Marino Ballena National Park

Uvita, Costa Rica

©Sue & Ray, Toucan Maps

Marino Ballena National Park is named after the Humpback Whales that migrate here each year from December to April to mate before returning to the frigid waters to the north.

Playas Uvita and Ballena are relatively unvisited stretches of white and golden sand. Green marine iguanas (iguana verde) bask in the sun between dives to feed on the algae growing on the rocks and coral. Between the beaches are areas of mangrove habitat.

The largest coral reef on the Pacific Coast of Central America forms a crescent necklace with the three small islands known as Las Tres Hermanas (three sisters) and Ballena island as the center piece. The park stretches from the southern end of Playa Hermosa to the northern end of Playa Piñuela and about 9 miles (15 km) seaward.

Especially at low tide, snorkeling can be good from the shore but be careful of currents and riptides. Dive trips are available to the islands. Beach combing is rewarding here, especially when the water recedes far enough to allow you to walk out to Punta Uvita Tombolo, the small island that is slowly being reclaimed to the land as sand and debris deposit to form a land bridge.

Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles can be seen laying their eggs on night visit to the beach between May and November. The largest numbers arrive on the waning moon usually in September. Please respect the turtles. Marino Ballena is not as closely monitored or regulated as some of the more famous nesting sites, and you may find yourself alone on the beach. Please do not use unshielded flashlights, camera flashes, make loud noises, or approach too closely. The turtles have worked very hard to get to the beach, do not scare them away.

open 7 days a week.

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Nearby Activities & Attractions

Nearby Hotels & Lodges

La Cusinga Lodge
Villas de las Aves
Hotel Tucan
Rancho La Merced
Cabinas Brisas del Mar
Pacific Edge
Necochea Inn
Finca Ipe

The nearest town is Uvita, 4 km away and Airport Buenos Aires airport is 44.5 km.

Please note that distances for nearby hotels, attractions, activites & other points of interest are in a straight line. Distances by road may be significantly longer!

The approximate gps map coordinates of Marino Ballena National Park are latitude 9.132, longitude -83.7333. (exact GPS coordinates are accurate to within a few meters, gps data labeled approximate is within a few hundred meters)