Dreamy Contentment – Costa Rica

Marino Ballena National Park

Marino Ballena National Park

Playas Uvita and Ballena are relatively unvisited stretches of white and golden sand. Green marine iguanas (iguana verde) bask in the sun between dives to feed on the algae growing on the rocks and coral. Between the beaches are areas of mangrove habitat.
The largest coral reef on the Pacific Coast of Central America forms a crescent necklace with the three small islands known as Las Tres Hermanas (three sisters) and Ballena island as the center piece. The park stretches from the southern end of Playa Hermosa to the northern end of Playa Piñuela and about 9 miles (15 km) seaward.

Especially at low tide, snorkeling can be good from the shore but be careful of currents and riptides. Dive trips are available to the islands. Beach combing is rewarding here, especially when the water recedes far enough to allow you to walk out to Punta Uvita Tombolo, the small island that is slowly being reclaimed to the land as sand and debris deposit to form a land bridge.

Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles can be seen laying their eggs on night visit to the beach between May and November. The largest numbers arrive on the waning moon usually in September.

There are two whale migrations to calve in the warm waters of Marino Ballena. Antarctic families arrive in July and depart in November while their northern cousins from California and Canada come in December and leave in April.