Uvita, Costa Rica

The perfect relaxed beach destination

The Uvita Vibe

Uvita is everything you imagine when you think of Costa Rica.

The beaches are beautiful long stretches. The forests are dense and jungle-ish. The waterfalls are plentiful. The people are the sweetest.

It is a great place if you want a relaxed vibe while exploring some amazing Costa Rican gems.

uvita map

Map Of Uvita

Uvita is located on the South Pacific coast of the country in the Puntarenas Province.

This area is also sometimes referred to as “Costa Ballena”. Ballena means “whale” in Spanish. 

Uvita is located a bit south of Manuel Antonio, which makes it a great spot to stay if you would like to take a day trip to the national park, but also want to be away from the craziness. 

Uvita at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose

Popular Things to Do

Take a whale watching tour, enjoy the whales tail and Marino Ballena National Park, hike at Nauyaca waterfall

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April

Best Hikes

The nearby Nauyaca waterfall hike

 

Getting to Uvita

Your best option for getting to Uvita, Costa Rica is to fly into San Jose International Airport. The full name is Juan Sanatamaria International Airport. And the airport code is SJO.

If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.

 

From the airport, you have a few options:

Rental Car

The drive from the San Jose airport will take about four to five hours depending on traffic.

You have two options for driving, you can either drive down the coastal road or through the mountains past San Gerardo de Dota and San Isidro de El General.

We 100% suggest taking the coastal road. It will be way less stress.

Your drive will start on well-maintained highways. Just be warned that the highway fluctuates between two lanes and one lane on each side. Sometimes the change can happen quickly and merging can be a bit scary.

Also, there are tolls until you exit near Jaco to drive along the coast. The toll booths don’t all accept credit cards, but they do take US dollars or colones.

If you plan to pay in dollars we suggest paying with a $10 bill to start. The attendant will give you change in colones. This will be enough colones to pay for the rest of the drive.

About an hour into your drive you will exit towards Jaco. Not long after that, you will cross a bridge over Rio Tarcoles.

We suggest pulling off and walking back on to the bridge. You can look down and see big crocodiles lounging in the sun.

You will then continue your drive along the coast until you reach Uvita.

If you need a food break along the way we suggest stopping in Hermosa (right after Jaco) or at Esterillos Center Shopping area.

We suggest these spots because there are multiple places to eat and they are easy to get in and out of without having to drive through a whole town.

If you plan to go to the Esterillos shopping center (this is my top choice for you) you can put “El Chiringuito” in Esterillos into your GPS. The plaza has about five different restaurant options.

For bathroom breaks or snacks, there are several gas stations along the whole drive. All gas stations have bathrooms. Sometimes you might need to ask for the key, but usually, they are unlocked.

If you need to get gas, keep in mind that in Costa Rica you stay in your car and an attendant fills the gas for you.

On a sunny day, this drive is absolutely beautiful. There are several places along the way where you can pull off to get a nice ocean view.

The mountain route will take you at least an hour longer than the coastal route. This route is really pretty, but the roads are a bit scary.

Everything is paved but you can expect lots of curves and switchbacks. As someone who gets really car sick, this ride is a bit of a nightmare.

Plus, if you get stuck behind a slow-moving truck it can be very difficult to pass them.

So, do yourself a favor and drive the coastal route.

We suggest using Adobe for car rentals because they are the most trustworthy rental car company in this country (in our opinion) and we have a 10% discount for you. You can read more about renting a car here.

You will not need a 4×4 to get to Uvita if you are taking the coastal road, but you might want one once you are in Uvita if you are staying up in the hills.

Private Shuttle

If you don’t feel comfortable driving, we suggest taking a private shuttle.

This is a great way to just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.

We suggest Adobe’s Private Shuttle company for your transportation. They are reliable, nice, and trustworthy.

They will also be happy to stop along the way if you would like to look at Rio Tarcoles or get some snacks.

You can book your private shuttle here.

Domestic Flight

There is a small airport in Quepos (about 45 minutes north of Uvita).

It is possible to take a domestic flight from San Jose. The flight is really fast (only about 25 minutess). But, keep in mind that we don’t suggest this if you are scared of smaller planes.

From the airport it is easy to get a taxi to Uvita or have your rental car delivered to the airport by Adobe.

 

Public Bus

The most affordable transportation option is to take the Tracopa bus. The bus leaves from downtown San Jose throughout the day.

It will cost about $12 each way. This bus is air-conditioned, semi-comfortable, and drives directly to Uvita. You can find out more on the Tracopa website here.

Getting Around in Uvita

We usually suggest depending on a rental car while in Uvita. 

Having a car is best if you plan on doing a lot of activities on your own, need to easily be able to get to restaurants/ grocery stores, and plan on traveling to another destination after your stay in Uvita. 

If you are staying at resort with activities and a restaurant, you most likely will not need a rental car. 

There is an Adobe Rental Car office in Uvita. That means that if you take a shuttle, bus, or flight to Uvita you can still get a rental car for your time in Uvita.

When you make your car reservation, input Uvita as your pick-up location. 

In the comments section of the rental car reservation, you can also specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel/ home rental in Uvita. Adobe will deliver it to you free of charge if you are within 12 miles of their location.

Pro Tip: Rent a car with Adobe through our site and you will get a 10% discount! Score! You can find out more about that here.

If you need to get around by taxi, always make sure to take a registered Costa Rican taxi. You will know an official ta because it will be red (or orange if coming from the airport) wth a yellow triangle on the driver and passenger side door. 

Book Your Transportation

Uvita Weather

Uvita follows the same weather patterns as its neighboring beach towns. You can expect the weather to be ridiculously hot and rain-free from late December until the end of April.

After that, from May until mid-August, you can expect hot and humid weather with a daily afternoon thunderstorm.

From mid-August until the end of December the weather is kind of up in the air. Some days may be complete washouts and others may be completely fine.

Uvita is a beach town, but it is backed up by jungle and mountains. Sometimes thick fog comes in off the mountains.

Also, keep in mind that the sun sets every day between 5:15 and 5:45 year-round. We highly suggest enjoying early dinners at restaurants in the hills for impressive sunset views.

email opt in

Grab a free copy of our Costa Rica guide

(with great Uvita tips)

Uvita Hotels

High-End Hotels

rancho pacifico

Rancho Pacifico

Our top choice for high-end accommodations in Uvita. Rancho Pacifico offers adult-only luxury stays at their world-class resort. Unwind at their award-winning spa, enjoy the delicious cuisine in their restaurant, take part in fun tropical adventures, or relax by the pool and look out at the waves lapping to shore far below you. In other words, Rancho Pacifico is a pure luxury paradise.

Use code: VIBES10 at checkout for a 10% discount on your stay!

Vista CelestialBeautiful small resort in the jungle. Enjoy the infinity pool and delicious restaurant. All rooms also boast their own pool and small kitchenette. 

KuraAdults-only resort with a ridiculous infinity pool. The rooms and restaurant are top-notch.

Oxygen Jungle VillasA beautiful adults-only resort located in the jungle. There is an infinity pool, spa, and restaurant on the property. 

Mid-Range Hotels

Natures Edge CabinasLocated in the jungle above Uvita, guests will need a 4×4 to get to the property. each cabin is modern and has a kitchenette. There is a pool on-site and breakfast is included.

Hotel Marino BallenaNice modern hotel located off of the main road in Uvita. There is a pool and a shared kitchen on the property.

Budget Hotels

Flutterby House- This place has a hostel/ backpacker feel with decent food, craft beers, lots of socializing, yoga classes etc. It is a 2 min walk to the beach.

Osa de Rio- Osa de Rio is perfect for those of you that want a more jungle-ish experience. From here you can easily walk to the Uvita waterfall. There is also a kitchen that guests can use on the property.

Uvita Homes & Villa Rentals

We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.

Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double check before booking.

La Libelula – A place that just feels like home. It is pure comfortable luxury. This house sleeps ten people in four bedrooms. There is a pool on the property, cleaning every two days, and a chef can be hired for a very reasonable additional cost.

Aracari Villa – If you are looking for a more modern residence, this is a great option. The home sleeps eight guests in four bedrooms.

Lattice House – This home sleeps ten guests in four bedrooms. The views here are insanely beautiful. There is a concierge and on site chef that will take really good care of you. 

CASA COLA BALLENA – A 3 bedroom home that can sleep up to 7 guests. This home is located in the hills above Uvita. It has a nice outdoor pool and outdoor area to gather and relax with views of the Pacific coast. 

Ocean Melody – Th