Bucket List for Costa Rica

Costa Rica is visited by approximately 2 million tourists per year and each comes here for various reasons, but all enjoy the country’s natural beauty no matter what area they visit.  With so many micro-climates, activities, and sights; this country truly offers something for everyone.  The following is a list of must see’s and do’s.

Zip-Line Tour – These tours are in every part of Costa Rica and some are more adventurous than others.  However, it is always a thrill zipping through the jungle canopy; so look for a reputable tour close to where you are staying.

Arenal Volcano – This is one of the most famous attractions in Costa Rica and if you are lucky you can see this active volcano spewing lava at night from one of the many area hotels.  There is also an amazing hot springs with Jacuzzi temperature waterfalls, cascades, and swimming holes.

La Paz Waterfall Park – This wonderful park has a mini zoo with some of the common and not-so-common wildlife for visitors to see.  Plus they have three large waterfalls with walking trails along side that get you up close and personal with these natural wonders.

Manuel Antonio – The most visited National Park in Costa Rica located right next to Quepos.  The park has some picture perfect post card white sand beaches, tons of wildlife, and more monkeys than people they say.  Also plenty of boutique resorts, fine dining, and shopping.

Sport Fishing – The Pacific coast of Costa Rica has some of the best sport fishing in the World. Feel the rush of catching a Marlin or Sailfish, or catch dinner with a fresh Tuna or Mahi-Mahi.  Sport fishing charters are available many places; but Quepos, Los Suenos, and Tamarindo offer the most options.

Horseback Tour – If you enjoy horseback riding, then you can almost always find a tour on the beach or to a waterfall in various areas of the country.  In the Dominical area Don Lulu’s Horseback Tour to Nauyaca Falls is the most popular.

Rafting – White water rafting is another adventure activity you can enjoy during your stay.  There are many for the whole family up to Class IV and V rapids for experienced rafters.

Surfing – Costa Rica is famous for its World Class waves and many surfers come from all over the globe.  Up North there are “Witch’s Rock” and “Ollie’s Point” which are boat access breaks and down in the Southern most point is Pavones, which is one of the longest waves on the planet.  The Caribbean side has “Salsa Brava” aka the “Costa Rican Pipeline”.  Tons of other more mellow breaks and almost every coastal town has a surf school for beginners to learn.

Bird Watching – Even if you are not an avid birdwatcher you will see all kinds of tropical species daily from Toucans and Parrots to tons of Humming Birds and more.  However, if you want to see the elusive Quetzal you will have to go to the high elevation cloud forests and spend some time there.

Sunset – No matter where you go on the Pacific coast you will surely experience the daily sunset ritual where everyone stops what they are doing and enjoys this moment of tranquility.  Many beach-side bars and restaurants offer a sunset happy hour special.

Turtle Release – From September to November there are various Turtle conservation programs that you can participate in releasing baby turtles.  This is a rewarding and memorable experience for the whole family.

Whale Watching – During months of migration along the coast Whales can be spotted with telescopes or you can take a guided boat tour for a closer encounter.

ATV Tour – Riding four wheelers through the mountain side and to local waterfall or beaches is a fun adventure and available in many tourism destinations throughout the country.

If you cannot do it all in one trip, then you will just have to come back soon!  Pura Vida!!!

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Fishing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is World famous for its offshore Sport Fishing and the opportunity to catch Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, and more.  There are tourists that come here just to fish these rich Pacific waters from Tamarindo in the North, Los Suenos in Herradura and Quepos for the Central Pacific, and Puerto Jimenez in the Southern Pacific Zone.  Although the offshore fishing is the most popular attraction; there is great inshore and mangrove fishing, as well as, the many rivers and shoreline throughout the country.

Offshore Fishing – Sailfish

Deep sea fishing offers the most thrill because it is amazing to reel in a huge sailfish or marlin to experience the exhilarating fight and see them up close.  These fish are ‘catch and release’ only for good reason, as the fishing charters want to protect their resources and give future generations the opportunity to catch them as well.    If you catch a Tuna, then you can often keep only what you can eat and you will have fresh sushi or Tuna steaks for dinner that night.  You can take a professional Sport Fishing charter out of Quepos with Luna Tours (http://www.lunatours.net/).

Sierpe River and Mangrove Fishing

Mangrove fishing is a fun experience as well and lesser known than the offshore fishing.  For those of you that do not want to go over an hour out to sea or get sea sick, then this is a great alternative.  You can catch Red Snapper, Grouper, Rooster Fish, Sea Bass, and Snook in the mangroves.  On the Northern Caribbean side there is a place famous for large Snook.  Around our area in the Southern Pacific Zone, the Sierpe mangroves are the best place to go.  Mangrove fishing is less expensive than offshore because they use less fuel and typically stay in their general area.  You can book a Sierpe fishing tour from Perla del Sur (http://www.perladelsur.net/fishing%20on%20the%20river.html).

River Fishing – “Machaca”

If you do not want to take a tour or get on a boat then bring your rod and reel or even a hand line like many locals and fish the rivers, river mouths, and rocky points any where you want.  This is the most affordable of all because you just need some bait and patience.  You can get bait from some of the local fishers on the beach or find your own little river shrimp.  There is even a river fish called a “Machaca” that eats a certain seed during the month of March and April, so you can fish with just this seed.  No tours that I know of for this type of fishing, but you can give me a call and I will set you up with my brother-in-law who loves to fish and he can point you in the right direction.

El Pavon Tilapia Restaurant

If you are not the fishing type and you want the guarantee of catching a fish, there is El Pavon Tilapia Restaurant near Ojochal.  This is one of our family’s favorite local spots and you go fish for your own lunch.

Whole Fried Tilapia Lunch

I am not the best fisherman and sometimes even need help catching them here, but the staff will take care of you if you are fishing challenged like me.  But no matter your fishing skills you will end up with an amazing lunch like the one pictured above.

Waterfall/Cascade near Tilapia Restaurant

There is even a beautiful waterfall/cascade with a boulder stuck in it a short walk from the restaurant and you can swim and cool off.  Always a fun day for the family at El Pavon Tilapia Restaurant.

And if all else fails, just stop by the local “Pescaria” or little fish market in Dominicalito where they sell all kinds of fish already filleted or whole and even shrimp too!

Life is an Adventure – Dominical Video

This awesome video filmed recently in the Dominical area of Costa Rica is a perfect example of what an adventure packed vacation to Costa Ballena includes.  Or better yet this could be your daily life in paradise!!!

I hope you enjoyed this taste of life in the Southern Zone!  Come on down and see for yourself why this is a truly special place to live or visit. Please check us out at: www.DominicalProperty.com

Costa Rica Wild Life… It’s a Jungle out There

Costa Rica is one of the most protected countries in the World for wild life and has placed about 25% of their entire land mass into reserves and national parks.  The various climates and regions of Costa Rica are home to tons of animal, bird, and insect species.  Tourists come from all over the World to visit Costa Rica for its picturesque beauty and to view exotic animals in their natural environment.

In the Southern Pacific Zone where we live it is still mostly undeveloped there is tons of wild life.  There is Manuel Antonio close by, which is the most visited national park in the country and as the saying goes; has more monkeys than people.  The Osa Peninsula is the Southernmost part of Costa Rica and according to National Geographic, “…is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet.” It is common for us to see a troop of White-Face monkeys passing through the canopy next to the house.

White-Face Monkey Surprise!

My neighbor even got a picture of one on his balcony railing and the monkey looks just as surprised as he was to see him.

There are also Howler Monkeys in the area around Dominical and you can hear their deep bellows from miles away.  This is a real jungle sound and I enjoy hearing and seeing them, however, they can start their howling at 4am sometimes.  Other monkeys in Costa Rica and the Southern Zone are Spider Monkeys and cute small Squirrel Monkeys.

Other mammals in the jungles of Costa Rica are the Sloths, Pasote (which is in the raccoon family and they travel in packs of extended family), Giant Ant Eaters, Raccoons, Wild Pigs, White-Tail Deer, Ocelots, Jaguarondis (small jungle cat), and even Jaguars which are rarely ever spotted.

The nocturnal animals keep the rain forest moving late into the night with Kincachoos, most of the jungle cats, various snakes (yes there are plenty of snakes poisonous and non-venomous), owls, and more.

We are fortunate to see Toucans almost every day right next to the house in the Guayrumba trees, which they like to eat the fruit.  The flocks of green parrots fly overhead and land on nearby trees squawking it up to each other about something.  Also we can enjoy humming birds hovering around certain flowering shrubs we planted and there are many species in the area.

The species of insects is also immense in Costa Rica, as it is a rain forest.  However, at more elevated altitude they do not bother you much at the house, but you will see a new one you’ve never seen from time to time. Tons of butterflies too, such as the Blue Morpho pictured above.

If you are nature enthusiasts and love wild life Costa Rica is the perfect place to visit, enjoy a second home, or retire in paradise.  If you are looking for a property or home surrounded by tropical rain forest and abundant wild life, at Dominical Property we can help.  Contact us today!!

Dominical and Uvita Area Beaches to Enjoy

Beach Suggestions

The Dominical area has some of the most secluded and pristine beaches in all of Costa Rica.  Here is a list of my favorite beaches located from North to South.  With the aid of a map and road signs you should be able to find them all.  You can also go on personal beach searching adventures by just pulling off the road at various turn offs and seeing where they go.  Mid to high tide is usually best for surfing and lower tides provide more sandy beach area for different activities.

Playa Guapil – Located about 4 kms North of Playa Dominical.  Go toward Hacienda Baru and about 1 km after you pass the gasstation on the left, there is a sign for Playa Guapil.  Turn left and then go straight to the beach or you can turn right before the palm farm and go around to more secluded areas.  At the end of that road there is a river mouth and small park.

Playa Dominical – If heading South from Quepos, cross over the Baru River Bridge and then turn right into the town of Dominical.  Drive to the end of the main road and you come to the beach or make a right at the I.C.E. office and cell tower to get to the beach as well.  Once at the beach you can park and surf the worldclass waves, play on the beach, stroll through the street vendors, or enjoy the local beachfront restaurants.  Please swim in front of the life guard because Dominical does have rip tides and if there is a decent swell it can get heavy out there. 

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominicalito – A few kilometers south of Dominical; there is a blue national beach sign and the right turn off is just before the long straight away.  You should swim to the left of the parking area due some rocks and boulders to the right.

 

Playa Hermosa – About 10 to 15 minutes south of Dominical and the parking area can be seen from the road.  It is under some mangrove type trees and usually crowded on weekends.  The beach is similar to Playa Guapil and is also a great family beach for walking, surfing, boogie boarding, and just relaxing on the picnic blanket.


Playa Uvita
– About 18 kms south of Dominical look for signs once in Uvita.  After you pass the gas station and another bridge youcan turn right before the new 2 story Dome Commercial center.  Or go a little further to a paved right hand turn, which is paved all the way to the park entrance. Follow signs to Ballena National Park and there is an entrance fee.  Once in the park go to the end of the road to the parking area.  If go around lower tide and walk to the right you will walk out onto the “Whale’s Tale”.  This is about a 1 km sandy strip of land with tranquil lagoons on either side of a rock formation at the end that resembles a whale’s tale.

Whale's Tail at Playa Uvita

Whale’s Tail

 

Playa Ballena – A few kilometers south of the Playa Uvita is the turn off and is also part of the National Park.  There is an entrance fee unless you paid earlier at the Uvita entrance.  This is also a great family beach for walking, swimming, or picnic.

Playa Ballena

Playa Ballena

Playa Pinuela – About 2-3kms south of Playa Bellena and if you pass the ceviche stand on the right you went too far.  This beach is all rocks, but it is where you can find some rounded rocks.  It is also part of the national park, but sometimes there is no one to collect the entrance fee.

Playa Ventanas –Known as the cave beach, this is many people’s favorite.  The turn off is just past the ceviche stand with an inflatable shark out front.  This is some of the best ceviche in Costa Rica and a perfect quick snack or lunch spot.  Park at the palm farm and pay, then walk down the trail to the beach.  This beach has 2 caves and is a secluded cove that is about 1 km of beach surrounded by lush jungle.  At low tide you can walk into the caves and at high tide they spit mist.  Maybe more crowded on weekends and the ceviche place is closed Mondays.

Cave at Playa Ventanas