Playa Uvita, Costa Rica

Located on south-central Pacific Coast (20 km south of Dominical), and on the verge of Costa Rica’s most biologically diverse regions, the Osa Peninsula, Playa Uvita is a spectacular beach surrounded by lush, sweeping mountains, infinite fresh streams and rivers, and a healthy reef offshore that hosts an enormous population of cetaceans for several months each year.

Uvita is located within the Parque Nacional Marino Ballena (Marino Ballena National Park) which extends from the mouth of the Morete River just north of Uvita, 9 miles to the south to Playa Piñuela in the Puntarenas province. Named after the Humpback whales that visit the region, the park protects 170 hectares of land and 5,160 hectares of marine waters. Within this area is a large reef off the coast that includes the stretch of islands called las Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters) and Ballena Island, all extensions of the infamous “whale’s tail” reef (Punta Tombolo) between Playa Uvita and Hermosa and which visitors can explore during low tide. The view from this “whales tail” and experiencing the rising and falling tides from here are breathtaking and magical. The entire coastline of the National Park is lined with white sand beaches, rocky points, palm trees, mangroves and lush jungle.

Numerous wildlife species can be spotted here including Humpback whales (Antarctic whales from July – November and northern whales from December-April), dolphins, rays, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles, howler monkeys, white capuchins, racoons, agoutis, coatis, frigate birds, brown-footed boobies, ibises, pelicans and other seabirds, corals, sponges and algaes, abundant fish and every once in a while a wild cat drops in for a visit! Hunting and fishing within the park are strictly illegal.

The beach is a great place to swim but be aware of rip tides, littoral currents, sting rays and other water dwellers that might surprise you. There are two park sectors at Uvita, Bahia and Colonia. Bahia is on the north side, close to Punta Tombolo and thus well protected by the outer reef; whereas Colonia is on the south side and better for surfing. Sessions Under the Sun surf lessons take place in Sector Colonia, Playa Uvita. Park entrance fees for foreigners costs $6 and can be used at any of the park entrances.