Marino Ballena National Park offers 13,000 maritime acres and the largest coral reef on Central America’s Pacific coast. Home to Humpback Whales December through April, this destination is long on scenic beauty.

Marino Ballena National Park protects a total of 5,510 hectares or 13,616 acres.  110 hectares or 272 acres is on land, the rest is in the ocean.  The elevation of the park ranges from sea level to 5 meters or 16 feet.  Within the park, there are several habitats including coral reef, rainforest, and beach habitats.  There are flat hiking trails along the beach area.  In addition, boat tours will take visitors to see dolphins and whales or snorkel during the dry season.

There are plenty of animals within Marino Ballena Park.  Some of the land animals include howler, capuchin, and squirrel monkeys.  There are sloths, raccoons, pizotes and even the occasional puma or ocelot will roam through.  Some of the more common bird species include roadside hawks, white hawks, chestnut-mandibled toucan, keel-billed toucan, sea gulls, sand pipers, and pelicans.  The main draw to the area is the marine mammals including humpback, false orca, and pilot whales.  Dolphin species that frequent the area include spotted, spinner, common, and bottle nosed dolphins.  In addition, olive ridley turtles and the occasional pacific green or hawksbill turtle can be found in the waters of the park.

Marino Ballena National Park is government managed.  It is open every day from 8 AM – 4 PM.  There is a park ranger station with restrooms.  The entrance fee is $12 per person.  There are no overnight facilities.  The majority of visitors stay in hotels in the Uvita area.

More about Marino Ballena National Park

Dolphins can be observed year round at Marino Ballena.  Humpback whales visit the park from both the northern and southern hemisphere.  The best seasons to see these amazing creatures are December through March and then August through October.

At a glance

Region: South Pacific
Closest town: Uvita
Size in hectares: 5,510 (13,616 acres)
Year established: 1990
Elevation in meters: 0 – 5 (0 16 feet)
Private managed: no
Government managed: yes
Rangers station: yes
Overnight facilities: no
Public restrooms: yes
Entrance fee: $12pp
Days: daily
Hours: 08:00 - 16:00
Hiking trails: yes (beach trails)
Boat tours: yes
Average temperature range in Fahrenheit: 70 - 90
Average yearly precipitation in millimeters: 3,900 (154 inches)
Habitat: coral reef, rainforest, beach

Weather and packing list

The weather at Marino Ballena is heavily influenced by the season, though it can be characterized as hot and humid.  The average high during the daytime is around 90 degrees and in the upper 70s at night.  The park receives an average of 3,900 mm or 154 inches of precipitation per year, so be prepared for rain.  The driest months to visit are from December through April and then again from mid-June through July.

Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.  Visit our packing suggestion list for more ideas.

Fun Fact: Marino Ballena National Park is the best place in Costa Rica to observe whales from shore, though do keep in mind boat rides will bring you much closer.

Nearby Destinations

Uvita1 km
Dominical17 km
San Isidro50 km
Sierpe59 km
Manuel Antonio64 km


Latitude: N 9° 9' 24.93"
Longitude: W 83° 44' 51.22"

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