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Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

Los Angeles
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Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

Now I am thinking of staying 2 nights in Dominical and one night in M.A. How are the activities in both places? I noticed that from Dominical, you can take a snorkeling trip to Canos Island. It is also cheap to rent horses ($8 per hour), surfboards ($5 per hour) and moutain bikes ($4 per hour). Are all of these things available in M.A. as well (especially the trip to Canos Island). Also, has anyone stayed at Villas Rio Mar in Dominical? Thanks!

Royersford, PA
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1. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

Just got back from C.R. We were told that Dominical is mostly an industrial area. That is probably why you are seeing such chep prices. we were going to drive back to San Jose from Manuel Antonio thru Dominical and were strongly warned away from doing so by a Manuel Antonio National Park Guide who adopted us during our stay there. We took a ride one day on the road to Dominical and it was th worst road we were on by far. And that is saying something when you are in C.R. as the roads there are terrible.

As for Manuel Antonio- there is plenty to do there. There is snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, horseback riding, atv rentals, deep-sea fishing. Don't know about mountain bikes but would bet you could find them also.

I am sure that it will be more expensive to do these things in M.A. but it IS a tourist area and there is a lot to do and it is safe.

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

It depends what you want. Manuel Antonio is VERY touristy but full of nightlife; Dominical is a tiny, hole-in the-wall kind of place seemingly full of laid back (doped up?) surfer dudes.

I liked neither place particularly, though Manuel Antonio PARK is beautiful and worth a visit. There are some really nice beachfront places to stay along the road from Quepos to Dominical - I would recommend the Bahari Beach Bungalows for quiet, tropical beach time.

But, as I say, it depends what you want. If you want nightlife - MA. If you want people-watching - Dominical. If you want peace and sunshine - Bahari Beach Bungalows.

Canos Island is definitely worth the trip.

Seattle, WA
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3. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

Polybozologist -

Looked up Bahari Beach Bungalows, they looked great! Can you give me anymore info about the area/place? I have had a hard time finding stuff on the net about smaller places on the beach. I read that there were industrial plants all along that area..any truth?

kentucky
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4. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

HI! We just returned from a trip to both areas although we didn't actually stay in Dominical or really stop there. We went further down the road (about 10 miles approx) to the Ballena National Marine Park. We stayed in adventure cabins at a brand new place that we loved called Cristal Ballena (www.cristal-ballena.com) and practically had the place to ourselves. We enjoyed the resort there -beautiful views and great pool for children -and toured some of the beaches in the park (there are several ). I wanted to do a snorkeling tour but we relaxed instead. I did notice prices were more reasonable there than Manuel Antonio for activities. The beaches were deserted and pretty although I prefered Manuel Antonio more despite the crowds. The sand at Ballena seemed to be darker and more mudlike although still sandy.

If you are looking for a nice place without crowds I would go to the beaches in Ballena Marine Park and take the Cano Tour. If you want a really beautiful beach and don't mind the crowds -although I guess it depends on when you go-I would head to Manuel Antonio. We saw more monkeys at Manuel Antonio.

The road between the two is a very bumpy dirt road. I think it took us almost two hours with a small SUV to get through but I would certainly do it again.

We also stayed one night at Hacienda Baru and took a guided tour to a mangrove. It was also wonderful. Look them up especially if you go to the Dominical Area because they are not too far away.

kentucky
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5. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

Sorry, I wanted to add another thought. I would reccomend choosing only one of the places if you have just three nights. We stayed 2 at Cristal Ballena, 1 Hacienda Baru, and 2 Costa Verde in Manuel Antonio and I felt like we didn't have enough time to do many activities.

Playa Hermosa...
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for Manuel Antonio, Jaco
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6. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

I'm not sure where the info came from but Dominical is not an industrial area. Anything but ... it's just a sleepy little surfer village. The land between Quepos and Dominical does not have any industry either, several small villages and many, many miles of jungle. Bahari Beach Bungalows is located in Matapalo, a small village located on the water, halfway between Quepos and Dominical.

7. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

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Seattle, WA
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8. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

Thanks Lisa! I read the industrial comment on the web on a page about Costa Rica - I can't remember which one just now but it said "you can see a lot of smoke stacks from the large industrial area thru the African Palms" and then I also read a post here that made mention of it so I was wondering....Is Playa Matapalo a safe area? I am trying to make reservations at Bahari it seems like a perfect place to me. I am travelling with my dad and he is almost 80 but gets around well. I was looking at Dominical but Matapalo looks like us. :) Leaving in a week!

Calgary, Canada
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9. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

I don't recall any "industrial activity" at all along the unpaved road from Quepos to Dominical; in fact, quite the opposite. This stretch of coastline seems not only unspoiled, but also relatively undiscovered. I would highly recommend it as an area in which to wind down after enduring Manuel Antonio. Its beaches are beautiful!

Don't get me wrong, Manuel Antonio PARK is superb, as are its beaches, and there are loads of monkeys to see . . . but after two days in the tourist-infested maelstrom of Manuel Antonio I was ready for some quieter relaxation which (my fiancee and) I found at Bahari Beach Bungalows in Matapalo, about half-way between Quepos and Dominical.

We did not visit Hacienda Baru, but heard only good things about it.

Hope this helps.

Playa Hermosa...
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio, Jaco
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10. Re: Dominical vs. Manuel Antonio

roadtrip: Yes, it's a safe area and quite remote (very sleepy little beach community ... small and a gorgeous stretch of unspoiled beach). I would ask the previous poster "poly" if they had all their meals at their resort? I don't recall a wide range of restaurants in the area (maybe difficult if you're staying in one place for the entire week?)

Lisa