Uvita and Playa Uvita were referred to as one place in our guide book but there is actually a 1-2 km gap between Playa Uvita and the main village of Uvita. The local bus makes two separate stops. The express Tracopa bus only makes one stop in Uvita proper. If you have bags and you are staying in Playa Uvita a taxi may be worth the money.
We stayed in Uvita at the Tucan Hotel it’s about 250m off the highway. It has hostel type rooms but we stayed in our own tree house out front. The Tree actually went right though our room.
The rooms open up into a big communal area with cooking facilities, hammocks, stuff to read and a bar and restaurant.
We really liked it. The pool tables are popular with the locals and expats in the evenings as well. We were told the Tucan was the most popular hostel in Uvita and we could see why. We would definitely go back to live in the tree! The host was great, friendly helpful and Italian! Our tree house was surrounded by birds and we had a view over the jungle. They also rented us bikes to go adventuring.
Flutterby House is also very popular. It’s in Playa Uvita so it’s closer to the beach. We checked it out briefly. More of a party spot we could have stayed there too.
There is a good sized grocery store and a bank with an ATM on the main road. There is also an excellent bakery which was always open by 7:00 am. There are a few restaurants and craft stores on the main road as well we only went to Burrito Hub which was very good. The owners are an American couple with two small kids. When we arrived they were about to close because there were no customers, the kids were tired and it was raining. They served us anyway even though we told them we totally understood and could go somewhere else. They were very friendly and while we were waiting for our food they told us they just packed up one day left the US and came to Costa Rica. They spoke no Spanish, had two young kids and wanted a new life.
Cascaada Verde – Uvita Falls
This Cascaada Verde waterfall is about 1 km inland from the Tucan Hotel. You follow the main road and take the first left up the hill past the graveyard. These were the directions we got at the Tucan and they are quite accurate.
There is a small restaurant and a parking area on the road where you pay a $2 entrance fee. It also has bathrooms and a place to leave your clothes with warnings about not leaving your valuables by the falls.
You go down a long set of steps and arrive at the main pool and water fall. You can climb up the rocks and “slide” down the waterfall. We watched one guy do it. He definitely bounced on the way down! No way I would do that. We also watched another guy climb up and change his mind he quickly discovered that going back down the cliff was not as easy as going up. The water is great, cool and refreshing! You can climb around the rocks to a second pool of water. It’s a bit tricky climbing around the rocks and definitely not a good spot for non-swimmers. We went a couple of times. Avoid the weekends and go early as it does get busy.
This national park is one of the main reasons people go to Uvita. It’s named for and most famous for the Humpback whales which can be seen off the coast from December to April. There are several companies which will take you out to see them. We skipped the whale watching because, although ours are Atlantic not Pacific, we have seen these amazing creatures at home in Canada.
We rented bikes from our hotel and rode to the park about 3 km away. The bikes were interesting. Mine had gears that did not work and hand breaks one of which worked (I think it was the front). Harold’s was a single gear bike which you had to back peddle to break which would have been Ok except the chain kept falling off leaving him with no breaks at all! Luckily the trip from the Tucan to the park is relatively flat. Coming back was a bit more challenging. One of the cheap flip flops Harold bought to replace the shoes that disappeared in the San Blais Islands broke so he only had one shoe. Add that to a bike which he had to stop with his feet when the chain fell off and the ride is a bit more exciting. We stopped at the first tourist shop we could find for a new pair of flip flops.
The park is beautiful white sand beach for miles and miles with relatively few people on it. When the tide is out there is a distinctive whale tail shaped sandbar. We snorkeled and explored. The snorkeling is best on the rocky side of the whale tail.
The park has several entrances and you pay $6 a day to go in. We went back at sunset to watch the sun go down. It was impressive, we were not alone and no one stopped us even though the park closes at 6:00 pm. I would not stay in the park much after sunset as there have been some incidents with tourists in town after dark.
We were looking for something to do and Harold is into Geocaching so he proposed a bike ride to go and find a Geocache. There is one at Cusinga Lodge which is 8-10 km down the main and basically only road along the cost. The road is paved and has reasonable shoulders. We had travelled down it on the bus and recalled it as being relatively flat.
We rented the same bikes. One stuck in one gear and one with back peddle breaks and a chain that falls off. We set off and soon discovered that the road was not as flat as we remembered. Harold figured out that the chain usually stayed on if he did not make any sudden movements. I rode down the hills behind him so I could block traffic in case he lost control and went flying off into the jungle. He did not.
After a couple of wrong turns we found the road to La Cusinga. It was unpaved and steep so we walked the bikes up. La Cusinga turned out to be a beautiful and somewhat high end resort. We were greeted by a security guard who was amused by our quest. It was obvious other Geocachers had been there before us. He found us a place to leave our bikes and we headed to the main building where we admired the view, had a cold drink and chatted with the owner.
It would be a great spot to stay and if you are not riding a questionable bike dinner and the sunset would be worth the trip.
We could not find the cache even after they told us exactly where it was and helped us try to find it. We made it safely home to our tree house.
We decided to have our last dinner in town at the Tucan. Just as we were sitting own to eat the power went out. Our host appeared almost instantly with candles and the kitchen cooks with gas. They also have a generator. All signs that the power going out is a regular occurrence. Which it does, particularly in the rainy season.