Ballena Whale National Park in Costa Rica – Marine Life Paradise
Ballena Whale National Park in southwestern Costa Rica has pristine beaches, coral reefs, amazing marine wildlife, and the crystal blue waters of the Bay of Coronado and Pacific Ocean. At this extraordinary marine park, there humpback and pilot whales, endangered hawkbill sea turtles, and bottle-nose dolphins. When you snorkel at the park, you see the gorgeous tropical fish at a coral reef that is the largest on the Pacific coast of Central America. You can plan your trip when humpback whales migrate to the park for mating. Another great time to visit is when endangered sea turtles lay eggs on the beach and baby turtles hatch.
What is It?
Ballena Whale National Park protects the shoreline of the Bay of Coronado, the island of Ballena, and the surrounding ocean. You can see whales at the park for for eight months of the year (November to March and July to September). Humpback whales migrate from Alaska, Baja California, and Hawaii to mate in the Bay of Coronado. Pilot whales and dolphins are also seen often in the park. The whales and dolphins give birth to their calves and nurse them for several months before migrating back to other parts of the ocean.
What to Expect
You can also see the endangered hawks-bill turtles at the park. They mate in shallow waters, and the females drag themselves ashore to lay their egss from May to November. The best times to come for the sea turtles are September and October. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles race from the beach to the water and try to escape the sea birds diving down to catch the turtles. It’s survival of the fittest – heartbreaking but a fact of nature.
If you snorkel in the Ballena Whale National Park, you will see huge schools of Barracuda, Jacks and Grunts. Groupers, snappers, king angelfish, pelagic fish, Moorish idols, Trumpet fish, eels, crustaceans, and the giant conch also live in the coral reef. You can arrange tours that will take you to explore the best snorkeling areas where visibility is 25 to 75 feet. These snorkling tours will also show you the caves and rock fromations in the coral reef area.
DOWNLOAD OUR TRAVEL GUIDES
The mangrove swamps in the park are also fascinating. The mangroves are the breeding gounds for an incredible number of Pacific fish. The tiny organisms living in the mud of the mangrove swamp are an essential part of the marine food chain.
You’ll love the park’s beaches. Playa Uvita is one of the most spectacular beaches of this region of Costa Rica. At Playa Uvita, there are 2 miles of white sand beach next to the blue waters that are perfect for swimming. If you want to save money, you may want to camp on the beach near the park’s ranger stations, which have fresh water. One ranger station is next to the beach at Hacienda Bahia, which is south of Playa Uvita. The other ranger station is at Playa Piñuela, which is in the southern part of the park.
While these is no hunting or fishing in the park, you can enjoy hiking, bird watching, and taking photos of the amazing flora and fauna. While you are at the park, help protect the ecology and cultural resources. Don’t buy archeological artifacts or souvenirs made from turtle shells, coral, or endangered animals. Don’t collect any flora and fauna from the park. Do not get too close to any wildlfie you may encounter on land or in the waters.
Tips for Visiting
You have a number of choices for accommodations when you visit Ballena Whale National Park. One resort with a wonderful ocean view of the park is the Whales and Dolphins Ecolodge, which is a four star hotel about 30 minutes from the Palmar Sur airport. There are also many budget guesthouses, hotels and rustic lodges in the Playa Uvita area. You will also find many great bars, restaurants, cafes at all price ranges in Playa Uvita. If you go to the park from May to December, the prices are lower because there’s more rain, but you’ll see plenty of marine wildlife.
Plan to spend many days in the Balluna Whale National Park so you can enjoy all the tours, activities, and sights. You will have the time of your life at this fantastic Costa Rican national marine park.