Just 17km south of Dominical is Playa Uvita, a village with a laid-back vibe growing in popularity. Located along the Costa Ballena coastline, Playa Uvita has plenty to offer as a travel destination with its marine reserve, Marino Ballena National Park, coastal mountains, beautiful beaches such as the pristine Playa Uvita, and nearby waterfalls.
Costa Ballena, (literally translated as Whale Coast), is located in Southern Costa Rica, along Coastal Highway 34 (Costanera Sur), about an hour south of the popular destination of Manuel Antonio.
Our Vlog Exploring Punta Uvita, Costa Rica (Part 1)
The rugged shoreline stretches from Playa Dominical to Ojochal and features miles of unspoiled nature.
Uvita is a little, hidden gem adding unique character to the region and is definitely worth a spot on your Costa Rica travel plan.
1. Stroll Through the Quiet Town of Uvita, Costa Rica
Playa Uvita is an ideal destination for a less crowded experience. This quiet little town is not overrun with tourism, it’s unspoilt, very tranquil, and representative of many other small towns in Costa Rica.
The town centre revolves around 1-2 streets with a few shops, a visitors centre, a few eating establishments, and souvenir shops. A short distance from the entrance to Playa Uvita you’ll find a small farmers’ market. It’s a great spot to soak up the atmosphere, meet the locals, and can buy local produce such as honey, fruit and vegetables, and home-cooked foods.
2. Visit Marina Ballena National Park
The Marina Ballena National Park is definitely one of the top things to do while staying in Punta Uvita Costa Rica. This marine reserve protects more than 13,000 acres of ocean and 9 miles of coastline. With mangrove forests, coral reefs, and wild beaches, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.
There are four beaches in the park, including Playa Uvita. As they are protected they are pretty serene, secluded, and quiet.
One of the most popular activities within the Ballena National Marine Park is snorkelling by the coral reef. There are about 18 species, making it one of the largest coral colonies in Costa Rica.
3. Walk Along Punta Uvita Costa Rica
Costa Ballena is Spanish for ‘Whale Coast’ and refers to remarkable sand and rock formation which resembles a whale’s tail. It’s also the perfect spot in the Marino Ballena National Park to watch the humpback whales.
You can take a walk along the Punta Uvita Costa Rica during low tide, for approximately 3 hours. Be sure to check the tide chart as the passage will be submerged at high tide!
4. Go Whale Watching
The Whale’s Tail formation is not the only reason why this region bears the name of Costa Ballena. In fact, the name actually stems from the fact that between the months of December and April, majestic Humpback Whales migrate through the waters of Costa Ballena. A number of companies in town run Whale Watching tours, giving you an opportunity to see these gentle giants in their natural environment.
December to April coincides with Costa Rica’s dry season, which can be pretty busy and the weather hot, but if you want to catch sight of these magnificent creatures it will be the best time to visit Costa Rica.
5. Relax with Beach Hopping
Playa Uvita is arguably the most beautiful beach in the region but it’s not just Playa Uvita that attracts visitors to this area.
There are 5 other beaches worth checking out, including Playa Ventanas, Playa Pinuela, and Playa Hermosa.
Playa Ventanas was our favourite thanks to the unique caves that surround its shores. The beach wasn’t suitable for swimming when we visited due to bad rip tides, but it offered a perfect setting for a day of hanging out in a hammock.
READ NEXT: Best Beaches in Costa Rica
6. Visit Uvita Waterfall
Uvita Waterfall is a local gem, found on a private property located about 5 mins from Uvita town centre. It takes less than 5 mins to descend to the waterfall from the parking lot of the restaurant and next thing you know, you are sliding into the refreshing pool at the base of a gushing waterfall. Go mid-week and you’ll most likely have the waterfall all to yourself!
7. Feel Alive at Envision Festival
Envision Festival, an art, spirituality, yoga, music, and dance festival that has been drawing in crowds to Uvita for over 5 years.
We learned about it from the manager at the Oxygen Jungle Villas and upon hearing what the festival was all about, we immediately added it to our bucket list! The festival takes place at the end of February on Rancho La Merced and offers a full weekend of music, art, workshops, and multicultural performances.
What about Hotels Uvita, Costa Rica?
The options for hotels in Uvita Costa Rica are pretty good, you have a range of hostels for those on a budget, luxury hotels for the big spenders and a variety of eco-lodges for the environmentally conscious travelers.
La Cusinga Eco Lodge
La Cusinga Eco Lodge is a great option for the latter. It offers rustic cabins made with sustainably-harvested wood and local materials, combining luxury and eco-friendly perfectly.
Oxygen Jungle Villas
We can personally recommend the Oxygen Jungle Villas, one of the most unique hotels Uvita Costa Rica has to offer.
Set in the lush jungle, the hotel offered private waterfall and hiking trails, an infinity pool overlooking the town, and secluded all-glass villas with an open-air veranda where we loved spending our mornings with tea in hand.