Villas Rio Mar

Overall 85.4% (27 Guest Ratings)

Dominical, Costa Rica

Tucked away in the forests behind Dominical, Villas Rio Mar provides a taste of the real Costa Rica. Surrounded by dense jungle, the eco-resort feels like a lost paradise but is only a few minutes drive from the excitement of Dominical, and within five minutes of Costa Rica's best surfing beach. The air-conditioned bungalows at Rio Mar are comfortably equipped and tastefully decorated. When you're not in town or at the beach, you can relax in the large free-form swimming pool, indulge in a spa service, play tennis or miniature golf, or take a hike on the eco resort's jungle trail. You'll never run out of fun and exciting things to do at Villas Rio Mar!

Sample Itinerary
  • 3 nights at Hotel Villas Rio Mar
  • Surf Lesson - Dominical Surf Adventures
Starting at $478 per person*

*Sample rates are per person, double occupancy [Oct dates]

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Cuna del Angel Hotel

Overall 83.1% (31 Guest Ratings)

Dominical, Costa Rica

Located in the rainforest between Dominical and Uvita, Cuna del Angel Hotel is a terrific place to stay for your Costa Ballena vacation. Surrounded by lush jungle, the four-star boutique is within a five minutes drive of some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. The rooms are comfortable and tastefully decorated. The meticulously maintained grounds are accented with lush tropical gardens and swimming pool area. Guests can enjoy fine dining in the open air restaurant or enjoy a luxurious spa service at the hotel's Angel's Care Center. Cuna del Angel Hotel truly is a beautiful base for your stay in Costa Ballena. Book your stay in paradise today!

Sample Itinerary
  • 3 nights at Hotel Cuna del Angel
  • Whale and Dolphin Watching Marino Ballena National Park - Dolphin Tours
Starting at $648 per person*

*Sample rates are per person, double occupancy [Oct dates]

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Cristal Ballena Hotel

Overall 95.2% (113 Guest Ratings)

Uvita, Costa Rica

Set between jungle-covered mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Cristal Ballena Hotel is only three kilometers from Arco Beach and nine km from Marino Ballena National Park. The four-star boutique hotel features tastefully decorated suites with four-post canopy beds, ocean-view balconies or terraces, and vaulted ceilings. The hotel also offers more affordable bungalows in the garden area. The restaurant, bar, and swimming pool areas offer spectacular ocean and jungle views. The groomed trails are perfect for observing Costa Rica's exotic animals. Cristal Ballena Hotel will be a delightful addition to your Costa Rica vacation. Reserve your hotel package today!

Sample Itinerary
  • 3 nights at Hotel Cristal Ballena
  • Whitewater Rafting Rio Savegre
Starting at $595 per person*

*Sample rates are per person, double occupancy [Oct dates]

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Costa Ballena Offers Luxurious Boutique Hotels and Eco-lodges

You won't find any corporate hotels or all-inclusive resorts near Costa Ballena, but you will find an excellent selection of small eco-friendly boutique style hotels and eco-lodges. You also won't find beachfront hotels, but you will find lodges surrounded by jungle and nature within a short drive of some of the most scenic, undisturbed beaches in Costa Rica. Cuna del Angel, Villas Alturas, Cristal Ballena Hotel, and Villas Gaia are all perfect examples of this. Villas Rio Mar is a great little eco-resort with beautiful grounds, comfortable rooms, and reasonable prices. La Cusinga Ecolodge and Hacienda Baru are among the best eco-lodges in Costa Rica. Both lodges offer no-frills rooms but provide outstanding customer service and natural experiences. As you can see, there are many unique options in this beautiful area. Book your Costa Ballena hotel package today!

Activities and Things to do in Costa Ballena

Costa Ballena is one of the most pristine natural areas in Costa Rica. Naturally, the majority of activities revolve around the rainforest, wildlife, beach, and national park. Birdwatching is terrific in this region. Birders from all over the world come to see over 300 species at local reserves such as the one at Hacienda Baru. The Hacienda offers canopy platforms designed for wildlife observation. They also offer hiking, mangrove tours, canopy zip line, tree climbing, and more. Marino Ballena National Park (fee to enter) offers gorgeous, undeveloped beaches lined by palm trees and rainforest. Visitors can kayak and snorkel during Dry Season months or go on a dolphin and whale watching tour during the Green Season. Whatever you do, be sure to check out the famous Marino Ballena (sand) whale tail during low tide. The Nauyaca Waterfalls are among the prettiest in Costa Rica. Visitors to the falls can either hike or take a horseback ride in and then swim beneath the refreshing falls. Surfers will have a blast on the big waves at Dominical or newbies can learn how to hang ten at Dominicalito. Check out the Tree of Life Tours if you're looking for something wild. This exciting overnight tour allows you to spend the night in a cave tucked behind a waterfall deep in the jungle and mountains! Did I forget to mention that you can rappel down the waterfall? Costa Ballena has all of this and so much more. Get started on planning your trip to Costa Ballena today!

Book Your Transportation to Costa Ballena

Booking your transportation to Dominical and Uvita has never been easier. We offer private transfers to Costa Ballena from nearly everywhere in Costa Rica. The door-to-door service is in comfortable; air conditioned tours vans with a professional driver, exclusively for your party. We also offer shared shuttles from several of Costa Rica's top destinations. These set departure transfers are shared with other tourists.

Getting around Costa Ballena is relatively easy using local taxis. All hotels in the area assist guests with this service daily. Unlike some of the more popular destinations in Costa Rica, a rental car will make exploring Costa Ballena more efficient and easier. Give us a call to set up your rental car today, 1-866-853-9426.

What destinations should I combine with Costa Ballena on my trip to Costa Rica?

Costa Ballena combines well with several popular destinations including Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio, San Gerardo de Dota, and the Osa Peninsula.

Home to Corcovado National Park, the Osa Peninsula is a fabulous destination for those interested in a remote wildlife experience. This area extraordinarily biologically intense, protecting hundreds of rare and endangered species. Visitors to this rough and rugged area should be in reasonable physical condition and must expect rustic accommodations. Most visitors to the Osa go for three to four nights and stay in Drake Bay. Drake is only accessible by boat from Sierpe, which combined with land transfers is around three hours from most hotels in Costa Ballena.

San Gerardo de Dota is a little-known cloud forest destination near the Los Quetzales National Park in the Central Highlands. San Gerardo is a birdwatcher's paradise, home to a large population of Resplendent Quetzals. Most tourists stay in San Gerardo de Dota for two nights, and it's approximately two hours from Costa Ballena, half way from San Jose.

Manuel Antonio is similar to Costa Ballena, but much more built up. Locals often say that Costa Ballena is what Manuel Antonio looked like twenty years ago. Never the less, Manuel Antonio is famous for many reasons. The national park is one of the best places in Costa Rica for wildlife observation. The golden sand beaches are gorgeous, and the sunsets are spectacular. Manuel Antonio also offers more ecotourism activities than any of the other beaches in Costa Rica. Most visitors stay for three to four nights before moving on to the next destination. Manuel Antonio is an hour to an hour and a half from most Costa Ballena hotels.

Monteverde Cloud Forest is the most famous and recognized cloud forest in Latin America and for good reason. Monteverde offers some of the best and most accessible highland bird watching you will ever encounter. The abundance of rare and exotic species has drawn some of the best birding guides around, making it even more unique as a visitor. Monteverde is also home to the best canopy zip line and hanging bridges in Costa Rica. Attractions such as the Selvatura or Aventuras canopy parks draw thousands of visitors to the mysterious cloud forest canopy every year. Most visitors to Monteverde stay two nights, though three nights isn't uncommon. This famous cloud forest is approximately four and a half to five hours from Costa Ballena.

Arenal Volcano is Costa Rica's number one inland attraction. While the conical volcano is no longer erupting, the hot springs are still hot, and it remains an iconic backdrop for incredible photo opportunities. But there's much more to Arenal than that. Arenal is home to Costa Rica's best selection of adventure activities and guides that provide them. This area also offers a handful of enlightening nature activities. The list of things to do in Arenal is quite extensive, so be sure to check out the Arenal Volcano packages page for ideas. Most visitors to Arenal Volcano go for three to four nights. The drive from Arenal to Costa Ballena usually takes a little over five hours but is well worth the time.

As you can see, there are plenty of great destinations to combine with Costa Ballena for your Costa Rica vacation. Get started and book your Costa Ballena package today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I plan to visit?

Most people stay for three to five nights. If you are coming from or going to the airport, we recommend staying at an airport hotel as the drive is around 4 hours, depending on where you are staying and traffic that day.

When will I find the best prices?

May through November, with the best in September and October.

What is the weather like?

The driest time to visit Costa Ballena is January through April. The rainiest months are mid-August through mid-November. During the dry season, temperatures usually reach the low to mid-90s. It's a little cooler is the rain season with daytime temps generally in the mid-80s. Nighttime temperatures in both seasons are typically around 15 degrees lower. Bring rain gear no matter when you visit. It is the rainforest after all!

Which airport should I use?

San Jose International Airport (SJO) is much closer than Liberia Airport. Even so, SJO is still a four hours drive from Costa Ballena. Domestic flights are available from San Jose to nearby Palmar Sur or Quepos to reduce travel time at first glance but keep in mind that Uvita is 20-30 minutes from Palmar Sur and Dominical is 30 - 40 minutes.

Why aren't there any beachfront hotels in Costa Ballena?

Costa Rica has strict maritime zone regulations in most of the country. These laws are in place to protect the environment in these natural areas as well as to ensure everybody can enjoy the country's waterways and beaches. While you won't find beachfront hotels, you will find gorgeous, undisturbed beaches.

Will I have to pay to visit the beaches in Uvita?

All of the beaches in Uvita are within Marino Ballena National Park. Marino Ballena is protected within the Costa Rica National Parks system, and therefore everyone is required to pay the park entrance fee to enter. The price as of writing in September 2016 is $12 for non-nationals.

Where is Costa Ballena?

Costa Ballena is on the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica, south of Manuel Antonio, and north of the Osa Peninsula. Depending on which town you stay in, it is 3.5 to 4 hours from San Jose.


Latitude: N 9° 9' 18.05"
Longitude: W 83° 44' 53.43"

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