Top 10 Things to do in Uvita, Costa Rica

December 9, 2017 Misti Hsu

A tiny village with two miles of pure white sand and fabulous conditions for swimming, Uvita might become your favorite place in Costa Rica. It's part of the Marino Ballena National Park (Whale Marine Park), named for humpback whales who meet and mate here every winter and spring. Take a boat ride to Caño Island, a nature reserve with incredible marine life.
Restaurants in Uvita

1. Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Km. 159 Costanera Sur, Uvita, Costa Rica +506 2743 8032
Excellent
91%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 234 reviews

Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Reviewed By hijinx55 - South Haven, Michigan

There were six of us on the morning horseback ride to the Waterfalls, which is a very leisurely ride through pastures and forest. One hour in, one hour at the falls, and one hour out. The falls are small this time of year and the river was too shallow for swimming. There is a dangerous looking unimproved rock and clay path to the top of the falls but no one in our group attempted it. Hector was pleasant and personable but all he pointed out during the ride was one hawk.
Unless you have your heart set on a sunset ride on the beach, we felt that the ride into Nauyaca Falls was much more beautiful, albeit much more expensive.

2. Uvita Beach

Uvita, Costa Rica
Excellent
62%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 473 reviews

Uvita Beach

Reviewed By bettybye

While visiting Uvita, a walk on the whale tail is a must. It is best when tide is out, but yet just beginning to come in at sunset. The colors of the sky will reflect on the water pooling over the sand creating the most spectacular picture to share. Plus there is no fee to get into the park after 4pm except for parking. Definitely worth the $4.

3. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Alturas de San Martin Norte | 7KM south of Dominical, Dominical, Costa Rica +506 2200 5440
Excellent
80%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 386 reviews

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization where we Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release Costa Rica's exotic wildlife back into the jungle! 100% of your donation goes to care for the animals. You will see a variety of species and hopefully walk away with an understand on the importance of conservation.

Reviewed By Roundy - Horsham, United Kingdom

We were staying for 4 nights just down the road at Hotel Cuna del Angel, and in checking Tripadvisor for location attractions, found Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and loved the sound of the work they are doing so made a point of booking online and visiting one afternoon at 3pm. This was a good time as after the hottest part of the day so the animals were more lively. However we also noted that there was a deal with lunch in the attached hotel restaurant. On arrival we realised what a stunning location Villas Alturas had and wished we had more time to enjoy drinks and lunch with a spectacular view (all the way down the coast to the "Whales Tail" at Uvita).
It seems at first rather incongruous to go and see animals in cages, when you're in such a wonderful natural environment. However these are animals who have been rescued from often severe injuries on the main highway, or from electrocution on the local unprotected electric cables, or have been rescued from often horrendous lives in captivity. It was really upsetting to hear the histories of some of the animals and birds, but also inspiring to hear what the sanctuary was doing to help them.
We were shown round by a very informative Austrian guide (Florian?) who was also good fun and showed a clear passion for the work being done to either rehabilitate for release, or give a happy life for the animals and birds who were not fit to be returned to the wild. The tour lasts 1.5 hours.
We would encourage everyone considering visiting to support this very worthy cause but also to check their website in advance to see if there are any vet supplies that you could bring with you from your own country - the reason being, if the sanctuary orders the products in from abroad, they are then subject to heavy customs levies which they struggle to finance. They can be brought in much more easily by individuals.

4. Playa Ventanas

Ballena 60501, Costa Rica +506 8946 7134
Excellent
61%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 103 reviews

Playa Ventanas

Reviewed By bparris58 - Mississauga, Canada

great to see at low tide. The surf was warm and refreshing.The beach was surrounded by jungle and it was fun drinking coconut milk on the beach

5. Nauyaca Waterfalls

243, Dominical, Costa Rica
Excellent
80%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 419 reviews

Nauyaca Waterfalls

Reviewed By Erin G - Baltimore, Maryland

This was a great day! We started early, 8:30 and purchased our parking and park permit at the road and drove in to the parking lot to begin at the trial head (4x4 is a must) The trail is well marked and very broad but tough. It was hot, even in the morning. It takes about 2km to get to the falls and took us who are in pretty good shape about an 1 1/2 to hike in. We stopped a few times for a drink, photos and animal watching. Once you get to the falls you understand why everyone comes here. It is amazing, beautiful place to swim, refreshing and extremely tranquil. If you come in the morning you are one of the few. Later in the day it gets busy.......Make sure you hike to the upper falls to take in the view. Lower falls is for swimming, and take your time to enjoy the water.
Few tips:
Bring water, at least 2 large bottles per person, it is really hot....
Go early in the am before the sun is directly over the trail, the shade is your friend
Bring lunch or eat before you go. Then when you are finished the hike hit up Jolly Roger down the road for killer wings and burgers. This restaurant is located between Domical and Uvita on a major hill (4x4 is a must) but the view is magnificent.

6. Uvita Waterfall

Calle Bejuco, Uvita, Costa Rica
Excellent
59%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 503 reviews

Uvita Waterfall

Reviewed By Aniellagrl

I visited with friends during Envision Festival when there were tons of people there and it was so much fun. Everyone was swimming in the natural pools, hanging out on the rocks, jumping off the cliff and/or going down the natural slide on the waterfall! Absolutely worth a visit. Plus there’s a cute little restaurant at the top where you can get lunch or a snack.

7. Parque Nacional Marino Bahia Ballena

Uvita, Ballena, Colonia, Pinuelas, Ballena, Costa Rica +506 2786 5392
Excellent
51%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
7%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 89 reviews

Parque Nacional Marino Bahia Ballena

Reviewed By SueEly - Ely, UK

Parked near playa uvita from where we entered the park. The facilities at the park entrance are basic but adequate (showers, loos).
The beach is pristine, so anything you want, you need to take with you, drinking water and food. The beach is large and there are plenty of secluded spaces where you can sit and enjoy the views of the sea. It is busiest near the whale tail, but since we went at high tide, we had ample space.
The water was clear and warm and since we had no problems with currents since we stayed near the reef protrusions, so we were sheltered. We were told that further along there could be rip tides, but did not see them.

8. Santa Lucia Falls

Uvita, Costa Rica +506 8780 6278
Excellent
86%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 46 reviews

Santa Lucia Falls

Reviewed By sailTravel - Valencia, Spain

Enrique and Humberto were great guides that grew up on the mountain and are amazing at spotting wildlife that I would have completely missed on my own. After hiking and swimming we had worked up a big appetite and the lunch that they served was amazing. There was lots of fresh fruit, delicious chicken and much of it was grown on their farm.

9. Uvita Information Center

Frente al Banco de Costa Rica | Uvita of Osa, Uvita 60504, Costa Rica +506 2743 8889
Excellent
84%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 29 reviews

Uvita Information Center

Tours, Lodging,information, Shuttle, Rent a Car & Adventure in Uvita Area, Mail Service available

Reviewed By lesab33 - Toronto, Canada

The ladies as this information center are fabulous. I had been in contact with them many months in advance of my December trip and they were always so quick to respond and helpful with recommendations. I was mainly inquiring about a driver down from SJ and a driver while in the area.
Once my trip was nearing I did decide to drive down myself but only for a few days rented a car so I still needed to get back at the end of my trip. $150 taxi from Dominical. Knowing prices from the area this is a great price. I see they do now advertize it on their site. There was just myself and granddaughter so a taxi works well,
I decided to book a couple of tours with them too. Rafting and the waterfall horseback ride. Yes you can book it yourself but they are so nice and helpful it's the right thing to do after they spend their time answering your questions.

10. Marino Ballena National Park

Uvita, Costa Rica
Excellent
72%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 21 reviews

Marino Ballena National Park

Reviewed By GEO52 - Michigan

Playa Ballena provided a firm flat walking beach during low tide. To access the beach it is necessary to step through a ridge of rocks to get to the sandy part of the beach. Unfortunately, the Park Ranger at the entrance found it necessary to warn us that there have been some issues with theft & to avoid taking valuables onto the beach & to avoid walking to the extreme ends of the beach are. Despite this, we did have a pleasant morning walk here.

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