Marino Ballena and Uvita

"sunset in uvita beach"

Parque Nacional Marino Ballena (Marino Ballena National Park) is a protected area located on the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The park spans an area of 13,570 acres and includes both land and oceanic areas. The park is particularly known for attracting huge numbers of humpback whales that migrate to the area from July to November. Uvita is the name of the most popular beach in the park and also the name of the town that is closest to the park.

Whale watching is the most popular activity in Marino Ballena National Park. Visitors can take a guided boat tour to see the humpback whales in their natural habitat. The tours typically last 2-3 hours and are led by experienced guides who provide information about the whales and their behavior. The best months to watch whales are without a doubt the months of September and October where it’s almost guaranteed you will spot whales if you take a tour.

The prices for whale watching tours in Marino Ballena National Park can vary depending on the tour operator, the duration of the tour, and the season. On average, visitors can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per person for a whale watching tour. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially during the high season when the whales are present.

Aside from whale watching, the beach of Uvita which is inside the Marino Ballena national park, is extremely beautiful. Uvita beach is not a packed touristy beach since it is inside a protected area helping the beach to keep its natural and untouched vibe.

Fun Fact:
Humpback whales coming from the colder waters of Alaska and California in the north and from Antarctica in the South migrate to the warm tropical Costa Rican waters to breed and raise their young. That is why they can be seen in Marino Ballena every year!


Plan your visit

Hours and Entrance fee:
The park is open every day from 7am to 4pm. The entrance fee is $6 USD for non-residents. Children and elderly do not pay. For residents and nationals the fee is ¢1000 colones. You can purchase your national park tickets online in the SINAC official website.

The town of Uvita is very small and spread out but you will still find several accommodation and eating options for hungry and tired travelers. There are several options for accommodation including hostels, hotels and villas. Have in mind that Uvita is not a touristy town with resorts and big restaurants making it a place better suited to enjoy true Costa Rican culture.

How to get there:
To get to Marino Ballena National Park you have to travel to the town of Uvita. There are bus options coming from San Jose or from Quepos, which is the town right next to Manuel Antonio.

Bus options from San Jose:
The buses from San Jose are managed by Tracopa. Tel.: 2221-4214. The price is $10 for a one way ticket. The journey takes about 7 hours and the bus also stops in Domincal.

Departure time options from San Jose: there are buses leaving almost every hour or even more often from 5am to 6:40pm.
Return time options from Uvita: there are buses leaving almost every hour from 5:30am to 7:55pm.

Bus options from Quepos:
The buses departing from Quepos to Uvita are managed by Transportes Blanco y Hernandez. Tel.: 2779-1593. The journey is only 1 hour and 40 minutes long.

Departure time options from Quepos: 6am and 1pm
Return time options from Uvita: 7:30am and 2:20pm



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