Ultimate Scuba Diver’s Guide to Uvita, Costa Rica

August 22, 2023

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Welcome to Uvita, a remarkable destination along Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. To make the most of your trip, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know. From transportation and accommodation to dining and activities, this guide provides practical information to enhance your experience. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a diving enthusiast, or someone looking for a serene getaway, Uvita has something for everyone.

Getting There and Around

  • Flights: You will want to fly into San José, Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). To minimize travel time, consider catching a connecting domestic flight from SJO to regional airports such as Quepos La Managua Airport or Palmar Sur. Our recommendation for a domestic airline is SANSA.
  • Private Ground Transportation: Driving in Costa Rica is not for the faint of heart. Hiring a private driver can make getting around a lot more enjoyable and is highly recommended for your first time in the country. Your driver can show you things along the way that you may otherwise miss while you relax.
  • Renting a Car: If you prefer to rent a car, we highly recommend a 4×4. SIXT Car Rental is our best recommendation. 
  • Shared Shuttle Service: Alternatively, shared shuttle services can be an efficient way to move about. Choose from reputable options like Greyline, Ride CR, or Interbus for a comfortable ride.
  • Bus: Budget-conscious travelers can hop on a local bus from San Jose to Uvita, offering a more affordable way to travel.

Where to STAY

Photo courtesy of KURA and Cayuga Collection

Best for Couples


KURA is an upscale boutique hotel and it’s overall sexy vibes, with just 8 rooms including a must-see master suite, offering stunning panoramic vistas. 

Photo courtesy of Elan by the Beach

Best Beachfront

Elan by the Beach

Elan by the Beach stands as the premier beachfront choice, presenting 2 and 3-bedroom condo-style accommodations that epitomize coastal comfort and convenience.

Photo courtesy of Villas Alturas

Best Value

Villas Alturas

Villas Alturas offers unmatched value with breathtaking views, on-site wildlife rescue center, and an array of well-appointed 1, 2, and 3-bedroom villas. Coupled with excellent dining, it’s the perfect combination of affordability and comfort!

Photo courtesy of Rancho Pacifico

Best Luxury

Rancho Pacifico

Rancho Pacifico is a boutique luxury resort perched on the hillside. It has an exclusive feel and offers stunning ocean views, lavish accommodations, and personalized service, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a refined and upscale getaway.

Photo courtesy of Bungalows Ballena

Best Budget Friendly

Bungalows Ballena

Villas Bungalows Ballena is a 3-star cabin retreat located near the main entrance of Marino Ballena National Park. It features 5 comfortable cabins with full kitchens, roomy living areas, and a balcony. It’s a great choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals abound in this region, with Airbnbs being a popular choice. However, it’s important to note that Airbnb accommodations lack regulation in Costa Rica, so what you see online isn’t always what you get. 

Where to EAT

Check out our restaurant guide here: South Zone (Uvita, Dominical) Costa Rica – Restaurant Guide

How’s the DIVING?

Download our complete Caño Island guide here: Caño Island Dive Guide x DTA

Our recommended providers:

Costa Rica Dive & Surf: This is our go-to dive center that truly stands out for their service. They have an extensive selection of scuba diving to Isla del Caño and surfing experiences. They have experienced instructors and guides, and are committed to safety and marine conservation.

Innoceana: An eco-conscious dive center, Innoceana has garnered recognition for their profound dedication to marine conservation. Through their emphasis on education and sustainable practices, they provide immersive underwater journeys that not only captivate but also actively contribute to the preservation of Costa Rica’s marine ecosystems.

Costa Rica Coral Restoration: At the forefront of ecological preservation, Costa Rica Coral Restoration emerges as an innovative dive center that centers its mission on coral restoration. They have hands-on programs and focus on education in conservation.

What is there to DO?

  1. Explore Marino Ballena National Park: Explore the unique sandbar formation resembling a whale’s tail during low tide. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and marine life encounters.
  2. Whale Watching: Experience two distinct whale-watching seasons – December to April and July to October – when humpback whales are commonly spotted due to their migrations.
  3. Sierpe River Mangroves: Embark on a day trip to the Sierpe River mangroves, discovering diverse wildlife, understanding the significance of the ecosystem, and capturing lush waterway beauty while supporting responsible tourism.
  4. Chaman Beach: Unwind on Chaman Beach’s golden sands and take refreshing swims in calm waters, providing the perfect setting for sunbathing and relaxation.
  5. Nauyaca Waterfalls Adventure: Trek to the captivating Nauyaca Waterfalls nestled in lush jungles, a picturesque setting for both exploration and Instagram-worthy moments.
  6. Uvita Waterfall: Take a short hike to the Uvita Waterfall.
  7. Ventanas Beach Caves: Discover the sea caves at Ventanas ‘Windows’ Beach during low tide.
  8. Tours and Activities: Immerse yourself in horseback riding, ATV tours, ziplining, and canopy tours to uncover the area’s natural marvels.
  9. Surfing Paradise: Uvita is a great place for surfers of all skill levels.
  10. Catch the Sunset: Pacific Ocean sunsets, casting a magical glow over the horizon.
  11. Yoga and Relax: Rejuvenate with invigorating jungle yoga.

Essential Information

Language Tips: While many locals in Uvita speak English, having a few basic Spanish phrases can enhance your experience. Useful phrases include greetings (“Hola” for hello, “Gracias” for thank you), asking for directions (“¿Dónde está…?” for where is…), and ordering food (“La cuenta, por favor” for the check, please).

Currency: The local currency in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colón (CRC). However, US dollars are widely accepted. It’s advisable to carry smaller denominations for easier transactions. While there are ATMs in Uvita, they are limited so bring cash beforehand.

Packing List

Download our Costa Rica Packing List HERE

For further resources and references, reach out to us at

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