Paradise Pic of the Week

This picture of a beautiful end to the day in Lagunas, Dominical was taken from our back porch.  If you have not seen a sunset in person on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, then you are missing out!

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The Local Fish Stand

The coastal beach towns of Costa Rica all enjoy the freshest sea food and everyone has their favorite local fish stand.  In the Dominical area it depends if you want whole fish or already cut filets.

Fish Shack at Playa Dominicalito

For whole fish you can go down to the beach in Dominicalito from the La Parcela Restaurant entrance and then drive to the right once you hit the beach.  There you will find a little shack where most of the fishermen come in with their daily catch.

Whole Red Snapper

Here you can buy whole fish from the same place many of the re-sale vendors and restaurants buy it from for only a few bucks per fish.

Fish Stand in La Macha Parking Lot

If filleting fish is not you thing, then you can buy the already cut filets from the fish stand in the La Macha parking lot.  This is right across from the La Parcela entrance in Dominicalito.

Sushi Grade Tuna Steaks

Here you can buy fresh sushi grade Tuna (Atun), Mahi-Mahi (Dorado), Sea Bass (Corvina), or Red Snapper (Pargo) all for around only $10 per kg or 2.2lbs.  They usually have Shrimp (Camarones) and sometimes even Lobster (Langosta), but both of those are more expensive.

So if you live in the Dominical area or are just visiting; fire up the BBQ and enjoy some fresh fish tonight!!

Why it’s Safe to Live and Travel in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been a favorite destination for tourists, retirees, and second home owners for many years.  It is perfectly safe to travel and live full time in this country.  Of course you have to use caution in certain areas of the San Jose due to crime concerns and use common sense to avoid petty theft when travelling with cash, passports, and electronics throughout the country.  In tourism areas there is always petty theft of thieves breaking into cars and taking wallets, cameras, and cell phones or snatching an unattended bag in a crowded public place.  In the capital city of San Jose crime is of greater concern and many home owners have bars on their windows and live in gated communities with 24 hour security.

I have lived here for over 7 years and been traveling here since 1998, over 14 years.  I have not ever felt unsafe or threatened.  Crime rates have increased during this time, but out where we live in the rural area around Dominical it is not as much a concern as in other areas.  There is also the C.A.P. (Crime Awareness & Prevention) on Crime of Costa Rica that was founded in Playa Dominical. They have taken many steps to reduce crime in the area and have even installed cameras at many local area establishments and near the beach.  Below are some good tips published by C.A.P. on how to travel safely around the country.

  1. During your stay here use caution when contacting unknown people.
  2. When swimming or playing in the ocean, make sure someone is watching your valuables.
  3. Use caution when visiting remote locations or isolated beaches.
  4. When in restaurants, markets, or other public areas NEVER leave your valuables unattended.
  5. When you travel by car, always lock the doors, and never leave your personal items in sight.
  6. When staying in hotels use the safety boxes to keep cash, jewels and documents protected.
  7. Lock doors and windows in your place of lodging.
  8. Keep a photocopy of all documents/passports in order to facilitate the retrieval of any lost item.
  9. Don’t be a victim.  Be aware of your surroundings and know WHERE you are at all times.
  10. Do not wear valuable jewelry that can draw attention to you.
  11. In the city carry small backpacks in front of you.
  12. Stay alert if someone approaches or pushes you, or you feel that you are being followed. Notify the nearest police officer or walk into the nearest public establishment.
  13. To exchange money only use banks or authorized exchange windows.  You will need your passport for all bank transactions.
  14. Use ATM’s that are located in public and well lit areas.  Avoid help from strangers.  Withdraw, count your money, and put it away before leaving.
  15. If traveling by bus keep all carry-ons in your possession.  Verify you have all items before departing bus.
  16. In the event of an emergency always call 911 first.  Ask for an English speaking operator.  Identify your local police station and/or town.
  17. If during your travels you feel lost or experience any difficulties you can call 800-TURISMO.

Costa Rica is a safe and peaceful country with the exception of a few bad apples.  As long as you follow these suggestions above you should have a fun vacation or be able to live here tranquilly.  If you are interested in donating funds towards preventing crime, then visit the C.A.P. on Crime website for more information.

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!!




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!!

Costa Rica Livestyle Blog – Introduction

Hello World!!  And welcome to our blog on life in the Dominical area of Southern Pacific Costa Rica.  My name is Josh Kanter and I will be writing this blog about all things Domincal and the surrounding areas.  We will be discussing the Costa Rica lifestyle, real estate, property management, local news, advice for retirees and families moving to the area, vacation tips, activities, and much more.   Please check out our blog from time to time to follow up on one of the best areas to live in Costa Rica, which automatically makes it one the best places to live in the entire World!!

United Country - DominicalUnited Country – properties in Costa Rica offers professional real estate services in all regions of Costa Rica.  We can help you finding a vacation rental and suggesting activities if coming on vacation, searching for the right dream property if looking to purchase, or property and project management if you already own a home or property here.  Let our numerous years of experience in real estate and property management work for you when investing in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.  Please check out About Us for more information about our company and services provided. Or check out our website for real estate and for property management.

We specialize in the Central and Southern Pacific Region – From Manuel Antonio/Quepos to Palmar Norte and Sur

Domincal is one of the most beautiful spots in the country with the rain forest covered mountains coming right up to the pristine beaches.  Playa Dominical is known for its unparalleled natural beauty and World Class waves; which are some of the most consistent in Costa Rica and Central America.  There are also many attractions in the area such as: Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge, Don Lulu’s Horseback Tour to the famous Nauyaca Waterfall, National Marine Park in Uvita, Manuel Antonio National Park now only 35 minutes away, and plenty of outdoor adventures like rafting, zip lining, four wheeler tours, surf lessons, and more.  Dominical also has lots of great restaurants with delicious food from casual dining right on the beach at the local hang outs of Tortilla Flats and typical cuisine at El Coco’s, to more elegant atmospheres at La Parcela (located on Punta Dominical with ocean on both sides) and Cuna del Angel boutique resort.   Dominical offers something for everyone whether you are a back packing surfer, family on vacation, traveling retired couple, eco-tourist, or just looking for a place to relocate with a more tranquil pace of life.

We hope you enjoy this blog about Dominical and the surrounding areas and better yet; hope to see you down in paradise soon!!!