About Isla Uvita

A half-hour boat ride from Limon, Isla Uvita is an undeveloped, uninhabited, reef-flanked island where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502 on his fourth New World voyage. In peak form the wave is an ultra-gnarly, jacking, bowling, warping lefthand reefbreak with a shallow outside ledge and two dangerously slabby sections thereafter, becoming a tuberiding haven for advanced surfers and bodyboarders experienced in thick-lipped slabs. Uvita picks up any trace of short-interval windswell generated by all the powerful Atlantic storms that crank up in the winter (and to a lesser-degree, summer), and morning windows are optimal; although with all the frequent thunderstorms that coincide with the surf seasons, it’s never onshore for too long on the Caribbean side. Occasionally world-class, sometimes sketchy, but perpetually rideable, Uvita generally has three takeoff sections and can hold up to double-overhead surf and beyond; at which point it becomes one of the freakishly challenging waves in the whole country.

Source: Isla Uvita Surf Guide

Ability Level

Intermediate - advanced

Beg Int Adv

Intermediate to expert

Local Vibe

Doable

Welcoming Intimidating

Not too bad. This being the Caribbean, a breezy, irie sizzle permeates the atmosphere. Some of the gringo expats are jerks, though.

Crowd Factor

Moderate

Mellow Heavy

On big swells, that ledge takes care of itself, and the gnarliest surfers and bodyboarders go unchallenged; while further down the line, shifting sections keep everyone honest. On pedestrian swells, weekends are usually busiest.

Spot Rating

Fun

Poor Perfect

Isla Uvita is a jacking, warping, bowling, hollow lefthand reefbreak that picks up any trace of swell, can hold double-overhead surf, and can be impossible or rippable depending on where you take off. Or it might just be good, clean fun.

Shoulder Burn

Medium

Light Exhausting

Reasonable, unless you’re paddling all the way from Limon.

Water Quality

Fair

Clean Dirty

It’s an island, so the nastier stuff tends to flow closer to the mainland. Regardless, all that rainfall makes for some brown water, with the occasional murky green.

Additional Information

Hazards

Frequent torrential downpours and all the flying, biting insects that come with torrential downpours. Jellyfish in hordes. Petty street crime. And some of the nastiest, sharpest, ugliest coral you’ve ever seen.

Access

Hire a boat in Limon or paddle over to the island (not advised).

Bring Your

Shortboard, bodyboard

Seabed

Grotesquely sharp, hard, dead coral reef conjured to the surface by the 1991 earthquake. Get cut here and you’re scarred for life. Fortunately, it’s not obscenely shallow in the lineup, and a keyhole around the southern bend of the island allows for relatively safe entry and exit to the wave.

Best Season

December through March, when grunty winter storms churning off Colombia send consistent ENE swells this way along with torrential squalls, which the Salamanca coastal range tempers just enough to allow for some offshore flow. July can be a sneaky-good month, too, when tropical systems start activating in the Caribbean.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos