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Uvita

Just 10.5 miles (17km) south of Dominical, this growing village consists of some dirt roads lined with farms, guesthouses and shops, a cluster of strip malls by the main Costanera Sur entrance, and a scattering of hotels in the jungle-covered hills above. Uvita has retained its gentle pace of life during the low season, but otherwise has become quite a popular and buzzing travel destination thanks to its increasingly sought-after main attraction, Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. The marine reserve has become famous for its migrating pods of humpback whales and its virtually abandoned wilderness beaches, but there are also good waterfalls nearby.

Two of the country's most important tourist events happen yearly in Uvita: an increasingly popular Whale and Dolphin Festival celebrating the arrival of the humpbacks, and the country's biggest hippie gathering, the Envision Festival (essentially a small-scale Burning Man at the beach).

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Uvita.