Miguel, my driver from the airport, hadn’t heard of my hotel.
I looked at the reviews again, slightly worried – there weren’t as many as I remembered, and nothing recent. What had I been thinking?
When I was booking this trip I had considered several resorts, but they felt constrained or out of the way. I don’t like to be confined to a compound, isolated from a community, with nowhere else to go. So I combed through online reviews, trying to figure out where I *should* stay.
That’s when the dive operator suggested this place, and I went for it. The reviews were decent and it was in town. That was a couple of months ago, and now that I was arriving, and as our van drove along a dusty dirt road, I wasn’t sure what I had been thinking.
I checked in to the hotel and found it to be clean, if notable for these stickers on the door.
I checked in next with the dive shop and headed toward the beach. The hotel isn’t on the beach – instead, it is a couple hundred yards from a large paved road lined with restaurants and souvenir shops that points directly toward the ocean. Restauranteurs and hawkers stood at the roadside beckoning me to come in.
I continued my walk to the beach, noting a few tourists along the way. Eventually, at the end of the road, I stood on Playas del Coco, taking in the view. Here, I wasn’t surrounded by tourists. Mostly I saw Costa Rican men, women, and families standing on the shore talking, playing in the park, and just sitting on the sand.
Along the walkway that traces the shoreline, vendors were selling snacks. I wondered what some of them were, but wasn’t yet ready to eat.
And with all of this I felt a lot better. I was not a prisoner in a resort. I was in a community.
It may not have been my community, but nonetheless, this is where I belonged.