Uvita, Costa Rica
15 km south of Dominical is the rapidly growing commercial and tourist hub of Uvita, a roadside town with small communities spread out on both sides of the highway, in the hills backing the town and around Uvita Beach in the Bahia Uvita community.
Considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the Pacific Coast, Playa Uvita is the focal point of the Ballena Marine National Park, and is well-known for the marine life that exists around the Uvita Point, which locals call the ‘Whale’s Tail,’ a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. The whale’s tail formation is a kilometer-long tombolo or sand bar with gently lapping waves on both sides, linking an islet of coral rocks at the fin of the tail to the beach. The sand bar can be crossed during low tide, from where you can admire the long sweep of Hermosa Beach on one side and Uvita Beach on the other.
The 2-mile long white sand beach of Uvita has calm surf and crystal clear blue waters. While fishing is strictly prohibited within the park, swimming and exploring the estuaries and mangrove swamps are popular. Tour agents in Uvita and in the beach community of Bahia can arrange a wide arrange of activities and excursions within the Ballena Marine National Park and beyond, including snorkeling excursions to nearby Cano Island, Violines Island or Ballena Island.
Uvita is within half an hour to Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge which offers guided naturalist and birdwatching tours, rainforest canopy tours, trekking, hiking and night safaris.
From Uvita you can easily drive to a dozen more beaches in both directions. One of the most special experiences for visitors to the Ballena Marine National Park is to sight a Humpback whale from a tour boat; between the months of December and April these whales migrate here to the warm waters off the coast to mate before returning to the north.
Being the main shopping town of the entire south coast, Uvita has supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, weekly farmers market, gas station, dentists, hair salons, and plenty of bars, restaurants and sodas. For more details, take a virtual tour of Uvita town and Bahia Uvita here.
There are many budget guesthouses, small hotels and rustic lodges in the area. On the beach, there are cabinas and rooms. With the rapid development of town amenities and services, the Uvita area has in recent times attracted many North Americans homebuyers who are more than happy to rent their second homes to tourists, and those traveling on 4 by 4 will have no problem finding an extremely affordable villa with luxury trimmings tucked away in the hilly jungles, with fantastic ocean view and probably an infinity pool.
Three Uvita vacation rentals which we have inspected and highly recommend are Zen Villa at Soulea and Casa Manana, both sleep up to 6 people, and Villa Costa Ballena which can be rented as a 1, 2 or 3 -bedroom home.
To get to Uvita, the best way is to fly to the Palmar Sur airport and then hop on a taxi for a 35-minute ride to Uvita. You can then rent a car locally from National or Alamo who have branch offices there. If you are driving from San Jose, you can go either via Cartago and San Isidro de General over the mountains, or via Jaco and Quepos along the coastal highway.