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11 Things to do in Uvita Costa Rica

Last updated on December 11, 2023
things to do in Uvita Costa Rica

Uvita, Costa Rica: It’s Like That Secret Spot at a Party That Only Cool People Know About

I’ve been an expat living in Costa Rica for a while now, and let me tell you, this country never ceases to amaze me. Between the howler monkeys and the ever-inventive Costa Rican insects, you’d think there’s no place left to enjoy a relaxing, crowd-free getaway. 

But I’ve got a secret to share. 

It’s a place called Uvita 

It’s a quaint little beach town in the South Pacific that even the locals keep hush-hush about. It’s the hidden gem of Costa Rica, rich with verdant rainforests, chock-full of chirping wildlife, and dotted with serene beaches that are usually people-less, making it perfect for you social butterflies who’ve, ironically, been yearning for some peace and quiet.

In this charming beach town, I’ve gathered some activities you could enjoy over a span of 3 glorious, adventure-packed days. Think of it as your golden ticket to a quieter Costa Rica, away from the chattering tourists and more into the whispers of the rainforest.

Marino Ballena National Park: Where Whales Prefer to Hang Out

First stop is the Marino Ballena National Park, which is probably the largest you’ve ever seen. It’s like the Disneyland of nature parks, if Disneyland had four beaches, lush rainforests, and was oddly shaped like a whale’s tail. 

Yes, you heard right. At low tide, the sand and rocks put their creative hats on and form the shape of a whale’s tail. It’s a fitting tribute as Uvita is hailed as the ultimate humpback whale-spotting hub of Costa Rica. But remember, folks, timing is everything. Visit during low tide or the ocean might play hide and seek with the whale tail. 

The sunset view on the beach at Uvita? It’s the stuff postcards dream of being.

Humpback Whale Watching: Because Land Mammals are So Last Season

Speaking of humpback whales, you can’t miss out on a whale-watching tour. Think of it as an aquatic safari but without the hassle of Land Rovers. The best times to witness these majestic creatures are from December to mid-March and then July to October. 

But hey, even if you miss out on the whales, there’s always a friendly dolphin or turtle or manta ray to wave hello. These tours are only half a day long and start from the national park. So if you’re planning a nap in the afternoon, you’re still good to go!

Nauyaca Waterfalls: Where You Can’t Not Take a Dip

A 30-minute hop, skip, and jump away from Uvita are the Nauyaca Waterfalls, which are to Costa Rica what Beyonce is to pop culture – popular. Now, if you’re like me and not into the whole ‘exercising while on vacation’ thing, there’s a 4×4 truck that’ll take you straight there. But for the adventurous folks, there’s a four-kilometer hike or a horseback ride. Once you’re there, be prepared for an Instagram overdose because the place is a hotbed of perfect shots.

Surfing Lessons: Because Balancing on Land is Too Mainstream

Uvita also has some gnarly spots for surfing, especially in the Marino Ballena National Park’s Sector Colonia. For the pros who can ride waves like they were born on a surfboard, head to Dominical. For the longboard enthusiasts, Playa Dominicalito is the place to be.

Caño Island Snorkeling Tour: Where Fish Talk About You Behind Your Back

Caño Island Biological Reserve is your underwater gateway to Costa Rica’s vibrant marine life. It’s so teeming with life, it feels like a bustling underwater city with all the fish going about their business, and occasionally photobombing your underwater selfies. And did I mention the coral reefs? There are scientists who come just to research them.

Day Trip to Corcovado National Park: Welcome to the Jungle

Just a boat ride away from Uvita is the Corcovado National Park. This place is a proverbial buffet of biodiversity. You might run into toucans, macaws, tapirs, agoutis, and a plethora of other species. Be prepared for a wild day trip filled with hiking, waterfall visiting, and lots of wildlife spotting.

You can make reservations here.

Catarata Uvita: Because Big Things Come in Small Packages

Don’t underestimate this little waterfall in Uvita. For a mere 3 bucks, you can chill in the river pools, scale the Uvita waterfall, or even channel your inner Tarzan and slide down.

Explore the Beaches: Sun, Sand, and Spontaneity

Uvita boasts a series of enigmatic entrances along the Costanera Sur, that lead to hidden beaches, perfect for spontaneous day trips. Don your explorer hat and head out to Playa Arco, a secluded beach that can only be reached during low tide.

Birdwatching: The Early Bird Gets the…Best Bird Pictures

For bird lovers, Uvita offers fantastic birdwatching opportunities. Take a birdwatching tour or simply stroll around your hotel if it’s nestled in the mountains.

Sierpe Mangrove Boat Tour: The Lazy River Ride of Wildlife Spotting

The Sierpe Mangrove is the biggest in Central America and houses all sorts of creatures. A lazy river boat ride through this thriving ecosystem is perfect for anyone who’s not in the mood for strenuous activity but still wants to see Costa Rica’s wild side.

Festivals: Celebrate Life, Costa Rica Style

Every February or March, Uvita hosts the Envision Festival, a bohemian celebration of life, love, friendship, and all things creative. Word of advice, snag your tickets ASAP, this festival is hotter than Costa Rica’s sun.

Handy Tips for Visiting Uvita

Double check if your accommodations require a 4wd or 4X4.

Rent a car to explore; otherwise, you might feel a bit trapped.

Don’t forget to pack lots of mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and rain gear.

Costa Rica isn’t always sunny. Even in the dry season, it might rain, so make sure to pack waterproof gear and quick-dry clothes.

So, the next time you feel like escaping the crowds and embracing the quieter side of Costa Rica, remember this guide and say “Hola, Uvita!”