Surfing in Uvita, Costa Rica

Located about 15 minutes south of Dominical, Uvita proper sits on the east side of the coastal road. However, the town of Bahia Ballena, which technically is its own town, is often grouped together when referring to Uvita. The locals commonly refer to the area as “Bahia – Uvita”, “Bahia Ballena – Uvita”, or simply “Uvita”. Hence the local beach of Uvita, Playa Colonia, is the same as that of Bahia Ballena (and within the Marino Ballena National Park).

Though Uvita is not known for world-class waves, it is an excellent place for beginner and intermediate surfers to develop their surfing ability. With consistent waves, little to no crowds for the majority of the year, and safer than average ocean conditions for novices, Uvita is the place to learn to surf in the South Pacific.

Uvita Wave Information

  • Best swell size: Chest to head-high
  • Best swell direction: SW
  • Best wind direction: E
  • Best season: Waves are largest between May-September due to tropical storms, waves are cleanest between December and March
  • Type of break: Beach break with river mouth
  • Bottom: Sand
  • Consistency: Consistent, though not as consistent as Dominical
  • Best tide: Medium to high
  • Best suited for: Beginner and intermediate
  • Access: There are multiple entry points to the beach, two of which have vehicle access up to the palm tree line; the “community entrance” and southernmost entry is closest to the surf break. There is a $6/person entry fee for foreigners and a C1000 entry fee for non-community-residing Costa Rican residents and citizens (free for children under ten) because the beach sits within the Ballena Marine National Park.
  • Crowd factor: Minimal except for on Costa Rican holidays (Christmas, Semana Santa)
  • Potential dangers: Stingrays, jellyfish, rip currents

Safety Information

For the most part, surfing conditions at Playa Colonia in Uvita can be considered very safe. The Whale Tail to the north end of the beach and a series of islands to the south act as natural barriers to powerful swells and currents that would otherwise go undeterred. While this is not ideal for experienced surfers, it does benefit the developing surfer by providing much safer conditions than at beaches which are completely exposed to swells and currents.

Though it is a very safe beach for surfing, it is still important for surfers, swimmers, and beachgoers alike to remain aware of their surroundings because like with other beaches, it is possible to find stingrays, jellyfish (seasonal), rip currents, floating debris (tree logs and branches), and perhaps one of the greatest dangers out of the water — falling coconuts (this is especially true during the rainy season). It is important to note that there are no lifeguards at Playa Colonia, making it that much more important for visitors to be cautious. In case of an emergency the park rangers may be able to provide some assistance, although they are normally without a vehicle, they do typically have walkie talkies and/or cell phones.

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Surfing with Bodhi

Bodhi Surf + Yoga has been operating out of Bahia Ballena - Uvita since 2010, and it is one of the best places we have ever seen to practice and improve at surfing (and we’ve seen a lot of coastline). The topography of the beach and the consistency of swells ensures that there are rideable waves nearly all year. The waves of Playa Colonia are typically gentle, soft, and provide an excellent place to practice.

At Bodhi, you can expect to learn the fundamentals of surfing, including safety, technique, and theory — and get hours of practice time under the watchful eye of an instructor that is both qualified to teach and invested in your learning. Our 7-day surf and yoga camps for adults, called Bodhi Sessions, have been designed to help you improve your surfing ability, regardless of your previous experience or surf background. The camps also feature the grounding and balancing co-activity, yoga, which has proved to significantly benefit our guests’ development as surfers. Finally, Bodhi Sessions are just an all ‘round awesome surf and yoga vacation for everyone, balancing comfort and rest, learning and experiencing, and fun and pleasure!

Why choose Bodhi Sessions

We believe that one of the greatest benefits of doing our Bodhi Sessions is yoga. The fact that yoga is not just an add-on activity, but a fundamental part of the surfing experience. Many of our guests arrive without having any prior surf experience, and without having had the time to prepare physically for five surf sessions in six days. The yoga provides much-needed balance (no pun intended) of physical strength-building and stretching, and is designed to complement the building crescendo of the surf sessions. More importantly, the yoga sessions address the more persistent challenges to learning to surf — refining the already-existing strength and mental discipline that every person has. As we mentioned, surfing is in large part mental, and yoga is an incredible tool to help us look inward and become more aware of our own thoughts and consciousness.

Surf breaks near Uvita

Already know how to surf? There are a number of surf breaks in the Uvita area that offer something rideable year round and are suitable for surfers of varying abilities.

Playa Hermosa de Osa

Playa Hermosa is a beach break located 3km north of Uvita and is generally a great wave for intermediate surfers. On a higher tide, and with a smaller swell, the break is suitable for beginners. It is a popular beach on the weekends so be cautious of swimmers and other surfers. There are lifeguards on duty 7-days a week from 8am - 4pm.

Dominicalito

Playa Dominicalito is located 3km south of Dominical. The surf break sits in a protected cove and is a beach frequented by Dominical surf schools. For beginner or intermediate surfers this surf break is recommended on a higher tide as there are rocks scattered across the bottom. There are no lifeguards on duty at Playa Dominicalito.

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominical is a popular destination for surfers looking for good, consistent waves and a more laid back atmosphere. A beach break that offers the most consistent surf in the region (and possibly in the country) and when the swell gets good it’s known to offer up hollow and powerful waves. There are lifeguards on duty 7-days a week from 8am - 4pm.

Playa Colonia

Playa Colonia is a beach break in Bahia Ballena. This beach is located within the Marino Ballena National Park, making it a less visited beach than other neighboring beaches and a great place to learn to surf or to hone your skills. This surf break is ideal for beginners and families with children who surf but be aware that there are not lifeguards on duty.

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