When you hear the word “paradise”, you may picture lush forests, aquamarine waterfalls, beaches with picturesque sunsets or even a rolling green countryside. Whatever landscape paradise is for you, it can be found in the magical country of Costa Rica!
The beautiful canopy of Costa Rica
Here’s a Pro-Tip: There are many different microclimates throughout the country, so be sure to pack for rain and shine!
The Whale Tail sand bar, where the whales come to enjoy a drink!
This long stretch of pristine coastline consists of three main beach towns:
- Dominical – The Northernmost town in the trio, this is a relaxed surf town with plenty of yoga, waterfalls and fun beach bars to explore. You can also find handmade jewellery and other goods from the local merchants along the beach path.
- Uvita – More of a beach “downtown” than a beach town, this is where you will find larger food markets, banks and other convenience stores. Climb the nearby mountains for sweeping views or explore up close to the beauty in Marino Ballena, one of the only marine national parks in Costa Rica.
- Ojochal – A common destination for expats, this town is known for its many gourmet restaurants, lush jungle and the pristine Playa Ventanas.
This looks like a job for sandals!
Here are some amazing experiences that Costa Ballena has to offer:
Whale Watching – Ballena Marine National Park is a safe area for humpback whales to migrate. From December to April, you can witness the magic of these humpback whales and their calves. While the humpback is the most notable in the area, different species can be seen at different times throughout the year.
Surfing – Costa Ballena has some wonderful surf beaches with plenty of surf schools and learning opportunities available. The beaches of Dominical offer the biggest waves while Playa Colonia in Uvita is great for beginners.
Yoga – Enjoy daily yoga classes, retreats and workshops at some beautiful studios in the lush jungle or on the breezy beach. Some of my favourites include:
- Bhodi Surf + Yoga in Uvita
- Danyasa Yoga in Dominical
- Bali Rica in Ojochal
He could probably use some Costa Rican ‘sloffee’!
Cost Rica cuisine is known for being very fresh and nutritionally balanced. Not only do an abundance of fruits and vegetables grow on the land, but with almost 1300 km (800mi) of coastline plus plenty of farms inland, the fish and meat are local as well. Gallo Pinto is the national dish consisting of black beans and fried rice. It is often prepared for breakfast with plantains, meat or fish. With the town Ojochal often referred to as the “Culinary Centre of Costa Rica”, here are some great places to have a meal in the area:
- Citrus – An atmospheric restaurant featuring beautifully presented New World cuisine with seating both inside and outside. Come early to enjoy a drink in the lounge area.
The freshest gallo pinto around!
- Castillo’s Kitchen – Specializing in seafood, this Chef’s Table concept restaurant offers great views, fresh produce from local markets and uniquely delicious flavours. It is located in the El Castillo Boutique Hotel.
- Exotica – Colourful worldly dishes prepared with passion; this cosy restaurant sits in a romantic jungle setting. Ingredients are locally sourced and always fresh!
After a long day of climbing waterfalls, hiking through the jungle or simply soaking up the sun on the beach, enjoying a cold drink while the sun retires for the day is a must. If you prefer to dance into the evening, the party scene is alive and well in Costa Ballena as well! Here are my suggestions of great places to party:
- Mosaic Wine Bar – A comfortable and modern space in Uvita to enjoy a class of wine and feel good! While also offering fresh sushi, Mosaic is dedicated to supporting small, local businesses and offering eco-friendly straws and napkins.
- Bamboo Room – An Ojochal favourite, this whimsical hilltop cocktail bar has live music and incredible sunset views; the perfect recipe for a fun filled evening!
- Fuego Brew Co. – As Dominical’s first craft brewery and coffee roastery, this beach-style bar offers games, delicious beer, great food and wine!
While there are many communities, retreats and hostels available throughout Costa Rica, here are some wonderful hotels to call home while visiting:
- Oxygen Jungle Villas – With an infinity pool overlooking ocean views, this group of 12 villas in Uvita is a bright and beautiful place retreat.
- Uvita Bali Bosque – This luxury stay offers a true escape from the hustle and bustle. This jungle oasis is nearby the beach and has fabulous views all around.
- Hotel Cristal Ballena – This boutique hotel is the full package with spa services, ocean and mountain views and plenty of tour options.
Keep palm and carry on!
With a jungle covered mountain backdrop and pristine beaches, Costa Ballena is teeming with natural beauty awakening all of my senses at every turn!