How to get to Uvita, Costa Rica and Sleep on the Beach for Free
The Costa Rican beach of Uvita is a good place to go for a hike by the Pacific Ocean and to relax a day away. Uvita is approximately three hours by bus south of Manuel Antonio and an hour and a half west of San Isidro. You can get there easily from both of these locations.
From Manuel Antonio you need to first return to Quepos by flagging down a bus going north from the only main road that runs parallel to the coast. If you are in Manuel Antonio you would have first went through Quepos first, so don’t bewilder yourself about finding this town, it is the next town to the north.
Cost and Time Table
The fare for this bus is marginal. It is around a 15 minute ride to the bus terminal in Quepos. Here you can get on a bus to Uvita. There are a few buses that run in the morning before 10 AM and another in the evening at 5 PM. It is a three hour ride through the Costa Rican fincas on dirt roads to travel the 50 or so kilometers to Uvita. This bus goes slow.
But it soon meets up with the PanAmerican highway and you ride into Uvita in style. Don’t blink at this point, as Uvita is only a couple of shops on the highway. The driver will probably tell you to get off the bus here. Or you can just look for the white people on the side of the highway with bewildered looks on there faces because they do not know where the town is.
Directions to the Beach
The beach is to the west and there is a really nice waterfall around 3 km to the east of the highway. If you want to go to the beach you just walk west along one of the two roads that go west. It is probably a 2 to 3 mile walk to the beach, so be prepared to tramp a little.
Get water and all of your supplies at one of the two general stores on either side of the highway.
You can now just walk down the road to the little town at the beach. If you take the road that is to the south of town, it is a little easier to get to the beach, as you will not have to ford any streams. Just walk past the general store and information booth on the west side of the highway, go over a bridge, and then take a right. This road goes straight to the coast.
The other way to get to Uvita is by San Isidro. I do not know the bus schedule but I assume that there are a few a day. This bus takes the PanAmerican and is a short ride.
Once at the beach there are multiple cabana options. They are all expensive! Twenty dollars a night for two people was the cheapest I found. But you can camp on the beach with the locals for free.
How to get on Uvita beach for free
You walk into town on the main road and you come up to an intersection and there is a road that goes to the south, which would be a turn to the left. Walk down it and then take a right to go to the beach. This is how the locals get into the beach without paying.
Otherwise MINAE will try to get $6 a person out of you. Too much to pay, I say. If you can not find your way past the MINAE barrier, ask the kid at the jewelry shop to show you how to get to the beach for free. He speaks English and says that he lives in the USA. You will talk to this kid during your stay. He is friendly and will call to you as you pass his jewelry shop and offer you free coconuts, breakfast, and conversation. Take it all, as I did not find any strings attached.
Have fun at the beach and slip past the MINAE racket whenever you can. The Costa Ricans do.