If you like nature and green surroundings, slightly remote adventures and exploring, this is the place for you to be. There is a great variety of things to do and due to the unexploited area, they are genuine and real, away from the big crowds.
Main activities include exploring the beaches, mangrove rivers and the ocean with activities such as surfing, sport fishing and diving, as well as enjoying numerous impressive waterfalls. Away from the waters, you may just want to experience a piece of real rainforest jungle, venture to some of the local villages (not for any exciting shopping, though), or even visit a remote indigenous Boruca village.
Culinary freaks will love to explore some of the exotic markets around for exotic fruit and vegetables, and also have a descent choice of restaurant options in the area.
Small operators offer trips, guided tours and activities in the area, such as to the Caño Island and the Corcovado National Park, or why not do one of the famous canopy tours. The tourist information centers in Uvita and Ojochal are good places to get an overview of further options in the area.
Many beaches in the area are protected in one way or the other, meaning you will find natural beaches from which it may even be prohibited to remove driftwood. The main reason is to keep beaches natural for animals, such as turtles, which depend on an original habitat for survival.
The good thing is that such beaches aren’t and don’t appear man-made or commercially managed. Also, you may often find yourself alone on a mile-long stretch of Pacific just for yourself. On the down-side, there is nobody serving Piña Coladas right at your spot.
Recommended for an easy, swim-friendly afternoon is Playa Ventanas, the closest and locally often quoted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. It is located 5-7 minutes drive on the highway, just some 20 minutes from TheXT10. Though rather small in comparison, Ventanas offers a great scenery, with some holes in the north-side rock which can be explored at low tide. The beach itself is gorgeous, managed with a lifeguard during high season and paid parking ($2-3 US$).
is part of the national park of Marino Ballena, meaning there is an entrance fee of a few US$. Do not miss the main attraction, the Whale Tale, a truly unique natural wonder of a beach. You enter the Whale Tale just before low tide and take your time for a long leisurely walk to the point, then look for your spot to enjoy the white sand and the calm waters for some hours of five stars swimming.
just north of Uvita, is one of the longest natural beaches in the area. Turn down from the highway, park under the trees on the beach and carry your cooler bag to wherever you want to chill. During the week chances are high you may be almost alone!
Other beaches of interest
Playa Tortuga: closeby, on the rough side, protected natural area, famous for turtle and crocodile life, but good for a long walk. Playa Dominical: with consistent waves, ideal for surfing, but can be dangerous for swimmers due to strong riptides, offers some surfer-/backpacker-style bars and souvenir stands right on the beach.
On The Water
TheXT10 is not far from a small town called Sierpe. This place is located in the delta of the largest river of Costa Rica, the Terraba, and is an important point for venturing out on a mangrove river tour.
Take an exciting speedboat ride out to Drake Bay (and the Corcovado National Park) or all the way to Isla del Caño for snorkeling and diving. These things can all be done as a day-tour, while experiencing the park of Corcovado usually includes one or more nights out on the Osa Peninsula.
Sierpe, Mangrove Tour
A guide will explain a lot about the Mangrove Terraba wetlands , the importance as an ecosytem and how it is the home to a great variety of animals. You will see beautiful river sides but also venture into small channels through the mangroves . Animals often seen include monkeys, snakes, crocodiles and many kinds of birds.
If you take one of the speedboats out to Drake Bay or elsewhere, you will see a whole lot of the mangrove aswell, although you will not have time to spot animals.
Isla del Caño
Sometimes voted the best dive location in mainland Costa Rica, Caño Island is home to an amazing variety of marine life and is a protected marine park. You can encounter open ocean and reef fish, large schools of jacks and barracudas, sting rays and manta rays. (The area is also visited by sharks.)
Playa Tortuga, in Ojochal, is home to many nesting sea turtles. It provides an ideal habitat for nesting turtles as it is surrounded by the salty sea water and the fresh river water. The beach provides a perfect sand structure and safe nesting area, at both low and high tide. Nesting starts mid-July and continues until the first week of December. At times it is possible to volunteer and help with the nightly beach patrolling of protecting the eggs and turtles from predators.
Whale watching tours depart from Drake or the beaches of Ballena Park near Uvita. The high season is December through April for the Humpbacks, while Antarctic whales appear from July until November. Others species have been seen, for example Pilot whales and False Killer whales.
Sierpe, Terraba boat tour
Various To See By Car
You need a car to go pretty much anywhere and to do pretty much anything in Costa Rica, so while you already have it, here are some easy things to go and see by car in the area (without much planning).
Costa Rica is not a country for any serious shopping, EXCEPT for fruit and vegetables. Start in San Jose already if you happen to spend a Saturday morning and care to walk through an entire fruit market street in the Pavas district. You will see more pineapple and mango than ever, but the interesting stuff is all the fruit and vegetables you never saw before. In our closer area, almost every village has a weekly market day, but the weekly winner takes place in San Isidro every Thursday. San Isidro may not be interesting for much else, but combine it with 2 hours on that market and the day-trip was worth it!
Pre-Columbian Stone Spheres
The stone spheres of Costa Rica’s South Pacific are one of the most outstanding examples of art and technology of pre-Columbian America. Still today, they present a fascinating mystery as to how and why. Anybody interested in history and archeology can easily start to day-dream about what was going on in this fairly small region between, and never really touched by, the Inca and the Maya…
The Boruca are a tribe of Southern Pacific Costa Rica, a proud indigenous people. Their striking, hand-carved Boruca masks are so popular that both originals and imitations are sold throughout the country, including at the airport. Boruca is built on faith in the wisdom of elders and the Boruca legends they tell, passed down for centuries, and the identity of the people reflects a deep respect for those stories told, the nature that surrounds them, and the community they share. While visiting a Boruca village may not be anything crazy exciting for the camera, if you speak Spanish and take time to listen to some of their legends you may easily feel moved.
Pre-Colombian Stone Spheres
Animal Spotting and the Skinny-Dip
There are more than 500,000 animal and plant species in Costa Rica! This makes it one of the 20 most biodiverse countries in the world. You can see unique and abundant wildlife in 32 national parks, 51 wildlife refuges, 13 forest reserves, and eight biological reserves.
Even if you don’t enter a national park, the opportunity to encounter native animals is quite high, (PLEASE, beware of animals on the roads!). Just keep your eyes and ears open and you will be rewarded.
At TheXT10 we have endless visits of hummingbirds and toucans, you will hear howler monkeys roar in the morning, we had the occasional visit of anteaters etc. But there are some specific places, which we recommend if you want to do more animal spotting.
Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is the experience of a lifetime, encompassing the only remaining old growth wet forests on the Pacific coast of Central America and several major ecosystems such as: lowland rain forest, highland cloud forest, jolillo palm forest, mangrove swamps, coastal marine and beach habitats. Close to 3% of the biodiversity of the world in one park!
With some luck, what can you spot? Baird’s Tapirs, Jaguars, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Red-backed squirrel monkeys and White-lipped Peccaries, you name it. The regular trails are relatively good and not very challenging, and the guides on any tour will give you tons of interesting information about what you see. From TheXT10 we see the Corcovado as part of the coastline view, so if you have enough vacation days it would be a shame not to visit!!!
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Do you sometimes get tired of spending $$$ to charity and non-profit? Well, these 25$ will be worth it! Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is a rescue and rehabilitation center for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, many rescued from the roads or evil humans. Animals are released after rehabilitation if possible, while lifetime care needs to be provided to others that cannot return to the wild. Some animals are confiscated from illegal pet-trade, or have long-term injuries which prevent their release. Go learn more from Alturas’ fantastic guides, see some amazing animals up close, and also understand the somewhat sad battle between humans and nature. No guarantee you won’t cry at the end of the tour…
Waterfalls & Natural Pools
Much of the wildlife in Costa Rica is seen without planning and without entering any national parks. If you decide to explore some of the numerous rivers and their waterfalls, you will not only be looking at the water but everything around it. There is nothing like a refreshing dip in a natural pool in one of the many rivers, looking up at the jungle ranging above you, gazing at the gigantic trees of a rain forest, spotting some small wildlife going on around you… Moments to remember! If it’s a skinny-dip, even more so!