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Chilled-out, relatively undeveloped, and welcoming, Uvita is a blissful beach destination on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. It's also a world-class whale watching spot, drawing nature lovers from every part of the world.
Just off the coast of Uvita's Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, thousands of 49-foot-long humpback whales arrive in two groups every year to socialize. Seeing them in action is an awe-inspiring sight.
Uvita's beaches are as alluring as its natural riches. Those in the Ballena national park are particularly gorgeous. Ideal for snorkeling and swimming, they are also hardly ever packed - a big bonus.
Held in February, Envision is one of the world's biggest hippie get-togethers. Attend workshops, take part in group yoga, watch spectacular fire handling performances, and chill out to music.
Along with its beaches, Uvita also boasts some stunning waterfalls in the nearby area. Watching them is relaxing, but you can - and should - also swim in the plunge pools beneath their cascades.
Uvita's restaurants are up there with any resort on the Pacific coast. Spanish expats serve magnificent tapas. Fresh seafood is fried straight from the sea, and locally grown fruit and vegetables is always being turned into traditional tico dishes.
The best whale watching is probably in September and October. However, with great weather and Envision taking place in February, that's also a fine time to visit.
Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose (SJO) is the most common place for visitors to touch down. From there, buses take around six hours and cost ₡20,000.
From San Jose, take Highway 2 to San Isidro de El General, then switch to Highway 243 to Uvita.
TRACOPA run a public bus link between Uvita and San Jose - around six hours from the resort. You can also catch buses from Quepos if your plane lands there.
Upscale accommodation options in Uvita include the Rancho Pacifico and the Vista Celestial Boutique Hotel where, as the name suggests, the views are out of this world.
Downtown Uvita - set back from the coast, downtown Uvita is full of places to eat, like Roadshack Deli and Sushi Green.
Playa Uvita - the resort's major beach is absolutely stunning. Two miles long, with pure blue waters, plenty of wildlife, and even fine surfing conditions, it's hard to tear yourself away from the water.
Playa Hermosa - just around the cape from Playa Uvita, Playa Hermosa faces northwest and it's also a peach, with great surf and endless sands.
There's no public bus network in Uvita, but you can rent bikes (or scooters) if you need to get around.
Taxis are available to help out if needed. Expect them to charge around ₡600 for the meter drop, followed by ₡1,000 per mile.
You can rent a car from Hertz or Solid Car Rental, and prices can be as little as ₡7,500 per day.
Downtown Uvita has its share of stores and markets, with surf shops like Costa Verde and apparel stores like Zoe Boutique.
Grocery stores in town include Orca Mini Super and BM Uvita. To give an idea of prices, 12 eggs should be around ₡1,500.
Try the Spanish fare at Sabor Espanol, enjoy Japanese food at Sushi Green, fill up on gourmet coffee and cakes at Sibu, or discover the wraps and huge sandwiches at the down-to-earth Roadshack Deli. Meals should cost around ₡10,000 per head, tops.