Where, What is the “Ballena Coast”?

Pick up an old guidebook on Costa Rica, even from just a few years back, and you’ll read that the area known as “Costa Ballena” is difficult to access and offers little to travelers. Fast forward a few years and you’ll discover that this is no longer the case. Located just an hour south of the popular beach town of Manuel Antonio and Quepos; “Costa Ballena”, or Whale Coast, is slowly becoming famous for its pristine beaches and rolling green mountains that teem with wildlife, and a slower pace of life.


The Costa Ballena is a 65 kilometer stretch of coastline in Costa Rica’s south Pacific made up of three major towns: Dominical to the north, Ojochal and Palmar to the south, Uvita is in between; and Sierpe – one of the entrances to the Osa Peninsula- at the far south. Each town has a different feel, making the area fun to explore with a rental car. What these towns do have in common is a magnificent coastline and plenty of beautiful beaches. Another shared trait are the verdant green mountains that rise quickly from the ocean and the paved highway. Hidden in these hills are homes, vacation rentals, eco-lodges, bed and breakfasts, and upscale hotels, all with spectacular views.

The Towns of Costa Ballena 


At the north end of Costa Ballena is Dominical, a beautiful beach town where you can roll out of bed, walk to the beach, and not return until well into the night. Many expats and locals alike have made their home here in the hills above the town, offering incredible ocean and mountain views There are many restaurants on the main street and along a sandy palm-tree lined avenue on the beach you will find merchants who sell souvenirs and restaurants serve up quick bites alongside cold drinks. Stay for the sunset and you too will fall in love with this small town’s charm.


Roughly in the middle of the Costa Ballena is a village, marked by a hub of banks, restaurants, grocery stores, and offices near the main highway. Uvita is a town that offers much more than convenient commerce. Take one of the many dirt roads into the mountains and you will discover hidden homes and neighborhoods neatly tucked into the rainforest. From here, you will have breathtaking views of the famous whale tail, a giant sandbar shaped just like that of a whale’s tail.

On the coastal side is a charming local neighborhood named Bahía Ballena that boasts many beautiful beaches to enjoy, and on the north end is the Marino Ballena National park visited by many species of whales and dolphins from both hemispheres. Do you want to know more about Uvita? Read our blog on “living in Uvita, Costa Rica”. We offer beautiful gated communities in Uvita, and we have a broad inventory of uvita real estate. Contact us for more information. 


At the southern end of the Costa Ballena is a popular landing place for expats from the United States, Canada, and all over Europe. Ojochal has been recently awarded the BLUE FLAG insignia for its community involvement with the lives of the residents and the local environmental concerns. Ojochal has also become a culinary destination in Costa Rica. Maybe it’s the mixture of cultures or maybe it’s the plentiful tropical ingredients, but it is rare to find so many gourmet restaurants so close to one another—and in the land of rice and beans, of all places. In addition to great food, Ojochal also has its own magnificent ocean views, pristine swaths of jungle, and beautiful beaches. In the mountains above Ojochal are many expat homes, rental accommodations with stunning mountain and ocean views!


20 minutes south of Ojochal, sitting on the banks of the Terraba River, Palmar is at the intersection to the gateway to the Osa Peninsula and the very southern, Pacific part of Costa Rice.  Palmar is the center of commerce for the local residents, and the surrounding farming area. There are banks, typical restaurants, appliance stores, other types of stores, repair shops, grocery stores- a favorite one that has a huge veggie mart at the front. Shop where the locals shop, and get most of the things you need, at a better price!


45 minutes south of Ojochal, 15 minutes from Palmar Norte, is the fishing village of Sierpe.  A popular sport fishing and river tour destination, Sierpe is known as the gateway to the remarkably beautiful Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park. This area is considered one of the most biologically intense places with its raw and untamed natural beauty and incredible wildlife

Do you want to know more about the Costa Ballena real estate market? Read our 2019 Report for the South Pacific Region

For more information, and to help you find your “perfect” piece of paradise browse through our distinctive Costa Rica real estate inventory or contact us at C21 Ballena Properties!

Are you thinking of buying property in Costa Rica? Read our blog for more information about the process.    

 Do you have questions about this article, or buying property in Costa Rica? Reach out to us!

Published by ajimenez

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