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Dominical, Costa Rica

February 7th, 2006

This weekend 21 of the 29 people from my program decided to take an independent trip to Dominical. It was really obvious that the trip was planned by gringos who don´t fully understand the bus schedules, because we took an unnecessarily long bus ride (6 and a half hours!).

Let me just preface this by saying we had absolutely no reason to choose Domincal over any of the other beautiful and closer beaches. It was a random decision made by a random group member that everyone blindly followed. So in retribution for allowing ourselves to be herded like cows by an inexperienced shepherd, we had to endure hours of cramped standing in a bus that was winding through hills over roads that were often bumpy and unpaved. Of course once we arrived, we learned that there was a quicker and easier route through a different city that would have allowed us to sleep in until the comparatively late hour of 6 am.

Once we arrived, we were able to secure rooms in a hostel for what began as $5/per night and wound up being $8/night (This of course actually excluded me, because I slept in my handy dandy Hennessy hammock in the tent area for much less). They offered outdoor bathrooms, showers, and a moderately equipped kitchen, but no hot water.

It was one of our friends’ 21st birthdays, so of course it was required that we all take shots with him. No one even thought to bring shot glasses, so we took turns passing around a giant cooking ladle. It definitely added to the fun.

The beach was beautiful. It is a black sand beach, with relatively big waves (for the U.S. anyway, I can’t compare to other Costa Rican beaches yet). I still haven’t learned to surf, but I think that may be my next fun project. We went body boarding, which was still a lot of fun, but tiring. The rip tide was pretty strong, so I would only recommend it for strong swimmers.

My big adventure of the weekend was to attempt to acquire and cook enough food to feed 21 people. My friend Adam and I had heard of a fish market close by, so we decided it would be a fun trip to walk there and get fresh fish and maybe stop at a fruit market along the way. As it turns out, “close by” and “fish market” are relative terms.

We proceeded to walk 6 kilometers (approx. 3.5 miles) along the highway with the sun beating down on our backs until we found a sign for the fish market. The fish market, it turned out, was the house of a local fisherman. He had a little freezer half filled with one kind of fish. I asked him what they were called, but I couldn’t understand him so I just smiled and nodded. They were pretty large fish, with big ol´ dead eyes staring us in the face. He handed us the massive fish whole, and which point we were obligated to beseech him to filet them for us, as neither of us had a knife or the know-how to do it ourselves.

We prepared ourselves for the return trek, and headed off. We wondered if we could have bargained with him a little more over the price, and then proceeded to feel a little guilty about this as it was pretty cheap compared to U.S. fish and he obviously had more need for the money than us. Along the way, we stopped to pick of a BUNCH of fruits and veggies for dinner, and by the time we got back we were beat. Luckily, we returned to people who were willing to cook it all for us, so we finally got to rest. I still have battle scars on my feet to attest to the long and gruelling 7-mile hike Adam and I took so we could all eat like kings.

2 Responses to “Dominical, Costa Rica”

  1. Dr leslie Latterman on December 3, 2007 12:39 pm

    I am trying to plan a trip for 23 family members and we found a huge house in the dominical. We don’t need night life , just a beach , snorkeling vaca over 4th of July. Do you rec dominical and is it really too far to get there from san Jose or Quepos? Are there good excursions from there. Manual Antonio was not on the beach.

  2. John Connaghan on December 3, 2007 6:02 pm

    You can get to Dominical in about 4 hours from the airport in San Jose, assuming that you charter a bus to take the group(s). There are two ways to go; via San Isidro General in the mountians, and via Jaco and Quepos.
    I just drove both, down via San Isidro, and back via Quepos and Jaco. The Quepos/Jaco route is the best although many will disagree. The issue is the route between Dominical and Quepos. This has been a nightmare in the past, but is in the best condition that I have seen it in four years.
    John C