How Dominical Got it’s Name

Article is contributed by Jack Ewing of Hacienda Baru Eco-lodge & Tours

There is a well known local story of how Dominical got its name. In Costa Rica we have many different types of bananas including plantains, cuadrados, guineos and dominícos. In Spanish a field of bananas is called a “bananal;” of plantains, a “platanal;” of cuadrados, a “cuadradal;” of guineos, a “guineal;” and of dominicos, a “dominical.”

Before the appearance of roads, everyone walked down the beach to get from one place to another. In the lowlands near the beach of present day Dominicalito, one of the original pioneers of the area, Victor Sibaja — usually known by his nickname, “Chucuyo” — had a plantation of dominicos. When people walked down the beach and arrived at that point, they would say: “There is Chucuyo’s dominical.”

For many years I believed this story, and it is certainly possible that Chucuyo did have a plantation of dominicos in present day Dominicalito. However I recently came across an 1868 map of Costa Rica that shows the stream that is today known as “Pozo Azul,” as the Dominical River. Also Punta Dominical is labled as “P. Dominical.” The name probably did come from the Dominico, but it existed long before Chucuyo was born.

The place we know as Dominical today was formerly known as Barú or Boca Barú. Up until as late as 1958 the place known today as Dominicalito, was called Dominical. It is shown as such by a 1958 map of Costa Rica published by the Costa Rican Tourist Bureau (ICT.)

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