Planning a Wedding in Dominical & Uvita
Dominical, Uvita and nearby Ojochal are pristine, gorgeous areas in Costa Rica for your wedding. It’s a well-known surf hangout with a fun and laid-back vibe. The best way to reach the region is by car (along highway Costanera Sur is most scenic) and it’s about a 2 1/2 hour to 3 hour drive from the SJO airport. You can also fly into Quepos via Sansa or Nature Air, you’ll then still have to arrange getting to Dominical or Uvita which are between 30 to 40 minutes away. Since there are so many unique beaches, waterfalls and jungles to explore nearby, having a car is a great way to see everything.
Beach Wedding Locations in Dominical and Uvita
There are several beautiful beaches in the area, each with their own unique experience.
Playa Ventanas (Windows Beach) gets it’s name from the beautiful sea caves that line the north and south ends of the beach. The two caves on the north end extend from the beach out to the ocean, a distance of about 50 meters. Pressure from the waves during certain tides can blow a large cloud of steam out onto the beach creating a “blowhole effect” — a very cool experience and great for wedding photos if the timing is right!
Playa Hermosa (Beautiful Beach)
Playa Hermosa is just north of Uvita, Playa Hermosa is over a mile long with few visitors for most of the year. Playa Hermosa lacks permanent services which makes it a great private beach for a destination wedding. Something to note, there are a few beaches named Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. If you’re organizing a wedding, make sure to be clear it’s the Hermosa near Uvita. 🙂
Playa Uvita & Playa Colonia
Playa Uvita is one of the top six most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica (Frommer’s). Uvita is famous locally for its pristine beauty and uniqueness on the Pacific coast. Wonderful views from the beach of a rocky, offshore island called “Isla Ballena.” When the sandbar and island are visible (from the air) they create the outline of a whale’s tail.
Dominical’s rocky sister, Dominicalito, is small, less visited and more private for a beach wedding. You’ll want to watch the tide and moon schedule and set the date for when it’s low tide. The rocky outcrops are GORGEOUS when the tide is out.
Playa Dominical is known for consistent waves, great for experienced surfers. It’s a long beach stretching 4 km (2.5 miles) with dark sand, a rocky shore and deep blue water. Though it isn’t exactly the “prettiest” beach in Costa Rica, sunsets here are spectacular.
Things to Do in Dominical & Uvita
When you’re in such a rich ecological area like Dominical or Uvita, you’ll have a ton of excursions to offer your wedding guests. Here are some favorites:
There are quite a few whale watching companies that will take you and your wedding guests out for an experience of a lifetime.
Plan a group picnic at some of the other nearby beaches
Playa Ventanas, Playa Pinuela and Playa Hermosa are long, expansive beaches where you can sit still and watch the waves. Playa Ventanas is a crowd favorite with really cool caves you can explore right near the shore.
Visit (or get married) at one of the MANY waterfalls in the area
Visiting a waterfall is a quintessential Costa Rica experience. Although the waters are considerably lower in the dry season (from January to April), it’s still pretty awesome to cool yourself off in the mountain-fed waters on a hot day. A lot of couples also opt to get married at one of these fantastic jungle water holes.
The Uvita waterfall is about five minutes from the town. It’s a bit smaller, but pristine, with water spilling into a turquoise pool.
The Nuyaca Waterfalls are a little bit more off the beaten path and can be reached by horseback riding, hiking or a hefty four-wheel drive vehicle. The falls have two levels, with the tallest reaching forty meters high and the smallest 20 meters.
Diamante Waterfall is the tallest waterfall on Costa Rica, 600 feet off the Tinamaste Ridge. You and your wedding guests will be rewarded with stunning veiws overlooking the coastal mountains and the Pacific ocean.
Sample the Craft Beers at Fuego in Dominical
This new brewery is fast becoming an “it” spot in Dominical. After visiting and falling in love with Costa Rica, McDaniel purchased a small piece of land in 2010, with big dreams of creating the Southern Pacific’s first brewery.
Go out for dinner in Ojochal
Ojochal, a community with a lot of French and Quebecois ex-pats, is a foodie-lovers dream. Some of the best restaurants include Exotica, Citrus, Ylang Ylang.
Windsurfing, Kitesurfing or Surfing Lessons
This is the place to visit if you’re into a sporty adventure on the water.
See the jungle animals at the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary or Hacienda Baru
If you and your wedding guests are keen to see wildlife up close, there’s no greater experience than visiting either Hacienda Baru (a family-run eco-sanctuary near Dominical where you’ll see tons of wild animals roaming the property. At the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary you can see animals that are being rehabilitated before being released into the wild.
Invite your wedding guests to an unforgetable river rafting adventure.
Visit Marina Ballena for a hike and a swim
Marina Ballena is an amazing national park, famous for the Humpback Whales that migrate past here each year from December to April. Playa Uvita boasts a natural coral reef in the shape of a whale’s tail that becomes exposed during low tide. It’s a great place to snorkle, have fun in the waves, or to have a picnic.
Wedding Venues & Locations in Dominical and Uvita
Dominical is where you head if you want a little bit more of a lively night life (although things quiet down generally by around 10-11pm every night) and a surfer, beach-going experience. Uvita is where you go if you’re looking more for a tranquil, yoga-style holiday. And Ochochal is where you go for a laid-back, family-oriented trip.
The best part about having your wedding at a villa? It’s all yours before and after the wedding. Have leftover food and booze? No problem… it’ll make for great brunch the next day. Also, you can continue to celebrate even after your DJ calls it a night.
The best villas for hosting a wedding in Dominical or Uvita:
- House of Jupiter – 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, sleeps 13
- Holiday Rental House – Sleeps 16 with 8 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms!
- Jungle Mansion – 7 bedroom, 6 bathrooms, sleeps 18 – An unsurpassed outdoor living space with three swimming pools and three waterfalls!
- Forest Villa – 5 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, sleeps 16
- Casa Ramon – It has private studio, plus 11 bathrooms and sleeps 14
- Casa Bellavia – a bit smaller but a luxury setting – with three bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and sleeps 6
- Casa Ramon – 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, sleeps 14 – Pamper yourself and your wedding guests with a stay at Casa Ramon. Located near the town of Dominical and Playa Hermosa, the villa has panoramic views of the jungle and ocean and spacious, comfortable outdoor living areas. Six bedrooms and open contemporary architecture provide stylish accommodations for up to fourteen guests.
The villa’s outdoor living areas are laid out around the pool and unheated jetted tub, which have a waterfall effect and views of the ocean. Beach towels, chairs and umbrellas are included, covered sitting and yoga areas are perfect for reading or practicing and there’s even a pond to explore. An outdoor kitchen with grill and refrigerator has both bar-style seating and a dining table. Inside, enjoy a home theater, Wi-Fi access and air conditioning.
- Casa Atardecer – breathaking views – 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, sleeps 8
- Manu Villas Costa Rica – This villa can organize everything you need and they have a full-service concierge for weddings.
- Casa Rowineca – Casa Rowineca is close to the beach, local restaurants and fine dining hot spots, it boasts great views from the outdoor terrace, gardens, and every window in the house. You’ll love my place because of 180 view that reaches all the way to Manuel Antonio and Isla Del Cano. It is in a central location along the coast, and coming home will be something you will look forward to and will find it is a perfect place to sit back and relax. My place is good for couples, families (with kids), big groups.
- Shelter from the Storm Villas – This villa has hotel service, plus four bedrooms, 4 baths and sleeps 12 -“Shelter From the Storm” is a group of three villas (including the owner’s house) and an efficiency apartment, perched on a five acre mountainside point, approximately 60 meters above the Pacific Ocean; high enough to give dramatic views (think Big Sur in California) of the coastline to the Osa Peninsula but low enough to hear the waves breaking on the rocks below. Perfect for family reunions or group vacations, Shelter from the storm consists of two luxurious villas and a charming efficiency apartment tucked into the jungle and oriented to maximize privacy while allowing for the “outside living” so popular in this part of the world.
- Casa Bellavia – Balinese designed home with 14′ tinted glass walls throughout…bringing the beauty and ambiance of the jungle and Pacific into the living spaces throughout the house.
The main house is situated in the heart of 28 acres of jungle…providing ideal privacy while providing wonderful views of nature…sloths, toucan, parrot, monkeys and more.
A secondary house or casita is the residence for the estate’s caretakers providing discreet 24 hour on site assistance and full maintenance of guest privacy.
- Los Elementos: Villa de Agua – sleeps 12 – Another Balinese designed luxury home. Water Villa at ‘The elements’ is an EXQUISITE, Balinese luxury villa set in the rainforests of Costa Rica southern Pacific zone. The villa overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and is just a short walk or drive to some of the area’s most spectacular and least crowded beaches. Based on the first of the 5 Balinese elements (water, earth, fire, air and ether), this secluded home uses the infinity-edge swimming pool, heated jacuzzi, lotus ponds and other water features to create a seductive atmosphere to soothe any soul.
Hotel Wedding Venues in Dominical and Uvita
There are a lot of very small, family-run, eco-chic resorts and hotels throughout the Dominical region. Here is a list of some of the best hotels in the area.
- Mango Tree Villas & Spa – Situated near the beach, this aparthotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Tortuga Beach, Ventanas Beach, and Pinuela Beach. Ciudad Cortes Central Park and Arco Beach are also within 12 mi (20 km).
- Kura Design Villas – A full-service spa, a restaurant, and an outdoor pool. Situated near the beach, this spa resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Marino Ballena National Park, Punta Uvita Whale Tail, and Marino Ballena National Park.
- Vista Celestial – All 5 rooms boast private plunge pools and private spa tubs, along with comforts like pillowtop beds and Egyptian cotton sheets. Located near the beach, this family-friendly hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Marino Ballena National Park, Punta Uvita Whale Tail, and Arco Beach.
- Rancho Pacifico – This hotel features 2 outdoor pools, a full-service spa, and a restaurant. Situated in Uvita, this luxury hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Marino Ballena National Park.
- Tiki Villas Rainforest Lodge & Spa – Situated near the beach, this spa aparthotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Marino Ballena National Park. All 9 apartments feature kitchenettes with refrigerators and stovetops, plus free WiFi and balconies. Other amenities available to guests include pillowtop beds, Egyptian cotton sheets, and rainfall showerheads.
- Waterfall Villas – The name says it all. If you’re thinking of having a waterfall wedding, this is the place to stay. Situated near the beach, this spa villa is 3 mi (4.8 km) from Centro Turístico Cataratas Nauyaca and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Parque Reptilandia. Costa Rica Dive and Surf and Costa Rica Stand Up Paddle Boarding are also within 6 mi (10 km).
- Hotel Resort & Spa Cristal Ballena – Situated near the beach, this spa resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Arco Beach, Pinuela Beach, and Marino Ballena National Park. Along with a full-service spa, this resort has a restaurant and an outdoor pool.
- Oxygen Jungle Villas – Situated in the mountains, this luxury resort is within 6 mi (10 km) of Marino Ballena National Park
- El Castillo – This adults-only hotel is close to beautiful Tortuga beach.