The town of Uvita in Costa Rica’s South Pacific is a fascinating destination that draws many visitors each year to explore and discover all of its diversity and charm. With so many different types of activities to do and attractions to see, you’ll want to make sure to visit Uvita around a time of year that best suits your interests or desired activity. Because of its close proximity to the equator, there is no real distinguishable summer or winter in Uvita, Costa Rica — just the dry and rainy seasons. The dry season falls between late November and April — this is also the most popular time to visit because the weather is warm, tropical, and a welcome change for those escaping winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Between May and November, Costa Rica is officially in its rainy season, in which it is not unusual that the bulk of the cumulative rainfall (4-6 meters) will occur. Uvita is an excellent place to visit at any time of year, and both the dry and rainy seasons have their ideal activities. Read below to see our recommendations of when to visit Uvita, and what activities to participate in during your stay!
Visit Uvita in the dry season
For the majority of people who want to escape the long winters of the Northern Hemisphere and who may only get two weeks of vacation time a year, visiting Uvita in the dry season ensures that you will get the the most tropical weather out of your trip. It’s also a great time to participate in the many activities that people specifically come to Uvita in search of. However, it is notable to mention that Uvita (and Costa Rica as a whole) sees the bulk of its visitors during these months, which means there will be more crowds and tours may be booked further ahead of time. It can also be pricier than the rainy season, as many businesses offer “green season” discounts. Finally, it can be hot as heck — something to bear in mind.
Learning to surf
People from all over the globe flock to Costa Rica annually to take advantage of its extensive coastline and warm waters. Even though all year round there will be surf-able waves, we would say that the best time to come learn to surf in Uvita is between November and April, otherwise known as the dry season. The beaches around Uvita are known to have very consistent waves all year round. Yet at this time of year, the waves are smaller and more gentle, and the risk of storms (wind, rain and lightning, and large waves) is much smaller. Uvita’s hottest months occur between November-April, making the ocean a very comfortable place to be in to for hours at a time. You may also have some amazing surf-related experiences this time of year, such as ending your day with the colorful, bold sunsets that occur nearly every evening. With more consistent, clean surf, learners have a solid base to practice with on their trip.
Bodhi Surf + Yoga runs its weekly surf and yoga camps (Bodhi Sessions) between November and May, and they are guaranteed to run regardless of how many people sign up. Surf lessons are teach many aspects of the sport, not just how to stand up on a surfboard, and are designed to make guests feel comfortable and capable of continuing surfing after their trip. Bodhi also welcomes many intermediate surfers who want to improve their skills. Whether you are experienced or taking up surfing for the first time, we recommend visiting during the dry season to get the most out of your surf vacation!
Whale and dolphin watching
Bahia Ballena is known for the Whale Tail-shaped sandbar which is visible during low tide in the Marino Ballena National Park, which coincidentally has been ranked one of the best places in Costa Rica to encounter Humpback whales. In December, whales from the Northern Hemisphere (the coast of California and even as far as Alaska) reunite off the coast of Central America after a 3,000-5,000 mile journey. They come to frolic in the warm waters where they give birth to their young. They stay in the warm waters of the Pacific until springtime arrives and the begin their journey back home.
For those wanting to get a close-up glimpse of these powerful and majestic creatures, some of the best months to do so are between December and April. During this time frame, not only do you have the chance of encountering a wide-range of whale species such as Humpback, Pilot, and False Orcas, you may also see resident dolphins — Bottlenose, Spotted, and Spinner. Tours are more likely to run because of higher quantities of visitors as well as less storm potential. There are many businesses in Bahia Ballena — Uvita (where Bodhi Surf + Yoga is located) that offer single-day boat tours. Many Bodhi Sessions surf and yoga camp attendees have enjoyed seeing the whales on their free day over the years!
Diving and snorkeling
Costa Rica has a vast and rich marine life on the Pacific coast due to the magnitude of plankton and marine organisms which feed a plethora of fish and invertebrates. Some creatures you have the chance of encountering are sea turtles, Manta Rays, Parrotfish, sharks, Groupers, eels, and so much many more. When planning your trip, it’s important to know the best time to snorkel and dive off the Pacific side of Costa Rica is also during the dry season because lack of rain makes for better visibility under the water. One of Costa Rica’s best diving and snorkeling destinations is right off the coast of Uvita — Caño Island. This natural gem is located approximately 75-minutes in boat from Uvita, there are companies that offer both snorkeling and diving.
Hiking in Costa Rica is astounding all year round but the safest time to go is in the dry season. With three percent of the world’s biodiversity in a country that’s just short of 51,000 square km, the jungle is rich with flora and fauna. However, in the months of May-November, the rainfall makes hiking in the mountains a little more dangerous because flooding and slippery or treacherous footing. The trails are much drier between the end of November and March, which makes it safer for hikers of all levels. There are many beautiful hikes around Uvita and Bahia Ballena where you can hike up to local waterfalls and enjoy a cool and refreshing swim in the freshwater pools. Bodhi guests frequently participate in the La Union hike on their day off.
Visit Uvita in the rainy season
The rainy season in Costa Rica gets a bad rap, but it can be a spectacular time of year to visit Uvita, and with far fewer tourists than the dry season, it is an appealing destination for travelers seeking a unique experience. The rainy season brings essential conditions for some adventure activities, and while some businesses close down at the peak of the rainy season (typically October) to recuperate and prepare for the next high season, others offer great “green season” discounts.
The rainy season is a wonderful time to participate in a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. Yoga is not weather dependent, and is actually especially lovely to participate in on a raised, outdoor wooden platform that is surrounded by trees (such as ours at Bodhi Surf + Yoga!). Cooler temperatures mean that you can comfortably do yoga at any time of day, and most who have practiced yoga in the rain will tell you that there is nothing more delightful than a rainy-day savasana.
Bodhi Surf + Yoga will be co-hosting two retreats in the fall of 2018. One is specifically a yoga retreat (Awaken your Ashtanga), and the other is a women’s retreat that features yoga as well as surfing (Be DAREful).
For adventure seekers looking to experience the exhilaration of whitewater rafting, the best time to go is during the rainy season when rivers are roaring with water. Costa Rica has many rivers where companies and guides offer rafting experiences for beginners and all the way up to those capable of attempting class IV rapids. Those looking for some serious, heart-pumping experiences are more likely to have a better time during the rainy season when there is more (and faster-moving) water. Most companies do run through the dry season and we recommend rafting to those who are looking for a more slow and less intense experience — this could be a great option for beginners or families with children. In the South Pacific, day trips from Uvita usually take guests to the Savegre, Coto Brus, or Guabo rivers. Rafting is an exhilarating and fun filled adventure that is at its best during the rainy months!
Taking in the “Green” season
Another name for the rainy season is the “green season”. With all of the rainfall, the jungle becomes lush with flowers and trees in bloom and is much more intense in color. This draws those who are interested in photography and truly capturing the paradisiacal landscape. Even though hiking is more dangerous this time of year, the trails are less populated giving you a solid chance of encountering more diverse wildlife. With precautions in place, it is a scenic time to explore the trails through the jungle at the right time of day (mornings and early afternoons before the rain hits). The green season is a beautiful time of year where many can enjoy the captivating, rich jungle.
All in all, you are sure to have a great time if you visit Uvita at any time of year. Each of the seasons brings something new and exciting to look forward to. The dry season is best for those who are looking to experience more excursions and is a great time to learn something new. Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a place where many of these experiences can be possible in just a week! Whether it’s surfing some waves, hiking the trails or spotting the whales, the South Pacific coast is an astounding destination that offers an incredible adventure for all type of people!