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Marino Ballena National Park

Tired of the same old beach vacations, where every grain of sand and wave feels like a déjà vu? Maybe you’re searching for that perfect spot where ocean meets wilderness in an awe-inspiring symphony.

Imagine a place where you can literally walk along the silhouette of a whale’s tail as gentle sea giants glide beneath the surface nearby. Welcome to Marino Ballena National Marine Park in Costa Rica – your next coastal adventure awaits!

Nestled on Uvita’s shores, this marine park is not just any beach destination; it stretches over 13,000 acres of ocean with natural marvels galore. Here’s the scoop: for just $6 and some change for parking, you unlock access to one of nature’s most stunning aquatic theaters from dawn till dusk.

Want insider tips on making the most out of this marine utopia? Our guide spills all the secrets! You’ll learn about hidden snorkeling spots, catch sight of majestic humpback whales, and rest under palm trees swaying to pura vida rhythms – we’ve got it all covered.

Ready to dive into paradise? Keep reading..

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Marino Ballena National Marine Park in Costa Rica offers a unique beach shaped like a whale’s tail that you can walk on at low tide.
  • The park is open from 7 am to 4 pm, but you can still enjoy the beach after hours; it costs $6 for adults to enter and parking is available for an extra fee.
  • You can see humpback whales from December to early May, along with snorkeling near the whale’s tail and taking guided surf lessons.
  • There are five main beaches within the park: Playa Uvita, Playa Colonia, Playa Arco, Playa Ballena, and Playa Piñuela with different activities like surfing and wildlife spotting.
  • Nearby Uvita has various accommodation options ranging from luxury villas to budget hostels and restaurants offering local Costa Rican dishes and international favorites.


Before we dive into the splendor of Marino Ballena National Marine Park, there’s a smidgeon of must-knows to smooth the way for your adventure. Nestled along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, this gem is more than just its headline act—the iconic Whale Tail; it’s about the nitty-gritty too—think easy-peasy directions from nearby towns, where to stash your ride once you get there (yep, parking!), what it’ll cost to hobnob with nature (admission fees), when they fling open those gates (opening hours), and all those oh-so-important amenities that make a day out less hassle and more chill (facilities galore!).


Getting to Marino Ballena National Park is a fun little adventure in itself. Drive south from the town of Uvita on the Pacific coast and you’ll find signs pointing you towards the park entrance.

If you’re coming along the Inter-American Highway, it’s about 15 km west towards the coast. Don’t worry – once in Uvita, locals are super helpful if you get turned around.

Once you hit Uvita, keep an eye out for Bahia Ballena; that’s where this marine treasure hides. The trip gives your eyes a feast too, with lush greenery and glimpses of ocean blue peeping through as you head closer to paradise! Just make sure to check tide times because Punta Uvita, that famous whale tail, plays hide-and-seek with high tides.

And hey, who wouldn’t want to walk along one of nature’s most awesome sandbars?.


So, you’ve made it to Marino Ballena National Marine Park and now you’re thinking, “Where do I park my ride?” Easy peasy! You can snag a spot in the parking lot near the main entrance.

It’ll cost you just 2,000 colones per vehicle—not too shabby for a whole day of adventure at one of Costa Rica’s stunning national parks. Plus, having your car close by means quick access to your snacks or extra sunscreen.

There’s another option next to Campground Poncho if that first lot is full. Just imagine sliding into that perfect parking space and knowing the ocean breeze and tropical sun are waiting for you—no long walks lugging beach gear! Remember though, don’t leave valuables in plain sight; keep ’em hidden or take ’em with you.

Now go enjoy those sandy beaches and beautiful marine life without worrying about your wheels!

Admission Fee

Once you’ve found a spot for your car, it’s time to head into the park. Good news: getting in won’t break the bank! Adults visiting Marino Ballena National Marine Park need to pay just $6 each.

And hey, if you’re traveling with kids under 12 or you’re a senior citizen, you get in absolutely free. This makes the whole adventure friendly on your wallet and means more cash to spend on fun inside the park.

Just imagine seeing whales or exploring coral reefs without worrying about big entrance fees – pretty great, right?.

Opening Hours

Marino Ballena National Park welcomes you bright and early at 7 am. It stays open until 4 pm, but don’t worry—you can still enjoy the beach after hours. Here’s a fun fact: if you love stargazing or listening to the waves under the moonlight, this park has got your back! You can walk on the beach when stars fill up the sky; just be sure to keep it safe and peaceful.

After soaking up some sun or adventuring through Marino Ballena during the day (or night), get ready for more surprises. The stunning beaches are next on your list—imagine soft sand beneath your feet and clear blue waters stretching out before you.

Let’s go explore them!


So, you’ve checked the opening hours and you’re ready to plan your visit. Great! But before heading out, let’s talk about what you’ll find once you get there.

  • Marino Ballena National Marine Park keeps it simple with its facilities to keep the place natural. So don’t expect fancy stuff.
  • You can use the basic bathroom at the main entrance. It’s clean and does the job.
  • Pack a bottle of water since there’s no place to fill up inside.
  • Bring some sunscreen to protect your skin from that tropical sun.
  • Don’t forget bug spray — those little critters love visitors.
  • beach towel will come in handy after a swim or just for lounging on the sand.
  • Keep your things dry in a waterproof bag – waves and wet clothes are not friends!
  • Snacks are a must because playing in the sea makes everyone hungry.
  • Wear something comfy for the beach. Trust me, flip – flops beat shoes any day here.


Imagine a stretch of coastline where every grain of sand whispers tales of the ocean’s majesty, and each wave hums a melody of serenity—welcome to the stunning beaches at Marino Ballena National Park.

Here, you’re not just stepping onto shores; you’re plunging into a natural canvas painted with some of Costa Rica’s most breathtaking coastal scenes.

Playa Uvita

Playa Uvita steals the show with its famous whale tail-shaped beach. This unique spot is a must-see in Marino Ballena National Park! Visitors flock here, especially at low tide when you can walk along the sandy path that looks like a giant whale’s tail reaching into the ocean.

It’s not just for looks though; this place becomes a playground for spotting real whales during migration seasons.

Think of it as nature’s own masterpiece, where land and sea come together to create something magical. You’ll want to bring your camera because this is one scene you won’t forget. And hey, while there are other stunning beaches aroundfive total in Bahía BellenaPlaya Uvita has a charm all its own that draws people back time and again.

Playa Colonia

Surf’s up at Playa Colonia, where the waves are just right for boarding. This spot is a hit inside Marino Ballena National Park, drawing surfers who can’t wait to catch the next big one.

The beach vibes here are top-notch—think sand in your toes and sun on your skin as you chill between rides on the ocean.

Folks love this place because it’s not just about surfing; there’s a whole beach scene going on. You’ll see families playing and friends laughing along this popular stretch of paradise.

With its easy-going atmosphere and good times all around, Playa Colonia makes every visit feel like you’ve hit the jackpot.

Playa Arco

Leaving the sun-soaked sands of Playa Colonia, get ready to be amazed by another gem of Marino Ballena National Park – Playa Arco. This beach isn’t just your typical stretch of sand; it’s something straight out of a storybook.

Imagine walking along the coast and stumbling upon a magical spot where nature has carved an arc that mirrors the majestic tale of whales.

Playa Arco truly stands out during low tide when you can see its famous whale tail shape. The ocean pulls back like curtains on a stage, revealing rocky pathways leading to this marvel.

It’s not every day you get to walk on a part of the beach that spends half its time hidden underwater! Bring your camera because you’ll want to capture every angle of this natural wonder tucked away in Uvita’s paradise.

Playa Ballena

Playa Ballena is a hit with families, thanks to its long and wide stretch of sand—perfect for building castles or kicking back under the sun. Here, you can splash around in the water, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding, or peer into underwater worlds while surface snorkeling.

Oh—and let’s not forget about that walk! When the tide goes out, it reveals a path straight to the Whale’s Tail. It’s like Mother Nature herself rolled out a welcome mat. So grab your beach gear (and maybe some snacks), because Playa Ballena knows how to serve up some serious fun in the sun!

Playa Piñuela

Playa Piñuela is a real gem in Marino Ballena National Park. Imagine the soft hum of the sea as you step onto this tranquil beach. Here, the waves kiss the shore gently, perfect for a quiet swim or just splashing around with friends and family.

And guess what? You can even snorkel to see colorful fish darting below the glassy surface.

Fancy a walk? Try strolling down to the famous Whale’s Tail during low tide—it’s an adventure not to be missed! This place isn’t just about lazing on sand though; it’s one of those special spots where you can soak up nature without all that tourist hustle and bustle.

So grab your towel, slap on some sunscreen, and come find your own slice of paradise at Playa Piñuela—you won’t regret it!


Ready to dive into a treasure trove of adventures? At Marino Ballena National Park, each day promises a new thrilling narrative—whether you’re gliding through waves on the lookout for gentle giants of the sea or holding your breath as you snorkel among vibrant coral gardens.

Whale Watching

Whale watching at Marino Ballena National Park is truly a sight to behold. Picture this: giant humpback whales, leaping and splashing against the backdrop of sparkling Costa Rican waters.

The park serves up some of the most amazing whale experiences from December through early May. That’s when these gentle giants come by the hundreds, putting on a show as they migrate.

You can hop on a tour boat with eyes peeled for that magical spout of water signaling a whale’s presence. As you glide over waves, keep an eye out for dolphins too — they love to play alongside their bigger friends! Trust me, seeing these creatures up close is something you’ll never forget.

It’s not just about spotting them either; it’s feeling that rush of awe in the vast blue where they roam free.


Snorkeling in Marino Ballena National Park is like jumping into a colorful underwater world. The best spot? Right at the tip of the famous whale’s tail during low tide. Imagine floating above coral reefs, watching fish dart in and out of their homes!

You might want to join a tour from Uvita for an even cooler snorkel trip around the whale’s tail. Just be sure you know when the tides change – it happens fast! Dry season, from December to early May, gives you sunny days and clear water for spotting all sorts of sea life.

After drying off from your underwater adventure, why not hit a trail? Hiking and wildlife spotting await as your next exciting activity at the park!

Hiking And Wildlife Spotting

Marino Ballena National Park is a fantastic place to hike and look for animals. With 110 hectares of land, the park keeps mangrove forests safe and lets you see lots of wildlife. You might even catch a glimpse of crocodiles in streams near the ocean! Paths wind through the rainforest where iguanas may scurry across your path.

Keep your eyes peeled for pelicans and other birds flying overhead or diving into the sea.

As you walk, the sounds of waves will mix with bird calls, making it feel like an adventure through nature’s own music room. This park is not just about seeing whales and dolphins; it’s also home to lovely creatures on land that are waiting for you to discover them.

Take slow steps; let every corner surprise you with something new—maybe a shy turtle or a quick monkey swinging from tree to tree. Just remember, while exploring this amazing world within the park, stay on marked trails to keep both you and wildlife safe!

Taking A Private Guided Surf Lesson

Surf’s up at Marino Ballena National Park! Grab a board and learn to ride the waves with a private surf lesson.

  • Find an expert instructor who knows these waters like the back of their hand.
  • They’ll teach you all about safety first. You’ll learn how to read the ocean, spot safe areas, and avoid danger.
  • Get geared up with a quality surfboard suited just for beginners or if you’re more experienced, something that matches your skills.
  • Start on the sand. Practicing moves and balance techniques is easier before hitting the water!
  • Paddle out with your guide watching. They’ll help you find the perfect wave to catch.
  • Your coach will shout out tips as you try standing up on your board. It might take a few tries, but they’ve got plenty of encouragement.
  • Feel like a pro—even if it’s just for a moment—when you ride a wave to shore.
  • After surfing, chill on the beach. It’s time to soak in some sun and maybe plan your next adventure in Marino Ballena National Park.

Watching The Sunset

After riding the waves with a surf lesson, there’s nothing quite like chilling on the sand to watch the sky change colors. The beaches of Marino Ballena National Park are perfect spots for sunset admirers.

Here, as the sun dips below the horizon, it paints a masterpiece every evening. Folks come together, sitting on the warm shore, to gaze at this daily wonder. You’ll see oranges and pinks spread across the sky while listening to the soothing sound of ocean waves.

Bringing your camera is a smart move because each sunset at Marino Ballena feels special—a show you won’t want to forget! Whether you’re ending an action-packed day or just soaking in nature’s beauty, seeing how daylight fades over this stunning place ties up any trip nicely.

It’s as if all of Marino Ballena pauses – even if just for a moment – That big fiery star signing off for now sparks joy among those watching from this park’s shores.


After a long day riding the waves or gabbing with parrots on your eco-adventure, you’ll want a comfy spot to kick back and some tasty grub to refuel. Lucky for you, the area around Marino Ballena National Park is sprinkled with cozy lodgings and eateries that boast both local flair and international favorites (trust me, your taste buds will thank you).

Whether it’s snoozing in a hammock outside your rustic bungalow or clinking glasses as you watch the sunset paint the sky from a beachfront café, finding the perfect place to unwind is just part of the park’s charm.

Hotel Suggestions

Marino Ballena National Park is a place where you can unwind and explore stunning nature. Nearby towns like Uvita offer plenty of spots to stay that fit any style or budget.

  • Rancho Pacifico:
  • This spot is for those who love luxury. Imagine waking up to beautiful ocean views and having a pool right there. It’s quiet, perfect for relaxing after a day at the park.
  • Kura Villas:
  • Here, it’s all about the view. High up with big windows, you can see the ocean from your bed! The design is modern and they really care about the environment.
  • Elan at Ballena Beach:
  • Steps away from the beach, this place gives you easy park access. The rooms are big and comfy with all you need to feel at home.
  • Hotel Cristal Ballena:
  • Family – friendly with lots of space to run around. They have a pool too! You’ll find everything you want for a fun family trip.
  • Oxygen Jungle Villas:
  • Stay in your own villa surrounded by jungle! It’s private with glass walls so you can watch for animals even when inside.
  • The Terraces at San Martin:
  • Modern apartments that give you freedom. They’re great if you like cooking your own meals while enjoying amazing sea views.
  • Hotel Canto de Ballenas:
  • A budget – friendly option that doesn’t skimp on comfort. You get nice rooms without spending too much – more money for exploring!
  • Yubarta Lodge:
  • Small but charming, it’s close to everything you need. Plus, staying here means personal service; they really take care of their guests.
  • Karandi Hostel:
  • For travelers watching their wallet, this hostel is perfect. It has a friendly vibe, and it’s easy to meet other tourists here.

Nearby Restaurants

After spending a day at Marino Ballena National Marine Park, you’ll be hungry. Good news, there are awesome places to eat nearby!

  • Bar Restaurant Los Laureles: This spot gives you a taste of Costa Rica with its local dishes. It’s got a laid-back vibe and friendly folks ready to serve you.
  • Pizza Time: Craving pizza? Head here for a slice or a whole pie. They make it just right – cheesy, hot and full of flavor.
  • Ballena Bistro: Looking for something fancy? The Ballena Bistro is the place. Their menu has fine food that’ll make your mouth water.
  • Soda Ranchito Dona Maria: Want to keep it simple? This spot has home-style cooking that feels like a warm hug from grandma. Plus, it won’t break the bank!
  • The Bamboo Room: Here’s where the beach vibes are strong. Grab a bite with an ocean view and relax to some live music.


Marino Ballena National Park is a treasure in Uvita, Costa Rica. It’s where you can watch majestic whales and stroll on beaches shaped like a whale’s tail. Remember, the best months to visit are from December to May when the sun shines bright.

If you travel here, don’t miss snorkeling at low tide or taking amazing photos of the sunset. So pack your bags for an adventure full of nature and fun by the sea!


1. What’s So Special About Marino Ballena National Marine Park?

Well, my friend, this park is a real treasure! It’s not only home to the famous Punta Uvita Whale Tail, which is a natural sandy and rocky formation that looks like a whale’s tail, but it also protects tons of marine life like humpback whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.

2. Can I See Whales At Marino Ballena?

You bet! The park was named after the humpback whales that migrate here—catch them between December to April and July to October. They come all this way just to have their babies in the warm waters.

3. Is There More To Do Than Just Whale Watching?

Oh yes! Beyond gazing at majestic whales, you can take advantage of your visit by snorkeling with colorful fish or even horseback riding along the beach. And let’s not forget walking out to that stunning whale tail during low tide!

4. Are There Any Good Times To Skip Visiting The Park Due To Weather?

Sure thing! While you can visit year-round, keep in mind that rainy season might make some paths a bit muddy and less fun for exploring. Typically, it’s best from December through April when skies are clear — perfect for wildlife spotting!

5. How Do I Get Around Marino Ballena National Park Safely?

Safety first! Always check where official access routes are because there be some tricky sea currents waiting for you outside those paths—and nobody wants an unexpected swim! Plus hiring tour guides isn’t a bad idea; they know the best spots.

6. Does Visiting Help Protect Animals Or Something?

Absolutely—it does wonders! When you visit parks like Marino Ballena, your entrance fee helps with environmental conservation efforts so we can keep enjoying this amazing place for years—and hey—it gives those beautiful marine creatures safe spaces too!



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