Playa Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay) in Costa Rica is a beautiful and famous beach known for the nearby Marino Ballena National Park. Bahia Ballena is on the Southern Pacific coast in south Puntarenas. It’s located in Costa Ballena in the Osa Peninsula, which stretches from Domincal and Ojochal. Bahia Ballena is famous for what whale tail shape that beach and rainforest create during low tide. It is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see whales and dolphins, coral reefs and tropical marine life, along with an abundance of wildlife in the nearby national parks. Many adventurous travelers like to visit Bahia Ballena because there are many adrenaline-pumping activities in the area. Come to bahia ballena for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding.
Marino Ballena National Park
The Marino Ballena National Park was formed in 1990 for the protection of the coral reefs found in the waters surrounding the Isla Ballena. It is also an important sanctuary for seabirds that use it for nesting and iguanas and basilisk lizards. From December-March you can see majestic humpback whales visiting the area. All year long you can see bottlenose dolphins.
Located close to Bahia Ballena you’ll find 5% of the world’s biodiversity within Corcovado National Park. Within the park live four species of monkeys including howler and squirrel monkeys, hundreds of insect, reptile and bird species, peccaries, tapirs, large cats and some of the tallest trees in the entire world. It is an eco-tourist’s dream. You can hike or camp in the park, but you must hike with a guide.
Manuel Antonio is one of the most famous national parks in Costa Rica. It’s not only a great place for hiking and wildlife spotting (think howler monkeys and sloths), but zip lining, rafting, snorkeling, parasailing and swimming. It’s a must-see on your next Costa Rica vacation.
Visit between December-April:
December to April is the dry season along the pacific coast. The skies are bright and clear every day. However hotel prices tend to be higher and there are more tourists than there are during the rainy season.
Go whale watching:
Bahia Ballena is one of the world’s best whale watching destinations. Don’t miss it!
Watch out for sting rays and jelly fish:
The marine life in Bahia Ballena is incredible, but also dangerous if you accidentally wander into their space. When you are swimming or surfing, keep your eye our for sting rays and jelly fish.
Surf between June and September:
The best surfing in Bahia Ballena is from June to September.
Getting to Bahia Ballena is possibly by domestic flight, shared shuttle, private transfer, bus and rental car. If you choose to fly, you’ll fly from San Jose to Quepos. From there you can either drive south on the Costanera Highway or take a bus. You can also drive from San Jose to Bahia Ballena. My Costa Rica can help you arrange all of the above. If you want to rent a car, make sure you read about driving in Costa Rica!
Where to Stay
Ballena Beach cannot be described as a village but rather as a beach destination with some lodges and some of the most beautiful hotels in Puntarenas. The Oxygen Jungle Villas is a small exclusive boutique hotel resort a short distance away from Ballena Beach in Uvita. It has a maximum capacity of 24 guests, and offers charming one bedroom luxurious villas. The Hotel Cristal Ballena is strategically located on a hillside offering a stunning 180-degree view of Bahia Ballena, and La Cusinga Lodge, set within a private nature reserve, provides sustainable lodging with stunning views over the Ballena Island.