Five Months in Uvita, Costa Rica: A Summary

peterchristopher's picture

My wife and I today gave the final touches on the cleaning of the house we had rented for the past five months in Uvita.  Here's a summary.

We felt that we were wise to rent, as opposed to buying.  Financially, properties are very expensive there.  The house we rented probably cost well over $100,000 to build and well over $100,000 for the property.  But the rent, including electricity, cell phone, land line, internet, garbage, water - $700 per month.  Of course cheaper places can be had, but we decided that we wanted to spend the money to enjoy our time in Costa Rica as much as possible.  I was able to do some good work online, and covered the expenses in any case.

We had a hard time making friends.  We're both sometimes reserved, but we made more local (Tico) friends in one month in Grecia than five months in Uvita.  When we were in Grecia, we were easily welcomed into family's homes, and we were also welcomed as volunteers at the school.  In Uvita, we were rejected by both schools as volunteers and even rejected by the police when we volunteered to teach English (they were initially interested, but ultimately the chief said, "I'll call you to confirm" which of course meant no thanks).  We also had a hard time relating to the foreigners in Uvita.  Most seemed either drug users or SUV-drivers, and we just don't fit.  More than half the invitations we made to other foreigners were snubbed.  Maybe with more time we would have developed some closer friendships.

We loved the nearby trees with the toucans and howler monkeys.  We appreciated the friendliness of the Toucan Hotel where they gave us coconuts and at Cascada Verde where they gave us cuttings and katuk for salad.  We loved the view, the weather, the convenience of the store, the usually-reliable internet connection.

We never had even one thing stolen from us in Uvita.  We left out tools, machetes, gloves, umbrellas, motorycle helmets, electric dog shears, kitchen utensils (the house had an open design and it would have been hard to lock these things up every time we left).  We heard about a few robberies by intimidation, but we were never ourselves threatened in any way.

Overall it was a blessing to live there and to have a peaceful and safe environment close to nature to welcome our daughter into this world.

Today we traveled by taxi to Perez Zeledon (25,000 colones), by bus to San Jose (4,300 colones), and then locally to our friend's house where we are staying now.

We did have one near-loss on the bus ride today.  We had quite a lot of stuff, including my expensive LCD computer monitor.  I had it next to me in the aisle (in the second-to-last row of the bus), but it was banging around a little.  One Tico man about 25 years old, about six-two and muscular, was sitting in the stairway just in front of us.  His wife and child were in the seats behind us.  He suggested that we put the LCD monitor on the convenient space next to him, underneath the seats in front of me.  I made a mistake.  I agreed, and gave him the LCD monitor.  Later, just before Cartago, he and his wife and child got off the bus.  My wife noticed that just as he left, he grabbed our monitor.  She said to me loudly, "Our computer!"  I looked out the window and was shocked to see the man carrying away our LCD monitor.  I bolted down the stairs and barely made it out the door as it was closing, with the bus already in motion.  He started to run, with the monitor.  I ran fast, and he had a backpack and the box for the LCD display, so I was catching up.  Then he just put down the LCD box as he was running.  Amazingly, it skidded to a stop without even falling over.  He kept running.  I took back our monitor in my hand still in its box and went back and boarded the bus.  "No piense que todos los Ticos son así," said the man across from the aisle, lifting his nose from Deutoronomy.  "Yo sé," I said.  Many people in the bus were still looking back, so I said, "Solamente que hay que estar bien listo uno, aquí en Costa Rica." Everyone went back to their sleeping positions.   After we got off the bus, our friend from Deuteronomy said he was glad that we'd gotten back the monitor and apologized on behalf of his country. I said thanks.

In retrospect, I'm not sure whether I made a wise choice to chase him.  Obviously, it's possible he could have been armed, or that he and nearby friends might have ganged up on me.  But I definitely made a poor choice to trust him with the expensive, flat-screen monitor in the first place.  Getting your things "conveniently taken" from the bus as it nears San Jose is such a cliche at this point, what a 'tard I was.  It almost turned into an expensive bus ride.

In retrospect, I'm glad we had the opportunity to spend the past five month in Uvita.  It is one of the most beautiful places I've had the fortune to live.



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Uvita houses

To Peter Christopher (and others)....I'd love to see pictures of this house and where it is exactly, contact info, etc. Is it half way up the mountain in the comfort zone overlooking the ocean, or where? Planning to go there for three months or so later this year. did you stay there legally for more then 3 months?...did you take a short trip to Panama or elsewhere to "restart" your Visa time? Please send or post more info....feel free to email me...thanks, Tomaji

Seems like a nice place to

Seems like a nice place to live, except for the fact that you need to keep you eyes open when it comes to people.


What are you talking about?  Apparently you didn't even read the article, or anything else on this website: you're just trying to spam your bizarre name on our board?

a litte racist?

Wow Peter. Spoken like a true bigot. I heard???? WTH? You've never actually been here yet you talk smack about the Costa Ricans? I might add that you failed to mention that Costa Ricans are also notorious for being the most generous, kind people in ALL of Central America and in addition to that...were voted "Happiest Place on the Planet". Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. What's El Salvador known for besides hosting bigots like yourself?

Peter, sounds like a nice trip overall

The cost of Costa Rica to me is not a wise real estate investment today, so it sounds like you made a wise decision. It was years ago, but I'm not sure the smart money is going there for real estate, but rather for lifestyle.

If I weren't marrying a Salvadoran I'd be tempted to invest in either Uruguay or Ecuador. The prices are better investments and Uruguay offers a nicer environment than many Central American countries.

For us, family makes the difference. We are improving his mother's house, building apartments onto the house, so she can retire with income, and seeking our own place to buy. If those factors didn't influence our decision, my eyes would be open.

El Salvador does have some wonderful benefits. In many places, it has an almost American California feel. In other places it is a bit more colonial-rustic. I'm not much on seeking the barrio experience to feel as if I've been celebrated as Latin American, like so many cheles I read about. I can have that in any Los Angeles ghetto, so I don't see the point. I am a bit more interested in celebrating comfort, than celebrating my ability to wear my hands out scrubbing floors with bleach. So I won't be a favorite among the pretentious who seek what they figure is the Latin experience (which to me seems slightly racist to assume we are all poor campesinos, but what the heck, let them have their silly fantasies). El Salvador offers this for me. Costa Rica? Too many snakes, chinches, sonpopos, and the cantos de cigaros would have me screaming, "Shut the hell up!" .Here, those putty colored geckos are cool. They eat the bugs and I don't mind their chirping. I don't want to hear a pit of snakes making the same sound though.

The birds here are fabulous. They wake you each morning singing, "Buenos dias, dias, dias!" And the strangler vines and bromeliads are incredible. The heat is tolerable, but I wouldn't want to amp it up a notch to Costa Rica's level. It's just right.

I think there are more hotheads here, but in a way I prefer that. It's honest, whereas I've heard that Costa Ricans can be back stabbers. I certainly have very little respect for Costa Ricans who pass judgment on Nicaraguans, when they are viewed in the same light by the world. It seems hilarious and a bit pretentious. I know they claim Nicaraguans are thieves, but of all the countries, Costa Rica has the WORST reputation for selling it's own daughters to pedophiles, so I'm not sure where the smugness comes from.

But anyway, I'm glad you had a good five months there. And to the snooty ones? Laugh your ass off. Nothing like a snooty provincial person to give you a good laugh in life, is there?

normal mortgages and rental homes

The way bankers have gone off the deep end of covering their a**es, there's no normal mortgages anywhere anymore :(

But about Uvita, the house we rented was listed in craigslist.  I just checked and right now there are houses in Uvita from $325 to $1400 per month.   One gated 2BR I just noticed 2 blocks from the beach, fully furnished for $450/month.  Or you can house-sit for even cheaper sometimes.  Of course you'd probably need to take care of the animals.

Bought a lot close to Uvita

The Uvita area is beautiful, but no Gringo should pay cash for a property in Costa Rica "and then search for a mortgage to construct a home". There are no "normal" North American mortgages to be had in Costa Rica. Renting is the best idea, but where can you find a renal home at $700. a month?

Uvita Costa Rica

I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your time here in Uvita as it is a magical place to live, visit or pass through. I will await your photos of your time here as I'm sure you've got plenty of goodies!

I've got a site on Uvita actually if you're interested.

Uvita Online


Served in the Peace Corps in Uvita from 1988 to 1991.

Back then the pavement, lights, power, etc. ended in Dominical.  There was one telephone at a bar.  And there was more wildlife than nightlife.  Good to see Uvita has grown-up so fast.  For all the hardships of Peace Corps/Costa Rica, it was still a "Country Club" country.  Glad you took time to live in Uvita.  The location comes off as almost magical.  But "progress" can kill such places. Excuse the jadedness of the locals.  Turning one's frontyard into an amusement park can be galling.

Pura Vida

Hold this for me

Well Peterchristopher there's an old saying.

If a Tico doesn't steal it he either doesn't like it or it's too heavy.

no problem. Here's what to do

Hi Vicki, No problem.  Here's what to do.  Once you are logged into your account, click "Create Content" in the left menu. Then click "Forum Topic".  Fill in the subject heading (ie "Who wants to travel with me to Nicaragua"), choose a forum category from the menu (like "Announcements of Events / Travel Partners / Personal Connections"), write your text in the editor, and click save.

This way your topic will appear on its own page, instantly promoted to the front top of Central America Forum, and it will also appear in Active forum topics and in the forum archive.

We welcome any links to relevant sites, especially sites as informative as your excellent sites!


HELP!!  Not sure what you

HELP!!  Not sure what you mean or how to do it (I'm "technically challenged!!").  Tell me what's best & I'll do it!!  I'm wanting to see if anyone wants to join me but also sharin' info from this little psuedo "site" I've created (all of which I don't make a penny off).  THANX for the explanation/help!!


<<Hi Vicki, perhaps your comment would be better as a "blog" or "forum topic" (just click "create content" from the left menu).  It's a bit off-topic for this post as it does not appear to be related.  If you could quickly recreate it as a blog or forum topic, I can delete the comment here.>>

Hi Vicki

Hi Vicki, perhaps your comment would be better as a "blog" or "forum topic" (just click "create content" from the left menu).  It's a bit off-topic for this post as it does not appear to be related.  If you could quickly recreate it as a blog or forum topic, I can delete the comment here.

Thanks, Peter

Anyone want to join me in San Juan del Sur, NI in March?

Need a Costa Rica Tourist Visa run?? 

Anyone want to join me in San Juan del Sur, NI in March?  I'll be doing a quickie 72 hour Visa Run via bus (though I MAY fly on NatureAir to Liberia to shave off 5 hours of the trip depending on my $$ situation at the time) taking the bus that goes to Peñas Blanca (NO WAY will you catch me on TransNica or TicoBus because you HAVE to stay on the bus crossing over the border till EVER person on the bus gets cleared on BOTH sides of the border.  From what MANY have reported to me, this can take HOURS plus it's LOTS more $$).

When we went in Dec. we stayed at an ULTRA basic place just a 1/2 block off the bay (yet with COMFY beds!!  Like $25/1-2 people!!) - The Joxi - & I'm checking on availability.

Wanna go explore San Juan del Sur together?  I've already gotten a good lay of the land (see my "website" - & I'm happy to share (I accept dinner/drink forms of appreciation!!).  Going around that timeframe yourself & want to connect up there?  

I've been mainly doing my visa runs in Bocas del Toro, Panama but since discovering SJDS, I have a new FAVORITE place (in a different way)!!

Do you have more details you'd like to share on my site?

If you're interested, e- me at



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