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Tag Archives: Costa Rica tours

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Uvita Whale Watching Tour

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Uvita Whale Watching Tour

A friend of mine here in Costa Rica called to see if we wanted to go on a Uvita whale watching tour this week....ahhh of course!!!

She organized a group of 10 of us to go with Captain Marlon on tour.  The tour costs $50 per person, plus we gave a tip to the guides afterwards.

Getting There

The meeting place for the tour is on the whale's tail beach in Uvita.  The beach is part of the Parque National Marino Ballena (the National Marine Whale Park).

The main road to the beach and National Park has parking lots, which I recommend you use for parking. The street parking is not very well marked and I have heard of people getting tickets. Plus, parking only cost 2,000 colones (approximately $3.50 USD).

Then, we had to pay to get into the National Park which was 6900 colones ($6 each or $12).

Remember, the beach/park does not allow any alcohol, so leave that in your car (unless you can sneak it in!!!)

Marino Ballena National Park

whales tail uvita costa rica
Famous "Whales Tail" in Uvita, Marino Ballena National Park
Marino ballena national park
Marino Ballena National Park

Uvita Whale Watching Tour

Whales

There were 12 other people on the tour with our group, so a total of 22 people.  The guides started out with giving us life jackets and instructions on how to board the boat.

Once we got on the boat they stored our bags for us, as getting past the waves can sometimes we very wet; thus to protect our phones and cameras!

Once we were out past the waves, the guides started looking for whales and right off the bat they find a spot where whales have been spotted and two other boats are there watching.

By law the boats can only get so close to the whale and only so many boats can be in the same spot.  Even though the photo is zoomed, we were close enough to see how large these animals were!

uvita whale watching tour whale
Whales are huge and majestic mammals.
uvita whale watching tour
Whale "waving" to us!

We then headed north to the Dominical area, where we were able to see a mother with her calf.

uvita whale watching tour mother calf
Whale Mother and calf near Dominical
uvita whale watching whale

And they came up to the surface so many times...

uvita whale watching tour breaching
Whale breaching during the tour.

And I couldn't believe how many times the calf breached the surface---- or what we would call jumped...didn't get any photos as it happens so fast and unexpectedly, but did get this video...

Land

During the tour we came across this island, where we got to get out of the boat and swim for a little while which was really refreshing!

cano island costa rica

After swimming we were giving some fruit (watermelon and pineapple), along with water, which was a nice treat! 

The tour then headed south to Playa Ventanas, which is a beach by Ojochal.  This beach is famous for the "caves" along the water.  It's said you can sometimes walk or boat through them depending on the tides.

Cave at Playa Ventanas
Cave at Playa Ventanas

After seeing Playa Ventanas we had a wonderful boat ride (really fast) north back to the whale's tail beach where we ended the Uvita Whale Watching tour.

The guide said we saw more whales than is normally seen on the tours, so we had a fantastic time with friends and seeing the whales!  I can't believe some of the locals have never done this!!!  Wonderful day!


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monkey manuel antonio national park

Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

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Manuel Antonio National Park

This morning I saw a Facebook post that mentioned all national park entrance fees were waived for the day for National Park Day. So...guess what we did? We decided to go to Manuel Antonio National Park!

Getting to Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is located in the city of Quepos. Quepos is approximately 58 miles north of where we live in San Buenaventura.  We had to make a stop in Uvita on our way, so we ended up getting to Quepos around 10am.

After getting into Quepos (downtown), you must cross over the mountain to get to the park.  We figured it would take longer today due to the anticipated traffic. We thought there would be a lot of people going to the park since it was free today. However, the traffic wasn't bad.  The road is one lane each way and twists and turns, but every once and awhile there is this amazing view of the ocean.  Otherwise, the view is mostly hotels and restaurants for tourists.

As you get down the other side of the mountain, you run into a public beach, which is really nice (not in high tide though).  The road along the beach reminded us of Myrtle Beach with people walking everywhere, bars, and souvenir shops--but here it is only a couple blocks, not miles like in SC!

After you get on the beach road, which is running parallel to the beach, you take a left hand turn. There was a guy with a sign when we got there, which helped.

Then you will start to see people trying to get you to park your car.  These are not necessarily with the park, so just beware.  We were able to get parking in a huge field not more than a couple blocks from the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. It only cost us 2000 colones (less than $4).

manuel antonio national park sign
Sign at entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park

Tour

On our way to the park, we were approached by someone asking if we'd like to take a tour.  He had on a Park shirt, so we think

Boardwalk manuel antonio national park

Boardwalk at Manuel Antonio National Park

he was official, but you can never tell down here!

Since we weren't paying entrance fees (and we've had good tour experiences) we decided to go with a tour.  The tour cost US$20 USD (12,500 colones) each person.  For an additional $10, you can have a private tour.

Due to our circumstances, we did ask if the tour was strenuous/difficult and we were told it would be accommodated by the guide, as necessary.

The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours and is well WORTH it!  There are platform trails that will lead you around the park, but the tour guide was able to spot animals that we wouldn't have seen ourselves.

So if you are going to see animals, take the tour. If you're going to just enjoy a walk, nature views, and the beach--you don't need a tour.

Entering the Park

Upon entering the park, besides taking your ticket, they do check bags to make sure no unauthorized items are brought in.birds of paradise

Before we left, we looked to see if we could take a picnic in with us.  We found that you could take sandwiches if in paper bags or Tupperware; same with chips and crackers.

However, when we arrived with our crackers in Tupperware, they were not allowed! (We did see people who  must have snuck things into the park, like chips in original bags).

We figured out that we were looking at some tour company site, not the official National Park site, so make sure you find the official site---or just take empty water bottle like we did.  NOTE: they do have a little stand that sells some food, but we didn't get anything but assume prices were probably high!

Tour Guide

Our tour guide was really good--he spoke very good English and communicated the whole tour in both English and Spanish, as we had mixed languages in our tour.

He was amazing at spotting the animals--but also really knowledgeable about them also.  For each animal he told us something about them, which made it that much more interesting.

The guide also carried a scope which allowed closer views of the animals---and he would use the scope to take pictures with your phone if you wanted!

He was very patient and made sure everyone heard his talk, got to look in the scope, and got pictures if they wanted.

Beaches

Within the park there are three beaches; however, we only made it to two of them while we were there.  But the views were spectacular; plenty of room to lay on the sand; water not too far away to walk out.

Our tour ended at beach #3 and that beach had picnic tables to sit and eat at.  The monkeys hang out at this beach and along the early path to beach #2---just remember to not feed them or even eat by them; they have been know to grab food if you're close by!

On our way out, we went a different way and saw beach #2. Both beaches had bathrooms with shower stations to rinse off, which is really nice.

Plus throughout the park are water stations where you can fill a bottle for drinking--and the water doesn't taste too bad!!!

Beach manuel antonio national park
One of the beaches at Manuel Antonio National Park
manuel antonio national park
Beach at Manuel Antonio National Park.

Animals

Below are some of the animals we saw on our tour in the park:

Note: we did see spiders, but you won't see pictures, I'm sure you can guess why!

Iguana--which we've come to think of like squirrels back home--they're everywhere!
Iguana--which we've come to think of like squirrels back home--they're everywhere!
Agouti manuel antonio costa rica
Agouti--which is related to the guinea pig?!?

We even saw a sloth! Check out the sloth video below!

sloth manuel antonio national park

We left the park around 1ish, but stopped to do some shopping in town, so we didn't arrive home until 5pm--we were tired and exhausted, but had an AMAZING day!


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Costa Rica Whale Watching

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Whale Watching Costa Rica

Costa Rica is heaven on earth for my husband and I; this embodiment of unhurried and abundant life. Our little slice of paradise is waking up just before sunrise, sipping a cup of coffee, watching clouds and fog slip around the mountaintops, and listening to macaws and parrots and howler monkeys welcome the new day.

We are completely content doing nothing on our vacations. We might dabble a bit in hobbies, read, draw, or write, but we've not made a point to get out and try the activities Costa Rica is known for.

So, when we vacationed in Costa Rica last August, we decided on a tour. We'd heard a lot of good things about the dolphin and whale-watching tours, so we booked one.

Wow!

Am I ever so glad we did! What a humbling, awe-inspiring, amazing experience. Dolphins swimming right next to the boat, so close you can almost touch them. And the whales, what gentle giants. There is nothing quite like watching a baby whale play; breaching, flipping, rolling. It is beyond words.

I cannot say enough about the Costa Rica Whale Watching tour; the guides were all knowledgeable, very focused on safety, and went out of their way to make the experience memorable. They even packed fresh fruit for us to snack on while we were out.

I plan on repeating the Costa Rica whale watching tour...and this time, take lots of video!

costa rica whale watching


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