About three to four hours from Costa Rica’s capital, San José, is the country’s Southern Zone. It’s a stretch of coast that starts roughly at the former fishing village turned surfer haven, Dominical, to the border with Panama along the Pacific coast.
The Talamanca Mountain range runs right along the beach here, giving it a dramatic appearance of jungle-clad hills running right to the beach. The area’s unique jungle climate makes it one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, home to toucans, anteaters, various species of monkeys, sloths, and much more.
It’s also a relatively sparsely-populated area, with only a few sizable towns. Though tourists are coming here in increasing numbers, there are no major resorts and no large hotels. The region retains its off-the-beaten path, “hidden” feel.
In recent years, the Southern Zone has become popular with retirees and other expats seeking a slow-paced life by the beach. The towns of Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal especially are expat hotspots.
In the video below, International Living Costa Rica Editor Jason Holland showcases some of the natural beauty of this wild coast.
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