Activities in the National Parks around us:
All the National Parks are easily accessible over the new Highway No. 34. It is a wide open and pot hole free highway, probably the best in Costa Rica!
WHALE WATCHING & BOAT TOURS:
Departing from Punta Uvita Beach, 25 minutes south of Dominical from the Marino Ballena National Park. Stops are made at the famous Whale Tail Point, Ballena Island, Tres Hermanas Islets, and the Ventana Sea Caves.
A lucky trip will see humpback and pilot whales, different species of dolphins and sea turtles. Marino Ballena National Park, which has more than 18 different species of coral reef forms the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Central America. Bird watchers also get to see an astounding amount of avian diversity during the visits to the Tres Hermanas Islets and the Ventana Sea Caves. If the conditions are good, the boat's captain may even navigate through the caves' natural caverns. The tour lasts 3-4 hours.
What to Bring:
Sunscreen, camera, swimming suit, hat, towel, insect repellent and sunglasses.
What this Tour Includes
Transportation from all hotels in the Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal areas, park entrance fees, fruit, water, snorkeling equipment, bilingual guide.
ACOSA - ÁREA DE CONSERVACIÓN OSA
This park is located 17km south of Dominical, inside Marina Ballena Park. There are a number of beaches and snorkelling opportunities here. Diving and Whale and Dolphin watching are also good at Isla Ballena and Rocas Las Tres Hermanas due to the ocean being rich with plankton so many whales come here to feed. If you go out by boat you will certainly be accompanied by an escort of cheerful dolphins!
Hiking in the Corcovado National Park
It is the largest park in Costa Rica and protects about a third of the Osa Peninsula. It is widely considered the crown jewel in the extensive system of national parks and biological reserves spread across the country. It is about 2 hour drive from Dominical.
The ecological variety is quite stunning. National Geographic has called it "the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity". Not only is the park very popular with tropical ecologists, a visitor can expect to see an abundance of wildlife.
The park conserves the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline and one of the few remaining sizable areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the world. Corcovado is home to a sizable population of endangered animals be explained by the variety of vegetation. Corcovado National Park is open to the public and can be visited on day trips and for overnight visits, as of February 1, 2014 all Corcovado visitors must be accompanied by certified professional guides.
Scuba dive & snorkle Further south, for the more adventurous, you will find Isla del Coco National Park.
Considered one of Costa Rica’s gem, often compared to Galapagos Island. It has a rocky coast with steep cliffs (up to 180 m).
The island’s interior is covered with dense rain forest abounding with epiphytes. Lagoons and rivers feed numerous spectacular waterfalls.
In earlier centuries it was used as a stopover by buccaneers to stock up on fresh water, coconuts and meat. There are 235 plants, 85 bird and 350 insect species found on the island; of these, 70 plant, three bird and two lizard species are endemic (meaning that they are only found on this island). It is assumed that the lizards “Coco Anole and Coco gecko” arrived on the island on rafts of vegetation.
The island is an internationally renowned paradise for scuba diving and most visitors undertake the journey to dive the fabulous reefs, home to 18 coral species, various crustaceans and molluscs as well as over 200 kind of fish (among which are hammerhead and white-tipped sharks and whales). Boats anchor at Bahía Wafer and Bahía Chatham.
Don't want to rent a car? Rent a Motorcycle for a day! It's much cheaper & more fun. Everything in Costa Ballena is very close so just bring your license and moto endorsement and you are ready to go!
Snorkling in Marina Ballena National Park:
With its 13,300 acres of ocean (5,400 marine hectares) and the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Central America, the Marino Ballena National Park is a snorkeler's paradise!
Parrot fish, spotted rose snapper, pacific dog snapper, and butterfly fish; turtles and manta rays, a variety of sea-floor creatures - including starfish, sea cucumbers and sand dollars.
This tour includes visits to Isla Ballena - where much of the snorkeling is done - and the Ventanas Caves, wonderful natural water passages that, if weather conditions permit, the boat's captain will navigate the boat through. This tour lasts 2 hours.
What to Bring:
Sunscreen, camera, swimming suit, hat, towel, sunglasses, insect repellent.
What this Tour Includes
Transportation from all hotels in the Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal areas, park entrance fees, water, fruit, and snorkeling equipment, bilingual guide.
Hiking, birdwatching, swimming in Manuel Antonio National Park
50 minutes north of Dominical is Manuel Antonio National Park offering an extraordinary range of wildlife and flora. One can find three of Costa Rica’s four monkey species (squirrel, howler, white-faced), hawk-eagles, sea turtles and anteaters. The park includes tropical forest, sand beaches and a rocky peninsula where marine wildlife is protected.
There are many kilometers of easy walking trails with immediate access to beaches, where swimming and pickinick are allowed. The best (and most popular) beach is Playa Manuel Antonio, which is safer to swim than Playa Espadilla. In the coastal areas there are many tide pools where you can observe some of the sea life
Don't forget your swimsuit and refreshments!
Keep in mind also that you need to buy your entrance ticket with your passport, then wait in front of the gate to enter. (It needs to be done in this order and you will just waste time if you go directly to the gate) ;)
They only allow entrance to a certain number of people a day, so go early!
Boat tour in the Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands (Mangrove Forest Reserve)
Situated on the mouth of Rio Sierpe, on the west side of the Osa Peninsula, 3 hours south of Dominical. This protected zone is the largest mangrove forest of the country and protects the river mouth delta and wetlands between the rivers Terraba and Sierpe.
The mangrove forest itself is home to a range of species and in particularl birdwatchers appreciate the tours in the early morning There are ibises, herons, roseate spoonbills and the rare mangrove hummingbird to be spotted. Of course, the unavoidable crocodiles and caimans can also be seen here. Most boat tours start from Sierpe.