A Jungle Homestay in Uvita, Costa Rica

A stunning view of an indoor-outdoor house with a swimming pool jutting out to the exterior
View of Catarata Uvita or the waterfalls

Getting to Uvita is a bit of a trek, but worth the experience if you enjoy natural beauty and the opportunity to enjoy a unique homestay with friends. 

There are many flight options but only one direct (at the time of publishing) via Spirit Airlines from Orlando. We flew Copa Air from Tampa via Panama and have had decent experiences in the past. This was not one of them. 

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Gates changed several times yet email alerts were sent in Spanish, even though I opted for English. While they require you to download an app for entertainment, not all planes have WiFi. You may not find out till you ask an attendant. 

We opted to stay in the capital city of San Jose for two nights at the Hilton owned Gran Hotel Costa Rica. Accommodations were modern and centrally located by the historic Treatro Nacional. A highlight was the extensive and impressive, and delicious, daily breakfast that’s included in the stay. 

We did a bit of self exploration before joining a small group food and walking tour that included local history, architecture, a visit to the Central Market, a boozy coffee tasting and a complete Costa Rican style dinner in the Barrio Amon area. A few hours, the tour was just enough and our guide Erick was very knowledgeable and entertaining. 

I downloaded a movie before the two hour ride to the home in Uvita, which cost about $175. We arrived at the home stay first to find the ultimate indoor-outdoor experience. A primary bedroom in the main structure and 3 small apartments-style surrounding an open floor plan with a pool and views of the jungle all the way to the ocean. An outdoor gym and resident casa gato (house cat) are among the diversions. We had an amazing chef prepared meal that included local flavors during our stay. 

house cat lounging on the seating area of the rental home

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Variety of dishes served for dinner on a round table including steak, mashed potatoes, eggplants, mushrooms, corn on the cob, fish, zuchini

Located just along the beach is the shanty style “town” of Dominical with several restaurants, shops and bodegas. There are a couple of restaurants where we had a few drinks and some food. You can also find coffee shops and supplies, including liquor and groceries, for your stay. 

Closer to the water is a row of bar restaurants great for drinking the day away with friends. As for the ocean, it’s the Pacific and was quite rough at the time we were there so probably more ideal for experienced surfers. 

In Dominical, you can arrange for some tours and activities including whale watching or a general boat excursion. We did the hike to and from the Nauyaca Falls, which was a solid trek but totally worth it. The falls are gorgeous and we got a few bird and wildlife encounters along the hike. It’s a good option if you want to work in some exercise.  

Of course, relaxing at the house with some drinks in the pool is also a great way to pass the time. Given the home stay is so much of the trip, you only want to do it with people you really like. Be ready to share the cost of groceries, booze, car rental, gas and the accommodations. And be ready to encounter the occasional creepy crawly– After all, you are staying in the jungle. 

A glass of margarita with pineapple garnish next to a cap with text Burg in the shape of a heart

If you have an early flight out, it’s best to stay close to the airport. For our 6am flight, we opted for the Courtyard Marriott at the San Jose Airport, which provided early AM transport to the airport at no cost. 

We were late to join this trip that was already planned by friends and while Costa Rica was not high on my list, I’m certainly glad we went. The jungle is beautiful and lots of laughs were had with good company.

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