Beaches, natural attractions and Wild Animal Sanctuaries of Costa Ballena and the region
Dominical: Dominical is the first beach and the gateway to Costa Ballena. This very well known village has a relaxed atmosphere, and it is a real surfer’s paradise. The sunsets are beautiful, either by the riverside or by the beach. After witnessing this natural display of beauty, you will be able to enjoy international cuisine or tasty local food. Dominical’s beaches have strong currents, so be cautious, and enjoy the ocean preferably close to the lifeguard station. The nightlife is invariably the most exciting aspect of the visit: nightclubs, concerts, beach parties and live performances are a part of the experience… In addition to other entertainment option in Dominical, we recommend Las Rocas Marea Alta Sportfishing, which offers boat tours and fun water activities.
Uvita: Uvita is Costa Ballena’s capital. In this village you can find all kinds of services and a welcoming community. You’ll see there sophisticated gourmet restaurants, eateries with typical food, comfortable hotels, eco-lodges, cabins, and hostels. Once you choose your accommodations and start setting down, we suggest you explore the Marine Ballena National Park and its famous Whale Tail, the third largest sandbank in the world. Excellent surfing beaches are Playa Hermosa, Playa Chaman and
Playa Ventanas: On Saturday morning, visit the Farmers Market, located at El Rincon de Uvita. It is where the locals meet. Playa Ventanas gets its name for its caves (they resemble a window). During the low tide, you can walk through them, and see the waves breaking inside the cave. During the high tide, the powerful body of water will shoot spray out of the mouth of the cave. This beach is an excellent surfing spot. There is a private and safe parking place, nevertheless, do not leave any valuables in the car.
St. Lucia Waterfalls: Hidden in the mountains of Uvita, are the St. Lucia waterfalls, a beauty not yet seen by many foreign eyes. The narrow, but well secured road and will take you not only over hills and through valleys, but also through many small rivers. As soon as your steps gain stability, you will be able to admire the nature surrounding you, made up by exuberant primary and secondary lush forest, an amazing diversity of flowers, and the quiet gurgling of the river as a musical background. The area is home for huge variety of frogs, birds, monkeys, and more. You’ll be astonished facing one of the three waterfalls of St. Lucia – they are the largest falls in Costa Ballena, with an approximate height of 100 meters. During the summer, anyone can go swimming and in this natural pool. It is important to bring solid and waterproof footwear.
Playa Tortuga: Its main attraction is its abundant wildlife and the stunning natural surroundings that include towering mountains, lush forests, the ocean, two rivers descending from the Oochal hills, and flowing into the sea. Playa Tortuga is home of the Turtle Reserve (Reserva Tortuga). This organisation is seeking to educate locals and visitors on how to support the conservation of Costa Rica marine turtles. Turtles are important to wildlife in the area because they contribute to the overall health of the ocean. The turtles help maintain coral reefs, clean the ocean floors, and help control populations of jellyfish and other crustaceans. They are also an important part of the food chain, as they provide food sources for larger fish, like sharks, and the babies provide food sources for smaller fish in the estuary. The shells from the turtle eggs contribute to give the beach nutrients, which keep the life cycle active on the beach as well.
Playa Tortuga is a special beach as it provides an ideal habitat for nesting turtles. Surrounded by the salty seawater and the fresh river water, the beach provides a perfect sand structure and safe nesting area for the nesting turtles, at low and high tides. Reserva Playa Tortuga, a non-profit organization, is looking for volunteers to help with their active nightly patrolling during the nesting period. Accompanied by a trained guide, volunteers will walk the beach in search of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles that are nesting, and partake in a beautiful experience offered by Mother Nature.
Driving on this beach is illegal, because it destroys the turtle’s habitat. Fires on the beach at night also disturb the nesting turtles and attract the babies when they are hatching, leading them away from the sea.
Playa Garza (Boca Brava): mouth of the Terraba River. The Terraba River is the largest river in Costa-Rica. One of this river mouths separates the long stretch of Isla Garza from the mainland. It has many rip currents, and it is a habitat to many crocodiles and sharks. Hardly, anyone ever surfs on Garza Island because the only access is by boat. Upriver the landscape opens up into a paradise, filled with mangroves, amphibians and a great variety of birds.
Osa Mountain Village, Wild Animal Sanctuary (Sanctuario de Animales silvestres de Osa Mountain Village): Since the Act 8689 (adopted in 2008) was enforced in the Canton of Osa, the Osa Mountain Village Wild Animal Sanctuary has been very busy. The Wildlife Sanctuary Osa Mountain Village is primarily, a rescue and recovery center trying to reintegrate the animals into the wild. It is open to the public to educate people about the fragile ecosystems that are threatened by the invasion of their habitat.
Mangroves of the Terraba-Sierpe River (Les humedales Térraba-Sierpe): The Terraba and Sierpe River Mangroves are part of the great forest reserve Terraba-Sierpe wetland that features a mangrove forest with a total of 22,000 hectares. The Terraba-Sierpe wetlands are one of the most important ecosystems throughout the world, a huge source of life. In addition of the absolute beauty and magic of the swamps, we can see there many herons, egrets, kingfishes, enormous crocodiles and many more species. It is a woodland ecosystem with periodically flooded swamps and mangrove forests. It ponds in conjunction with the ocean, estuaries, and coral reefs. The Terraba-Sierpe River is the second largest Latin American wetland. You can drive upstream to the river mouth from Sierpe, a little village which is the waterline and the gate to a different world. A high tide is required to enter the small channels through the mangroves. At low tide, since the roots from the trees are not under water, they look as though they would start moving at any given moment, and that makes the boat less maneuverable. As the tide goes up, the scenery changes, and the river resembles a mirror, reflecting the mangrove on the glassy waters, as if merging two worlds. Note that after the tour, you can have a delicious lunch on the terrace of the Kokopelli restaurant overlooking the Sierpe River.
Durika heritage – an eco paradise: Durika mountain is located 3,280 meters above sea level, and it is part of the Talamanca Mountain Range. It summit is a vortex of heightened energy. The Durika community was founded in 1990 far from the civilization, at the feet of the majestic mountain. M. German Cruz Villanueva Beita initiated the project of creating a community where people could live in harmony with nature. The village has been self-sufficient for years, and it produces everything the villagers need. It has a school, in addition to a health center with a dentist. Many of the locals are student of distance education programs. This is a community with neither religious nor political inclination. Tourists and student travel from abroad to learn the secrets of the simple existence, living only with what is the most essential. Life goes on in Durika and its philosophy remains solid. The community stays open to the world, sharing its wisdom, beauty and simple life.
The mountain is the mountain, the way is the way, all that changes is what is inside the heart (Germán Cruz Villanueva Beita, costarrican philosopher and creative leader). Photo : © Univers.GrandQuebec.com
Playa Ballena (Whale Beach). Photo : © Univers.GrandQuebec.com
A forest on Costa Ballena. Photo : © Univers.GrandQuebec.com
Butterflies House in Uvita. Photo : © Univers.GrandQuebec.com
A path in the Osa Animal Sanctuary. Photo : © Univers.GrandQuebec.com
A small waterfall in Uvita. Photo : © Univers.GrandQuebec.com
Whale Tale Peninsula. Photo : © Univers.GrandQuebec.com