Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Cristal Ballena

Costanera Hwy., 7 km (4 miles) south of Uvita, Uvita, Puntarenas, 60504, Costa Rica Fodor's Choice

High on a hillside with spectacular ocean views framed by giant traveler's palm trees, this Austrian-owned hotel is the most luxurious base for exploring the area, with a 400-square-meter (4,300-square-foot) swimming pool that commands both mountain and sea views. There's lots of open space for kids to play in, plus fitness trails for grown-ups and a spa to relax in. The birding here is excellent,with an expert biologist guide on staff. The elegant Mediterranean-style buildings, painted blue and white, have spacious rooms and suites with canopy beds, large tile bathrooms with double sinks, and sliding-glass doors leading out to large private terraces. No. 10, a corner master suite, has the most light and the largest, breeziest terrace. If you tire of the view (not likely), there are large, flat-screen televisions on swivel bases. Breakfast buffets are hearty at the pleasant poolside restaurant, which also serves lunch and candlelit dinners, featuring excellent fish along with some tasty Austrian specialties, including wiener schnitzel. Service is friendly and polished. There's always a breeze and a feast for the eyes from the restaurant terrace. For budget-minded guests, there are two "adventure cabins" at the edge of the jungle, with ceiling fans but no air-conditioning.


  • wonderful swimming pool for serious swimmers and loungers
  • great ocean, mountain, and sky views
  • luxurious rooms


  • stairs to manage between rooms and restaurant
  • steep walk down to beach


Green, Views, Family
Near the beach


Phones: -2786–5354


19 suites, 2 cabins
Rate Includes: Free breakfast

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