Visiting Uvita is very different from living here. It’s easy to get caught up in the beauty or in the enjoyable aspects of the area and tell yourself that you will move to Uvita without giving it much thought.
However, when you are vacationing, life is typically easy; there are few obstacles to overcome and there is always that safety blanket of knowing that you will return home to familiar territory.
The following seven questions are in no way intended to deter you from making your move to Uvita, but rather they are intended to help you assess whether or not a move to Uvita, Costa Rica is a good fit for you.
1. What climate best suites me?
One of the most alluring aspects about Costa Rica is its tropical climate. Let’s face it, there are a lot of people who live in cold climates, whether in North America or Europe, who would do anything for the opportunity to live in a tropical climate. However, the fact is that humans are accustomed to their surroundings,and while a tropical climate is a nice break from the extreme cold, it can also take its toll.
Uvita, which is in the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica, basically has two seasons: a wet season and a dry season.
Over the course of the dry season, January to May, the weather can get very hot, to the point that it’s nearly unbearable at times. Though it won’t rain for months, the humidity remains very high. During the wet season, June through December, it’s not uncommon to have entire days of rain, in extreme cases it can rain nonstop for a week!
Depending on the type of climate you enjoy you might find one of the seasons unenjoyable. To find out for yourself try visiting during the middle of each season, such as in February or March and then in September or October, in order to give yourself the opportunity to experience both extremes.
If the heat and humidity are not for you, don’t worry, there are other options in Costa Rica. For colder climates you may want to look at the mountainous areas such as the central valley around San Jose, the country’s capital, or around San Isidro which is a mere 45 minute drive from Uvita.
2. Would I be comfortable living in a small town?
Uvita is a small town of about 1,500 – 2,000 people. If you combine Uvita and Bahia Ballena, the neighboring community on the southern side of the Uvita river, then you have whopping population of about 3,000 people. Depending on your motivations for moving, this may or may not be a positive aspect, but it’s a very important one to consider.
If small-town living is not for you, then you may want to research some of the more populated cities in Costa Rica, such as Alajuela or San Isidro.
3. What services am I willing to live without?
Life in a small community has its advantages and disadvantages but sometimes it can be a bit nerve-wracking if one is not prepared.
The pace of life in a small town such as Uvita is much slower than what most North Americans or Europeans are used to. With this slower pace also come certain limitations. For example, even though we are only a 45-minute drive away from the eighth largest city in the country, San Isidro, the goods and services that are readily available in Uvita are significantly reduced. This is even true for San Isidro, which means that it is often the case that obtaining access to quality healthcare, specific goods, or common forms of entertainment (movie theatres, shopping malls, etc.) requires a 3.5 hour drive to San Jose.
For many individuals looking to make a move to Uvita, neither the lack of common entertainment forms nor the purchasing of goods are a limiting factor, provided they have access to a good Internet connection. However, the point on healthcare is one that should be considered, particularly for those with families and/or specific health conditions.
4. Do I plan on living in Uvita year round?
This is an important question for homeowners or even long-term renters to answer because homeowners that plan on leaving the country for months at a time will need to consider how to maintain their home and propert while they are away. The tropical climate takes a harsh toll on things that are not in use or kept up.
There are three main factors to consider if you will be leaving your Costa Rican home for long periods of time, they are:
- Yard maintenance – the natural world thrives with all the rain that Costa Rica receives so it is important to keep up with monthly maintenance so that the jungle does not encroach and overtake your property
- Maintain proper functioning of belonging – things that are not used regularly in Costa Rica tend to deteriorate rather quickly, this can include household appliances, vehicles, and anything that is susceptible to rust due to the close proximity to the ocean
- Home safety – with Uvita continuing to grow in popularity, the subject of theft and home burglary becomes significant, particularly if a home is left unattended for days or weeks at a time.
Planning ahead for these types of situations and finding dependable people to care for your property will give you the peace of mind that your home is being looked after.
5. Am I willing to modify my daily diet?
You may be thinking, this is a very odd question to ask myself, but there are two reasons for this question. One is a matter of adaptability and the other is a matter of finances.
Costa Rican cuisine is quite simple and limited. If you enjoy food this is something to consider carefully because unless you are living in one of the larger cities of Costa Rica, it can be difficult to find variety and quality food.
Uvita is no exception to this. While there are two larger grocery stores in the area, the variety of available items is limited or at times not available at all. Likewise, imported goods are priced higher. The Costa Rican diet consists primarily of rice and beans, hence these products will be the most affordable, along with local produce.
This means that food products and brands you may normally find affordable, such as cheese, peanut butter, and alcohol, are priced significantly higher than what North Americans are used to, particularly those from the United States.
Visitors to the area are normally surprised at the cost of some basic items, so just keep in mind that the Costa Rican diet is different and that one’s diet and desire for certain items can also have a significant impact on whether relocating to Costa Rica is feasible. If you are on a budget, your ability to adapt will be key.
Your Best Option
By no means are these questions intended to provide a definitive answer on whether you should move to Uvita or not. Rather, they are intended to help you think through some of the factors to consider before making a major life change, and certainly before committing to investing your money into a home construction project in Uvita.
The best recommendation we can give is to first visit the area and then visit for a longer period of time, perhaps a couple months. This should give you a clearer idea of what life is like in Uvita, and if this is the place for you to move to.