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A Few Dominical Questions

Los Angeles...
10 posts
A Few Dominical Questions

Hello,

Planning a trip to Dominical area and have a few questions that I wasn't able to find a definitive answer to online.

1) The trip is going to be either the first or second week of June. When researching weather in that area, I'm finding a very wide variety of responses in terms of when the "rainy" season starts. Some say it starts in May, others in June, others in July. Which is it? Most people say that when the rainy season does in fact arrive, it usually consists of a very short (30 minutes to an hour) rain storm usually in mid to late afternoon. Is that true? Many suggest doing excursions in the morning/early afternoon because of this. On an average rainy season week, does it actually rain every single day?

2) Many of the house rentals I looked at say included in the rental is a local cell phone. Will my iPhone on a USA based network (ATT) not work down there at all? The logistical problem is that I can't pick up the phone until I get to the house and thus for the 2+ hour drive from San Jose to Dominical I won't have a form of communication.

3) Driving from San Jose to Dominical it looks like there are two routes. First is on the 34, which is supposedly the most common way and apparently is a newly paved highway along the coast. The other route is via the 2 which looks like it goes through the jungle and is much more twisty. Is there any reason NOT to take the 2 besides the fact that it will take 30 mins longer?

Thanks.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
20,507 posts
62 reviews
1. Re: A Few Dominical Questions

ad 1) according to geberal rule the rainy (aka green) season starts in June. Yet different areas will have different rain patterns (and yes, it does rain, and sometimes a lot, also in so called dry season). This is one useful link to learn about different rain patterns in Costa Rica: costa-rica-guide.com/Weather/WeatherMap.html . Move the cursor above the area of interest. And do not forget, those are only statistical data; real life is often different. When it rains, it usually is a short (30-60 min) shower mostly in the afternoon time. Again, note the word usually ... in next June it might be all different. Yes, on an average rainy season day there is a rain almost every day ... however by planning your outdoor activities properly you can avoid being wet.

ad 2) Costa Rica has a well developed cell phone network. Your iPhone 6 will work however AT&T roaming fees might be very high - check with provider for exact costs. And if 2+ hour drive without communication is causing you a real problem, you might reconsider the country in whole. This is Latin America; services are there but not always running. Electricity may be gone and cell phone coverage also ... just not to assume that everything is up and running 100% of the time. And it is 4 hours of driving between SJO and Dominical. If you got your driving time using Google Maps, forget all as they are notoriously too ambitious (or plain wrong) with average driving times.

ad 3) going via PanAm Hwy 2 will add 1 hour min to your driving time, so it is 5 hrs, if lucky. It is not the jungle (rain forest and higher up, cloud forest) that is the main problem of this road. It is a mountain road, between Cartago and San Isidro de El General. Cerro de la Muerte is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,451 m (11,322 ft) above the sea level filled with steep curves and potholes. It’s the highest point in the Costa Rican section of the Inter-American Highway, the Central American section of the Pan-American Highway. Rain and dense fog/low clouds plus very slowly driving heavy trucks are the main enemy, not the otherwise very curvy road. However if those conditions does not scare you, it is one of the most scenic roads I have driven. Here is one link, google for more photos: dangerousroads.org/central-america/costa-ric… . In case you will decide to use it, do it on your return to SJO as you will have a bit more knowledge about driving in Costa Rica.

Los Angeles...
10 posts
2. Re: A Few Dominical Questions

Thanks for the info.

The rain info sounds just fine and personally I like rain storms so it won't bother me at all.

Two hours without communication doesn't bother me that much it was more so that I could contact the house owner to let them know when I'd be arriving. I will contact AT&T and find out about international calling plans/roaming.

Sounds like taking route 34 is going to be our best option on the way to the house.

Something else I meant to ask- Are credit cards accepted at most restaurants/gas stations/businesses in Dominical/Costa Rica? In terms of businesses that don't take credit cards, do places accept USD or do I need to exchange it for Colon? If I do have to exchange money is it best to just do it at the airport once?

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
20,507 posts
62 reviews
3. Re: A Few Dominical Questions

Many businesses will accept credit card. It was reported that paying with a c/c might cause some confusion when your bank will issue a payment list (??). Many prices are listed in US$ and can be paid directly with US$ cash. When same item is paid by credit card, first the amount is converted into colones (for Costa Rica's bank needs) and subsequently to US$ (by your bank) so final amount might be higher than if paid in cash.

You do not need to exchange US$. Many business will accept it, even many street vendors. Yet they will use their own exchange rate. Usually for those small businesses, it is 1us$ = 500 colones. Official exchange rate is about 1US$ = 533 colones. In any case DO NOT exchange on the airport. If you have a Visa or Mastercard debit card you can also withdraw colones (and in some cases also US$) from one of many ATM's. If one in Dominical is out of cash, drive to nearby Uvita.

4. Re: A Few Dominical Questions

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