Ballena National Marine Park
“Ballena” means “whale” in Spanish; the national marine park is named after the humpback whales that visit these shallow, warm coastal waters twice a year to reproduce and give birth to their calves. Humpback whales are an endangered species and are protected internationally. Both northern and southern hemisphere humpback whales migrate to Costa Rica’s tropical waters – from December to April coming from Alaska, and between August and November from Antarctica. Humpbacks are considered the “acrobats of the sea,” and since they swim slowly and live at the ocean’s surface, they are perfect stars for whale-watching tours. Located 13 km south of Dominical along the Costa Ballena (whale coast), the Ballena National Marine Park also protects the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Central America. The park’s dark sand beaches are pristine, wide and unpopulated. Besides humpback whales, the park’s rich jade waters are home to large populations of dolphins, seabirds, and sea turtles. Scuba diving, snorkelling, sea kayaking and boating are very popular here.
- Uvita Mangroves: Uvita Beach (Playa) is situated within the Ballena National Marine Park. One of its best features is its beautiful landscape with estuaries and mangrove swamps that are home to several species of marine birds, such as the Blue Heron, White Ibis and Osprey.
- Ballena (Whale) Island: Located 3 km offshore in the Ballena National Marine Park, boat tours take you to the island for great diving, snorkelling and swimming.