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15 Best Things to do in Uvita Costa Rica

Are you planning a trip to Uvita, Costa Rica? Uvita is a beautiful beach town in Costa Rica, full of luscious jungles, waterfalls, and stunning beaches.

It is located on the Pacific Ocean side of southern Costa Rica.

Uvita has become a popular town because it’s one of the best places to go whale watching in the Northern Hemisphere, but this is just one of the many things to do in Uvita Costa Rica.

Uvita is full of natural beauty and full of national parks nearby. It’s the perfect place to visit during your next trip to Costa Rica.

Besides whale watching, there are so many other great things to do in Uvita.

It is easy to spend a week here and never get bored.

Whether you are looking for an action-packed vacation or you just want to chill out on the beach, Uvita has you covered.

So if you are looking for some inspiration for how to plan your holiday or wondering whether or not Uvita is worth visiting, we have you covered.

Naucaya Waterfall best thing to do in Esterillos, Costa Rica

Best Tour in Uvita

Uvita is famous for all the lush jungles and waterfalls around it. Go out and explore them with this all-day waterfall and nature tour.

Top 15 things to do in Uvita Costa Rica

Humpback Whale Jumping
Humpback Whale Jumping

1. Marino Bellina National Park

Located right in the heart of Uvita is a protected reserve that has over 9 miles of coastline and 13,000 acres of ocean.

Marino Ballena National Park a great place for whale watching, dolphin spotting, swimming, and exploring Uvita’s natural beauty.

The most well-known part of the national park is what is known as the whale tail. It’s where the beach jets out on both the right and left sides and looks like a whale’s tail from above.

It’s hard to see when walking along the beach, but when you fly over it you will see it.

The sandbar extends into the ocean for a far distance on both the left and right sides creating a whale’s tale.

It is more noticeable during low tide. Even though you can’t notice it when on the beach, it is a great spot to swim and worth checking out.

Marino Ballena National Park is also a perfect place to see humpback whales in Costa Rica if you want to skip the boat ride, which is ironic since it looks like one.

It’s definitely a must-visit when in Uvita.

It is a great place to explore the jungle at the national park, relax on the beach, snorkel, or go on whale and dolphin watching tours.

If you want to see humpback whales the best time to visit is from July into early November.

Visiting Marino Ballena National Park would make for an amazing day trip while staying in Uvita.

However, we highly recommend paying for a boat tour, as you will get an up close and experience with the whales, rather than just watching them from the beach.

uvita waterfall Costa Rica

2. Visit one of many Uvita Waterfalls

There are various waterfalls near Uvita that could make for fun day trips or excursions. The first is the Uvita Waterfall which is right in town and you can even jump off the main waterfall or slide down and play in the smaller ones.

It’s a great adrenaline rush.

The waterfalls are cheap to visit and you can spend some time swimming in the water and enjoying the scenery.

It’s very easily accessible which makes it a popular destination and one of the must do things in Uvita.

This is actually one of my favorite things about this town, is how close the waterfalls are to the beach.

It is easy to spend half the day at the beach and when you get too hot, escape to the refreshingly cool water the waterfalls provide.

There are also other waterfalls you are able to visit slightly farther away.

Cascade El Pavon is another great waterfall and it’s located about a 25-minute car ride outside of Uvita.

It’s super photogenic with a rock perched at the top of the waterfall in a unique placement.

It’s a beautiful spot to check out and explore and perfect for swimming and relaxing.

If you are a waterfall fanatic like me, it is also worth checking out Nauyaca Waterfalls which is located about 30 minutes outside of Uvita.

It’s definitely a half-day if not a full-day excursion because once you’ve driven 30 minutes, there is also a 2.5-mile hike there and back to get to the waterfall.

The trail is semi-difficult, but it makes the waterfall even more worth it.

Enjoy hiking and outdoor activities? Than you’ll absolutely love this trail.

A great thing to do if you are looking for more exercise during your vacation.

Dipping in the water is the perfect refresher after a long hike. You can even jump off the lower waterfall into the water or just enjoy swimming around the beautiful rushing waterfall.

Coral and Bright Colored Fish

3. Snorkeling & Diving

There are many snorkeling and diving options in the area. A great option is at the Marino Bellino National Park where you will see some amazing marine life and colorful fish.

CaΓ±o Island nearby is well known for its amazing sea life which is another great place to check out.

Scuba diving is always a fun activity and can be a unique way to get to know the area

If you’ve never done it before you can take a lesson from different companies that will bring you out.

Snorkeling or scuba diving should definitely be at the top of your list of things to do in Uvita.


Girl Taking Surf Lesson

4. Surfing

The Pacific Coast is a very popular place for surfing worldwide, especially in Costa Rica where the water is warm.

Uvita is located right on the south Pacific Coast and is a great spot to try out surfing if you’re brand new to the sport or you’re a seasoned rider. There are waves for all levels here.

Various shops in the area have surfboards that you can rent if you are more experienced. If you are new to surfing, we highly recommend taking a surf lesson from one of the local surf shops.

Surfing is a fun and adrenal-packed activity to try out while you’re visiting the beautiful Uvita.

Once you learn how to surf you will be hooked and want to keep doing it.

5. Try Out Various Water Activities

If you love being out on the water, there are so many different water sports you can try. You’ll never have to get bored because there is always something to do.

Surfing isn’t in your cards? You can try kayaking, canoeing, a fishing tour, or you can go on a relaxing catamaran cruise.

There is so much fun to be had in Uvita, that you will never be bored. Just get out of your comfort zone and try something new on vacation, you won’t regret it.

Beach in Uvita

6. Relax on the Beach

The beaches in Costa Rica are powdery soft and the perfect place to spend some time relaxing.

You can’t go wrong with a late afternoon nap on Uvita beach or an early morning stroll along the water.

Uvita has beautiful beaches and you can find a great spot to relax on your towel, swim in the ocean, and watch surfers hitting the waves.

Spending some time on Uvita beach is definitely a must when visiting. Just be sure to reapply sunscreen as you don’t want to go home with a sunburn.

Pro Traveler Tip: I always travel with a travel towel. They are easy to fit in your day bag and come in handy more often than you would think. For more ideas on what to add to your packing list for Costa Rica

7. Watch The Sunset On Uvita Beach

The sunsets on the Pacific side of Costa Rica are incredible and something that should be enjoyed every night on your vacation. It’s just so beautiful.

A great way to experience Uvita beach is by walking in the sand and watching the sun go down, maybe with a coconut or a cerveza in hand.

Each night there is a new and unique display of colors in the sky.

Enjoy the powdery soft sand while winding down for the night is the perfect way to spend your vacation in Uvita.

8. Stroll Through Town

For a slow morning or afternoon, you should spend some time strolling the downtown area of Uvita.

You’ll get to know the area better this way and it’s a great opportunity to get a better understanding of the culture.

You can shop for local goods and check out the art and souvenirs as well as grab a bite to eat.

There is even a local farmer’s market every Saturday morning. So check it out enjoy and try some fresh produce and pump a little money into the local economy.

Uvita isn’t very large, but it’s quaint and less touristy than other places in the area which makes it the perfect place to be.

Gallo Pinto Typical Costa Rican dish

9. Try Local Food

There are some great local restaurants and street food options in Uvita that you have to try.

I love eating at local Soda’s when I am traveling around Costa Rica.

A Soda is a family-owned and operated small local restaurant in Costa Rica. Getting a meal at one of these is great for enjoying a traditional Costa Rican meal.

You can’t come to Costa Rica without trying Gallo Pinto, which is their local breakfast dish.

It’s a mix of rice and beans with other spices and vegetables to add flavor. It’s usually served with eggs, cheese, plantains, and tortillas.

Once you have it, you will wonder where it has been all your life.

Another very popular dish is the Casado which stands for married, meaning the foods served in this dish go together so well that they were married.

It’s a plate of rice and beans, a salad, plantains, and some sort of meat whether it’s chicken, pork, beef, or fish.

It is pretty much what every local eats for lunch.

As you can tell, rice and beans are very prominent in traditional meals. There are so many other options but these are two of the most popular.

10. Day Trip to CaΓ±o Island

Roughly a 1.5-hour boat ride from Marino Ballena National Park is CaΓ±o Island, a biological reserve with amazing and unique marine life.

It’s one of the best spots for snorkeling and scuba diving in Costa Rica.

Biologists love to research the area, especially the coral. It is also famous for its pre-Columbian artifacts found on the island.

It’s a great day trip from Uvita and easily accessible with various options for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Different tour companies can bring you out to the island to explore the area.

You have the chance to see dolphins, turtles, and various types of fish.

Couple in Corvado National Park, Costa Rica

11. Day Trip to Corcovado National Park

The largest national park in Costa Rica is located not too far from Uvita on the Osa Peninsula. It’s a beautiful place to visit if you have the time and one of the most biologically diverse places in the world.

Corcovado National Park is 164 square miles and full of amazing wildlife.

The park’s forest is one of the richest lowland forests left in the world.

Tours from Uvita will take you by bus and boat to Corcovado National Park to explore everything it has to offer.

You’ll have the chance to hike and see monkeys, crocodiles, and so many different exotic animals.

Corcovado National Park is an amazing place and probably one of the things to do in Uvita on this list that you can’t miss.

It is the perfect national park for any nature lovers.

12. Day trip to Dominical

Dominical is located roughly 15 minutes from Uvita and the ultimate surfer town in Costa Rica. It’s beautiful and a great opportunity to see a bit more of what Costa Rica has to offer.

A great place to check out while in Dominical is Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge.

It’s a great place for hiking with diverse habitats.

It has over 330 species of birds to spot while hiking and exploring the area.

Of course, if you’re into surfing like me, you’ll also want to try out the amazing waves in Dominical.

It’s the perfect little beach town with vibrance and life exuding from it and it would make for a great day trip.

Dominical also has a little more nightlife, so if there doesn’t seem to be enough going on in Uvita, be sure to head to Dominical for a little more action.

13. Visit the Terraba Sierpe Mangroves

This Forest Reserve is a protected national wetland about 45 minutes from Uvita. The perfect day trip from Uvita with over 74,000 acres of land.

It consists of mangroves, rivers, lagoons, and swamps. It’s easy to go kayaking or take a boat tour from Uvita. Perfect day if you are looking for an adventurous activity.

A very beautiful place and a great way to appreciate Costa Rica’s natural beauty and all it encompasses.

Envision Festival Uvita Costa RIca

14. Envision Festival

Each February, the Envision Festival is held in Uvita for 7 days. Its mission is to create an eye-opening experience and reconnect with nature.

Envision was founded by the same guy who started burning man, he wanted to give the same experience, but with a Pura Vida vibe.

It has been taking place for 10 years and since its inception, the festival has been contributing to the local community and environment.

An exciting event full of music, dance, yoga, community, and education. If you’ll be in Uvita during the festival, you should definitely check it out.

You’re bound to have fun and learn a thing or two.

The best thing about this festival is you can either choose to stay on campus or if sleeping on the floor is no longer your thing, you can stay in a hotel nearby.

I highly recommend snatching up a hotel if it is within your budget.

15. Do Nothing

Being on holiday is great. We get to explore new places, see new things and experience different cultures.

So much so that sometimes we forget that the point of vacation is to unwind.

I love to jam-pack my holidays with loads of activities to see and explore as much as I can.

I also always love to have one day where I don’t plan a thing.

Allowing myself to fully unwind and just see where the day takes me, whether it be sitting by the pool, beach, having an extra-long lunch or taking a nice siesta.

Don’t over-plan your holiday and allow yourself to fully unwind.

Is Uvita Worth Visiting?

Yes! As you can see there are plenty of things to do here, from national parks to extreme sports, playing in the ocean, and visiting Uvita waterfalls.

Uvita is a beautiful coastal beach town worth visiting, and if you don’t feel like doing much on vacation. It is also the perfect spot to hang out and do nothing.

Many people quickly fall in love with this beach town because of its quaint yet lively vibes.

It’s a beautiful place to spend a vacation in Costa Rica and it is so close to Corcovado National Park a must-do activity when coming to Costa Rica.

There are so many beautiful things to do in Uvita.  So much to explore and see, especially if you’ll be visiting during whale-watching season.

From sunup to sundown, you’ll be amazed at the gorgeous scenery of Uvita. You should definitely add this piece of paradise to your list.

What Is The Easiest Way To Get To Uvita?

The easiest way to get to Uvita in Costa Rica depends on your starting point.

✈️ The closest airport is Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose or SJO. From there you can either hop on a domestic flight or a shuttle bus to Uvita.

πŸš— If you plan on driving around Costa Rica, we highly recommend renting a car. This way you can see more of this beautiful country.

Uvita is located about 3-hour drive south of San Jose.

Essential Items to Pack for Uvita

Most likely if you are planning a trip to Uvita, it is for it’s national parks. You want to be sure you pack a few essential items that will help make your trip to Uvita that much more enjoyable and easy.

  • Bug Spray Wipes – Skip the Bug Spray and use these instead
  • Sea Sickness Tablets – If you plan on going whale watching and are not sure if you get seasick or not, it is always better to be prepared

Conclusions on Things to do in Uvita, Costa Rica

Uvita is a beautiful place. You are bound to have a wonderful time if you decide to come here. It is lush and tropical and not as overrun with tourists as some of the other beach towns along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

So if you haven’t already you should book your ticket and visit Uvita.

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