Marino Ballena National Park

Venturing into the Marino Ballena National Park (MBNP) (in Spanish: Parque Nacional Marino Ballena) in Costa Rica means immersing yourself in a rich biodiversity of marine and terrestrial life that captivates and amazes. With its protected status since December 14, 1989, this park serves as a sanctuary for countless species, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Its extraordinary blend of marine and terrestrial landscapes is complemented by a unique cultural heritage, making it an unmissable destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts across its 110 hectares of land and 5,375 hectares of marine area.

Marino Ballena National Park

Location and Access

How to get to Marino Ballena National Park

Located along the southeastern coast of Costa Rica, Marino Ballena National Park is easily accessible through main roads and public transportation. For those traveling from San Juan, the capital city, PR-52 and then PR-3 are the most direct routes.

Operating Hours and Fees

The park is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with free admission for Costa Rican residents and a nominal fee for international visitors. Prices may vary during the high tourism season, so it is recommended to check them before planning your visit.

Facilities and Services Available

The park offers a range of facilities and services for visitors, including restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and well-maintained trails. Tour guides are also available to provide educational tours and assistance to visitors.

Flora and Fauna

Description of the park’s marine biodiversity

Corals, rays, sea turtles, and a variety of colorful fish are just some of the marine inhabitants that visitors can expect to see in Marino Ballena National Park. The park is especially famous for its whale watching encounters during certain seasons of the year.

Description of the park’s terrestrial biodiversity

The biological diversity of the park is not limited to its waters. On land, visitors can enjoy the sight of various exotic birds, reptiles, and endemic plants. Several species of mangroves and tropical hardwood trees stand out among the flora.

Endemic and Endangered Species

Marino Ballena National Park is also home to several endemic and endangered species. This place of protection and conservation is crucial for the survival of creatures such as the green turtle and the West Indian manatee.

Activities and Attractions

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

With its diverse marine life and vibrant corals, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities among visitors of Marino Ballena National Park. There are several local tour operators that offer equipment rentals and guided tours.


The park is also a paradise for birdwatchers, with numerous species inhabiting the area. Visitors can enjoy watching birds in their natural habitat, providing an unforgettable experience for bird lovers.


The park features several well-maintained trails that pass through different types of ecosystems, allowing visitors to explore and enjoy the park’s beauty at their own pace.

Whale and Dolphin Watching

During certain seasons, visitors have the opportunity to witness the majesty of whales and dolphins in the park’s waters. This is undoubtedly one of the highlights of any visit to the park.

Guided Tours and Educational Programs

The park offers guided tours and educational programs for school groups, families, and individual visitors. These programs provide a great opportunity to learn more about the importance of conservation and the rich biodiversity of the park.

Conservation and Sustainability

Role of Marino Ballena National Park in Marine Conservation

The park plays a crucial role in marine conservation by protecting and preserving its rich marine ecosystem, including several endangered species. Maintaining this protected area is vital for the global health of the oceans.

Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Practices

Visitors are encouraged to practice responsible tourism, including not touching or disturbing animals, not leaving litter, and respecting all park rules and regulations.

Initiatives for Species Protection and Recovery in the Park

Marino Ballena National Park is the center of several initiatives for species protection and recovery. These efforts, often carried out in collaboration with local and global organizations, are helping to preserve and strengthen the area’s unique biodiversity.

Visitor Recommendations

What to Bring and How to Prepare for the Visit

We recommend wearing comfortable clothing and footwear, sunscreen, and bringing water and snacks. Additionally, it is advisable to bring binoculars for birdwatching and cameras to capture special moments during your visit. It is also important to respect and follow all park guidelines, including not entering restricted areas and not disturbing wildlife. Remember to carry any trash with you and leave the park in the same condition as you found it, contributing to maintaining the beauty and integrity of the place.

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