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Marino Ballena National Park

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Located along the pristine shores of Costa Rica, Marino Ballena National Park offers an unparalleled experience for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the tropics. This unique national park, named after the humpback whales that frequent its waters, is a haven for marine life and a perfect destination for those looking to explore the vibrant biodiversity of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

Overview of Marino Ballena National Park

The first marine park in Costa Rica and Central America opened in 1990 when Marino Ballena National Park was created. This was the first protected area dedicated solely to preserving and protecting the region’s diverse marine ecosystems and the endangered species that inhabit them.

The park safeguards 5,510 hectares of lowland rainforest, mangrove estuary, beach, and marine ecosystems encompassing beautiful beaches, rocky coastlines, coral reefs, and the famous “Whale’s Tail” sandbar formation that becomes visible at low tide. The park’s primary aim is to safeguard its rich marine biodiversity, which includes sea turtles, dolphins, and a wide array of fish species.


Ballena Marine National Park is situated in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica, on the country’s southern Pacific coast. Uvita is the closest town and the park’s major entry point. The Costanera Sur Highway (Route 34) makes it simple to reach the park, making it a handy stop for those taking in the area.


The park is open daily from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, allowing visitors ample time to explore its many attractions and activities.


The entrance fee for foreign visitors is $6 for adults and $3 for children. The maintenance and conservation activities of the park are aided by these fees.

Things to Do in Marino Ballena National Park

Visitors can engage in a wide range of thrilling activities at Marino Ballena National Park, including:


Whale Watching

Whale watching is one of the park’s most well-liked activities and the main reason why many people come here. From July to October and again from December to March, humpback whales migrate to the park’s warm waters, creating a spectacle worth witnessing, made up of impressive antics as they leap and frolic in the sea.


Snorkeling and Diving

Snorkeling and diving are excellent options to pursue in the park’s warm, clear waters. You are able to freely explore the bright coral reefs here and come across a range of aquatic creatures, such as colorful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins.



The park features several pristine beaches less than 7 km (4 miles) apart, such as Playa Uvita, Playa Arco, and Playa Ballena. These beaches are perfect for lounging, having a picnic, or just unwinding while taking in the breathtaking views of the coastline at sunset or any time of the day.



Hiking and exploring the coastal rainforest is possible on the park’s trails. When you stroll through the verdant surroundings, keep an eye out for wildlife including monkeys, iguanas, and rare birds.



Rent a kayak and glide through the park’s tranquil waters. This activity offers a unique view of the coastline and provides opportunities for close encounters with marine life.
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Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Ballena Marine National Park depends on your interests. For whale watching, plan your trip during the migration seasons from July to October and December to March. If you prefer drier weather for beach activities and hiking, the dry season from December to April is ideal. However, the park is a year-round destination with something to offer in every season.

What to Bring

When visiting Ballena Marine National Park, it’s essential to come prepared. Here are some items to pack for a comfortable and enjoyable experience:
  • Swimwear and Towel: For swimming, snorkeling, and beach activities.
  • Sunscreen and Hat: To protect yourself from the strong tropical sun.
  • Water and Snacks: Staying hydrated and energized is crucial, especially during outdoor activities.
  • Snorkeling Gear: If you plan to explore the underwater world.
  • Hiking Shoes: For exploring the trails within the park.
  • Camera: To capture the breathtaking scenery and wildlife.
  • Binoculars: For whale watching and bird spotting.

Any traveler to Costa Rica should make time to see Ballena Marine National Park. For those who enjoy the outdoors and seek adventure, its breathtaking beaches, abundant marine species, and interesting activities make it the ideal destination. Whether you come to see the magnificent humpback whales, investigate the colorful coral reefs, or just unwind on the sandy beaches, the park provides a unique experience that showcases the Pacific coast of Costa Rica’s natural splendor.

Whenever you are ready to plan your visit to Ballena Marine National Park check out our beautiful vacation rentals to find the perfect place to stay. Your adventure in this tropical paradise awaits!

Other Attractions

After you have visited volcanoes and national parks you may want to observe (or cool off in) some of the many beautiful waterfalls while in Costa Rica. Be sure to view our full list of things to do in Costa Rica to ensure you’re experiencing all of the main attractions while on your vacation.
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