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a guide to Dominical

Before embarking on this journey to Dominical (a surf/ex-patriot town on the pacific), my father tasked me with the job to pay close attention and translate every detail to him in hopes that we may one day buy a house out here. Savannah and I got to the bus station two hours early in hopes to snag some tickets for the 3 o'clock bus and somehow were able to get onto the 1 o'clock bus. While waiting in line to board, a middle-aged white man (dad... is that you?) overheard Savannah and I speaking in English and joined our conversation, asking us where we were staying in Dominical. I gave Savannah the side eye and she 100% understood my full thought in that tiny glance..."do not dare tell this random man where we are staying." She successfully turned the conversation into where he was staying... as he proceeded to tell us how he has a house in Dominical but lives most of the year in Orlando, FL. We boarded. After a three and a half hour bus ride turned into five, we realized that there was no stop at Dominical and had to get off at the Uvita stop, about thirty minutes more south. Exiting the bus, the same man found us and asked if we needed a ride back to Dominical. Despite my previous suspicions, balling on a budget, it took Savannah and I less than a second to say "uhhh yep!" His Tica ex-wife practically flew into the parking lot, rocking blue and purple hair, tattoos up and down her arms and legs. I particularly liked the butterfly on the back of her left arm. She drove us to our hostel how I would imagine a butterfly would take the wheel if it could... a little bit spastic, a little bit graceful... but mostly spastic.


The first night in Dominical, at the restaurant there was a stealie face (grateful dead paraphernalia) tapestry over the registry and I looked at Savannah and said "it's like my dad knew." I ordered some fish tacos in my father's honor and made sure with the waiter, like he would have if he was there, that the fish was locally caught by Dominical fisherman. Sitting in this restaurant, it was quite clear that everyone in the town knew each other, other than Savannah and I. All of the ex-patriots happily mingled with the local Tico surfers/waiters, and I thought to myself "I wouldn't mind calling this hippie community, home."

cool vibes hostel (I may have solely booked this for the name)

The next day, we rented surfboards for the morning and then checked out the town in the light of day. The town of Dominical, I would say, has one of everything you would need to be a profitable town... a hair salon, a couple restaurants all of different themes (one even with a VW bus and workout gym), and an organic market where the cashier and I decided I should be the poster girl for selling bamboo straws like my life depended on it. However, Savannah and I noticed that there wasn't really a shop specializing in coffee making. We decided to text my dad offering him a coffee shop business proposal to which he replied, "always hire locals!"

photo by Savannah Stanley

On Sunday, we decided to spend the day before our bus ride back to San Jose, on the whale-tail beach of Uvita. After our time on the beach, during our walk back down a long dirt road back to the bus station, I looked at Savannah and complained, "I'm tired of this!" and forcefully stuck out my thumb. The first car we saw slowed down. The driver and passenger exchanged the same exact looks Savannah and I exchanged... "should we do this?" Ultimately we all silently decided yes, as the car came to a full stop and Savannah and I jumped immediately in before we could question our decision making skills. They were a sweet Swedish couple who spoke English, vacationing up the road from Uvita. We stumbled out of the car and thanked them greatly as we continued our trek up to the main restaurant strip. We downed some hummus and veggies and then Savannah worked on some homework while I apparently knocked for an hour, sprawled across a full couch in the fanciest restaurant on the strip, while a vacationing family and our waiter constantly exchanged glances about me... oops?


Some takeaways from my trip to Dominical--- always trust Ticas with multicolored hair and butterfly tattoos, stealie face tapestries=the friendliest towns, the spiciest chai-tea can be found at Cafe Mono Congo, hitch-hiking is arguably safe, napping in fancy restaurants is okay, as long as you thank them after, oh and if you're going to have a successful ex-patriot town... hire the goddamn locals!!!

Con gusto,


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