The road to Uvita was quite uneventful. Just before leaving I was told by various Manuel Antonio “locals” (i.e. the bus stop gang previous mentioned in the Manuel Antonio post) that due to the storms that had been in the area, the road to Uvita had been washed out and was impassable. Though I thanked them for their concerns (really I think they just wanted me to hand out and around with them, but as drugs aren’t my thing I really wanted nothing to do with these particular folks) I figured that if indeed this information was correct, then the best people who would know for sure would be the bus drivers themselves.
So it was that I set back on a bus from Manuel Antonio to Quepos and had zero trouble boarding a bus for Uvita. As it turned out the information given to me about the hazardous road wasn’t completely untruthful as at one point we did pass a portion of the road where literally half of it was missing and it was reduced to a single lane road. The drainage pipe below the road simply wasn’t able to withstand the amount of rain and debris that had passed though to keep it standing. Nonetheless however we were able to get past the area and still in good time.
On recommendation from a person whom I had met at the Costa Linda Backpackers hostel in Manuel Antonio (he worked for Lonely Planet and was making his way around to various hostels to review for their publications) I was set on staying at a hostel in Uvita called “The Butterfly Garden”. Ok, once again I can’t be exact of the name now since it has been a while, but it was definitely something to do with butterflies. And anyone who was paying any sort of attention to the various road signs along the way would have spotted signs for it for quite some time. The signs for Uvita however were not so clear. One thing to definitely get used to is that there are never any welcome signs or alerts of any measure to indicate which little town you may be in or may have passed. All there is to rely on is the information and constant inquiries to local passengers or the bus driver (despite the numerous “do not talk to the bus driver” signs) as to where exactly you are and when it is that you need to leave the bus to make it to the right place!
I was the last person on the local bus and wasn’t panicking yet as I still saw road signs along the way advertising the Butterfly hostel. Seeing as I was the last one on board however, I struck up conversation with the driver directly this time (usually I try to pick the local people’s brains sitting around me) and he instructed me on when to get off and which way to go.
I was dropped off along a dirt road and pointed in the direction of a long dirt road that curved at the end. About 10 minutes later I arrived at the Butterfly Garden hostel. The place had been described to me as “Neverland” complete with treetop bungalows that you had to get into via wooden ladders. Really the story of the owner, as is the story of most, was quite interesting. She had moved down years before having decided that Uvita was her place to live. She gave up everything in the States to create her own personal Neverland and thus there it was in front of me.
The place was quite impressive and had a lot of charms. They were in the middle of constructing new treetop bungalows however so there was a lot of work and noise going on mainly from volunteer random travelers and from friends of hers from the States who came down to help with construction. The place honestly was quite deserted had it not been for 2 Italian girls (volunteers to do art work and other creative projects on-site) and another couple of volunteers who were just hanging out trading work for a free stay.
For some reason, while the place was quite nice and the people too were perfectly nice, something about the place just didn’t sit well with me and as soon as I had arrived, I had already made my mind that I would be leaving the next morning.
I nonetheless settled in for the night and as it was still early in the day, I opted to go for a walk along the beach that was only a few hundred meters away and via the entrance from the hostel you could avoid the fee to enter what was considered their National Park.
The Baleen National Park of Uvita is so named for a sand bar and for the numerous whale spottings off of this particular coast. At just the right tide however, and with an aerial view, a sand bar would present itself in the exact and perfect shape of a whale’s tail! It sounded so fascinating, but as mentioned you really wouldn’t be able to see much unless you had an aerial view and if you had timed the tides correctly.
I wandered along the beach for quite some time taking pictures of the area but opting not to swim as there were several signs to guard your belongings from beach thieves. Since I didn’t have a buddy with me to watch my stuff while in the water, I chose this time to simply be a photo-op session. I do adore the ocean in so many ways but again, perhaps it was just my mood, but the beach wasn’t at all impressive to me. Or perhaps because I had just come from some beautiful beaches, these just didn’t seem up to par. The beach was washed up with a ton of random debris, the water looked murky, dirty and portions had what looked to be oil slick along the surface, and sadly there were no whales to spot in the distance.
I spent about 1-2 hours walking along the shore however until I reached a river jutting into the ocean and opted to turn back instead of trying to swim across (Lord knows if I would have been able to get back again with the tides turning!!). I made it back to the hostel just in time to be invited to go surfing by the owner and her construction friend from the states. Now, I have never been surfing but at this point thought, why the heck not! But that’s as far as that story gets as when we got back out to the beach the conditions were not suitable for surfing. So while I still haven’t been or tried surfing yet, I did learn a little about it by one of the surfers who explained “closed-out” waves and other surfing conditions. We did spend some time simply splashing about in the ocean however and just enjoying the wonder that Nature had provided in the form of the vast sea.
By this point it was starting to get dark so back to the hostel we all went again. The rest of the evening was quite uneventful and passed rather dully. To this day I still can’t put my finger on what my “Beef” with Uvita or the Butterfly place was. Because while the people were perfectly nice and the place was very beautiful, there just was nothing to really do there. The town was very small and uneventful (I did forget to mention that I had a walk-about the town itself before the beach walk in search of much needed food!!) and really I felt like I came away from the place having spent way too much money for what it was worth! But not every place is for everybody, so I took it in stride and stuck with my plan to leave the next morning. I caught the 9am bus headed South again to get to my next “planned” destination of Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula…
Pictures from Uvita and the Butterfly Garden hostel: