How to get to Dominical, Costa Rica



Are you considering a Dominical vacation? And now you are wondering what your travel options are to get to Dominical? The Dominical Travel Blog will provide you with an overview on 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 to 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. For Europeans a transfer in Europe is also advisable over a transfer in US or Mexico.

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 4×4; 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 4×4 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.

A mid-size 4×4 with basic insurance will be around USD 90.00 a day (depending on the season). Check car rental rates yourself below via our preffered partner Alamo Rent a Car:

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 4×4 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. Sansa has several daily flights from San Jose and take only 20 to 25 minutes. A roundtrip is usually under USD 165.00 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. 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. Read more about our private and shared shuttle services. 

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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