Playa Bahia Ballena
, a pristine beach located on Costa Rica's Central Pacific coast in an area called Costa Ballena
, is one of the best places in the country to see a wide variety of engaging and exotic wildlife.
Situated between the towns of Pinuela and Uvita
, Playa Bahia Ballena is part of the larger Ballena National Marine Park
. The large marine reserve, which was created in 1990, was named for the many humpback whales that frequent its waters. Visitors to the beach are most likely to see the magnificent creatures between December and March each year, when the animals migrate through the adjacent bay. Dolphins also swim in the ocean near the beach destination, and travelers in the area commonly spot the playful marine mammals splashing offshore.
In addition to whales and dolphins, the sea near Playa Bahia Ballena is full of other exciting ocean-dwelling creatures. Ballena National Marine Park is home to several vibrant coral and rock reefs, and tourists can see the denizens of these marine features up close on a snorkeling excursion.
Many interesting animals also live on land near Playa Bahia Ballena. The beach is home to nesting colonies of several exotic species of bird, including magnificent frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies. Large groups of green iguanas and basilisk lizards can also be seen scampering across the sand, and the beach appears to come alive every day as hermit crabs scuttle in and out of the water.
Adventure Activities in Playa Bahia Ballena
For those who are less interested in wildlife, Playa Bahia Ballena is a great destination for several different adventure activities. Visitors often enjoy going horseback riding or kayaking, and the beach is one of Costa Rica's best destinations for people learning to surf. Thanks to a sandbar to the north and a series of islands to the south, the beach is completely sheltered from strong ocean currents and waves. Consequently, novice surfers can practice and improve their skills on calmer, smaller waves. Surfers should watch out for hazards like stingrays and jellyfish, as the beach's distance from the nearest village means that there is usually not a lifeguard on duty. Surfing at Playa Bahia Ballena is best during medium-to-high tide between the months of June and September.
If you just want to relax you can spend a nice quiet afternoon sunbathing on the beach. Most people stopover at Playa Bahia Ballena when exploring the Marino Ballena National Park.