Uvita is in the heart of Ballena Marine National Park. There has been a tremendous influx of foreigners moving into Uvita. Uvita was once considered "remote" but now features numerous grocery stores, banks, doctors, dentists, Internet cafés and a thriving expat and local culture.
Uvita is the name of the settlement along the highway. The touristy area near the beach is called Uvita Bahia.
From Quepos, take a bus to Uvita.
From San José, you can take the bus via Quepos or take the bus to San Isidro (de Perez Zeledon/de General) and from there the bus to Uvita. The first option is longer, but a great drive next to the ocean. The second one a shorter ride, and great view over a great mountain range.
From Palmar Norte and south of there, the bus to Dominical goes by Uvita, or the Uvita bus stop at the town.
You can fly into Palmar Sur via Sansa or Nature Air.
To get to Uvita from San José SJO airport, you can take Easy Ride Shuttle Services. They run shuttles twice a day in moderns vans and A/C. They go through the coast and the trip is 3½ hr—a lot faster than regular bus for a price of course.
Or rent a car and drive yourself.
Uvita consists of the centre of town right next to the highway, the "original" Uvita, and the Bahía part next to the Ballena Marine National Park at the beach. Both parts are about 2 km apart and, unfortunately, the town centre near the highway exhibits the most important amenities like supermarkets, ATMs and many restaurant. Also, while there are buses going into Bahía, along the highway it is much easier to catch a bus north or south along the coast.
Most of Bahía is easily explorable by foot, but you might want to take a bicycle or taxi for the town centre of Uvita.
- 1 Ballena Marine National Park. This large coastal national park is famous for the Humpback Whales that migrate here each year from December to April to mate. The enormous pristine beaches here are rarely crowded and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sun-bathing. At low tide, a land bridge appears to Punta Uvita, and visitors can walk out to the tip which resembles a whale tail. There is also a small estuary which many people swim and fish in despite signs that warn of crocodiles. Walking through the main entrance will cost foreigners about US$6, but there are many unmarked trails that lead to the beach as well. Try the road by Flutterby House, or take the 1 little road towards Playa Hermosa and turn left at the beach towards the peninsula. US$6.
- 2 Waterfalls (Walk north of the main road past Tucan Hotel, turn left after the cemetery, and walk up a large hill. There will be signs all along the way reading "Cataratas" or "Waterfalls".). Near the top of the hill on the left, there is a little restaurant which charges US$2 to access the lovely waterfalls in the canyon behind their property. A steep path leads down to the waterfalls and several swimming holes which are surrounded by bamboo and flowering trees. A perfect place to get out of the sun for a while and read a book, swim, and relax.
You will find a great deal of places, from a drive thrue hot dog place, to lots of little sodas (small little restaurants that are traditional all over Costa Rica. Seafood is great. Uvita is on the ocean. Pizza places are around, La Fogata is the oldest and best one, they also have great BBQ chicken. For more upscale you can visit Terrazas, up in the hills of Uvita, great view. Also La Cusinga Eco Lodge, the first hotel in the area, a truly eco lodge. Call ahead for reservations, as it is by reservation only. La Cusinga offers a great view of Ballena Marine National Park. They have trails and a private preserve. A new Mexican place is open, next to the gas station.
- [formerly dead link] The Aracari Restaurant, La Cusinga Lodge (next to Ballena Marine National Park). 07:00–20:00. Organic meals made with fresh produce grown on its farm. There's an open-air dining area.
Well you are at the beach and a hot sun will make you search for a cool drink, along the beach there are a few bars, also in the main road there are a few too. there are always something happening, Karaoke, ladies night, a soccer match on TV. Try the local beer, Imperial, or the Cacique ron. Some of the place are Marino Ballena, Almendros, Pachanga, Delfines, and some that come and go. For a more upscale sunset relaxing mood Terrazas is the place, drink special, and movie nights are always popular.
- Canto Ballena
- Rana Roja Cabins
- Nido del Halcon
- Cabinas Gato
- 1 Mar y Selva Ecolodge, Ballena-Uvita (From entrance to Ballena Beach, 1.4 km south, 1.2 km east), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Rain-forest ecolodge overlooking Ballena Marine National Park. It provides a relaxing immersion in the rain-forest with breathtaking views of the Three Sisters Islands in the Pacific while being 10-15 minutes from several beautiful beaches and many activities. Dedicated to making your stay memorable, protecting the environment,and offering you all the comforts of home, we are a non-smoking establishment. US$85-120.
- 2 Tucan Hotel (Just 200 metres from the bus station, 3-min drive from Marino Ballena National Park, 2 min drive to waterfalls)), ☏ . The Tucan Hotel is a friendly and cozy place that is oriented for all types of travellers. It is owned by a French-Canadian couple who renovated the hotel. The rooms are clean and the guest kitchen is well equipped, with lots of space. In the lounge area there are plenty of hammocks and sofas. They offer free coffee, WiFi, parking zone, bicycles and pool table. The Tucan has also a fully stocked bar and restaurant with breakfast and dinner menus. They can arrange local tours. Prices range from US$25-50 for private rooms, US$10 fir dorms, and US$5 hammocks or tents.
- 3 La Cusinga Eco Lodge (La Cusinga Lodge), 5 km south of Uvitas bridge, between Km 166 & 167 (from main bridge in Uvita, 5 km south on the right hand side, Costanera Highway), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Eco lodge, next to Ballena Marine National Park. 4-star hotel. It has a restaurant, the Aracari Restaurant. The ecolodge borders the Ballena Marine National Park, one of only two nationally protected marine zones in the whole country. US$90.
- Kura Design Villas, Costa Ballena, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Posh boutique resort. Private villas. Infinity pool. Panoramic views of the Pacific and the “Whale’s Tail”. Rainfall showers. Full service spa. Yoga retreats. Diving and snorkeling. Close to secluded beaches. from US$440.
- 4 Oxygen Jungle Villas (1.5 km NE of Catarata de Uvita), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. An adult-only boutique resort featuring 12 all-glass villas and an infinity pool with views of Marino Ballena National Park. US$199.
- Playa Hermosa (Osa) – The name says it all, but also home to the Playa Hermosa Reserva Biologica, a conservation project up in the steep hills and home to ancient tropical trees of over 1,000 years old.
- Dominical – A surfing destination with a small town and good nightlife scene in the north end of the South Pacific, but pricier than Uvita.