Creative Journaling Workshop at our Dkoko Retreat


As most of the country comes up for air after a long rainy season, early November holds Caribbean Costa Rica’s last sundrops of Summer. Breezy palm trees stretch seaward above salt-and-pepper sand and crystal-clear waters, where you can walk for miles along an East-facing shoreline or dip your skin serendipitously in tide pools sized for mermaid meanderings. Shallow reefs paint the ocean in a palette of teal and turquoise, royal and navy, teeming with multicolored life just beneath the surface.


Dkoko bikini women snorkeling


With the promise of sunny days ahead, I packed up the house, stashed a muddy-pawed Xochi in the backseat, set up the Bluetooth with my best road trip playlist, and braved the seven-hour drive to Puerto Viejo, a bustling hub for Afro-Caribbean culture and home to some of Costa Rica’s most intense surfing waves, come December.

As the terrain out my window changed from highland coffee and cane to coastal pineapple and banana, my thoughts drifted between the existential crisis of pesticidal monocultures and the otherwise rich biodiversity these wild-forested jungle lands carry in their midst.

All out of tunes and tired of my own mind, we had finally made it to our weekend in paradise.  

Keep It Green House welcomed us from distant shores with palm-thatched poolside palapas and open arms for our annual Dkoko brand ambassadors’ retreat – this time, to celebrate the new UNTAMED 2024 sustainable swimwear collection, hot and fresh from our boutique production house in Granada, Nicaragua.



Oohing and aahing at the beauty before us, we unwrapped our goody bags filled with animal-print surf bikinis, retro-solid crop-top rashguards, high-cut one-piece suits and super comfy boyshort onesies. It’s always the most anticipated moment of the retreat – the new collection reveal. Like reading the good news before anybody else is awake.


Dkoko bikini friendship



We caught up with the girls from Jaco, thanked our photo and production crew for making the trek from San Jose, and shared stories with the Puerto Viejo gals whose connection to Dkoko dates back a decade or more to those early days when life felt maybe just a little bit simpler. Before kids and commitments. Surf contest circuit dates, leadership roles, entrepreneurial pursuits, and graduate degrees. When we were all perhaps a little more wild, just a smidge more free.  

We gathered for sunset cocktails and conversation to remind each other of the essence of our untamed spirits as women in love with the sea. We remembered encounters with our own animal instincts, the fierce and passionate fire that drives our diverse desires to create and thrive – to live wildly in the skin we’re in.

Shedding inhibition, we danced unapologetically around the pool beneath a skyful of stars, the undeniable love language of reggaeton and afrobeats freeing our hips and breaking our sweat. I hadn’t danced in what felt like ages. It was about damn time.


Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t the first time for any of us visiting Puerto Viejo. Over coconutty rice-and-beans and Caribbean chicken, we reminisced on the heavy reef breaks we’d surfed up and down the coast, beach cruisers we’d biked south to Punta Uva, reggae parties danced beneath the moonlight, pati and pan de coco consumed to our heart’s delight. Sunny days spent on sandy shores. Storms weathered with the seasonal swells.


Dkoko women surfing



I hadn’t been back in years; for some of us, it had been even longer. The town had definitely grown in the throes of tourism and development – boutiques and restaurants now lined the streets, and vacation rentals had sprung up in spots we once knew as far off the beaten path. As the landscape changes in town, Puerto Viejo’s essence still permeates the air in laid-back vibes, rasta culture, and that special feeling of freedom that keeps us coming back for more.

We spent the weekend in our new suits, reveling in peach and turquoise, classic jaguar and colorful boa prints in shorts, fresh bikini designs, and surfy-sporty tops. By morning, we were up early for sunrise shoots on wide-open shores, dancing our toes along the waterline, playing about the low-lying palm trees, cooling off in sandy tide pools, praying for surf. To little avail - Caribbean summer is always more sun than swell.


women drinking coconut water in their dkoko bikini


We ventured into town for gelato and shaved ice, snapped a few shots alongside the colorful fishing boats backdropped by the luscious blues of sea and sky.

A giant pot of rondon coconut fish stew awaited us for dinner, followed by an epic fire show surprise, poolside under the stars. The simple life; a Caribbean dream, indeed.

And because no visit to Puerto Viejo would ever be complete without a reggae party at Salsa Brava, we danced our bare feet in the sand for hours into the night, embodying the untamed spirit of our freedom-loving hearts, revived by the wild soul of the southern Caribbean shores we were so blessed to have roamed once more.

Needless to say, after our weekend on retreat, it wasn’t just Xochi who needed a little coaxing to get back in the car and on the road.


Dkoko gals

Interview written by Tara Ruttenberg