The beaches of Uvita are all protected within Marino Ballena National Park. Therefore there is an entrance fee, which must be paid at the ranger stations in order to access them. There are facilities at the ranger stations including restrooms and fresh water.
Marino Ballena National Park is mostly a marine park. It was created to protect the dolphins and whales, which can be observed most of the year, with the exception of May and June. The best months are August, September, and October, followed by January and February. There is even a whale festival in Uvita during the first couple weeks of September.
In town, there are small shops, grocery stores, banks and pharmacies. Though not a popular destination for nightlife, there are several bar and restaurant options. The town itself is spread out and stretches from the beach area and back into the mountains.
Planning a vacation to Uvita
When planning a vacation to Uvita, we recommend a 3 or 4 days stay. There is plenty to do in the area, but staying more will take away from your overall experience in Costa Rica. This is a very diverse country. Any less time, and you will not have enough time to truly take it all in and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
There are many hotels in Uvita. Most are budget friendly, but there are a few mid-range and luxury options. The majority of hotels are located in the hillside overlooking the ocean as there are strict building codes preventing construction within the maritime zone. For mid-range accommodations, we recommend Hotel Cristal Ballena, La Cusinga Ecolodge, Terrazas de Ballena, Villas Gaia and Tiki Villas. For luxury hotels, we recommend Rancho Pacifico and Kura Villas.
There are plenty of things to do in the Uvita area. Aside from taking in the beauty of deserted tropical beaches one can go snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking or horseback riding. The Uvita Waterfall is simply spectacular or you can take a ride down the coast to Playa Ventanas for caves on the beach. The Terraba Sierpe Wetlands, located a little south Uvita, are loaded with waterfowl, crocodiles and several species of monkeys. Pavon Waterfall is another intriguing place to check out just south of town, in Ojochal. This waterfall is wonderfully unique and provides amazing photos.
Reasons to visit
- Beautiful beaches
- Marino Ballena National Park
- Uvita Waterfalls
- Wildlife Observation
- Whale and dolphin observation
- Authentic Costa Rica culture
Reasons NOT to visit
- There are no all inclusive or large resorts
- There are not many shopping options
- It is not as Americanized as some people like
- It is 4.5 hours from San Jose
- You have to pay daily to enter the beach and park
How to get there
From San Jose: From San Jose, the drive is approximately 4 – 4.5 hours. Go west on Autopista del Sol (the Caldera Highway) to the town of Orotina and take the Costanera Sur Highway after the Pavon toll booth. Take the exit to Jaco and then continue all the way down the coast until you reach Uvita.
Weather and packing list
The South Pacific is a region of vast contrasts in weather. Temperatures remain the same nearly year round with average day time highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and night time lows in the upper 70s. Precipitation varies by month with the months of December through April being the driest.
Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.
Fun Fact: Uvita is located along the spectacularly beautiful Costa Ballena which is known as where the mountains crash into the sea.