This very special snorkeling tour takes you into the Ballena National Marine Park where you will board a boat to go out to the coral reef sanctuaries and see an abundance of tropical fish living in these protected waters. It is also likely you will see dolphins and nesting shore birds from the boat.
You’ll be greeted by your bilingual guide and served a refreshment of seasonal tropical fruit juice and a snack. After you sign in you will go on a short hike to the rustic national park entrance with your guide who will tell you about the history of the area. Ballena National Marine Park consists of more than 13,000 protected acres of ocean with 9 miles of beach. It was created to safeguard the lives of fragile and endangered species.
Arriving at the park you’ll explore the famous Whale Tail natural rock formation which is a fin shaped sandbar created by the confluence of ocean currents. It is exactly at this point that whales return twice a year to eat and breed during their migration. It is as if the sea sculpted this specific landmark to show the whales where to come! Because of the rocky terrain, it is best to wear heavy duty sandals or boat shoes.
From here you’ll board a boat that will take you out to one or two coral reef sanctuaries depending on the visibility conditions for that day. You will snorkel for 2 hours, either at one place or 1 hour at two places. Over 70 species of fish as well as sea turtles, dolphins, iguanas and nesting birds live in this area. Your captain and bilingual guide will be sure to show you the available wildlife surrounding you.
At Ballena National Marine Park the conservation of coral over the years has caused it to flourish. Coral, like the sea anemone, is a stationary animal life form that thrives in shallower water where it can receive sunlight. It depends on the interaction of fish that keep the coral clean and provide organic debris for the coral to eat. Coral provides hiding places for the fish. Because of this mutual relationship you will always find them together. Colorful fish can also be found hiding among rocks and jetties. If you look closely you might see Nemo!
Snorkeling provides the ideal way to observe the dazzling colorful fish living on coral reefs and rock formations. To prevent damaging the coral in the park, only a mask and snorkel is used as fins tend to rake the coral and can inadvertently kill it. High quality snorkeling equipment is provided that will allow you to have a clear view of this amazing underwater tropical paradise.
Back on topside, your boat captain and guide will point out various species of birds, and their nests if it is nesting season. Additionally you will be on the lookout for several species of dolphin living in the area as well as visiting whales if it is during their migration months. Be sure to bring your binoculars with you!
This half day tour is exclusively scheduled during dry season to ensure good visibility, typically January through April. It is also available only at the time of low tide, which can be determined at the time of booking for the date you wish to arrive. This is a rare opportunity to visit these protected reefs at a time when the viewing is best so you’ll be sure to enjoy your snorkeling experience.
Round trip transportation is provided and available from your lodging in Uvita, Dominical and Manuel Antonio. Pick up times vary from 15 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes each way, based on whether you are picked up in the local area of Uvita, or farther away in Dominical or Manuel Antonio. Children ages 4 through 7 years of age are half price.
IMPORTANT: The snorkeling portion of this tour is only reliably good from December through April and is offered mainly in summer only, during the winter and rainy season it will not be offered. It is important to consider that if you do not have experience traveling in small boats in the open sea where the boat is constantly moving, you may feel sickness and dizzy. This is not the responsibility of the provider and a pill will not prevent you from feeling this way, please take this into consideration before taking the activity as it is at your own responsibility.