Herradura, Puntarenas, Costa Rica                  Costa Rica Phone: +506 2637 6020         USA Toll-Free: +1 800 406 6280

Marino Ballena National Park

The Marino Ballena National Park is one of the most unique places in Costa Rica. Located near the coast along the Central Pacific coast in southern Puntarenas, Marino Ballena National Park protects more than 13,000 acres of ocean and 9 miles of coastline. It is composed of mangrove forests, coral reefs and pristine beaches, being one of the most sought after by visitors who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The park is named after humpback whales migrating to the region between August and November (northbound from Antarctica) and from December to April (southbound from Alaska) each year. With whale migration for most of the year is a great place for whale watching.

Marino Ballena National Park

The area was declared a National Park in 1989 in order to protect the creatures that emigrated here for breeding and animal feeding. Even the area is shaped like a whale tail if you look at it from above! The Marino Ballena National Park covers 110 hectares of land and 5,375 hectares of sea. There are approximately 85 endemic species in the waters of this area.

The landscape of Marino Ballena National Park varies depending on the tide. When the tide is low, travelers will be able to walk to Punta Uvita, which forms the tail of the whale. Rock formations appear approximately 1 kilometer from the shore. Being one of the most important and unusual formations of the earth, the whale tail of Punta Uvita is a must for travelers.

Flora and fauna

The national park is home to a variety of marine bird species, including frigates, boobies and brown pelicans. Bird watching is a popular activity here, and visitors can do it aboard a boat or from the shore. However, many people visit this area for breathtaking marine life with species such as humpback whales and parrot turtles.

Other species that can be seen are bottlenose dolphins, sharks, starfish, fake killer whales, green iguanas, leatherback turtles and more. Sea turtles nest on the shores of Playa Bahía Ballena, between May and November. Approximately 70 species of fish swim in the waters of the park. Being a marine underwater national park, this reserve is simply intended to protect the lives of endangered creatures as well as the most fragile of the area.

How to get here

People wishing to visit this beautiful National Park can arrive from San Jose driving or flying from Quepos Domestic Airport. From the city of Quepos, the Costanera Sur road is well paved, and is about 67 kilometers away. Drive directly from San Jose, which will take you about 3 hours.

Billy Johnson

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Marino Ballena National Park

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