Uvita travel guide

Uvita Tourism | Uvita Guide

You're Going to Love Uvita

Chilled-out, relatively undeveloped, and welcoming, Uvita is a blissful beach destination on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. It's also a world-class whale watching spot, drawing nature lovers from every part of the world.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Uvita

1. Humpback Whales

Just off the coast of Uvita's Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, thousands of 49-foot-long humpback whales arrive in two groups every year to socialize. Seeing them in action is an awe-inspiring sight.

2. There Are Some Fabulous Beaches

Uvita's beaches are as alluring as its natural riches. Those in the Ballena national park are particularly gorgeous. Ideal for snorkeling and swimming, they are also hardly ever packed - a big bonus.

3. The Envision Festival

Held in February, Envision is one of the world's biggest hippie get-togethers. Attend workshops, take part in group yoga, watch spectacular fire handling performances, and chill out to music.

4. Waterfalls

Along with its beaches, Uvita also boasts some stunning waterfalls in the nearby area. Watching them is relaxing, but you can - and should - also swim in the plunge pools beneath their cascades.

5. There's Some Great Food and Drink Available

Uvita's restaurants are up there with any resort on the Pacific coast. Spanish expats serve magnificent tapas. Fresh seafood is fried straight from the sea, and locally grown fruit and vegetables is always being turned into traditional tico dishes.

What to do in Uvita

1. A Whale Of A Time In The Sun

The gem of the Marino Bellena National Park, Playa Uvita is famously shaped like a whale's tail (an amazing coincidence, as the waters offshore are one of the world's great humpback whale sighting locations). There's a small entrance fee to get into the national park, but when you're there, the coast is idyllic, and relatively uncrowded. At low tide, you can snorkel over massive expanses of coral reef, or just spread out a blanket and soak up the Pacific sunshine.

2. A Splashing Day Out

When you venture into the interior of Puntarenas province, stunning waterfalls seem to be everywhere, and Cascada Verde is one of the most beautiful of all. Known as "Mother Nature's waterslide" to locals, it's also one of the most enjoyable spots to splash around and enjoy the scenery. It's not far from central Uvita, but you might also want to head north to the more remote and picturesque Nauyacas Falls, where the swimming opportunities are more tranquil.

3. Be A Cowboy At One With Nature

Head north along the coast from Uvita and you'll hit the Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge. If you are inspired by nature, you'll be very glad that you did. Occupying 506 hectares of coastal terrain, it used to be a cattle ranch, as the name suggests, but is now being put to better use. The mangroves are prime birdwatching locations, while trails weave through the forest, which can be traversed by foot or on horseback. And there's even the "Cowboy Experience", which lets visitors join in the fun on the portion of the reserve still dedicated to beef production.

4. A Must If You'Re Mad About Monkeys

You'll need to drive around 70 miles south of Uvita to reach Corcovado, but the natural wonders here are so varied and rich that biology fans will find the journey a breeze. Its importance lies in the fact that Corcovado is the only remaining patch of virgin lowland rainforest in Central America, so what happens there really matters. And there's plenty going on, with spiders and howler monkeys, poison dart frogs, and scarlet macaws all competing for the attention of hikers. You can see the park by boat, but it's really best explored on foot, and over a few days.

5. A Secluded, Sandy Gem

If you want to get away from the backpackers and general crowds of Uvita, Playa Arco isn't far away and tends to be much less frequented. Located a few miles north of Uvita itself, Arco also lies inside the Ballena National Park, so a very modest entrance fee is required. And it's well worth it. To get there, you'll have to hike a mile or two from the trailhead at the Park Ranger's Station, which helps to keep the sands free of tourists. Coastal bliss awaits.

1. A Whale Of A Time In The Sun

The gem of the Marino Bellena National Park, Playa Uvita is famously shaped like a whale's tail (an amazing coincidence, as the waters offshore are one of the world's great humpback whale sighting locations). There's a small entrance fee to get into the national park, but when you're there, the coast is idyllic, and relatively uncrowded. At low tide, you can snorkel over massive expanses of coral reef, or just spread out a blanket and soak up the Pacific sunshine.

2. A Splashing Day Out

When you venture into the interior of Puntarenas province, stunning waterfalls seem to be everywhere, and Cascada Verde is one of the most beautiful of all. Known as "Mother Nature's waterslide" to locals, it's also one of the most enjoyable spots to splash around and enjoy the scenery. It's not far from central Uvita, but you might also want to head north to the more remote and picturesque Nauyacas Falls, where the swimming opportunities are more tranquil.

3. Be A Cowboy At One With Nature

Head north along the coast from Uvita and you'll hit the Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge. If you are inspired by nature, you'll be very glad that you did. Occupying 506 hectares of coastal terrain, it used to be a cattle ranch, as the name suggests, but is now being put to better use. The mangroves are prime birdwatching locations, while trails weave through the forest, which can be traversed by foot or on horseback. And there's even the "Cowboy Experience", which lets visitors join in the fun on the portion of the reserve still dedicated to beef production.

4. A Must If You'Re Mad About Monkeys

You'll need to drive around 70 miles south of Uvita to reach Corcovado, but the natural wonders here are so varied and rich that biology fans will find the journey a breeze. Its importance lies in the fact that Corcovado is the only remaining patch of virgin lowland rainforest in Central America, so what happens there really matters. And there's plenty going on, with spiders and howler monkeys, poison dart frogs, and scarlet macaws all competing for the attention of hikers. You can see the park by boat, but it's really best explored on foot, and over a few days.

5. A Secluded, Sandy Gem

If you want to get away from the backpackers and general crowds of Uvita, Playa Arco isn't far away and tends to be much less frequented. Located a few miles north of Uvita itself, Arco also lies inside the Ballena National Park, so a very modest entrance fee is required. And it's well worth it. To get there, you'll have to hike a mile or two from the trailhead at the Park Ranger's Station, which helps to keep the sands free of tourists. Coastal bliss awaits.

Where to Eat in Uvita

Try the Spanish fare at Sabor Espanol, enjoy Japanese food at Sushi Green, fill up on gourmet coffee and cakes at Sibu, or discover the wraps and huge sandwiches at the down-to-earth Roadshack Deli. Meals should cost around ₡10,000 per head, tops.

When to visit Uvita

Uvita in September
Estimated hotel price
$316
1 night at 3-star hotel
Uvita in September
Estimated hotel price
$316
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best whale watching is probably in September and October. However, with great weather and Envision taking place in February, that's also a fine time to visit.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Uvita

Plane

Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose (SJO) is the most common place for visitors to touch down. From there, buses take around six hours and cost ₡20,000.

Car

From San Jose, take Highway 2 to San Isidro de El General, then switch to Highway 243 to Uvita.

Bus

TRACOPA run a public bus link between Uvita and San Jose - around six hours from the resort. You can also catch buses from Quepos if your plane lands there.

Airports near Uvita

Airlines serving Uvita

United Airlines
Good (2,948 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,376 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,505 reviews)
KLM
Good (359 reviews)
Air France
Good (439 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,588 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,166 reviews)
SWISS
Good (492 reviews)
Iberia
Good (965 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,319 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,671 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,881 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,328 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,598 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (835 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (157 reviews)
Avianca
Good (839 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (772 reviews)
Frontier
Good (1,426 reviews)
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Where to stay in Uvita

Downtown Uvita - set back from the coast, downtown Uvita is full of places to eat, like Roadshack Deli and Sushi Green.

Popular Neighborhoods in Uvita

Playa Uvita - the resort's major beach is absolutely stunning. Two miles long, with pure blue waters, plenty of wildlife, and even fine surfing conditions, it's hard to tear yourself away from the water.

Playa Hermosa - just around the cape from Playa Uvita, Playa Hermosa faces northwest and it's also a peach, with great surf and endless sands.

Where to stay in popular areas of Uvita

How to Get Around Uvita

Public Transportation

There's no public bus network in Uvita, but you can rent bikes (or scooters) if you need to get around.

Taxi

Taxis are available to help out if needed. Expect them to charge around ₡600 for the meter drop, followed by ₡1,000 per mile.

Car

You can rent a car from Hertz or Solid Car Rental, and prices can be as little as ₡7,500 per day.

The Cost of Living in Uvita

Shopping Streets

Downtown Uvita has its share of stores and markets, with surf shops like Costa Verde and apparel stores like Zoe Boutique.

Groceries and Other

Grocery stores in town include Orca Mini Super and BM Uvita. To give an idea of prices, 12 eggs should be around ₡1,500.

Other popular cities in Puntarenas