Dominical is a small village on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica that is home to some of the best surfing spots in the country. Just a short distance from the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park and its renowned surf beaches, Dominical is perfectly positioned to receive big ocean swells from both the northwest and south.
The main beach at Dominical has no jetty or protection that reduces the full strength of the waves. Therefore, in a large swell only experienced surfers who are confidently able to handle swells up to 10 feet high should attempt surfing at Dominical. Likewise, the waves are far too large for it to be safe to swim. Despite the mandatory presence of a lifeguard and triple overhead wave faces, Dominical offers seasoned surfers a chance to ride some truly fantastic sets. When there is no swell this beach break still provides consistent and nice waves that are great fun for advanced surfers and provide a chance for intermediate surfers to surf this beach break.
Despite the main beach’s reputation as a wave for experienced surfers, intermediate and beginner surfers need not be deterred from surfing in this town as the next beach over, known as Dominicalito, offers beautiful, slow- rolling waves perfect for intermediate and beginner surfers alike. The waves on this beach can also reach a good size but as they roll in nice and slow they offer the time to stand-up and move in the wave. In addition to a beach break, there is also a point break that is thrilling for more experienced surfers.
Although world-famous for its natural beauty, big swells, and fabulous weather, Dominical is still primarily a sleepy village. Drawing in surfers from around the world, Dominical has a very relaxed, “chill” vibe where visitors are instantly welcome. During the day, it’s not surprising to see locals kicking around a soccer ball with visiting surfers who want to improve their Spanish.
Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is unique in that it is the beneficiary of two seasonal tidal patterns. For half of the year, the eminently surfable swells that slam into Dominical Beach are generated by storm systems thousands of miles away to the south while the rest of the year, equally big waves arrive from the deep part of the Pacific Ocean. Generally, December through April will bring consistent but more mellow waves while May through October will see waves that get progressively larger and the swells come more often. The waves are often biggest in September and October so though it is the green season, it is a perfect time for experienced surfers to visit. Beginner surfers will likely find more suitable waves in the months of December through April.
Dominical is located in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica, approximately 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of the city of Quepos. Quepos can be reached both by air and by road from San Jose via the San Isidro de El General highway. Dominical is adjacent to the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and just a few miles from the Manuel Antonio National Park.
To enjoy access to all of the best beaches, breaks, and surf spots in and around Dominical, choose the Manuel Antonio Surf School and Camp (MASS). Based in both Dominical and Manuel Antonio and founded by a local surfer who wanted to share his passion for the sport with visitors from around the world, MASS can help craft the perfect Costa Rica surf vacation. MASS has exclusive access to sheltered beaches and other surf spots suitable for intermediate and first-time surfers but can also help seasoned pros step their game up to the next level by surfing the waves on Dominical Beach.