Costa Rica is probably best known for its wildlife on land. But what some forget is that the waters right offshore are full of life too. Sea turtles and whales frequent the waters of Costa Rica’s two coasts.

MarinoMarino-Ballena.jpg Ballena National Park

It is located on the Pacific coastline between the Punta Uvita isthmus and Punta Piñuela in the Cortés district, Osa, Puntarenas.

This National Park was created to ensure the survival of critical habitats for marine species’ reproduction and nesting, as well as to preserve the productivity of biological communities that inhabit the coastal areas.

It’s surrounded by beautiful scenery. Because of its scientific value, it is a great place for environmental education and tourism development. In the waters you can find coballena-jorobada--644x362mmon and bottled-nosed dolphins, and during certain times of the year, even humpback whales.

WHALE WATCHING SEASON: From August to October and from December to March, tourists in Costa Rica are able to watch humpback whales, which migrate from the Northern and Southern hemispheres to breed and give birth in the warm waters of the Costa Rican Pacific Coast. This event can be enjoyed by going to Dominical or Bahía Ballena beaches, among others, located just three hours away from San José.

Tortuguero National Park

tortugueroThe region surrounding Tortuguero is called the Tortuguero Plain, which is a vast low lying area of little topographic relief still covered by a large expanse of tropical rainforest.

SEA TURTLE HAVEN: Otherwise, Tortuguero National Park is known as the little Amazon. The park contains both marine and land areas. It was created to protect the Green turtle, since this nesting area is the most important in the Western Caribbean. One of the main attractions is the laying of sea turtle eggs, including those of the giant Leatherback turtle, the Green turtle, the Loggerhead, and the Hawksbill. All of them are endangered species.

The marked trail along the beach is used mostly for observing turtle nesting, but the best way to see most of the park is from a boat.Tortuguero NP (2)

GREEN TURTLE SEASON: It is one of the most visited sites during the Turtle Hatching Season. Green Turtles nest along the beaches of Tortuguero National Park from July to October.

Sea turtles are most frequently seen when the females come ashore to deposit their eggs on beaches, usually at night. They may also be seen feeding in coral reefs by snorkelers and divers. It is really important that people do not disturb them while digging the holes in the sand to put their eggs in.

The exceptionally high rainfall and rich environment where the freshwater meets the sea makes the beaches, canals, lagoons and wetlands of Tortuguero areas of exceptional biodiversity, and opportunity for nature lovers.

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