Uvita is located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Dominical, on the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The road from Dominical to Uvita is paved and excellent, and winds along the gorgeous coastline. The drive takes about 15 minutes. The closest big cities are San Isidro, at about 50 minutes, and Palmar Norte, which is a smaller than San Isidro, but only a 30 minutes drive. Palmar Sur, also at about 30 minutes, offers an airport with daily flights to and from San Jose.
It takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to drive to Uvita from the capital of San Jose, on excellent paved roads the whole way. Uvita is also only two hours from the Panama border, where many people go to stock up on the cheaper shopping.
Uvita consists of two towns divided by the Uvita River. The Northern part is called Uvita, while the Southern Part is technically called Bahia, but both are often referred to as “Uvita.” Bahia is also the main entrance to Uvita beach, along a road that was recently paved.
In Uvita you can find most of the things you will need, without ever having to go to San Isidro or Palmar for the essentials, as was necessary in “the old days.” Uvita has several hardware stores and supermarkets with decent inventory, a household appliances store, a CoopeAlianza bank (which is also a Western Union office and gives credit card advances on Visa), a Banco de Costa Rica, and a Banco Nacional.
Recent additions include: several dentists and doctors, including a visiting plastic surgeon and a dermatologist; car mechanics; bakers; cheap hotels; some decent hotels; and one 4 star hotel. There are a number of fine bars and restaurants, most of which tend to specialize in fresh sea food. There are also a lot of cheap dives that have pretty good food.
The Ballena National Marine Park starts at a “tombolo” which is an island connected to mainland by a sandbar or spit of land. It is locally known as “The Whale’s Tail,” because that is what it looks like. The Park ends at Playa Pinuelas about 15 kilometers South.
Ballena National Park was created to protect the coral reef that lies offshore. During the dry season, snorkeling is decent around the reef. All beaches within the Marine Park are relatively safe for swimming, since the reef breaks up the strong waves that make some other beaches in the area, especially Dominical, great for surfing but dangerous for swimmers. All of the beaches within the park are very beautiful, and some of them are virtually deserted. Others, especially Uvita beach, can get very lively during the weekends and especially during Semana Santa, the week before Easter.
The main attractions at Uvita are the beaches, fishing, and boating. You can rent boats to do some great coastal fishing, and/or to whale watch. Majestic humpbacks migrate past Costa Rica twice a year, in December to late April and also from July to December. Costa Rica, and Uvita in particular, feature the world’s longest humpback whale watching season.
The humpbacks come to an area in the Pacific ocean from Playa Dominical down to the Panamanian border, which area is known as ”The Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome.” This is a shallow layer of warm water that lies on top of low-oxygen, cold water, which then creates the perfect ecosystem where marine life thrives. And all the ocean snacks keep the big guys coming back through year after year.
The mountains above Uvita often offer spectacular ocean views that include “The Whale’s Tail, Ballena Island, a rock formation called “The Three Sisters”, Osa Peninsula and Cano Island. The jungle around Uvita is teeming with wildlife.
Uvita Real Estate
Considering all the above, it is not surprising that many foreigners have discovered Uvita. There are homes and parcels in all price categories and sizes. There are many lots and homes within walking distance to the beaches, but few that are beachfront, due to the Park and the maritime zone restrictions. Properties in the mountains with great ocean views are becoming rare, and most go for at least $100,000 for a few acres and up. Still, good deals can be found. . . . Browse our Real Estate listings to see what is available.