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It´s easy to get amazed when you arrive. Seeing a rocky green wall, with multiple caverns and small waterfalls. A very ‘National Geographic’ scenary.

Refresing water falling through the caverns at Tortuga beach. Photo: John Durán.

Hotel: Uvita Paradise

Google Maps: 

Walk: Around 2 kms (soft walk)

Key advice: Visit only at low tide

‘A break in the middle of this confinement’, I thought, when they told me about the caves at Tortuga beach. What I may not have imagined was that a visit to that hidden destination in Uvita would be like an oxygen tank, so necessary to regain one’s life-force.

To begin with, it was quite a challenge to discover that place. David, the owner of the Uvita Paradise hotel, warned us in advance that needed to get up very early, so we could get to see the caves.

It turns out that knowing this destination implies multiple challenges: First, the ‘early morning’. We had to be on the beach at 6 a.m. to cross the two estuaries before the tide came in.

Second, finding the way. To get to the coast and start the walk (it’s about 2 kilometers), you have to drive on a dirt and stone road, under a lot of amazing trees. I must say that the charm of the journey began there, when it seemed that the forest was ‘singing’ to us; it was a concert of cicadas in that green jungle.

This road, sorrounded by trees and palm tress, will lead you to Tortuga beach. From there, your walk journey will start to the caverns. Photo: John Durán.

John, the photographer who joined us on the trip, climbed into Carlos’ pickup truck to capture the image of the road and get an idea of what awaits you.

Just in case you have any doubts, the road is regular, even though it is not asphalt. You can get there by car or 4×4, no problem. Anyway, ‘the zopi’ has never failed us. That´s how we call Carlos´ pickup truck, our adventure partner in GOPlaya, a black 4×4 truck; from the color comes the nickname ‘Zopi’, a short-name for ‘zopilote’ or vulture.

I was telling John during the trip that in the ‘Zopi’ we have slept. Once we went to the Santa Rosa National Park, in the area known as the Murciélago sector, and we took the wrong road, which led us to that lost destination, with narrow roads, few light and a dirt road.

The point is that there came a time when the truck got stuck and we had no cell phone signal, so we had to park it at the side and wait until the next day to walk to the ranger’s booth to ask for help and get out of there.

But that’s another story, now we are well accompanied by the cicadas on our way to Tortuga beach in search of the caves. We were able to park under some trees, next to another vehicle.

At first sight, we look at a long gray sand beach, with an estuary on one side. Now the big question is, do we walk to the left or to the right?

If we had made a mistake, we wouldn’t be telling this story, because as the tide rises at a certain time, you have to be very careful with the available time.

Luckily, another vehicle parked very close to us and gave the impression that it was someone who knew the area. A Canadian got out of the car with his dog and told us that he had been living in Uvita for about three years. Some time ago, he drove through Guanacaste and Limon in his vehicle, but he fell in love with the intense green of the area.

With a particular ‘spanglish’ he pointed out the route to the caves. Or rather, Zeus did it, who overtook his owner and ran to the estuary to play with the water for a while.

Zeus helped us finding the caverns of Tortuga beach. Photo: John Durán.

We followed Zeus, walked to the right and passed the first estuary with the water brushing our knees.

A short walk on the sand, holding our sandals and the sound of the sea telling us ‘you are almost there’.

After the first 10 minutes of walking, I began to notice in the distance that we were approaching a stone wall lined with a very ‘National Geographic’ green.

Carlos started to look for spots to fly the drone and Jhon advanced at a fast pace. I was not hurry at all, so I took it easy to appreciate the panoramic view.

Last year’s strong storms took away some palms and trees, although the community has made an effort to take care of it. Especially because at certain times and seasons, the turtles lay their eggs on this beach.

In fact, there is a turtle nursery that you can see when you enter the beach. The community’s goal is to take the eggs there to prevent them from being stolen and then when they hatch, return them to the sea.

Now, we are already approaching the caves and it is time to cross the second estuary, the last obstacle before enjoying the goal of this trip: The caves of Tortuga beach.

Water brushing our knees when crossing the second estuary. We were just about to get to the caverns of  Tortuga beach. Photo: John Durán.

It is easy to be amazed when you arrive. Look at a rocky wall, with multiple holes and small caves, from where you can see small waterfalls.

The wet rocks have caused the flora to grow around the immense wall.

I did not want to stay with the desire to refresh myself in that small paradise hidden in Uvita.

This is one of the caverns you can find at Tortuga beach in Uvita. Photo: John Durán.

On one side near the beach, the biggest cave can be found. You can cross it from one side to the other as long as you visit it at low tide.

That is to say, it arrives at a time when it is better to look at it from afar, since the waves break there.

We enjoyed the caves, appreciated them and then Carlos flew the drone to capture some pretty incredible images of this destination (check out the video at the top of this article).

Carlos flew the drone and got the scence of this destination from the heights. Photo: John Durán.

Then, we left from there with another objective in mind (on relax mode), to enjoy Hermosa beach in Dominical.

After the adventure comes the calm and it was a good time to enjoy the beach.

Before, we went to Uvita Paradise to refresh ourselves in the pool and to rest for a while after the intense trip to Tortuga beach (we are not 19 anymore, haha) and then we left to Hermosa.

Enjoyed the pool at Uvita Paradise hotel, and then we went to Hermosa beach, in Dominical. Photo: John Durán.

On this beach there is parking space, shade near the coast and, just in case, a lifeguard’s hut.

From far away you can see the surfers running the waves and on the other side the children playing on the shore.

I noticed how the tourist bubbles kept their distance from each other, something that made me happy.

Hermosa beach in Dominical. Nice spot at the Southern Pacific. Photo: John Durán.

I also noticed that most people got out of their vehicles wearing masks.

We enjoyed the sea and the unique green of Uvita that surrounds the beaches, with the trees and the sound of the birds at all times.

A good ride in a special destination, Uvita.

Photo gallery:

When you get to the beach, you will find a sea turtle nursery. Photo: John Durán.
Water reflection and beach at the back, the path that lead us to caverns of Tortuga beach. Photo: John Durán.
Zeus the dog helps us find the caverns, while he plays in the estuary. Photo: John Durán.
José Pablo Alfaro

José Pablo Alfaro

Journalist and nature lover. He likes boat trips, walking through trails and living natural experiences.