The Cristal Ballena is a good launch for the south coast. A fairly quick drive from San Jose by way of San Isidro General. A cool and beautiful drive. It is easy to get to Golfito, Boruco, Dominical, & Quepos from this hotel. The Whale's Tail and Marine Park are a must for at least two days. When the tide is out it is a beautiful beach and the water is clean, clean. The hotel is nice, but I would not say five stars. I don't know why it is so expensive. The pool is really great and there is a nice hiking trail on the grounds. The reason I can't give it a full excellent rating: We found the food to be below par for the cost - we had shrimp the first night there and they were cooked until they reached "rubber bouncy ball" stage and we did not eat there again, the bed was very, very "firm", there were loads of ants outside on the patio (too many for an expensive resort - even in Costa Rica), the staff was fairly indifferent - not rude or anything, but one had to go get a drink at the bar, no one ever came and asked if you wanted anything, even refills finally they said to book a massage treatment they only needed two hours notice - more like 24 hrs...maybe...I didn't get one! Other than that, it was a good place to launch day trips from. It is a very popular place for Europeans and we met some neat people. The owner was also fun to chat with. A better view, but much steeper drive, could be had at Whales and Dolphins. Great restaurants in Uvita proper. Each one we ate at was delicious.