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A Weekend in Dominical

Surf and Waterfalls

sunny 90 °F
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Well I finally got out of Quepos for a couple of days. I didn’t realize how much I needed to get out of Quepos until the bus to Dominical left town with me and four of my friends from school. I was a little over-excited ... ooh look, more people are getting on the bus here ... banana trees! ... a Costa Rican license plate! Faith and Ed had been traveling around Costa Rica for the last couple of weeks so we were having a mini reunion.
Cabinas San Clemente

Cabinas San Clemente

We rolled into Dominical about an hour and a half after leaving Quepos. I think there are three roads in Dominical, the one by the beach, the one through the center of town, and the one that connects the other two. All the roads are dirt roads. There is no traffic there. On the main road there are a few good looking restaurants ... a thai-indonesian place caught our eye when we got to town ... and a couple of small grocery stores. All of the hotels/hostels are on the beach front road along with a few more restaurants.

NEWSFLASH : Apparently a truck carrying sandals has tipped over somewhere nearby. Andres just showed up on his bike with a trash bag filled with fifty pairs of sandals (all for girls). There is currently a sandal feeding frenzy on the front porch. We now return to our regular programming.

That was fun. Where was I ... oh, yeah. Dominical. On the other side of the road from the hotels is a few rows of trees and the beach. This place really has the feel of a surfer town. The hotels cater to low budget travelers. I didn’t see any luxury hotels there. We got two rooms at Cabinas San Clemente for around $20/person/night. It’s very, very mellow in Dominical. Walk fifty feet and any direction and you can rent a surf board. So we did. Ed and Faith did anyway. Drew brought his board. Heidi and I waited until the others got tired and then borrowed theirs. Ed explained to me how to turtle (when you are trying to paddle out and a big wave comes you flip over and hold the nose of the board down so you don’t get washed all the way back to the beach) and I spent twenty minutes turtling and thirty seconds almost standing up on three different waves. At least I know how to catch a wave now. I’ll figure the rest out later. Surfing is a lot of work and half the time you’re doing all the work you can’t breath ... you shouldn’t breath anyway ... because you’re under water.

When the sun went down the surf boards were returned and we went back to the rooms for showers and a couple of Imperials. Later that night we went out for dinner at Tortilla Flats where I ate a ginormous plate of linguini and shrimp in a cream sauce. The rest of the evening was spent lounging around. I walked out to the beach to watch the heat lightning, the remnants of a quick rainstorm that had passed through while we were at dinner.
Gang minus Drew at Tortilla Flats

Gang minus Drew at Tortilla Flats

The next morning we got up, had some breakfast (huevos rancheros for me of course) and then took a taxi out to the trail that leads to Nauyaca waterfalls. Waterfalls are a popular destination with the crowd I spend time with here. It’s not so much that the waterfalls are beautiful all by themselves ... it’s more about the fact that you can jump off of them. I’m not sure how far the hike was to the falls and back. It felt like somewhere around eight miles ... three miles there and five miles back. Around two thirds of the way to the falls is a little tourist center. There are a couple of scarlet macaws who are a bit territorial and enjoy chasing the tourists around. One of them hit Drew in the head. It’s nice to have Drew around because if anything weird or bad is going to happen it’s going to happen to him ... everyone else can relax. There is also a friendly Toucan who hops around and likes to be petted, a few peacocks, and some pig/rat looking critters that I don’t know the name of. We rested at the tourist center for a bit, stocked up on water, ate some pineapple, took some pictures and then headed for the falls.
Lower Nauyaca Falls

Lower Nauyaca Falls

The lower falls were absolutely picture perfect spectacular. There was a big deep pool to swim in at the bottom of the falls ... and the water was cool. It’s hard to find cool water in Costa Rica (unless you’re looking for a hot shower). There were a couple of locals already at the falls. They were climbing up through the falls to a launch pad close to twenty feet above the pool and then doing back flips into the water below. It wasn’t long before Drew and Ed were clambering up the falls and then jumping off. Faith (who has more sense than Drew and Ed ... sorry guys) followed suit after witnessing no fatalities. I could have stayed there all day, staring at the falls for awhile and then going for a swim when I got warm. That spot was perfect. While I was now fully relaxed and enjoying my post hike waterfall bliss, Drew and Ed spotted a new launch pad at the top of the falls about fifty feet up. They managed to find their way up there and of course jumped off. The rest of us took pictures.
Drew from 50 feet : Lower Nauyaca falls

Drew from 50 feet : Lower Nauyaca falls

We hiked up a litter farther to further our waterfall experience. The upper falls were taller but not nearly as picturesque. There was a small pool surrounded by a big boulder field at the bottom of the falls and unfortunately for Drew and Ed nothing to jump off of. We climbed around on the rocks for awhile taking pictures. Drew, Heidi, and Ed climbed down to the pool and behind the waterfall while I took pictures from above. By this time it was getting kind of late. We headed back towards home, stopping at the tourist center again for more macaw dodging and water.

After a tough hike back to the main road we caught a bus back to Dominical. There were no more buses back to Quepos that night so we hired a taxi and rode home in style.

It total we were only out of Quepos for about a day and a half. We made the most of it though. It was a perfect weekend. By the time I got home I was exhausted and ready for some Tica home cooking. Those who didn’t have a Tico family to go home to (Drew, Ed, Heidi) went out for all you can eat sushi after returning to Quepos. I bet they got their money’s worth.

Since that weekend I’ve been kicking around Quepos, a couple of days at the beach in Manuel Antonio, a hike to the waterfall near Manuel Antonio, a trip to Yorleny’s cousins’ house in the country for some fishing and family time. I’ve done my taxes, celebrated my birthday, and avoided looking for a job. I have no teams left to root for on my NCAA Tourney bracket. I got my haircut really short because my Spanish stinks. I started reading a book called “In The Fall” by Jeffrey Lent ... it’s decent but depressing. I’ve pretty much just been enjoying myself since I graduated from TEFL school. Next on the agenda: Apply for jobs, go see Nicoya, renew my tourist visa.

Posted by dfilipia 16:13 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged backpacking

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Excellent article/blogpost. I just did that waterfall hike myself but that is awesome for "Drew" to jump from that high. Good on him!

Here is my article: http://www.sellingcr.com/20100204759/Costa-Rica-Blog/nauyaca-waterfall-hike.html

by CuriousG

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