How to get to Dominical, Costa Rica
How to get to Dominical, Costa Rica
Flying to Costa Rica
Unless you live in Nicaragua or Panama, the best way to get to Costa Rica is by air. SJO Juan Santamaria Airport is the biggest international airport of Costa Rica. Although it is the airport of the capital San Jose, it is located a little outside San Jose, very close to a city called Alajuela. If your destination is Dominical, you want to use this airport to fly into Costa Rica.
You can fly directly to San Jose International Airport (SJO) from a huge amount of cities throughout the world. However, in case you cannot fly directly to San Jose, we advise you – when possible – to avoid a stopover in the US or Mexico (e.g. if you come from Europe). These countries make you go through customs despite you don’t want to be in that country. This is in most cases a time-consuming and unpleasant activity (you can even miss your connecting flight because of this). A transfer in for instance Panama, is way more relaxing and the stopover time will be shorter.
From the San Jose International Airport, you have a couple of options to get to Dominical. But let me first point out that in case you need a hotel after your flight into Costa Rica (e.g. you arrive late and/ or you traveled already for a long time, like from Europe); book a hotel close to the airport, in the area of Alajuela or Santa Ana/ Escazu. This way you are already on the right side of the busy central valley, which means you save a lot of time in the morning. It is also not really worth it to stay in the city center of San Jose; Costa Rica is a nature destination, not a city destination.
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With a rental car to Dominical, Costa Rica
Probably the best way to travel in Costa Rica is by rental car. You have the freedom to go whenever you want, to wherever you want. The roads in Costa Rica are quite good. But if you want to go to some remote areas it is better to rent a 4x4; because you might have to cross some rivers and/ or drive up some steep unpaved roads. That being said, the roads from San Jose to Dominical are excellent! It will take you less than 3 hours and no 4x4 is needed. For those using a hotel in San Jose: let the rental car company bring the car to your hotel, so you don’t have that hassle when arriving in Costa Rica. It can also shorten your rental period. Guests at Villas Río Mar get free pick-up and drop-off service; does not matter where in Costa Rica you want to pick-up or drop-off the car! Ask us for details.
A small 4x4, like a Daihatsu Bego, with basic insurance will be around USD 60.00 a day.
You want to take the following route to get to Dominical: take the toll road #27 west (via Orotina) and exit on the Costanera Sur (#34, also called; Carretera Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno); you will pass Jaco, Parrita and Quepos before you arrive in Dominical.
“The roads from San Jose to Dominical are excellent! It will take you less than 3 hours and no 4x4 is needed.”
Fly to Quepos to get to Dominical
There are no domestic flights to Dominical Costa Rica; but you can get close by plane. The airport of Quepos/ Manuel Antonio (Managua Airport, XQP) is just a 30 minutes’ drive away from Dominical. Both Sansa Regional and Nature Air have several daily flights from San Jose and take only 20 to 25 minutes. A retour ticket is usually under USD 150.00 per person. The taxi from Quepos airport to Dominical will be around USD 55.00.
Travel by taxi or shared shuttle service to Dominical
A comfortable and relax way to travel to Dominical is going by private taxi. You will love the 3-hour ride, in particular if you are a first time visitor to Costa Rica. Hotel Villas Río Mar offers this private taxi for USD 180.00 (to or from SJO airport, for up to 4 persons, +USD 10.00 per additional person). You can book it as an extra to your room when using our online reservation system.
A cheaper alternative – when traveling with less than 4 people – is going by shared shuttle services like Monkey Ride. This will take a little longer since it will pick-up and drop-off people along the way. If the minivan gets full, it can get quiet tight and therewith less comfortable. But in general it is okay. The trip from San Jose to Dominical via shared shuttle will be around USD 50.00 per person.
By public transportation to Dominical Costa Rica
Dominical is fairly easy to visit by means of public transport, but it is the most time consuming options. It will take around 5 hours to get to Dominical from San Jose by bus. The buses are in good shape and because they are usually not that full, it is also quite comfortable. However, you must be a somewhat ‘off the beaten track traveler’ to use this option. It is best to use a taxi to go to the bus terminal of Tracopa in San Jose (on Calle 5). Here you can get on a bus with direct service to Dominical, it leaves daily at 6am and 3pm and cost around USD 14.00 per person. You can also use buses that go first to Quepos or San Isidro; buses to Dominical leave very frequently from both places.
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