Hi Kristy, Uvita sounds like it would be a good fit your family, especially with the schools so close by (those two are the only ones we know of). We chose the mountains near Dominical more because an opportunity presented itself (we’re caretaking at a property), but are very happy with the location because it’s nice and quiet, full of jungle, and is a bit cooler because it’s slightly higher altitude. I wouldn’t rule out living in Uvita in the future if we found the right place. We’re actually having a baby later this year so I (Jenn) have been talking to some moms about what it’s like to raise kids here. The whole Uvita/Dominical/Ojochal area seems to be a good place for kids- the only thing is there aren’t parks or easy places to go where parents and kids hang out so you have to work a little for the social time. There are a lot of super friendly families here though who are eager to find play dates for their kids.
Uvita/Dominical is more rural and spread out like we said so tough if you don’t have a car. There is one area close to the beach, Bahia Uvita, with some rentals and a couple of small grocery stores. The bigger grocery stores are on the main highway (bikeable from Bahia but it’s not ideal). The Christian Academy is up by the highway and there are a few rentals around there too so that’s an option. Escuela Verde though is sort of off on its own south of Uvita so you would need a car if the kids go there. There are buses in the area but they don’t run too regularly (only a few times a day in each direction) so getting around to run errands and especially to get to school would be tough. If you got a car, you’d also have tons more choices for places in the surrounding mountains (which would be my pick because it’s not quite as hot and it’s prettier because of all the jungle).
The beaches around Uvita are part of the national park so you do have to pay a fee. Sometimes (especially during the low season), there’s no one working at the southern entrance to Playa Uvita so you can just go. Otherwise, yes, it’s Playa Hermosa to the north or Playa Tortuga or Playa Ventanas to the south.