For the past week I have been in a small village on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica called Dominical. The impression I got about the place from Costa Ricans before I got there was that Dominical was very American. This turned out to be more or less true. You walk down the one street in Dominical and every shop sign is in English and there is a dearth of Spanish. On Dominical's single unpaved street there were 3 sports bars that played the Superbowl (thank god) with no shortage of white boys with their caps on backwards.
There is something to be said about the remoteness of the place however. To get there one needs to travel either through winding mountainous roads or take a ferry to the closest port Quepos and taxi it on perilous unpaved gravel. All in all it acts as an effective barrier from the "all-inclusive" crowd. You're surrounded by tourists but thankfully not the annoying ones.
That said, Dominical is beautiful. Being on the west side, I make it a daily ritual to see the sun set over the ocean. I think this about every place where I can see the sun set, but really this place has the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen.
Like many surf towns there is an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and surf shops in operation which oddly enough features more asian restaurants (Japanese, Thai) than native Costa Rican. You'd be bored in the long run but for two weeks it's more than enough. The scene is decidedly young surfer. There doesn't seem to be as many boomer-hippies as on the Caribbean side. Beach-blonde couples lay by the ocean surf as their skin bronzed by the harsh afternoon sunlight blend into the dark grainy sand.
The shops themselves are mostly a collection of small businesses owned by other surfers, American and otherwise. There is a nice laid back attitude to businesses here which is less interested in making money as just having a good life. I sat in on a business meeting with a Canadian guy who started the lone diving school in Dominical drinking beers on the beach by an impromptu bonfire. Just another day at the office.
It's peaceful here and without a doubt I've fallen into the slow place of life by the beach. Days go quickly. My cabina is a minute walk away from the ocean. I stroll by it when I wake up, and I hear its vicious roar at night time as I go to bed. This is my first time to have a beach so close to where I live and it centers one like I could not have imagined. I am generally the kind of type-A personality who wants to get things done. Not here.
It feels good.