The following are photos that I took on my iPhone SE on Tuesday, October 18, 2022. The idea is to give you an idea of what Dominical is like. Permission was granted by all subjects.
If you drive south on the Costanera Sur, the 2-lane highway identified as Route 34 that runs along the Southern Pacific of Costa Rica, you eventually cross the Rio Baru. Beyond the bridge, you take a right under the large wooden “Dominical” sign where hitchhikers often hang out. You’ve just entered the small beach town of Dominical!
Immediately upon entering Domi, you slope down the hill and see a large green roof under which is a late-night open-air bodega. Here, you can get pretty much everything, from eggs to ice cream to canned beans to a pipe for smoking marijuana.
On the right, there’s a pool house and discoteca known as “Rum bar” which locals call “la rumba”. It’s dirty and the music is loud and I have no plans to ever set foot in the place.
If you keep going for 50 meters, you find our favorite expensive grocery store, Mama Toucans.
The cashier at Mama Toucans is typically run by a young guy named Ender, who wears thick glasses and is always smiling. The kitchen is run by Emilia, who talks like a mouse and is very sweet with the kids.
At Mama Toucans, I typically get a fresh loaf of sourdough ($8), a can of Kombucha ($2), and a “pipa fría” (chilled coconut) which Ender opens at the counter by banging a chisel into the husk and throwing a straw in ($1).
Adjacent to Mama Toucans is a coffee shop (and roaster) called Cafe Mono Congo.
At Mono Congo, you can typically get good internet, great coffee for $1, and an excellent view of the Rio Baru just before it dumps into the Pacific. I sometimes work here between meetings for a change in scenery.
Roughly 100 meters down the road, you finally reach my office at Domi Plaza!
This little compound is owned by a Antiguan expat named Luke, who is the nicest person I’ve never seen smile. It includes Costa Rica Explorer (adventure outfitter w/ rave reviews), Krazy Kinkajou (restaurant w/ great tacos and salsa dancing), and a hostel where Luke allows dirty college hippies to come and live in exchange for labor.
My office is located directly above Costa Rica Explorer. Here’s the setup:
The internet is 3x faster than back in the USA (200 mGB upload, 80 mGB download). During my meetings, I watch 3-foot long green iguanas crawling in the tree out the window and often hear giant scarlet macaws flying overhead like red-blue-and-yellow dragons. I can monitor all the foot traffic headed to the beach, which makes for endless entertainment.
If you follow this road for 500 meters, it’ll take you straight to the beach!
On the way to the beach, you pass the swanky-looking entrance to Fuego Brewery and Restaurant, which is perhaps the most recognized restaurant in Dominical.
Eventually you arrive at “el cruz” where the pavement ends. Both ways lead to Playa Dominical.
This is the boardwalk or “paseo” that begins at the playground and runs all the way (literally, due to erosion) into Rio Baru.
During dry season, it’s filled with vendors selling stuff like Boruca masks, correadores, cheap jewelry with lots of big crystals, and t-shirts with sloths on them that say “Pura Vida”. It’s nice because nobody hustles you, plus I know a few of the vendors personally so we just call out to each other.
At the far end of the paseo is the playground, referred to as “el play”. The kids adore it, and there’s usually a healthy mix of Ticos and gringos.
Here, Brigid and I can relax for a moment. We catch up and pass Trixie back and forth (the parent with idle hands drinks the can of beer) while Rio tries to do the monkey bars, Thaddeus tries to interact a Tico kid who speaks zero English, and surfers rip huge waves under a spectacular sunset. When it’s completely dark or if the rains come, we run to the car and drive the 3 minutes back to our home on the mountain.
The last stop in our tour: Playa Dominical.
This ocean is actually super dangerous for kids, as water moves in unpredictable and aggressive ways due to the huge outflowing from the Rio Baru. I’ll explain these dangers and share a few close calls in a later post, but I only let the kids play in this area when it’s fully low tide and never in the water. Either way, it’s gorgeous and the surfing is excellent.