Nestled in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica, Uvita is a paradise for those seeking a tranquil, tropical life, connected with nature.
Here, expats are enamored with their adopted home for a number of reasons: the rugged landscape, quiet beaches, jungles and waterfalls, and ultimately because it has not given way to large development.
"Although this area of Costa Rica, does have a healthy rainy season—which peaks in September and October—you don't have to worry about tropical storms or cyclones making landfall," says IL Roving Latin America Editor, Jason Holland.
Considered the hub of Costa Ballena (a 22-mile stretch of coastline), Uvita is punctuated by a long sand bar that connects the mainland to a spectacular coral reef formation, known as "The Whale's Tail" at the northern end of Marino Ballena National Park. When the tide is low, views from above look exactly like its name infers, a giant whale's tail emerging from the sea as each swell crashes over it.
It's one of the most popular places to see whales "breach" during their annual migration—in fact, there are so many humpback whales, Uvita hosts an Annual Whale and Dolphin Festival.
"Even though cost of living is very dependent on your specific lifestyle, a couple could live well in Uvita, including rent, for about $2,500 per month," says Holland. "That's with plenty of nights out at the area's ocean- and sunset-view restaurants. And thanks to the affordable healthcare and abundant cheap fruits and veggies in local markets, it's easy to save money."