After our Arenal adventures we headed far south….way farther south than we should have planned considering the length of our trip…but hey, someone had said “check out Manuel Antonio” and when you have an hour to plan, you don’t always look at distances…and well, Rob had booked Domincal thinking it was close to Manuel Antonio….because it was in the same chapter of the Lonely Planet. I gave him quite the lecture about his novice LP reading abilities, insisting that because it is in the same chapter, doesn’t necessarily mean close. In the end, it was only about 45 minutes away. In the end, we didn’t even bother visiting the park.
After a long but beautiful drive, we arrived in Dominical. Dominical is the definition of laid-back. Its a small town…so small we missed the turn off entirely on our first drive through….The town stretches out across some gorgeous west-coast beach. It doesn’t take too long to see why this is a town that many come to, and few leave…and those who do, don’t want to – not one little bit. What I would do to be there right now! Mmm…that makes me think of the delicious Basil-Passion Fruit Margaritas at “Tortilla Flats” a very fun little bar in town.
If you want a vacation in a laid back surfing town, this is the place. The beaches are gorgeous, the waves are perfect for novices like me, and not that one surfing lesson makes me an expert, but from what I saw, people who have been surfing for awhile can also have a great time. There are lots of cute restaurants and accommodation for every budget. As soon as we arrived, our plans for Manual Antonio started to change…this was a place to relax and surf, relax and surf, relax and surf. We asked about some lessons.
I’d surfed once before, and it had been mostly cold and frustrating. The guy I had been dating at the time had annoyed me too such ends that we actually broke up following an unpleasant drive home where he told me he couldn’t handle listen to my repetitive “Snow Patrol” CD over and over and over. By the way, that is my relationship rule #1, if you can’t spend more than 4 hours in a car with someone, its over. If any of you out there have any traveling ambitions with your future partner, I highly recommend that the road-trip test be taken – and that the results be strictly adhered to.
Back to Dominical. We did have one “problem”. Max. Ok…ok…not a problem, but as much as I was enthusiastic about Rob trying to surf, because he never had, I really really really wanted to go too. We asked around at the last minute about a babysitter (with advance planning, people were willing to bend over backwards to help us out). If you want to see me sulk, try making me think that someone else is going to get to do something super cool and I won’t….
Now, that is where our fabulous instructor Dylan came to the rescue. Now Dylan runs Sunset Surf Dominical: http://www.sunsetsurfdominical.com/, and Dylan is fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. He is a great guy, a fabulous instructor, passionate about what he does, and very very good. We met him for “Rob’s afternoon lesson” – he asked if we’d had any luck with a sitter…I must have looked like a kid who got nothing but coal for Christmas when I said no. He’d spent the afternoon asking around too, but without any luck. “I can take you both out” he said “you can just take turns on the water”. The sulk that I’d been wearing all day immediately disappeared.
We headed to the beach and Dylan brought us a big shade umbrella for Max. Max, met, sand. Max, loved, sand. Max spent the next 2 hours playing in sand, eating sand, rubbing his sand covered hands in his eyes, getting sand everywhere (I’m not kidding when I tell you that I dumped a pile of sand out of his diaper bag today).
Dylan gave us a quick lesson on the beach, then Rob and I took a few turns and it was amazing. In the past, I’ve been a little nervous around big waves, and never appreciated being thrown around…this seemed different though. Under Dylan’s guidance, it was absolutely pure fun…or as they say in Costa Rica Pura Vida. Rob and I were both balancing on the board in no time, and by the time our session was done we were turning (while…me… just in one direction). We left the beach talking about how our next vacation should be a week long surfing trip…in Dominical…..and with Sunset Surf. We threw our plans for Manuel Antonio out the window, and planned instead to rent boards the next day for a few hours of surfing before our trip home. I contemplated missing my plane, if it meant that I could stay just another few days….