Specific directions to Canopy Vista
First, do not try to find ANY location in Costa Rica after dark. There are very few road signs and finding places in the dark is nearly impossible. Because Costa Rica is near the equator, nightfall begins between 5-6:00 pm.
Please take the Mango Manor Road to go up to Canopy Vista. See the map here: canopyvistamap.htm
1. Our road is Mango Manor road, and while right off the Costanera Highway, just about impossible to located in the dark. If driving, continue past the Dominical entrance on your left a few more kilometers. Look to your right for the Coldwell Banker office and then the Roca Verde Restaurant. Right across from the Roca Verde on the left is a sign called "Ayacucho" with a private road that connects up to Mango Manor. However, you will only want to use this portion for walking. Mango Manor road is the next left hand turn past this road up about a half a kilometer. Make a sharp left and make sure your vehicle is in 4wd. You will go past the neighborhood dumpster on the left, and after a hundred yards or so, make a sharp right turn on the road & start your big climb up the hill. This is the only road till you get to the top of the 6 switchbacks. Once you get to the orange wall you are almost there. Take one more right and go up and then down--the road will dead end. Go right and travel about 1/2 km and you will see the gate to Canopy Vista on your left. It is a yellow house. A notice of of your arrival date will be made ahead of time with our caretaker, Edwin but you need to inform him of the exact time you will arrive. You will phone him the morning of your 1st day of stay to alert him of the time you will arrive. (Current cell phone # is 8986-3749).
A walk down to Dominical Beach takes 15 or 20n minutes. The walk to Dominical takes about 40 minutes. . Coming back, you can have a taxi drop you off at the 1st entrance where the Ayachuco sign is, & walk up but it is a hefty hike. Last I heard, a good 4wd taxi driver there is Gilligan's Taxi 8317-4089.
Bottled Water? Groceries?
I have been to Costa Rica since 1998, and I have never gotten sick from the water. However, everyone pretty much buys bottled water for regular drinking and brushing teeth just to be on the safe side. The water at Canopy Vista is from a stream whose source we control, and I have never gotten sick from this source, but do not recommend it for anything other than normal showering and cleaning.
Shopping at La Pacifica: There is a little shopping area on the right hand side of the road just as you are heading north up the Costanera Highway, right before the entrance to Dominical. It has a bank, an ATM and a grocery store & semi-bilingual clerks. You can buy bottled water there, or at the "supermarcado" in Dominical.
I suggest you stop off at La Pacifica to pick up your water and any groceries before you go up Mango Manor road to Canopy Vista.
Driving and safe:
Drivers of vehicles must have their passports with them or face a $200 fine. Make copies of your passport to give to your traveling companions. While hanging around the house, you can lock up small valuables in our safe, or give larger things to Edwin to put in our bodega--a steel door locked storage area at the back of the house. However, if you have him put things in there, he may not be around when you want them out, so we suggest you leave large valuable things at home. Edwin is the only one with keys to the bodega.
Costa Rica has recently instituted many more driving offense fines, such as driving while talking on a cell phone or not having your seatbelt on.
The safe contains the emergency pre-pay cell phone and charger there.
Petty theft is a common problem along the Costanera Highway and at the beach, as it is in any 2nd world country, and the Costanera is the main highway up from South America & Panama. The higher you go off the highway, the safer you are. Please always lock the outside doors, even if you will be away from the house for just a few hours and set the alarm. (We found a gekko oftentimes falsely sets off the alarm and are trying to see what we can do about that). Always lock the doors of your vehicle.
The biggest theft items in Costa Rica are cell phones, passports, and computers, so be very careful with those items. Try not to take anything of value to the beach unless you carry it physically close to you I typically carry a money belt for passport, drivers license, cash, ipod or whatever. If you want to go in the water, you may wish to purchase a surfer's waterproof fanny pack. Always go to the beach in groups of 2 or more.
It is best not to store ANYTHING valuable in your vehicle.
If you must carry something valuable, stash it out of sight.
Emergency # for the police is 911.
Edwin does not speak much English, but is patient if you have limited Spanish. If you don't speak any Spanish, you may wish to use a Spanish-English dictionary (should be one at the house), or bring a translator program on your mobile device that is not dependent upon high speed internet.
Upon request, Edwin can access the IMAC computer, which has movies and music. We also have AppleTV and a screen downstairs with movies & music.
4wd Taxis in Dominical
As of the end of 2013, the best-recommended 4x4 taxicab driver is Gilligan. I don't know how much English he speaks. However, if you want to walk into town, but save yourself the effort of getting back up to the house, call Gilligan at 8317-4089.
Another taxi service I used in 2012 was Arturo Sibaja, Servicio de Taxi Publico 8313-3932.
We have high speed internet at the house. Be sure to tell Edwin or his 14-year-old son Andres that you need the "computadora"---get the latest passcodes from him..
WiFi in Dominical
Canopy Vista is only a kolometer from wifi spots located at the bottom of our Mango Manor Road "driveway" at places such as the Coldwell Realty office on the Costanera Highway. Almost all restaurants also offer free wifi.
If you don't have a computer or wireless device, cafes that cost around $3/hour are common throughout Costa Rica, and there is one at the San Clemente plaza and the Diwauk at the other end of town across from the ICE building.
Most restaurants in town offer free wifi.
Dominical Beach is a world-class surf beach, and in high season usually has a lifeguard. There are rip tides, so stay within designated areas for swimming.
Usually beginner surfers start out at Dominicalito ("Little Dominical") beach to the south.
There are also nice beaches as you go south. The sand in the south is brown, not white. Many people go to the Ballena Beach club for lunch and swim in the more protected bay area. A little further south is the Ballena National Marine Park, with lots of nice beaches and you can pay a small fee for park entrance and to have your car watched.
People also like swimming at the bottom of waterfalls. There are local waterfalls you can go to on your own or with tours. Nauyaca Waterfall is the best-known really big one, and can be accessed via hiking or hoseback.
Another really nice small local waterfall is located in Uvita. Make a left at the BCR (Banco de Costa Rica) and go up the road a few kilometers. Just before the Green Iguana hardware store is a road marked "waterfall" to your left. Go up that just a bit and you will see the big "Waterfall Information Center" on your right.
When you fill out the "create your vacation" form on this site, I can refer you to good quality horsebackriding, surfing, hiking, snorkeling, diving, zipline, monkey-viewing, rafting or river trips.
Checking out local real estate
Due to the worldwide recession, prices are still unbelievably low in Costa Rica, which saw abaout a 40-60% decline in values. Prices are starting to climb back up, like in many parts of the US. The coastal area located a little north and south of Dominical is sometimes described as Costa Rica's "Gold Coast" because the mountains climb straight up from the ocean. This unique part of Costa Rica affords incredible ocean and mountain-view properties that have easy access to the beach. You can get a world-class ocean-view lot for under $100,000, a nice home for under $250,000, or a small farm for under $200,000.
There is no licensing or MLS required in Costa Rica, so everyone will try to sell you their uncle's land if you are not careful. If you have an interest in real estate, please contact me prior to your visit so I can recommend experienced, honest, and diligent local agents.
Dominical Beach is almost directly below the house, a little towards Dominical.
If you wish to take the 15 minute walk down Mango Manor road, I'd suggest you cut off to the right when you get close to the bottom, and go out the Ayacucho road instead of ours, which takes you further south. Cross the road and you should see the Roca Verde restaurant. You can find your way past the restaurant to the beach and then turn right. About 5-10 minutes towards Dominical is the lifeguard stand, and you will see surfers to the left and people swimming to the right. The nice thing about walking is that you don't have to worry about taking stealable items like passports and credit cards with you. However, it is a heafty hike back up to the house, so we sometimes take the 4x4 taxi service to get back, or we drive both ways. Do not leave anything valuable, especially visible, in your car, as it is a public beach and this is the area where most issues with petty theft occur. You can jump in the water just about anywhere, but because of the riptides, I generally feel safest in areas where there are surfers and other swimmers.
Also, there are many fine beaches as you go north or south of Dominical, including the Ballena National Marine park located about 20 minutes drive south, where there are guards on duty that will watch your car for a small fee. Also, I've heard that if you have lunch at the Beach Club down there, that you can enjoy the beach.
More Waterfalls besides the one you can hike to at the Preserve:
Many excursions include waterfalls with natural pools as part of the trip package. You can swim at the designated areas at Dominical Beach, and the water is very warm. Swimming "holes" are best where there is moving water, as less critters hang out there.
Other neat waterfalls/natural pools: "("Cascadas"):
There is a nice public one in the town of Uvita, which has a great restaurant with super-good fish tacos. Go to Uvita and find the "BCR" or Bank of Costa Rica. Take the left on the road near there and go up the hill. Just before your reach the Iguana Verde Hardware store, you will see where people have pulled off to go to this waterfall.
There are numerous opportunities to do snorkeling excursions out of Dominical. Just stop in at the tourist center there and they can arrange a trip to Canyo Island for around $125/person/day. I'm planning to do this one with my partner when we are there. Some times you can even see whales on the fun boat journey out. I advise taking along some sea -sickness pills if you plan to go out--makes the journey so much more enjoyable. We have also snorkeled at Ballena National Park and had fun, but the visibility is not nearly so good as on a boat tour.
Big 2-person Tent at Canopy Vista:
Setting up the tent and breaking it down takes about 2 hours. It's a pain to set it up yourself if you are not familiar with large-tent setups. I can make sure Edwin gets that set up for you prior to your arrival, or with just 2 of you, you may wish to cancel this request and use the platform for just viewing and hanging out. If you do want it set up ahead of time for you and also broken down upon your departure, please tip our caretaker Edwin for this extra work. He would be very pleased to get a tip of $10 or $20.
Catered Meals at the House:
If you'd like this, please advise Sadie and Edwin at least 2 days in advance, as they would need to go into town to do the shopping etc. I don't make anything on this, but I think they can put together a meal for you with wine & candle light for about $25 each + tip.
I can recommend 2 great horse rides: If you want nice horses and a good outfit near the beach, go south towards Uvita and look for the "Merced" stable road off to the right. Be prepared though that if you say "yes" to galloping in the surf along the beach, the horses will quickly comply. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g635755-d2058796-r123873715-Rancho_La_Merced-Uvita_Province_of_Puntarenas.html
A tamer all-walking horse ride is the one up to the Nauyaca Waterfalls--a delightful excursion for about $65 for the day. Book well ahead of time though, as they fill up fast: 506-2787-0541, or 506.2787-0542.
Hike to waterfall within Rainforest Preserve: Edwin can guide you to the path going down into the waterfall area, and perhaps even accompany you if you wish. He doesn't understand much English, but we are trying to get him to use computer translators or point to words in the Spanish-English dictionary. Workers in Costa Rica typically get tipped about $10/hour for special services, so just judge the time he would spend with you and tip accordingly. If you'd like for me to arrange any of your requests with him ahead of time, I'm happy to do that if I know before Dec. 14th, when I leave for Dominical.
Other recommended excursions:
If you have a couple of hours to travel up past San Isidro, you can see a 4,000 acre cloud forrest at the base of Chirripo mountain. Entrance fee is around $8 and you can tip the guide, Geraldo, about $20 to give you a tour. Crystal clear water up there and also the "best cheeze ("queso") made in southern Costa Rica", made by Katia. Operated by the son, Kenneth.
Great Zipline tour at Osa Mountain, for a whole different experience of the "dry Forrest" This is about a 45 minute drive south of Canopy Vista, right before you get to the city off the Coastal Highway of Cortez. Amazing Butterfly Garden & animal rescue center. They sell condos up there, but are trying to do everything i9n a sustainable and organic manner. They have a nice restaurant, pool & bar at the top. Zipline tours are about $55/person. Get introduced to "Banana Bread Mike", (famous for something I guess:>.)
Please let me know if I can assist you further.
Owner, SkyFor, Inc.
303-670-0246 in Colorado