Uvita is a larger, sprawling village known for its rugged beach with many palm trees and a stretch of beach that runs into the sea in the shape of a whale’s tail. The beach with adjacent park is part of the Marino Ballena National Park, so named because Uvita has a whale season twice a year. From December – March and July – October, sperm whales, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, stingrays and more can be spotted. Several tours are offered during these periods. Surfing can also be done well in Uvita. To visit the beach, you enter the national park and pay a €6 entrance fee at one of the two entrances. The park is open daily from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm and as you walk through the park you have a chance to see toucans, macaws, howler monkeys and sloths.
If you want to walk on the whale’s tail, the piece of land that runs into the sea, it is important to keep an eye on the tides. At 2 times a day the tide is out and it is possible to enter the whale tail. Each day the tides of ebb and flow are different, so inquire in advance when it is possible.
Unfortunately, it is not possible, without a drone, to see the shape of the whale’s tail from the beach. For that you have to go to a higher place. Don Jorge is a lookout point a few kilometers from Uvita. When the tide is out, you can see the whale’s tail in the sea from a distance.
‘Catarata Verde’, or ‘green waterfall’ is a waterfall close to Uvita, a few kilometers (see Google Maps or Maps.me and search for Catarata Verde). The waterfall has several plateaus and there is opportunity for swimming. There are 2 entrances, but it is recommended to skip the first entrance and keep walking until the last entrance. The first one seems to be an official entrance with ticket sales (it is), but here you pay €3 and at the last entrance (at the cafeteria) you are cheaper and pay €2.30. If you start at the last entrance, you can walk down with the stream from the waterfall and you will eventually end up at a butterfly garden and the first entrance. There are (free) parking spots at both sites and you can visit the waterfall daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Just 20 minutes away from Uvita is Dominical. Dominical is known as a surfing village and about 4 kilometers away are the Nauyaca waterfalls. A number of large waterfalls on several plateaus where the water flows down hard. The entrance fee is $10 per person and if you come with your own transportation you pay a $4 parking fee. You can visit the falls daily from 7:00 am – 3:30 pm, Sundays from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. Ticket sales are until 2 p.m., in the office and a reservation in advance is required.
How do you get there and back?
From San Jose to Dominical/Uvita you can take the Tracopa bus. This bus company goes to the south coast, to Jáco, Dominical and Uvita and beyond. The bus goes almost every hour between 6:30 and 6:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance, or at the same time. The bus to Uvita costs C6730/€11 for 4.5 hours of travel, with a 20-minute break at a roadside restaurant.
From Uvita you can travel on to Corcovado National Park. To do this, you first travel to Sierpe via Palmar Nortes. From Sierpes you can take a boat to Drake Bay. It is advisable to research current travel times.
If you want to go to Manuel Antonio from Uvita you take the bus to Quepos (local bus, bus stop opposite Tracopa bus station on the side of the road) and go via Dominical. In Quepos you will transfer to a bus to Manuel Antonio. You can take a Tracopa bus to Quepos, but it doesn’t stop in the center (only on the main road) and from there you have to take a cab to the center before you can take a bus to Manuel Antonio. The local bus is then the finest and fastest. This bus takes 1.5 hours and costs from Uvita to Quepos 2200 colones/€3.50 per person and goes at 5.30/11.40/14.00/16.00 every day.
If you want to go to Dominical from Uvita you will take the same local bus opposite the Tracopa bus station in Uvita and this ride will take about 15 minutes. If you want to go to the waterfalls Nauyaca in Dominical (entrance €9) you can take a cab or bus from the center to the waterfalls. Uber also runs in this region. The price for a cab can be agreed upon in advance. There is a direct bus from Uvita that stops across from the falls, among other things, but it only goes from Uvita at 5:45 am and 5:45 pm. You can also walk to the waterfalls. This is a (steep) climb of about 4 km.
Please note that the local buses around Uvita and Dominical run on a schedule, but there may be times when the bus will get there and leave before then. It is wise to be at the bus stop earlier.