This place brought something out in me; a peaceful and innocent joy that I hadn’t felt in years and thought was long buried. I felt like running and dancing, rejoicing in the vast beauty of a world I’d last seen through my child eyes. An impossible place filled with impossible things while simultaneously filled with possibilities. A place brimming with magic and the mystery of history and creation. I felt utterly a part of it. I belonged there. I’d been there before, in some form or another. I was surrounded by people, yet alone in my feelings of affinity. I saw the oncoming storm and welcomed it. I watched the rising tide and welcomed it. I saw her spirit and knew it was and always would be the most compelling thing; the most powerful energy capable of bringing me back to life, of filling up any parts that felt hollow. We were one in those moments of dreamlike solitude. Though our time was fleeting, the memories of that place will stay with me forever.
Playa Uvita is located on the west coast of Costa Rica in Marino Ballena National Park. It is well known for it’s shape resembling a whale’s tail and is, coincidentally, one of the best places in Costa Rica to go whale watching! The drive down was full of unexpected encounters with wildlife; a tamandua and a squirrel monkey crossing the road as well as a group of scarlet macaws flying along the coast. It was as if all of these chance encounters were trying to tell me that it was going to be a very good day. Once we arrived in Uvita, we found our way to the national park entrance, which costs $6 for entry and $4 for parking. This gives you access for the whole day, which you will probably want to take advantage of. Keep in mind that the part of the beach that goes out to the rocks (the part that makes up the actual tail) is only accessible during low tide. A simple Google search of tide tables for Playa Uvita for the day you plan to go will provide you with a time window of when you can explore the tail.
The distance from the entrance of the park to the tail is about 2km – a beautiful walk over powdered sand where you’re sure to find sea snails and sand dollars making their way along the beach as the waves come in. The beach is massive, with enough room between you and other people to feel like you’ve really got your own space. It’s also really flat, so it’s a great place to play football, frisbee, or just run around and splash in the water (this is mostly what I did). When you make your way out to the rocks (the tail), you can trek your way through them if you’re feeling adventurous, but make sure you have some good shoes (good balance should help, too).
We spent most of our time here running through the thin, glass-like pools of water that would wash the beach as the waves came in. It was all I wanted to do and I would have been happy doing it all day long if we’d had the time. We were there for a couple of hours before the tide started rising and we could see rain clouds on the horizon. It was a surreal feeling walking back to the entrance as waves were coming in on both sides of us, knowing that if we didn’t get back soon, we would be trapped there on that formation of rocks at the mercy of the sea. It reminded me of being a child, when the thought of being stranded would turn into a game, the rising tide would turn into an enormous flood, and the way back would be thought of as treacherous and life-threatening. I knew there was no real danger, but it was thrilling all the same. The storm caught up with us and as it poured, water soaking through our clothes and rinsing all the salt away, I felt more and more filled up with gratitude and joy. It was everything.
Have you been to Playa Uvita? Did you find it as magical as we did? Maybe you’re planning a trip there – let us know in the comments!