Many of the residents of Costa Ballena are bird watchers, nature enthusiasts and draw inspiration to paint, photograph or to live a simpler life merely by observing the beauty that surrounds them. Many have cited that it is because of the biodiversity that is present in Costa Ballena that they have chosen to move to the area. The toucan, the symbolic bird of Costa Ballena, can be found gliding from tree to tree. After the first rains, the butterflies come out to play and it is wonderful to watch as they flutter about their carefree day! The mountains are where ocelots find their home. And if you like reptiles and snakes, you are in for a treat any night of the week, night walking tours, guide accompanied, are available at any time of the year.
More than 25% of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. There are more than 100 different protected areas to visit. Both the smallest and the largest parks of Costa Rica are near Costa Ballena. The smallest being ‘Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio’, near Quepos, with 16 km² to discover and the largest park to the South, being ‘Parque Internacional La Amistad’, with 1,991 km²to explore.
Another great park nearby is ‘Parque Nacional Corcovado’, internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity and home to many endangered species. Big cats, like the Puma, Jaguar and the ever elusive Costa Rican cougar, alongside bird species like the Scarlet Macaw and Harpey Eagle find refuge in the depths of this tropical rainforest. It’s also where you can find all four Costa Rican monkey species; these are the white-faced capuchin, the mantled howler, the endangered Geoffroy’s spider monkey and the Central American squirrel monkey, only found on the Pacific coast. There is an abundance of hiking trails and while some areas remain remote and secluded, it is also easily accessible by the Sierpe wetlands and includes ‘Bahía Drake’. Many residents return periodically throughout the year to visit this park located in the ‘Penisula de Osa’.
For those looking for a hiking adventure, visit ‘Parque Nacional Chirripo’. With a height of 3,727 m (12,228 ft) it is the 38th most prominent peak in the world. On clear days, from the summit you are able to see from coast to coast, with views stretching from the Pacific Ocean all the way across the country to the Caribbean Sea. Where the top of mountains meet and many rivers converge, permanent lakes with crystal clear waters are all yours to discover.