Costa Ballena is a three-town region in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, which boasts the best canopy tours, nature hikes, waterfalls and ATV trails in the country. This is thanks largely to the preservation/regeneration of the unique landscape, embellished with all of the natural wonders of an unspoiled jungle paradise. There are over ten beaches within this 30km stretch and all of them vary in glorious tropical ambiance. Most are reminiscent of an island oasis, and visitors are often unable to notice signs of humanity since there are almost no beachfront properties in this region.
This is the region where the green mountains meet the gentle ocean. It is a place that is largely covered in primary rainforest, making this area feel very special and unique to most of the rest of the country (and most of the world as it is today). This region is what the central Pacific coast felt like before their big tourism boom; before Costa Rica enacted its more recent environmentally protectionist laws. As such, Costa Ballena will never be like the more commercial central Pacific, but it already has its own distinctive flavor that is a hodge podge of local agrarian culture mixed with international flavors and a generous appreciation for nature.
This is a secret, surreal environment that is both wild and inviting, gesturing for you to enjoy its white sand beaches, clean green forests, azure blue waters and precious views.
Known internationally to be the finest foodie town in Costa Rica, Ojochal has roughly 2000 full-time residents and 20 restaurants, known around the world for their quality of food and environment.
Situated in the mountains, the views and privacy are the key features of Ojochal. This is a small but lively authentic village with a slow pace, generally untouched by tourism. It is a village with distinct character and charm.
The origins of settlement here go back over 30 years when it was settled by a few families for agrarian purposes. In the last 10 years, people from all over the world have descended to Ojochal, with word of the good life spreading quickly; where locals and expats have nurtured good relationships and have learned to live and create symbiotically.
Despite its size, Ojochal still has many of the basic amenities and services needed for daily life. Laidback and spread out, Ojochal is a peaceful location with the potential for adventure that is close to the comforts of civilization.
Home to largely undiscovered wilderness beaches, this is the ideal place for rest and relaxation. There is a multitude of accommodations and this is a great base for anyone wanting to explore the region. As the last point of call before the end of the chain of beaches along the Pacific coast, this area is largely off the beaten track. It is the perfect spot to access the stunning coast-line without the crowds and the waters are a bit calmer here, making them better for swimming than surfing.
Known as the wildlife capital of Costa Ballena, Uvita is a tropical hamlet with great charm and an unspoiled serene atmosphere. A long-time secret of surfers, backpackers and migrating whales, Uvita is a pristine bay surrounded by mountains and jungle-fringed beaches and in 2013, Travel and Leisure Magazine named Uvita the top travel destination in the world.
This town is home to Marino Ballena National Park– Costa Rica’s oceanic hub for a wide-range of marine life. It is also the commercial capital of Costa Ballena and the core of the three-town region. This hub provides a one-stop shop for all basic amenities, including groceries, banking, medical and schooling. One of the best English language schools in the country is in Uvita, with plans to open another in the future.
Riverfront properties are the jewels of this town and the dirt roads that run throughout are lined with farms, tiny shops and clusters of strip malls. In this mainly flat coastal area is a veritable community that is a mix of locals and expats, living and working together fruitfully.
Boutique hotels and luxurious properties are hidden in the jungle-covered hills, overlooking whale’s tail. This is the place where there is something for everyone.
Dominical is the sporty north end of the Costa Ballena stretch. This town’s name is synonymous with the Southern Zone and Costa Ballena. Visitors never want to leave this sleepy surf town that has some of the best surfing in Costa Rica with the most consistent waves.
Year-round perfect sunsets accompany the most diverse ocean views in the villages associated with Dominical, which include Lagunas, Matapalo, Platanillo, Dominicalito, San Martin, and Escalaras. The main town of Dominical’s topography does not allow for unlimited growth and has remained largely unchanged over the years, but the surrounding areas are popular with expats who want to be close to this iconic spot.
This is a dynamic region where cascading cliffs converge with the deep blue ocean. Dusty dirt roads and bare feet give this spot a very wild and free feel. Expats who settle in near Dominical tend to be young families who enjoy an active lifestyle, taking advantage of the social scene that centers around surf and wellness.
Living on the pacific coast means gorgeous sunsets over blue seas and this is the land where lush tropical forests melt into the pacific shores. People come here to reenergize their spirits and find that they never want to leave.