurant. Take this exit and keep following it, there will be a sign on the left hand side saying ‘Cascada el Pavon’. No entrance fee for the waterfall. No 4×4 car needed.