Riding the coast – Jaco to Dominical (109k/12,874k)

(March 23 – written by Dave)

We had a great day riding today.  The first 20k or so we hugged the coast, had some nice views and almost felt like we were in Oregon.  Then we had about 89k of flat, sugar cane and palm plantation riding to make it a breezy 109k in total.  Metric century as they say.

Jaco was quiet in the morning.  All street cafes closed, tables rolled away and the guys with brooms out sweeping up the broken glass.  Ok, there wasn’t that much broken glass but that’s kind of the vibe of Jaco.  Lots of dodgy looking characters trying to sell things to tourists, or tourist that have been in Costa Rica for just that little bit too long – everyone slightly over tan, with wild hair and no shoes.  We didn’t really fit in and it felt good riding out while it was quiet.

Back out on Highway 34 we saw a handful of recreational cyclists and got some waves.  Lots of folks here ride bikes for transportation, very few ride for sport.  The sport guys are easy to spot, they wear lycra and helmets, plus today we saw some fancy carbon fibre bikes and even disk wheels.  The transport riders never have a helmet, always ride in street clothes and flip flops – their feet nearly always sitting at a good angle and their seats too low.  But hey, they are getting from A to B and not spending any fossil fuels doing it so good on them.

Morning sea view

Morning coast views

Morning sea view 2

Morning coast views

Morning sea view 3

Morning coast views

Early in the morning we had a couple encounters with what we think where scarlet macaws.  They are big, red and very cheeky.  A little bit like the Australian cockatoo – they have little in the way of predators so they go where they want, when they want.  We were never close enough get good photos that showed the true colours.  One of the cheekier fellows way up in a tree decided to give us a show, going from vertical to level and then upside down while I was trying to get a photo – couldn’t help but smile.

Macau 1


Macau 2


Macau 3



This is what they look like I think

We stopped a little later at a cafe that has had signs along the highway for what seemed like miles.  The place was run by Americans and they charged us like we were in New York City.  The coffee was average and the cinnamon rolls about the same.  All the build up – bummer.  But, they were friendly and at least they gave us glasses of nice cold water.  (Name of cafe withheld – no free adverts for bad coffee 🙂 )

By now we were out in the flat lands and in cruise mode.  Nancy sat on the front and towed us along at 23 kph for a good chunk of time.  There was a wind coming off the coast which meant that we had side, head and tailwinds, depending on which way the road turned.  Over time, the sugarcane fields gave way to palm oil plantations, with good number of trucks hauling the harvest to the processing plants.

Palm plantations are not bad to look at, nice and green, but they are virtual environmental deserts when it comes to bio-diversity.  There is nothing but palm trees – not many birds and animals like them.  They probably spray as well keeping the bugs and other critter food to a minimum.  And to top it off, they produce palm oil, which isn’t all that good for you.  I’m sure it is hard for the farmers, as it takes a while for a tree to mature and produce fruit – it apparently takes 4 years or so for the plants to produce fruit and palm oil and palm plant production is not high on the list of ecologically-friendly and healthy products.

Palm oil trees 2

It really is a desert

Palm oil 2

Palm oil harvest

Nancy was flagging towards the end but mainly because I didn’t let her stop to fill her bottle with water and she ran out.  My bottle is slightly bigger and I don’t sweat as much.  There was a sign that said gas station in 5k and about 2k from it, Nancy announced that we were stopping.  She didn’t see the sign.  It was all I could do to coax 2k more out of her, to where we could get cold water, not more hot.  She made it, and somehow I wasn’t in too much trouble (Senior editor’s note – I am just going to start stopping when I want to – Dave is like a camel and me, I am more like a dripping faucet – perhaps even a garden hose would be fair.).

We arrived in Dominical to find it very small, nice actually, a nice change from Jaco.  We settled into the taco house restaurant right by our guest house and woofed down two wonderful fish tacos (we were hungry).  We had to wait for the hotel manager to return to check in but where settled into our nice little bungalow at the Om Suite Om Inn by 2PM.  The bungalows are great actually.  Nancy was really thinking we should take a rest day tomorrow here.

River at Dominical

Dominical River meets the sea

Sounds good

Sign at taco stand – works for me

Om Suite Om

Om Suite Om – yes, that’s the name!

Our room

Great little cabin

But no….  Instead we will ride on.  We have a short day to Palmar Norte tomorrow where we WILL take a day off.  We’ve booked into a highly recommend mangrove tour on Sunday AM, then finally Sunday afternoon, Nancy has a nap scheduled – well deserved.

Tonight here at Om Suite Om, they have a yoga class.  Nancy is going to attend it while I sort out dinner and brekkie for tomorrow.  It’s the least I can do after not letting Nancy drink enough today.  Meanwhile we just had a refreshing spot of rain – yes rain!  It barely was enough to settle the dust on the unpaved main street here in Domincal but it made for a nice sunset – enjoy.

Massive beetle 1

Massive beetle that visited us at lunch

Tilly perhaps

From Om’s gallery – Tilly making another unscheduled appearance in our blog

Leaf cutter ants on the move

Leaf cutter ants – look close – they were fascinating to watch


And finally, the sunset

8 thoughts on “Riding the coast – Jaco to Dominical (109k/12,874k)

  1. Gets even better south of Domincal… we have spent time in Ojochal on two separate trips… an enclave of expats (from all over the world, but yes, U.S.) best food in CR me thinks.
    We can recommend Hotel Villas Gaia, right on the highway. Super convenient. Your monkeys. Great food, cute bungalows/casitas. Unfort, the exhaust brakes of the big trucks at night make noise. Fine with us. consider eating: Fabrizio’s Pizza, Exotica ($$ but special), Mamma e Papa and for super special, El Castillo (great food, stunning sunset).

  2. Boat ride to the jungle tour (guide required) at Parque nacional Corcovado totally worth it. Avoided it the first trip, loved it on the second. Truly a deep in the jungle experience (and I hate snakes… and bugs).

    • I can’t remember if that was the guide. But the mangrove tour is great too. We used kayaks. Maybe the boat is better for Nancy.
      Palmar Norte is sleepy. Ojichal fancier but more expensive. All is great!
      Don’t rush!
      I will say the jungle tour was a peak experience… but 2 hour small boat ride thru chop and swells… to and from.

  3. Thanks for Tilly sighting:) – not quite as cute as in real life but can see the similarities! Hope Nancy enjoyed the yoga class.

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