Building A Beach Town In Dominical, Costa Rica

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Dominical is a slow-paced, laid back beach town in the Southwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Osa Canton/Northern Osa Peninsula.  The South Pacific Highway running North/South parallel to the Pacific coast of this region all the way to Panama City, Panama was recently paved over in the last 5-10 years.  Prior to this paving of the highway, it was merely a "dirt" road going South from the town of Quepos to Dominical.  Before the paving of the highway, few tourists rarely ventured into the Southwest Pacific Coast region of Costa Rica.  One could take a bus down the pot-hole ridden muddy "dirt" road from Quepos to Dominical, but it was a very hot, humid, bumpy, snail-paced, unpleasant experience.  This trip was typically only for the local inhabitants and die-hard surfers looking to experience Dominical's world-class waves.

Since the completion of the highway to Dominical, the sleepy beachtown has experienced a sort of boomtown gold fever if you will.  It did not take long for both residents of CostaRica and tourists from all over the world to decide to check out the scenery on the new highway, and the town and beaches of the Dominical area.  If you were thinking that this all sounds like a car wreck in the making, you were pretty accurate.  Of course when the tourists really started pouring in, the local residents clashed on how to handle different issues and/or just plain got out of Dodge.  Many foreigners immediately began to attempt to set up shop and run foreign-owned businesses in town.  The legal perameters of this are a slightly grey area, getting the employees/other people to follow and carry out those legal perameters is an even greater grey area.  The obvious lack of law enforcement has been considered a blessing by many tourists, and a paradox for business owners.  The extreme carelessness of the tourists and vacationers just adds to the already existing confusion.  For these reasons the town was aptly coined the name "Dysfunctional Junction" by many of the regulars to the area.

Despite all of the carelessness and dysfunctionality, the town of Dominical and surrounding beaches appears to possibly just be in the adolescent stages of being a potential world-class vacation destination and residential community.  What the town is seriously lacking in and needing is planners, developers, and engineers that have the knowledge and understanding of the processes of developing from the initial stages of underground utilities and infrastructure before any more above ground development occurs (especially for environmental reasons); and that also have the ability to get along with the local people, and ability to explain to them these processes of development in their language and in an amicable way.  What the reader should understand is that this country of Costa Rica is still a largely impoverished third-world nation that is rapidly on it's way out of third-world poverty into first-world modern development.  Most of the people in the Southwest Pacific region of Costa Rica are literally just now making first contact with the larger world outside of theirs in the last 5-10 years.  In many of my adventures in this region I think that I must feel how the early Spanish explorers must have on their first arrival to this area.  Although the indigenous people aren't running around wearing loin cloths, most do live in third-world shanty villages with no modern plumbing or appliances.  The only contact that these people had with foreigners prior to the paving of the highway was with the surfers that came to ride the waves and camp out usually for a week or two, then go back to where they came from.  All this development and tourism stuff is more-or-less completely new to their world.  Many of the local people do not like or want this tourism/development stuff either, much less for a foreigner to try and explain it to them; however, at this point it appears to me that they do not have a choice because the tourists just keep coming.  Cause and effect is at work here regardless of anyone's feelings or opinions.  This has been an interesting venture to say the least.  

Check out a few videos that I made in Dominical, Costa Rica....

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