Ballena National Marine Park - Costa Rica

The largest part of the Ballena National Marine Park is in the ocean, the park contains the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Central America. While having only 110 land hectares, it has 5,375 ocean hectares. The islands „Isla Ballena“ and "Las Tres Hermanas" are also part of the protected areas.

The coastal plain is a composition of mangroves, river deltas and beautiful beaches like Playa Ballena. Green marine iguanas dive to feed on the algae growing on the rocks and coral. When their body temperature has dropped too much they return to land to bask in the hot tropical sun.

Between October and September sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand.

Ballena National Marine Park gets its name from the Spanish world for whale, "ballena". This is one of the best whale watching destinations of the world.

Close up whale watching...

Humpback whales migrate from as far away as Alaska, California and Hawaii to mate here. The best time for whale watching is between December and May.

This is one of Costa Rica's best snorkel and diving spots. You are likely to see large schools of fish of different sizes and colors, including reef sharks, tunas, barracudas, stingrays and many more. The coral reef and the small islands provide a perfect habitat for all kinds of marine life.

Hotels in all price ranges can be found in the area. While in many areas whale watchers have to go far from shore to see a whale, along this coast whales can be seen offshore with the naked eye. Several hotels in the hills offer spectacular views over the Pacific Ocean.

Ballena National Marine Park on the map

Ballena National Marine Park on the map

Facts about Ballena National Marine Park, Costa Rica

  • The Ballena National Marine Park protects one of the biggest coral reefs of the pacific coast of Central America.
  • Wale watchers should visit the Ballena National Marine Park between December and May.
  • Business hours: The park is open every day from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Ballena National Marine Park telephone: (506) 2735 5282/ (506) 2786 7161.