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Where to Stay in Dominical – The BEST Areas & Hotels in Dominical

Where to Stay in Dominical – The BEST Areas & Hotels in Dominical

Sitting between Uvita and Manuel Antonio and about a three-hour drive from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) lies the small hippie community of Dominical. This surf town is one of the go-to spots in the country for surfers and backpackers, not only because of the low and mid-priced hotels lining the roads but also because of the town’s mellow and laid-back ambiance. 

This hippie vibe is what sets Dominical apart from its neighboring beachside towns, and because the area is pretty underdeveloped, you’ll feel like you’re really away from it all. 

The beautiful Playa Dominical is undeniably the heart and soul of the neighborhood. There is not a day when the beach isn’t packed with seasoned surfers and souvenir merchants. Close to the beach is the main area of the town, where you’re bound to find budget-friendly hostels and boutique hotels. If higher-end lodging is more your thing, head outside the city to the hills for the best accommodation options.

However, if you’re still undecided and don’t know where to stay in Dominical, keep reading. In this blog, I’ll cover the pros and cons of staying in town and on the hilltops, along with six of the best hotels in Dominical and nearby!

What are the Best Areas to Stay in Dominical, Costa Rica 

Visiting Dominical means you’ll only have two areas to stay in: the town center or the jungles/hills around the town. 

The town center is super small, so expect everything to be a stone’s throw away. It’s also right on the beach. That means if you’re in town just for the surf and sand, this is exactly where you want to be. 

Meanwhile, the hills surrounding Dominical is quite a bit of a drive to the establishments and the beach. But it’s well worth the hassle if you’re looking for the best hotels in Dominical with panoramic ocean views. 

Note: Many people also just visit Dominical on a day trip from other nearby, larger towns. Check out the best hotels in Uvita for more options, or the best hotels in Manuel Antonio!

About Staying in Dominical Town

a steet in Dominical lined with palm trees
Welcome to town!

Dominical is a rather small town without paved roads and large commercial establishments. But despite having only local restaurants, cafes, and shops, this town still attracts a crowd of tourists, thanks to its great surfing beach. 

Another thing that draws me back to Dominical is its hippie and chill atmosphere. You can find parking areas lined with hammocks and tents and plenty of backpackers biking and walking around. 

There are limited Dominical hotels, though, so make sure to plan ahead. 

Advantages to staying in Dominical Town: 

  • Lots of local cafes, markets, and delicious restaurants in Dominical
  • Close to the beach, so you can surf to your heart’s content
  • Walking distance to everything.
  • Fun nightlife and town.

Disadvantages of staying in Dominical Town: 

  • Very limited accommodation
  • Not much for wildlife around
  • Can be a little noisy 

3 BEST Hotels in Dominical Town 

$$$ – Tribe Boutique Hotel – Adults Only

the pool and teo lounge chairs at Tribe Boutique Hotel in Dominical, Costa Rica
This boutique hotel is perfection! Photo Credit: Tribe Boutique Hotel

If there’s something better than visiting the idyllic town of Dominical, then it’s staying in an adults-only hotel while you’re here. That is exactly what the Tribe Boutique Hotel, one of the must-try Dominical hotels in the town center, offers guests. 

Although the property is set in the heart of the downtown area, you’ll still get to be in touch with nature. The hotel is surrounded by vibrant foliage and dotted with day beds and hammocks for you to soak in the sun. If it gets too hot, there’s a large pool in the middle of the property, and the beach is a mere two-minute walk away, too. You can’t find an in-house restaurant here, but you can still dine right on site in the communal kitchen (where you can prep your own meals). 

the garden and entry way surrounded by plants at Tribe Boutique Hotel
The gardens are beautiful! Photo Credit: Tribe Boutique Hotel

The rooms at the Tribe are very minimalist and follow the brown and white motif, giving them an airy and cozy ambiance. They’re all fitted with basic amenities like a safety deposit box and AC, but I suggest staying in the ones with a balcony and refreshing views of the pool. 

For the Queen Room with balcony, rates start at $244 USD per night, but other rooms can go as high as $266 USD per night.

Check prices and availability for the Tribe Boutique Hotel online in advance!

$$ – Hotel Tropical Sands Dominical

the front of the two story building at Hotel Tropical Sands Dominical
This is the perfect comfortable hotel in the heart of Dominical. Photo Credit: Hotel Tropical Sands Dominical

What makes Tropical Sands Dominical Eco Inn one of the best hotels in Dominical is its exceptional location. You see, although it’s just a five-minute walk to restaurants and shops and a minute’s walk to the beach, it’s still one of the quietest properties in town. This is because it’s on a dead-end road with little to no traffic, so you practically have the area all to yourself at times. 

When you step into the property, you’ll be greeted with a gorgeous courtyard hosting a well-landscaped garden of tropical trees and flowers. Expect to see lots of toucans visiting the garden, along with hummingbirds, butterflies, and iguanas. This is the perfect spot to relax in, especially since there are hammocks and picnic chairs under the shade of the trees, inviting you to lay back and relax. 

the communal sitting area at Hotel Tropical Sands Domincal
They have nice communal areas at this hotel. Photo Credit: Hotel Tropical Sands Dominical

If you’d rather stay inside, I’m sure you’d love hanging out in the library where books and board games are available for use. There is also a communal kitchen at this inn for your cooking needs. If you’re someone like me who wants some adventure in the great outdoors, Tropical Sands has your back. The reception can help you plan and book activities, from chocolate farm tours to cooking and Spanish classes – all of the best activities in Dominical!

When it’s finally time to hit the hay, you can pick from three types of rooms on the property: Standard Air-Conditioned, Kitchenette Air-Conditioned, and Fan Cabins. I highly recommend the Kitchenette Room, especially if you’re visiting with family and friends. It has all the amenities of the fan cabins and standard room but with the added convenience of a well-equipped kitchenette. 

My favorite room feature, though, is the patio with sweeping views of the tropical garden. There’s a lone bench in front of your room, where you can just relax and drink your morning cup of coffee while listening to the birds.  

Single/double occupancy rates in the hotel start at $68 USD for the Fan Cabins, $85 for the Standard AC Room, and $97 for the Kitchenette AC Room. 

Check prices and availability for the Hotel Tropical Sands Dominical online in advance!

$ – Cool Vibes Beach Hostel

Cool Vibes hostel pool
The pool at Cool Vibes Hostel!

Cool Vibes Beach Hostel has everything you can expect to find in budget-friendly Dominical hotels but with the added Costa Rican charm. Its interior is bursting in tropical decor and colors and is well-appointed with basic amenities to make your stay as comfy as possible. 

Right on-site, you can find an outdoor circular pool, which is honestly pretty small but still big enough to accommodate you and your friends. I also love the shared lounge, where you can chit-chat with the other guests while downing all the free coffee cups you can drink. While there is no restaurant here, you’re free to make your own meals in the well-equipped communal kitchen. 

The best part about staying in Cool Vibes is that you’re just a minute’s walk away from the beach. You can enjoy the surf and sand whenever you please. The hostel also offers surfboard rentals for $10 USD for 24 hours and surf lessons for $55 for two hours per person. 

The rooms at the hostel come in either private or dorms. There’s a double room for as low as $42 USD a night, triple room for $54, and quadruple room for $66. If you intend on staying only a single night, the rooms cost an extra $10. Meanwhile, a bed in the shared mix dorm is $16 per person for a minimum of 2 nights.

Check prices and availability for Cool Vibes Hostel on Booking.com and Hostelworld.

About Staying in the Hills around Dominical

View from Aracari Restaurant at sunset
You won’t get panoramic views like this in town!

If you’re deciding where to stay in Dominical but want the peace and quiet you can’t find in the town, then staying in the surrounding hills is your best bet. Most of the properties in this remote area boast not only modern and gorgeous amenities but also sweeping views of the outskirts of Dominical.

This is truly a great spot for a relaxing escape, especially if you have a car that can easily take you to and from the town center. 

You can also find places to stay that are close to Dominical’s most popular attraction – Nauyaca Waterfalls!

Advantages of staying in the hills around Dominical: 

  • Ocean and mountain views
  • Lots of holiday homes and unique accommodations for families and groups
  • Wildlife around
  • Quiet and peaceful

Disadvantages of staying in the hills around Dominical:: 

  • Most places to stay are expensive
  • Far from the beach
  • Not many restaurants and bars/stores around
  • Need your own transport
  • Not many hotels, mostly entire lodge and holiday home rentals 

3 BEST Hotels on the Hills Surrounding Dominical 

$$ – Edge of the World

hammock with a view from balcony at Edge of the World in Domincal
This view though! Photo Credit: Edge of the World

If there’s only one word I can use to describe the Edge of the World, that would be homey. This adorable lodge is located on the hilltops about 5km away from the center of Dominical. You can only rent the entire three-bedroom, three-bathroom house, so you’re sure to enjoy some privacy and peace while here. 

Furnished with tropical-inspired decor and wooden furniture, the lodge has everything you and your family need for a comfy stay. There’s wireless internet connection, a kitchen with a fridge and microwave, three bathrooms with shower and washing machine, and a seating area. I also love how there’s a terrace wrapping around the house, so you can freely enjoy the stars and the jungle. 

outside of Edge of the World in dominical, Costa Rica
This place is a jungle escape! Photo Credit: Edge of the World

Did I mention that local wildlife often visits the property? You’ll surely wake up to the sounds of toucans flying in the trees in front of the house. 

In terms of entertainment, the property comes complete with a private pool and garden. Dip in the pool all day long while you take in the beauty of the surrounding garden. 

For the entire house, rates start at $160 USD per night.

Check prices and availability for the Edge of the World online in advance!

$$ – Hotel Villas Rio Mar

aerial view of Hotel Villas Rio Mar
This hotel is located right in the jungle! Photo Credit: Hotel Villas Rio Mar

A locally owned eco-hotel, Hotel Villas Rio Mar sits in the middle of the jungle, right next to the river and just 10 minutes away on foot from Playa Dominical. This strategic location makes it one of the best hotels in Dominical for guests with no cars. 

But beyond the convenience of being within a quick walk away from everything, what made me love Villas Rio Mar is the fact that it’s the perfect place to soak in Costa Rica’s natural beauty. And by that, I mean you’ll be surrounded by nothing but lush vegetation as far as the eyes can see. 

The hotel prides itself in its well-manicured tropical garden that attracts all kinds of local wildlife, from sloths and monkeys to toucans and butterflies. I like that they have plenty of towering palms in the garden, too, so you can enjoy the exotic plants while staying away from the harsh sun. 

pool at Hotel Villas Rio Mar
This pool is everything! Photo Credit: Hotel Villas Rio Mar

Speaking of escaping the Costa Rican heat, Villas Rio Mar comes complete with two large pools to cool you off after a day of exploration. The first one has a baby pool and a pool bar, while the second is designed for laps. If you’re not up for a swim, there are other entertainment facilities on the property like the tennis court, miniature golf, rainforest trail, and billiards table. There is also a kids’ play area to provide plenty of fun activities for your little ones. 

When it comes to dining, Villas Rio Mar has one of the best restaurants around, its El Rancho Restaurant and Bar. They organically grow their own veggies to serve you the freshest dishes (my favorite is the assorted platter with chicken wings, mixed fajitas, BBQ ribs, fish fingers, garlic shrimp, and potato wedges). Menu selections also include international dishes. 

Villas Rio Mar has at least 60 rooms on the property, categorized into three: the superior room, junior suite, and kitchen suite. All the rooms are air-conditioned and furnished with cable TV, Wi-Fi, and mini-fridge, but if you’re looking for somewhere with a homier feel, I recommend the Kitchen Suite that features a kitchenette for all your meal preps. Aside from the en-suite amenities, I love how all the rooms boast a spacious outdoor patio with hammocks/chairs, where you can enjoy the garden views. 

The Superior Room comes at a rate of $83 USD per night, the Junior Suite at $98 per night, and the Kitchen Suite at $149 per night, all inclusive of breakfast.

Check prices and availability for the Hotel Villas Rio Mar online in advance!

$ – Valley of Dreams Eco Lodge

the outside of the building with hammocks Valley of Dreams Eco Lodge
What a slice of paradise! Photo Credit: Valley of Dreams Eco Lodge

If an eco-friendly stay is what you want, an eco-friendly stay is what you’ll get at the Valley of Dreams Eco Lodge. This cozy and airy accommodation provider is set on 12 acres of lush greenery, right on the beautiful hills around Dominical. This means you’re quite a ways away from the hum of the town and closer to the natural beauty of Costa Rica. It can’t get any better than that!

But besides being surrounded by singing birds and exotic flora, what really makes the Valley of Dreams stand out is its very spacious and private eco-lodges. These four eco-lodges are nestled in the hotel’s tropical garden and boast two bedrooms each. You also have an en-suite kitchenette (with a microwave, coffee machine, and refrigerator), living area, and dining area. The highlight of the room, though, is the gorgeous mountain view that you can enjoy from the living room couch!

While the eco-lodges are fitted with amenities to make your stay comfy, this doesn’t mean you just confine yourself to your room! There are plenty of things you can do right on the property grounds. Drop by the main salon to chit-chat with other guests in the shared living area (which, by the way, has equally stunning mountain views). 

If relaxing alone is more your style, you can head outside to the patio, where you’re free to sink into one of the hammocks and read a good book. There are also some outdoor chairs in the garden, perfect for soaking in the first rays of sunshine. 

the inside of Valley of Dreams Eco Lodge
The décor is so chic! Photo Credit: Valley of Dreams Eco Lodge

I love dipping in the outdoor pool, too, mainly because it’s under the shade of towering trees, so you won’t easily get sunburned. At night, you and your new buddies can gather around in the fire pit and share some freshly made BBQs for dinner while gazing at the brightly lit skies.  

If you’re like me, who loves to explore the outdoors, I highly recommend renting a four-wheel-drive vehicle. It’s a great way to explore Dominical’s off-the-beaten-path locations and go back and forth to the town. Walking tours are available near the eco-lodges, as well.

Rooms here start at $73 for double occupancy, while you can book the bungalows starting at $106 per night.

Check prices and availability for the Valley of Dreams Eco Lodge online in advance!

Related Read: Learn about the best time to visit Costa Rica for the best weather, cheaper prices, and fewer crowds!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on the way to Nauyaca Waterfalls
Thanks for reading and Pura Vida!

Dominical is a surfer’s haven through and through. While small, it’s the ideal location for a relaxing beachside getaway. I hope with this guide, you were able to pinpoint where you want to stay in Dominical to get the most out of your holiday.

If you found this blog helpful, be sure to check out some of our other where to stay blogs as well as a couple related reads below:

The BEST Restaurants in Dominical

The BEST San Jose Airport Hotels

The BEST Things to do in Jaco

Linda Billings

Thursday 10th of November 2022

Maybe you didn't know about Diu Wak Resort right in dominical. We live in dominical 3 months out of the year. It's a great hotel with free breakfast Great staff and pool. I really like your blog really good writing and a good description of The town and surrounding area.