On the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, there is a small community called Bahia Ballena, bordered by the adjacent town of Uvita (and sometimes even referred to together as “Bahia-Uvita”). There is something unique about this community; an energy, a feeling of wellbeing it gives to visitors and residents alike. What makes it so special? Well, a unique combination of factors. Because of the weather and its location, Bahia Ballena is ideal for everyone, from outdoor adventures to professional relaxers.
First of all, it is a natural paradise. The famous Marino Ballena National Park is located at the footsteps of the community itself (which literally translates to “Whale Bay” not only due to the visiting humpbacks found in its warm waters as well as the prominent “whale tail”-shaped sandbar in the north end of the park). This park is a salient component of both the community’s economy and culture. The flora and fauna of the region are both abundant and spectacular, and many travel here just to experience them. The landscape is dramatic and stunning: it is a place where the jungle ends only because the sea starts.
Secondly, it remains small and full of wild, open spaces. While small-scale development is happening bit by bit in the region, the community continues to retain its roots of mostly small, family-owned and operated businesses. Spending time in this community gives travelers a distinctive sense that they’ve stumbled on one of the “best kept secret” type places that are so sought-after by the exploratory traveler.
Bahia Ballena has also kept the feeling of a small, Tico town. It’s a place where strangers greet one another on the street, music can be heard in the distance on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and the Pura Vida way of life is ostensibly alive and well. Yet it is also an activist community, with its residents (both long-term and recent-transplant alike) working hand-in-hand to advance an agreed-upon vision of the future: one that is centered in the wellbeing of the people and environment alike.
Where Exactly is this Special Community Located?
Bodhi Surf + Yoga is physically located within Bahia Ballena on the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is separated by the Uvita River with the town of Uvita, and located within the canton of Osa and the province of Puntarenas. The region in which it resides is known as Costa Ballena, which forms the area between Dominical, around 15km to the north, and Ojochal, around 15km to the south. It is a breath of fresh air for travelers looking to enjoy the natural beauty of the Southern Pacific region, as well as the laid-back charm of a small, authentic Tico town.
How Do You Get to Bahia Ballena?
The capital of Costa Rica is San Jose, and it features the country’s largest airport — Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). From there it is possible to get to Bahia - Uvita from San Jose in a number of ways. If you’re vacationing with Bodhi Surf + Yoga, rest assured — your trip includes round trip transportation between San Jose and the Bodhi Surf + Yoga lodge! From San Jose, you can either take a domestic flight a bit closer (Quepos) and drive the remaining 45 minutes, drive via the Costanera (approximately 3.5 hours from SJO), or drive via the Interamericana (approximately 4.5 hours from SJO). Click below for more detailed information.
What to Do in Bahia Ballena
Our community is a jumping off point for a number of tours and activities, both natural and cultural. We have adventure and adrenaline activities, but also ones for those who want to lay back and get some much-needed R&R in our beautiful and warm paradise. There are cultural and community-centered tour agencies. There are a plethora of spas and bodywork specialists. And we have lots of great food (see more below).
Whether you want to read a book in a hammock, rappel yourself down a rock face beside a roaring waterfall, see the humpback whales our area is so famous for close up, or learn about the history and culture of the town you now find yourself in, you won’t be disappointed in Bahia Ballena.
Bahia Ballena's Weather
The weather is hot and humid most of the day and most of the year, and temperatures range from 27-33 degrees celsius (80-91 Fahrenheit). Although the temperature does not vary widely throughout the year, there is a tendency that December-April be more hot, sunny, and dry. The remaining months (May-November) are more rainy and temperate, with October being in general the most rainy month, but note that this is not the case every single year. All in all, Bahia Ballena has a very pleasant climate. Below, you can read a more detailed monthly weather breakdown.
Culinary Options in Bahia Ballena
For being such a small community, there are so many delicious and diverse food options around, great news for foodies! If you are interested in eating out and experiencing culture through your palette, you are in luck. The entire Costa Ballena area has an array of both local Costa Rican as well as quality international restaurants. From low-key eateries to upscale dining experiences and everything in between there is also something for every budget. If you prefer to do your own cooking, we have various farmer’s markets, small local food stores, and large supermarkets. There are also food delivery services, organic produce providers, and there’s even a zero-waste store! Follow the link below to read more about eating local while here.
History of Our Little Community
The history of this small town features its fair share of intrigue and excitement! There are elements of interest from all periods of time: the pre-colonial Stone Spheres, a UNESCO World Heritage site located just south of here; the interest in this area by ALCOA Aluminum and their ultimate expulsion from the country through widespread protests and strikes; Bahia Ballena’s time as an hacienda or cattle farm and an airplane business; the creation of the park, and finally, Bahia Ballena’s arrival at where it is today, a tranquil place visited by both national and international tourists alike.
A Community of Activists
One of the aspects of this community that does make it so one-of-a-kind is that it is full of people who work actively to ensure that it is both functioning well and constantly improving. There are people from all over here — families who have been here for decades, Costa Ricans who have moved from other places in the country, and international transplants as well — yet there is a synergy and cohesiveness that is quite exceptional. Moreover, there are a great number of working groups and non-profit associations which cooperate with one another and drive the community forward in a number of such as environmental protection, youth education, and citizen security and wellbeing — Fundacíon SOMOS, the boat tour operators association, Geoporters, ADI Uvita, Keto, and ASANA, to name a few.
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