How to Visit the Whale Tail in Costa Rica at Marino Ballena Park

whale's tail in costa rica

Prepare to go on an adventure of discovery along Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. One of nature’s most compelling displays in the region is the Whale Tail. The sand on top of the rock formation here creates a tail-shaped pattern. As the tides flow, the currents unveil the beauty of this location to lucky travelers. Visitors should witness this spectacle firsthand and enjoy the ambiance of Costa Rica’s southern coast.

Where Is It Located?

Marino Ballena National Park is the home to the famous Whale Tail. Travelers can locate it in the serene coastal town of Uvita along Costa Rica’s South Pacific shores. You must visit the shores of Playa Uvita to witness this coveted place. A mangrove ecosystem and lush rainforests surround the area. The rich biodiversity and marine splendor make it a perfect spot for visitors.

whale tail beach costa rica

Image source: Pinterest

Factors to Consider When Visiting Marino Ballena National Park

As eager as you may be to visit this natural wonder, planning is essential to reach this location. When heading over to Playa Uvita in Costa Rica, consider the following aspects:

  • The Unpredictable Weather Conditions

The area has high humidity, and it experiences frequent rainfall. Even during the dry season from December through April, you should prepare for frequent rain. The dry season guarantees sunny and warm weather in the Whale’s Tail, Costa Rica. Therefore, bring your sunscreens and hats for sun protection. Visitors should also be equipped with appropriate gear and clothing for unpredictable weather conditions.

  • Essential Items to Bring

The beach has no facilities to cater to the needs of the visitors. Therefore, you must bring food and water to be comfortable. The beach only has some basic amenities at the ticket office. Therefore, carry enough water to sustain you for the entire visiting period. Visiting Whale Tale in Uvita also requires suitable shoes for walking on hot sand and rocky terrain.

  • The Area Has Security and Safety Issues

Do not leave unattended valuables in the car and on the beach. The officers in the national park stopped a person from stealing in a car the last time I visited the beach. Choose accommodations within walking distance of Playa Uvita to avoid the hassle of parking each time you visit. I highly recommend budget-friendly options that offer convenient proximity to the beach. Ensure that the accommodations you select have CCTV cameras to maximize your safety.

  • Hike to the Mountains to Appreciate the View of the Tail

Visitors should explore elevated vantage points in the mountains behind the town to appreciate the shape of Uvita’s Whale Tail. The area is large, making it hard to appreciate it completely on the beach. I hiked the mountains behind the town with friends for a unique aerial perspective. Visitors can also access the mountains through a 4×4 vehicle due to the rugged terrain of dirt roads. You can take as many pictures as possible from there with the Whale Tail in the background.

whale tail uvita

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How to Get to Playa Uvita

Reaching the Whale’s Tail from San Jose requires a 3-hour drive. You will pass through four tollbooths; the highest charge received is 760 colones. For those venturing from Quepos, Uvita is one hour south of Manuel Antonio along the Costanera Sur Highway. From Sierpe, the Costanera Sur Highway also offers connections to Uvita through a one-hour drive.

Visitors using Google Maps should put Uvita Beach in their GPS to reach Whale Tail Beach, Costa Rica. You can take several roads off the Costanera Sur highway to take you there. Some of the roads are dirt roads. However, they are manageable with a sedan if you take it slow. A 4×4 vehicle will be perfect because it will enable you to visit the mountains for the entire view of Uvita Beach.

After passing the Rio Uvita, I turned right at the Dome restaurant. I followed the road to the entrance of the beach without branching anywhere. After passing the Dolphin Tours building, the road ended at the Uvita Park entrance. You can also hire a bike in Uvita if you do not have a car.

Entrance and Parking

As you approach the Uvita sector entrance of the national park, you will encounter several private parking lots. These parking facilities levy fees ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 Costa Rican colones. The amount equals approximately $4 to $6 for the entire day. Whale Tail Uvita does not have an official car park. Instead, these nearby options offer easy access for visitors.

During my visit, I opted for the closest parking lot that charged a flat rate of $6 for the day. It allowed me to explore the wonders of the Whale’s Tail the entire day. There are other slightly cheaper alternatives further from the entrance. Moreover, there are no charges for children under 12 and seniors above 65. However, each adult pays $6 at the entrance to obtain the Marino Ballena Park pass.whale tail uvita

Image source: Pinterest

How to Reach the Beach

The journey from the entrance to the Whale Tail is a wonderful experience. The beautiful palms at Whale Tail Beach, Costa Rica, create a sense of excitement for what’s to come. The walk follows a watercourse lined by mangroves and crocodile warning signs. You will reach the sandy stretch of the beach by turning right on the trail. The sound of the waves crashing against the coast will follow you as you stroll to the beach.

There is another method to get to the Whale Tail if you are reluctant to walk to the shore. Taking a boat cruise is one possibility as well. Whale viewing and snorkeling are included in the excursion. Whale watching is possible from mid-July to mid-November and mid-December to April. The tour also entails kayaking at the whale tail.

What Is the Best Time to Visit?

Wondering when are the best moments to engage in some of the activities you can partake in here? Say no more. I’ve got the answers for you. Below, you’ll find information on which times of the year are the best for you to visit the Whale Tail in Costa Rica.

  • Whale Watching

Visiting the Whale Tail Uvita depends on your interests. There are optimal times throughout the year that offer unique experiences. You will witness the majestic humpback whales breaching from the shore between December and April. You can also plan for the same activity between July and November. During these periods, humpback whales frequent the waters around the Whale Tail.

  • Watching Sea Turtle Nesting

From May to November, visitors fascinated with the remarkable natural occurrence of sea turtle nesting should visit this location. During these months, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill sea turtles start their breeding behaviors along the beach. You should respect these turtles by maintaining a safe distance when they nest. You should also refrain from shining lights in their direction. The tour guide will also advise you to avoid any actions that could disturb the turtles on Whale Tale Beach, Costa Rica.

uvita whale tail

Image source: Pinterest

  • Snorkeling Activities

If you want to snorkel, scheduling your trip between December and April is best. The surrounding waters at the Whale’s Tail are more transparent during this time, providing snorkelers with improved visibility. Due to river sediment runoff, the wet season between May and November diminishes the underwater visibility. Therefore, visit the place in the dry season for snorkeling excursions.


Discover the premium experience that awaits you on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. Marino Ballena National Park will amaze you with the Whale Tail formation once you get there. Navigating this natural treasure also requires paying close attention to the unpredictable weather. Carry comfortable clothing and pick the ideal time to arrive to maximize your chances of seeing this wondrous location. Bring your sense of wonder and let the southern shore of Costa Rica enchant you.

Lisa Morrison is a storyteller with an eye for life's wonders. Passionate about writing, she captures fleeting moments with precision. In her spare moments, she's often found chronicling the world around her.

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