Uvita Costa Rica is located on the country’s south pacific coast called Zona Sur, and it’s a great base to explore the surrounding areas. From wildlife watching to stunning waterfalls, this part of Costa Rica offers a lot of magic. This blog post shares the best things to do in Uvita and where to eat and stay.
Best time to visit Uvita Costa Rica
The dry season on the pacific coast in Uvita Costa Rica runs from December to April, making it the best time to visit. This time attracts most visitors so if you don’t mind a bit of rain we recommend visiting in shoulder seasons like May or November. The rainiest months tend to be from August to October.
8 best things to do in Uvita Costa Rica
Visit Marino Ballena and the famous Whale Tail
The most famous part of Uvita is the Whale Tail, a sandbank that has the shape of a whale’s tail. It is located at Uvita Beach, in the Marino Ballena Nationalpark. It’s a long and stunning, wild beach that you can walk along and jungly trails where you can spot wildlife like monkeys, birds, and iguanas. The entrance fee for the park is 6 USD per person.
We recommend coming first in the morning when the park opens at 8 am or at sunset. Check the tides because the whale tail is only visible at low tide; otherwise, it’s covered by the waves.
Watch the Sunset at Playa Hermosa
Since Uvita Beach is in the Marino Ballena Nationalpark, you have to pay a fee for entrance to the beach. We did not want to do that every night, so we headed to Playa Hermosa for sunset. The beach is right next to Uvita Costa Rica, only a couple of minute’s drive, and there are great vibes at sunset.
Chase Uvita Waterfall
Catarata (means waterfall) Uvita is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Costa Rica. It is located close to Uvita town, and the trail to the waterfall only takes a couple of minutes. This means it can get crowded in the afternoons. We recommend visiting at 7am. There is a restaurant at the entrance that charges 1000 colones (1.50 USD) per person.
The waterfall has several pools to swim in and some jumping decks, which are a lot of fun. Some people slide down the waterfall; there is a little latter to climb up next to it. A great place to refresh.
Make a trip to Dominical
Dominical is located only a 15 min drive from Uvita, and it’s a smaller beach town with great hippie and surf vibes. The beach is stunning, and the town has cute little cafes like Mono Congo. We like Dominical a bit better than Uvita, and it’s definitely worth a visit or can be a different option for staying close to the attractions of Uvita if you have a rental car.
Watch Wildlife on a Sierpe Mangrove River tour
If you want to spot a lot of Wildlife, you can go on a mangrove river tour in Sierpe. Sierpe is 1.5 hours drive from Uvita, and from there, several tours start. Usually at 8.30 am. The cost is 50 USD per person. We recommend Kokopelli Mangrove Tours.
Go surfing or take a surf class
The pacific coast of Costa Rica is a surfer’s paradise, and Uvita or Dominical is no exemption to that. The town attracts a lot of surfers, and there are several surf schools and board rentals around town. It’s beginner-friendly and can be a great place to start if you are new to surfing.
Visit the magical Nauyaca Waterfall
Hands down, one of our favorite waterfalls we have ever been to. Nauyaca Waterfall is about 45 min drive from Uvita Costa Rica. It opens at 7 am, and the entrance fee is 10 USD per person.
There is a ticket office on the road and parking a bit further down. From the parking, it’s a 4 km hike to the waterfall. The trail is gorgeous, but the way to the waterfall is quite steep in some parts. We recommend going in the morning when it’s not too hot.
Nauyaca waterfall has two levels, and it’s absolutely stunning. The lower level is perfect for swimming in. We arrived there around 8 am and enjoyed the waterfall just for ourselves for almost 2 hours. It was incredible.
Go on a whale watching tour
One of the most unforgettable moments of our lives was to watch the humpback whales at Marino Ballena Nationalpark. It’s the protected area where humpback whales migrate to give birth to their babies.
We booked a private tour with Explore Uvita, who organized everything with Bahia Aventuras. We can highly recommend both companies as they did a fantastic job. They made our day perfect and are very conscious and passionate about the whales. Besides, our guide had tremendous knowledge about the whales and could give us so much information about them. Take note that a private tour is amazing but has a higher cost.
On the following link you can book a group Whale watching tour for a cost of 120 USD per person. Whale-watching tours at Marino Ballena Nationalpark usually take a half-day. However, after the tour, we got the chance to stay in the Nationalpark and explore more on land by ourselves.
Where to eat in Uvita
Indomitos is an all-vegan/vegetarian cafe and our favorite place to eat in Uvita. They serve delicious veggie burgers, burritos, vegan crepe, and smoothie bowls. The garden has a nice seating area, and there is good wifi and plugs to work. You can’t miss this place when in Uvita.
Tagua is a cute little cafe with garden seating that serves fantastic coffee from the region, and they have delicious baked goods (vegan options available).
Mono Congo is a riverfront restaurant located in Dominical, and we love their delicious food. They have a large selection of Breakfast and Lunch with many vegan/vegetarian options.
Best places to stay in Uvita Costa Rica
We stayed at Pura Vida Eco Lodge close to Uvita, and it was one of our favorite places to stay in Costa Rica. Magical views up there, but a 4×4 car is needed to get there.
If you are camping in Uvita, we recommend staying at Dominical Beach, which usually has a lot of campers, or at Camping El Chaman directly next to the entrance of Marino Ballena Nationalpark.
How to get around in Uvita
Our favorite shop to buy Groceries is Mama Toucan in Dominical. They offer very fresh organic veggies and fruits, homemade vegan baked treats, and homemade Tempeh. We highly recommend stopping by this amazing shop.
Besides, there is a fantastic zero-waste shop in Uvita called EMANA. This place is amazing to stock rice, beans, and nuts plastic-free.
We recommend getting a local SIM card when traveling in Costa Rica to make sure you always have the best connection. The most convenient option for travelers is the eSim Card (digital SIM card) from Airalo. You can download and install a digital data pack and get connected anywhere in the world as soon as you land, so there is no need to waste time looking for a local plastic SIM card.
The following costs are a rough overview that gives you an idea of how much you will spend while visiting Uvita Costa Rica.
- Accommodation: 50 – 150 USD per night (camping 10 USD per night)
- Food: 10 – 30 USD per meal for two people
- Car Rental: 50 – 100 USD per day (depending on season and type of car)
- Entrances Waterfalls + Beach: 20 – 25 USD per person
- Wildlife Tour: 50 – 80 USD per person
Uvita is a great place for many different activities. We mainly visited Uvita Costa Rica for the Marino Ballena Nationalpark to go whale watching, and it’s definitely our favorite thing to do in this part of the country. But Uvita offers many more fun things, and we think it’s well worth visiting while traveling in Costa Rica. This is the place to go, especially for those who want to spot wildlife and explore waterfalls.