Beyond the remote tracks of Uvita – a village on Costa Rica’s South Pacific coast – you’ll encounter hidden neighbourhoods tucked into rainforests and towering waterfalls with pools for swimming. At its shores, Marino Ballena National Park is scattered with almost-deserted beaches, mountains in the background and migrating schools of whales appearing in the ocean. A nature lover’s dream, Uvita is also home to wild jungles teeming with sloths, toucans and monkeys.
A stopover in an Uvita hostel puts you in the area’s tropical vegetation. Spend the night in a wooden tree house in a mango plantation, or base yourself among birds and other animals in a nature reserve. You can find Uvita hostels with an eco-friendly atmosphere, as well as stays with Costa Rican culture at their heart. A few let you hire surfboards, bicycles and snorkelling gear, while others help to organise trips. Most hostels in Uvita have free Wi-Fi too, and some have private rooms with TVs.
Downtown Uvita is just behind the coast and has lots of places to relax with a leisurely meal. A short walk from here is the main beach, Playa Uvita. It’s known for its sandy shoreline shaped like a whale’s tail and clear waters perfect for snorkelling. On the outskirts, you’ll spot the small neighbourhood of Bahía Ballena and its authentic Costa Rican ambiance. To catch some waves, head to the north of the cape from Playa Uvita to Playa Hermosa.
To see the rich marine life, make your way out to Caño Island, a biological reserve off the shores of Uvita. A trip out to sea is also a chance to spy the humpback whales. This region has three waterfalls to discover all within a 30-minute drive – Nauyaca, Uvita and Cascada El Pavon. And for the town’s best-kept secret? Go to Playa Arco (a few miles north of Uvita), a secluded beach with rocky cliffs and a cave.
You can take the bus to Uvita from neighbouring towns including Dominical, Quepos and San José. From Juan Santamaría International Airport, you can get a shuttle bus service into town that takes about 3.5 hours. Most attractions are easy to reach by foot in the centre, but if you want to explore the surrounding areas, you can rent a 4×4 car to venture up along the mountain roads.