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Marino Ballena National Park

Marino Ballena National Park

Whales and dolphins emerge from the water and offer a show that you can witness. It is the favorite place of humpback whales and several types of dolphins; this park turns on and off in a natural scenery where these animals can be observed. Humpback whales come every year (July to October) to carry out their reproductive cycle; they arrive to the park place where there is a rocky and sandy formation that resembles the tail of a whale. This curiosity is the main attraction of the place.

Inside the park you can visit the tómbolo (whale tail), go and enjoy the beaches or practice superficial and deep diving to see a huge range of marine life. You can also enjoy the calmed sea that bathes these shores or boating on nearby islands. In addition to the humpback whale, they can be found in its waters species like the spotted dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, manta ray, hammerhead sharks, parrotfish and mackerel.

“Take advantage of your visit and enjoy the attractions of the area, such as horseback riding, canyoning and waterfalls,” said Gallardo. The Marino Ballena National Park has 4 official access routes for the enjoyment of visitors, all are located by South Inter-American Highway: Uvita, Colonia, Ballena and Piñuela.

History
Created: On June 9,1992, the creation of the park was legitimized with Executive Order No. 21294-MIRENEM
Area: 5,160 marine hectares and 171 terrestrial hectares, with a coastline of 9,3 miles (15 km) long
Weather: Hot, rainy and very humid
Dry season: From mid-December to mid-April, with sporadic rains.
Rainy season: from mid-April to mid-December.

The Marino Ballena National Park was established in 1989 but the first decree was repealed in 1990, and in 1992 it was legitimized with an approximate land area of 5331ha. It was the first marine park in Costa Rica and Central America, the first protected area created exclusively for their marine resources. It has about 9.3 miles (15km) of beach and its land area is only the range of 164 public feet (50 public meters).

Schedule
Opening hours:
-Every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Services and attractions
Services:
-Area for lunch
-Camping area
-Sanitation services
-Showers, no drinking water
-Parking (Ballena Sector)

Main attractions:
La Cola de la Ballena (Whale Tail): It is a natural rocky and sandy formation caused by the sedimentation generated by tides. You can only visit it during the dry tide. The shape of the tail can only be seen from high parts or doing a flyby. It is also known as the Tómbolo and the passage of Moses.

-Isla Ballena: Located about 1.24 miles (2 km) from the coast, it is a rock formation that houses some species of birds and iguanas. In its vicinity there are coral reefs.

Tres Hermanas Islets: They are three rock formations where nesting birds are also given.

Beaches: In addition to Uvita, where the Tombolo is located, there are other beaches within the Protected Wilderness Area: Bahía, Colonia, Ballena, Arco and Piñuelas.

Snorkeling: You can perform this activity during low tide near the tómbolo or whale tail, just mask and snorkel is permitted, diving fins are not allowed.

Whale watching: Humpback Whale watching in season (July to November) and resident dolphins throughout the year in the area. 

Recommendations:
-Respect the rules of public use of the park and check the tide table published in the entrance.
-Respect the park visitation schedule.
-Beware of sea currents and do not bathe in the areas of identified risk.
-Take care of your belongings.
-Stay on the trails.
-Garbage is not part of the natural environment, take it out of the park.
-Do not forget your hat and sunscreen, also try to wear walking shoes for rocky areas.
-Please be cautious with the sea currents, watch out for high tides, especially near the mouths of rivers. Refer to the park entrance tide tables.
-Take care of your belongings and lock your car well, leaving nothing of value at sight. The National Park is not responsible for loss or damage of equipment or materials
-If possible, use biodegradable soaps for showers and washing, and not pollute.
-If you have special medication, do not forget it.
-Contact Associations of local guides, local tourism operators and local organizations that can support you to hire tour guides and tours.

It is important to note that in the Marino Ballena National Park the following are not allowed:
-Enter being drunk / intoxicated as well as the entrance and consumption of drugs and alcohol.
-Entering with pets or pets.
-Removing stones, plants or other natural resource of wilderness.
-Walking out of the trails or public use defined areas.
-Smoking (Law No. 9028).
-Throw garbage.
-Touching, feed and harass animals.
-Entering with weapons
-Marketing activities within the park boundaries
-The transit of any vehicle on the beach, under Article 127 and 130 of the traffic law No. 7331, or boats that threaten the lives of bathers.
-Horseback riding
-Campfires in the park, if you want to cook you should bring non-ground level gas stove or grill.
-Playing Sound Equipment at High Volume

Contact
Phone number: 2786-5392
Email: pnmarinoballena@gmail.com
Suggestions and comments: acosa.programaturismo@sinac.go.cr 
Osa Chamber of Tourism
Phone number: 2786-6534.
Website: www.osacostarica.net
www.facebook.com/CamaradeTurismodeOsa

How to get
By public bus:
From San Jose you can take any bus, at TRACOPA Company, towards Cortes, Golfito, Palmar Norte, Paso Canoas, and Ciudad Neily by Costanera Sur Road and get off at the entrance to the area to visit.

By car
From San José to José María Castro Madriz 27 Caldera Highway deviates in Costanera Sur road, Route 34 Pacífica Fernández Oreamuno or Interamerican Highway that goes to Paso Canoas, about an hour after the entrance of Quepos and on the road take the turnoff according to the site to visit.

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