The Accessibility of Dominical and Costa Ballena Now

It seems like just yesterday it took well over 4 hours to get here and the last stretch of spine rattling bumpy dirt road from Quepos to Dominical took an hour and a half.  And the bridge in Uvita had holes you could see straight through to the flowing river below!  The first time I came to Dominical on vacation we were at a local breakfast spot up in Playa Hermosa near Jaco and were reading a free publication that had a story on Dominical.  It said the locals cut down a huge tree to fall across the dirt road that came from Quepos in order to stop tourists from visiting.  Well, I thought we got to go check out that place!  However, we almost turned around after passing through Quepos and were going along the dirt road until we came to a wooden bridge over a drainage canal in the palm fields.  Thought maybe we made a wrong turn, but there were no turns, so it had to be the right road.  Sat there for about 10 minutes contemplating if we should turn around or not, when a semi trailer came by and went over the same wood bridge!  Guess this was the main road so we kept on going………

Well that has all changed in the last few years and now it is easy to get to Dominical and Costa Ballena.  The Coastal Highway or “Costanera” from Quepos to Dominical is now paved and some of the best road in the country.  There is also the new “Autopista del Sol” toll highway from San Jose straight to the coast and that cut about 45 minutes off the trip from the capital city to Jaco.  And then from Jaco it is a straight shot down the coast to Dominical.

Directions from San Jose to Dominical:

-From the International Airport head towards downtown San Jose on the highway until it ends and make a right toward Sabana and Escazu.  This road turns into the new toll road “Autopista del Sol”.  There are other ways to get to the toll highway, but are more complicated and you could always hire a taxi to follow to the toll road and pay them for the fare.

-Take the toll road all the way to Orotina, which is a great place to stop at local fruit stands, most of the mangos comes from this region and they have tons of other fresh fruits too.  After passing the town of Orotina you get to the last toll booth before the Jaco exit; which is right after the toll booth and easy to miss if you are not looking for it.

-Follow signs South to Jaco and this is the Coastal Highway or “Costanera”.  When you get close to Jaco you will pass through Herradura which has a large commercial center with a light house and there is an AutoMercado huge supermarket; so this is good place to stop and stock up on imported products and large selection of groceries.

-Keep heading South past Jaco, past Hermosa, past Esterillos, past Parrita, and when you get to Quepos veer left and follow signs for Dominical, passing a MaxiPali on the left with green roof; which is a mini Wal-Mart and actually owned by Wal-Mart, another place if you need to stock up. Do not go straight into Quepos unless you want to check it out.

-Keep going South on this road past Savegre, past Matapalo, past Hatillo, and once you pass a gas station after Playa Guapil on that right you are getting close. You will come to an intersection with fruit stand and police check point just before the Dominical bridge.

-Go over the bridge and make right into town at the cell tower, then go down the main strip until you get to another cell tower and make a right to the beach or go straight to the beach.  You have officially arrived at Playa Dominical!!