How to Catch Fish and Shrimp with your Bare Hands

This past weekend in Silencio, a small local town where my in-laws live, it was a beautiful clear sunny morning on Saturday so we decided to take the kids to splash around in the river.  There happened to be an excavator digging a trench to re-direct the river because it was beginning to erode one of the banks near the road.  We went for a swim with the kids and watched as the huge machine did its work.  When we were just about ready to go the excavator headed upstream and at that moment dug out the temporary dam it had made and the river instantly changed course.  Well, talk about being in the right place at the right time.  A large section of about 200 feet of the river dried up and created small pools everywhere with river shrimp and fish splashing around.  I grabbed a bag from the car and we got all the shrimp and few large fish we could find; literally fishing with our hands! After bringing the catch back to the house we cleaned it up and prepared some fresh fish for lunch and saved the shrimp for lunch the next day. 

The fish was really tasty and river shrimp are like craw fish, but taste like lobster here!  Fun experience for us and the kids; as it is not every day you get to fish with your hands!

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:

San Isidro, Costa Rica

The city of San Isidro del General is located about 45 minutes inland from Dominical and is very convenient for shopping, hardware stores, doctors, dentists, lawyers, and more.  San Isidro I have heard called “the fastest growing city in Central America”, but do not know if there is any truth to that.  The area around San Isidro is known as Perez Zeledon and includes towns such as; La Palma, Cajon, Rivas, San Rafael, Palmares, San Gerardo, and more.

San Isidro has everything you need without making a trip to San Jose.  Large department stores of appliances and televisions, tons of clothing stores, lots of shoe stores for some reason, cell phone and electronic stores, plenty of pharmacies, big hardware store for construction supplies, and anything else you may be looking for.  There are many professional services as well such as; mechanics, lawyers, doctors, dentists, architects, topographers, insurance offices, car rentals, and more.  Every Thursday and Friday there is a Farmer’s Market where locally grown fruits and produce are sold by vendors.  San Isidro is a place you end up going every couple weeks once you live here full time for supplies, services, or just fun shopping.

The national park of Chirripo is nearby and Mount Chirripo is the highest point in Costa Rica at 12,000 feet above sea level.  Tourists can hike to the top and stay in a rustic cabin over night before reaching the summit in the morning.

Property and homes around the Perez Zeledon area are more affordable than that near the beaches and coast.  The surrounding mountain towns offer a cooler climate, close proximity to amenities of the city, and are still usually an hour to hour and a half from the beach.  Many retirees like the San Isidro area if living on the coast is not as important as climate and services nearby.  Also many families chose to be close to San Isidro for school for their kids.

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!!




Local Farmer’s Markets

The local farmer’s market is a weekly event that most residents and locals alike look forward to.  Every Thursday and Friday in San Isidro and every Saturday in Uvita, one can stock up of fresh fruits and vegetables from an assortment of local area farmers.  There is everything imaginable and even an organic fruit section; which is very popular and best to go on Thursday morning for more selection.   At the San Isidro market or “Feria” there is even fresh meats, cheeses, yogurts, plus jellies and jams.  Farmers bring their fresh harvest or “cosecha” from all over the surrounding countryside and are very proud to offer some of the best tasting and freshest fruits and veggies you can find anywhere.   The prices are also very affordable with some common items listed below:

Pineapples – $2.00 for 3 or 4 (depending on size)
Mangos – $0.90 per pound
Papayas – $0.36 per pound
Apples – $0.20 each
Mandarin – $0.10 each
Lettuce – $0.50 each
Sweet Chiles – $0.30 each
Potatoes – $1.00 per pound
Onions – $1.20 per pound
Tomatoes – $0.75 per pound

Weekly Farmer’s Market in San Isidro

Fresh Local Fruit and Vegetables

The weekly Farmer’s Market is one of the many perks to living in Costa Rica and not matter where you are in Costa Rica you should be able to find a similar open air weekly market.  The price and quality of the produce is not the only draw because spending time experiencing the local community and atmosphere also adds to the pleasure of visiting the “Feria”.

The Two Seasons of Costa Rica

The weather in Costa Rica is warm and tropical all year round and depending on which part of the country to visit the climate can vary in temperature, annual rain fall, and humidity.  The Guanacaste in the North can be really dry at times and gets winds every March; where as the Central Valley can be cool in the high elevation mountain areas around San Jose.  No matter where you are though there are only two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.  In this blog we will discuss the typical weather patterns of the Southern Zone and the Costa Ballena area.

The Dry Season
Our dry season typically begins in late November or early December and lasts until May, when the afternoon showers begin to return.  Although we can still get an occasional rain storm in the dry season it is usually sunny days and starlight nights.  I have even seen it go over a month with no rain before, which is rare.  The dry season is also known as the high season for tourism and many visitors come for the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s and during the week of Easter; which here is called Samana Santa.  March is the height of the dry season and a good time to experience the area at its hottest and driest time.  Even in March we are blessed that this tropical jungle never turns brown and keeps its lush green foliage year round.   Many tourists decide to visit in the dry season in order to enjoy the beaches and adventure tours without much chance of rain.  However, the rainy season can be a great time to visit as well and there is plenty of sunshine too.

One of many Secluded Costa Ballena Beaches

The Rainy Season
Also known as the green season (even though it is always green around here), the rainy season usually starts at the end of May and goes through most of November.  It is a common misconception that it just rains all the time in the Dominical area during the rainy season.  Typically the day starts out sunny until about mid day or even later and then begins to cloud up leading to an afternoon or evening shower.  Sometimes it can drizzle most of the night or there can a shorter sustained heavy down pour.  September and October are the rainiest months and during that time you can experience a few days straight of grey clouds and off and on drizzle to steady rain.  In July we usually receive a mini-summer of about 2 weeks of dry season type weather.  Although the daytime temperature does not vary much between seasons, it can be slightly cooler during the rainy season and the afternoon showers cool everything off for the evening and rest of the night.  Also the rainy season is the best time to plant and you can basically take cuttings of most any plant, stick it in the ground, and wait for it to grow.  As far as adventure tours for visitors, you can enjoy zip-lining, hiking, fishing, ATV riding most of the day and not to mention white-water rafting is much better in the rainy season due to higher river levels and more intense rapids.  Plus for surfers there tends to be bigger waves and more frequent swells in the rainy season.

Diamante – Largest Waterfall in Costa Rica

No matter when you plan a trip to Costa Rica you will have lots of fun and experiences of a lifetime.  If you are considering buying property and living here part or full time it is always a good idea to visit during the hottest and wettest times of the year before you make your decision.

Dominical and Costa Ballena Area

Island at high tide and place to explore at low tideThe Dominical area is one of the most desirable real estate markets in all of Costa Rica to anyone looking for unsurpassed natural beauty, long stretches of nearly deserted pristine beaches, spectacular waterfalls, abundance of wild life, and daily adventures.   The Dominical area has lush green rain forest covered mountains sloping right into the Pacific Ocean creating dramatic landscapes and breathtaking tropical scenery.  This area has been World renown to surfers and nature enthusiasts for years, but now is being discovered for the first time by travelers and investors alike.  The Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica is still fairly early in the development curve; which is a perfect time to invest in this up and coming global retirement and travel destination.   There are currently great deals available for luxury homes, ocean view property, farms and development parcels, commercial property and hotels, and vacation rentals.

Dominical Beach and Town

The surrounding area of Dominical is also known as Costa Ballena; which means “Whale Coast” due to the annual migration of Whales along the coastline.  This area includes beach towns of Playa Dominical, Matapalo, Hatillo, Uvita, Ojochal, Quepos and Manuel Antonio, plus mountain towns of Platanillo, Tinamastes, and the city of San Isidro de General.  There is something for everyone in Costa Ballena from retirees enjoying the “Pura Vida” to families raising young kids.   There tons of outdoor activities such as; zip-lining, sport fishing from the Quepos Marina, white water rafting on the Savegre or Coto Brus Rivers, hiking and nature watching, horseback riding tours, ATV tours, World-class surfing spots, surf camps and lessons, birding, ocean kayaking, beach combing, and more.  The natural attractions of Nauyaca Waterfall and Diamante Waterfall (which is the largest in Costa Rica), the Whale’s Tail sand bar and rock formation at the Marina Ballena National Park in Uvtia, and Playa Ventanas with caves right on the beach are all within Costa Ballena.  The Dominical area in the Southern Pacific Zone is an amazing travel destination, place to live your retirement to the fullest, own a second home or income producing vacation rental, or buy the perfect piece of paradise to build your dream home.

Map of Uvita and Costa Ballena

Getting here has never been easier and Dominical is located only 3 to 3.5 hours from San Jose and just 35 minutes South of Quepos and Manuel Antonio due to the paved Costanera highway.  The Autopista del Sol toll highway straight from San Jose to the Central Pacific Coast has made driving to Dominical a breeze and cut the travel time by over an hour.  There are also daily direct flights from San Jose to the Quepos Regional Airport 30 minutes North of Playa Dominical and the Palmar Sur Regional Airport 45 minutes to the South.  Costa Ballena had the misconception of being difficult to reach and at times inaccessible, but recent infrastructural development has really opened up the entire Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica; which is now poised for sustainable future growth and investment opportunity.  There are even plans for a new International Airport in Palmar Sur/Sierpe area and is supposed to start construction in 2014; which would increase property values substantially in the Southern Zone.

Dominical Property can help you through the buying process from start to finish, and once a property or home owner we can help you manage and protect your investment.  Call or click today to begin making your dreams come true!!