A Paradise for land and marine species

Marino Ballena National Park is a beautiful natural reserve on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The park covers an area of over 13,000 acres and is dedicated to preserving the region's rich biodiversity and natural beauty. It is particularly famous for its stunning landscapes, diverse marine life, and unique sand formation that resembles a whale's tail. Visitors can explore the park's captivating features, including its flora and fauna, and enjoy an array of activities that make it a must-visit destination.

Exploring the Marino Ballena National Park

The Marino Ballena National Park is in Costa Ballena and belongs to the Osa Conservation Area. It extends from the Morete River mouth to Punta Piñuela. It was declared a National Marine Park in 1989, and its limits developed in 1992. It has a land area of 284 acres and 13,276 acres of sea. It covers both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, providing a unique combination of tropical rainforest and unspoiled beaches. The park is named after the humpback whales (ballenas) that migrate to the area to give birth and raise their calves. One of the park's most iconic features is the Punta Uvita Whale Tail, a sandbar resembling a whale's tail during low tide.

Marino Ballena National Park focuses on preserving the rich marine ecosystem and its pristine landscape value. You find fascinating geological formations in its warm waters, such as sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and small barren islands.

Offshore, there is a row of small islands and submerged rocks, starting with Roca de la Viuda and followed by the famous Whale Tail located at Punta Uvita, a 700 meters long sand isthmus, which at low tide can be walked between the two large bays, with a 360 ° view over the sea, the beaches, and the mountains. It is the largest coral reef on the Central America Pacific coast, forming a crescent necklace with three little islands known as The Three Sisters and Ballena (Whale) Island.

The terraces are home to a significant habitat for countless marine species, comprising 18 species of coral, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, fish, starfish, mollusks, crabs, sea fans, and sponges.

By protecting the coral reefs and keeping our beaches and rivers healthy, we care for a unique and rich ecosystem, a breeding and reproduction area for whales and many marine species.

It would be best if you did it at low tide to walk on the plunger or Paso de Moisés at Uvita Beach. During the low tide, you can walk to its very end.

Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica

Flora and Fauna: The park provides a haven for different types of plants and animals. The coastal rainforest boasts diverse flora, including towering trees, orchids, and medicinal plants. Visitors can join guided hikes along well-maintained trails to experience the lush greenery and learn about preserving this fragile ecosystem. Marino Ballena National Park is a beautiful destination that offers a vibrant marine world for snorkelers and divers. The park is part of the Ballena Marine National Park, which protects critical habitats for various marine species. Visitors can admire colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and intriguing underwater rock formations.

Humpback whales are one of the main attractions of the park. These majestic creatures migrate from the Southern Hemisphere and North Hemisphere to the warm waters off the coast of Costa Rica for breeding and calving. Whale-watching tours are a popular activity, offering visitors a chance to witness these awe-inspiring mammals leaping and tail-slapping against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. The park is fortunate to receive two annual migrations of whales. The Humpback Whale of the North visits the South Pacific Coast from December to March, and the humpback whale of the South begins migration in July, ending in October.

Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica camping allowed areas

Marino Ballena National Park is also a paradise for bird enthusiasts. Over 180 bird species have been recorded in the area, including frigatebirds, toucans, and tanagers. Guided birdwatching tours allow visitors to spot these feathered inhabitants while learning about their behaviors and unique adaptations to the coastal environment.

For adventure seekers, the park offers a range of activities, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and horseback riding. These activities allow visitors to explore the park from different perspectives, and the park's diverse landscapes provide ample opportunities for relaxation and exhilarating outdoor experiences.

Marino Ballena National Park actively promotes sustainable tourism practices and aims to minimize the ecological impact while providing education on the importance of preserving these fragile ecosystems.

The area was inhabited by indigenous peoples long before the arrival of Europeans, and remnants of their presence, such as ancient petroglyphs, can still be found in some regions of the park. Guided tours also provide insights into the indigenous communities that once called this coastal paradise home.

The park's coastline is adorned with intricate tidal pools, offering a fascinating glimpse into the microcosm of marine life. Exploring these pools during low tide reveals a world of starfish, sea urchins, and small fish. Snorkeling adventures around these pools present a unique opportunity to witness the marine biodiversity up close, making it an ideal activity for novice and experienced snorkelers.

Punta Uvita, known for its whale tail formation, is a stunning sight during the day and an excellent location to witness awe-inspiring sunsets. Guided sunset tours are available, where visitors can capture the sun as it paints the sky in vibrant orange, pink, and purple hues. The sun setting behind the whale's tail creates a picturesque scene that will remain in the memories of those who witness it.

Marino Ballena National  Park, Costa Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica camping allowed areas

Marino Ballena National Park promotes ecotourism and sustainable practices by actively engaging with local communities. Visitors can connect with the local culture through community-led tours, where they can learn about traditional practices, artisan crafts, and how the community participates in the park's conservation efforts. This approach not only enhances the visitor experience but also contributes to the well-being of the surrounding communities.

To provide an educational experience, the park features interpretive trails and academic centers that offer information on the area's flora, fauna, and conservation initiatives. These facilities serve as valuable resources for tourists and locals, encouraging a greater understanding of the delicate balance between human activity and preserving natural habitats.

Marino Ballena National Park is easily accessible, with nearby towns offering a range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether visitors seek eco-friendly lodges, beachfront resorts, or cozy bed and breakfasts, there are options to cater to every taste. This accessibility makes the park ideal for families, solo travelers, and eco-conscious tourists.

Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica

Citizens of many countries, especially those from North America, Europe, and some South American countries, are permitted to enter Costa Rica for tourism purposes without obtaining a visa. However, they are typically required to show a valid passport and may be issued a tourist visa upon arrival, allowing them to stay for a specified period. It's essential to verify the most up-to-date information by checking the official website of the Costa Rican embassy or consulate in your home country or by consulting with Visa Express.

Suppose you're from a country that requires a visa. In that case, you should contact the nearest Costa Rican embassy or consulate well in advance to obtain the necessary information and fulfill the application requirements.

Marino Ballena National Park is an excellent example of Costa Rica's dedication to environmental conservation and responsible tourism. With its dense rainforest and diverse marine life, this breathtaking coastal location provides a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. By immersing themselves in the wonders of Marino Ballena, visitors appreciate nature's beauty and contribute to the ongoing efforts to protect and preserve this ecological treasure for future generations.

Find here information about whale watching tour >>>


In the Marino Ballena National Park, camping is NOT allowed, and bonfires and the consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited.


Pets, bonfires, and alcoholic beverages are not allowed.

How to get to, schedules and fees

From San José, take Route 27 towards Orotina, pay attention to the exit to Jaco – Tárcoles, carry on to Parrita and Quepos, and follow the new Coastal Highway (route 34) to Dominical and from there to Uvita—travel time: about 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Alternatively, from San José, take Cerro de la Muerte (Route 2), to San Isidro and then take route 234 to Uvita—travel time: about 4 hours and 30 minutes.

From Palmar, go North on the Coastal Highway.

Nearest airports: Quepos and Palmar Sur.

TRACOPA buses, on their way from San José to the Panamanian border, make a stop in Uvita—travel time: about 3 hours 30 minutes.

The Park is open daily from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm; the entrance fee is $2 for nationals or residents and $6 for foreigners. THIS ENTRANCE ALLOWS YOU TO VISIT ALL PARK BEACHES ON THE SAME DAY. NO CASH IS ACCEPTED; YOU MUST PAY WITH A CARD.

If you want to walk on the path or Paso de Moisés at Punta Uvita, you should do it at low tide.

Find here the information about South Pacific Costa Rica tides chart >>>

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Email: carlos@ballenatales.com
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