Tours2016-12-12T12:45:11+00:00

Nature and Adventure Tours

The south Pacific region of Costa Rica is full of exciting  nature and adventure tours.

Snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, bird-watching, whale-watching, hiking, horseback riding and boat tours are only some of the many activities available for you to enjoy during your stay at Hotel Cristal Ballena.

Tour arrangements can be made at the hotel.

Marino Ballena National Park – Whale watching tour

Photo of whale watching tour in the Marino Ballena national park

The whale watching tour is the most popular excursion

The whale-watching tour in the Ballena Marine National Park takes you out by boat with an experienced crew to an area where whales and dolphins can generally be spotted.

The best time to see humpback whales is December to March (northern migration), and August to October (southern migration). All year-round you will find Bottlenose Dolphins and Spotted Dolphins in these waters.

The tour takes you past Whale’s Rock, where you will be able to spot numerous marine bird species and their nests. Depending on the tides, you will pass by the Ventanas sea caves, and go snorkeling around the reef at Whale’s Rock or Uvita Point.

Time: Daily at 8:30 a.m.
Duration: Approx. 3 to 4 hours
Distance: You depart from Uvita Beach
7 km north of the Hotel
Additional
Information:
Special price for children under the age of 9

Corcovado National Park Day Trip

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park. Considered as one of the best National Parks in the world by National Geographic.

The full-day tour to Corcovado National Park, the second largest national park in the country, starts at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. You will depart from either Uvita Beach or from Sierpe by boat, traveling to the San Pedrillo biological station in Corcovado. Along the way, hopefully you can see dolphins or even whales.

Once in the park, you will hike three hours with a guide through the wonderful rainforest, where you can observe animals such as white-faced and howler monkeys, coatis, Scarlet Macaws, and many kinds of amphibians and reptiles.

After the hike, you will be served lunch at the ranger station; by about 1:30 p.m. you will be sailing back toward the hotel.

Time: 6:30 am/7:00 am
until 4:00 or 5:00 pm
Duration: 9 to 10 hours
Additional
Information:
You can request a breakfast-to-go at the hotel reception the day before the tour. Entrance fee for the Corcovado National Park and lunch are included in the price.

Caño Island – Boat trip with snorkeling

Caño Island is one of the top day trips in the south Pacific of Costa Rica.

Caño Island is one of the top day trips in the south Pacific of Costa Rica.

Caño Island is the best spot in Costa Rica for snorkeling and scuba diving. The island’s clear blue waters offer sensational underwater visibility, allowing you to see sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, giant manta rays, sharks, and large schools of fish.

Tours to Caño Island depart at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. from Uvita Beach or from Sierpe by boat. Once at the island, you will be provided with the necessary equipment for snorkeling (swim fins, mask and life vest). You will snorkel in two different sites (each lasting approximately 40 minutes), during which you can admire amazing marine life and brilliantly-colored corals.

Between each snorkeling session, the boat will take you to the island’s beach to enjoy a picnic lunch. There you can spend time lying on the beach or exploring the forest trails.

On the voyage back to the hotel, you may be lucky enough to see whales or dolphins.

Time: 6:30/7:00 a.m. until 4:00 or 5:00 p.m.
Distance: Approx. 2 hours distance each way
Additional
Information:
You can order your breakfast to go at Reception the day before the tour.
Lunch snack is included in the tour rate

Mangroves Tour by Boat – Térraba-Sierpe

The Mangroves Tour is ideal for nature and bird lovers.

The Mangroves Tour is ideal for nature and bird lovers.

You will journey by boat from Terraba or Sierpe out to one of the largest mangrove systems in Central America: the Terraba-Sierpe mangroves.

Bird lovers will especially delight in this tour to see the area’s abundant avian species, such as herons, egrets, ospreys, Scarlet Macaws, etc. Watch for any of the four species of monkeys (white-faced, howler, spider and squirrel) moving through the treetops, as well as crocodiles swimming in the river.

The boat captain will do his best to maneuver as close to the animals as possible so you can get the best photographs of your memorable experience.

Time: According to the tide
Duration: approx. 3 hours
Additional
Information:
Tour advisable to watch a variety of animals. Do not forget to bring binoculars.

Nauyaca Waterfalls on Horseback

The Nauyaca Waterfalls are one of the main attractions of the south Pacific region of Costa Rica.

The Nauyaca Waterfalls are one of the main attractions of the south Pacific region of Costa Rica.

Getting to the Nauyaca Waterfalls is part of the adventure. Led by an experienced guide, you will ride horses to one of the region’s most impressive natural highlights.

On the ride, you will cross the Barucito River, and after 45 minutes you will reach “Don Lulo’s” House, where you will be served a typical Costa Rican breakfast. A mini zoo there gives you the opportunity to become friends with a variety of animals.

After breakfast, you will continue on horseback to the waterfalls, where you will spend about 1½ hours. This will give you plenty of time to swim in the 10,700 sq. ft. pool below the waterfall, to climb the rocks (at your own risk) and take a daredevil jump into the 22 foot-deep waters below. Or, you might prefer to quietly enjoy the nature around you.

As you make your way back to the start of the tour, a lavish Tico lunch awaits you at “Don Lulo’s” House.

Time: Monday to Saturday, beginning at 8:00 a.m
Sunday closed
Duration: Approx. 6 hours
Distance: 22 miles north of the hotel
Additional
Information:
Children up to age 4 may join the tour at no extra charge (please inform us at the time you make your reservation).
This tour is only available by prior reservation. You must indicate the weight and riding experience for each person going on the tour. They are closed on Sundays.

Zip lining and canopy tours

Canopy zip-line tours: enjoy superb views from the tree lookout platforms.

Canopy zip-line tours: enjoy superb views from the tree lookout platforms.

For adventure lovers, we have two top canopy zip-line tours near Hotel Cristal Ballena:

Hacienda Barú, “Flight oft he Tucan” zip-line tour

The Canopy Tour in the “Hacienda Barú” Wildlife Refuge is fun for the whole family. You will glide down a variety of zip-lines from one tree platform to another and enjoy superb views of the rainforest, the ocean and coastline.

Also offered: tree climbing tour

Time: Daily at 8:00 am and 11:00am and 2:00pm
Duration: Approx. 2 – 3 hours
Distance: Hacienda Barú is located 22 miles north of the hotel (25-minute drive)
Additional
information:
Professionally organized with high safety standards. Please provide your weight and height when making reservations

Osa Canopy Tour

The Osa Canopy Tour at Osa Mountain Village has 11 zip-lines, 15 platforms, two rappelling stations. This tour is located 20 km south of Hotel Cristal Ballena.

The zipline tour offered by the Osa Canopy Tours gives you a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Costa Rican jungle in the southern zone.

Time: to be arranged
Duration: Approx. 2 – 3 hours
Distance: Osa Canopy Tour is 20 km south of the hotel (about 25-minute drive)
Additional
information:
Professionally organized with high safety standards. Please provide your weight and height when making reservations

Bird Watching

Bird-watching tours by Hotel Cristal Ballena

See toucans, trogons, chachalacas and more on exciting bird-watching tours by Hotel Cristal Ballena.

Costa Rica’s south Pacific region is brimming with an extraordinary number of tropical bird species, including toucans, trogons, motmots, manakins, chachalacas, and many more. There is fantastic bird-watching right on Hotel Cristal Ballena’s property, and in several places near the hotel.

Experienced guides give you important information about the animals and plants of the southern region of Costa Rica. In addition to many bird species, hopefully you will see monkeys, coatis, sloths, squirrels, and bright blue Morpho butterflies, among other wildlife.

Time: Upon request (Highly recommended at 6:00 a.m.)
Duration: Approx. 3 hours
Additional
Information:
It is recommended to wear sturdy walking shoes. Sometimes rubber boots are available on-site and may be borrowed free of charge. Please bring your own socks.

Hotel Cristal Ballena Jungle Trail

The Jungle Trail at Hotel Cristal Ballena is an excellent place to see birds and animals of the rainforest.

Sport Fishing

Fish for Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Mackerel and Snapper on an exciting fishing trip in Costa Rica’s south Pacific.

Fish for Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Mackerel and Snapper on an exciting fishing trip in Costa Rica’s south Pacific.

Fishing tours depart from Uvita beach or Dominicalito Beach. You will journey offshore to fish for Tuna, Mahi Mahi (Dorado), Mackerel, Snapper, and other types of fish. Boats are equipped with fishing rods.

You can also agree with the boatman to take a tour around Whale’s Rock.

With advance booking, you could even travel to Caño Island (approx. 2 hours).

Time: By arrangement
Duration: Minimum 3 hours
Additional
Information:
Don’t forget your sunblock, a long-sleeved shirt and a hat for sun protection.
This tour is not recommended for children.

Kayaking

Kayaking tours are one of the best ways to see wildlife in Costa Rica.

Kayaking tours are one of the best ways to see wildlife in Costa Rica.

Led by an experienced guide, you will paddle single or double open kayaks along broad waterways and narrow canals, often only passable during high tide, through the biggest mangrove forest in Central America.

Kayaking tours are one of the best ways to discover the wonderful world of animals and birds in Costa Rica.

If desired, the tour operator can pick you up at the hotel and take you to the start of the kayak tour (about 20 min. from the hotel).

Time: Daily, no fixed times – depending on the tides
Duration: Approx. 3 hours
Additional
Information:
 Average physical condition is adequate for this tour ideal clothing includes swimwear, a sun hat and a T-shirt

Reptilandia – Reptile park visit

Visit Costa Rica’s largest and most diverse reptile park at Reptilandia.

Visit Costa Rica’s largest and most diverse reptile park at Reptilandia.

Visit the only reptile park in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica.  Stroll along, either accompanied by a knowledgeable guide or on your own, through the beautifully-designed botanical garden. In 55 different terrariums, you will see an incredible collection of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, frogs, iguanas, caimans, crocodiles, turtles, and an amazing Komodo Dragon.

For a very special experience, attend the feeding of the turtles and crocodiles which takes place every Friday.

Time: Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Duration: As long as you want
Distance: Approx. 22 miles north of Hotel Cristal Ballena
Additional
Information:
The animals are fed publicly every Friday. Nighttime tours are possible (please ask for details at reception) multilingual tours available upon request.

Surf & Stand-Up Paddle Board

Enjoy a fun day surfing or stand-up paddle boarding on the south Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

Enjoy a fun day surfing or stand-up paddle boarding on the south Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

Surfing and stand-up paddle boarding are very popular activities on the south Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Whether you are experienced or a beginner, there are great places near Hotel Cristal Ballena for both sports.

For surfing, there are two top places close to Hotel Cristal Ballena:

Playa Uvita (approx. 7 km north of the hotel): small waves ideal for learning surf techniques. Classes are offered for 2 persons and up.

Playa Dominical (approx. 19 miles north of the hotel): bigger waves, ideal for surfers who are already more expert.

The Stand-Up Paddling Tour lasts about three hours; you will paddle from Uvita Beach to Uvita Point (also called the Whale’s Tail), where you will snorkel in the calm waters of the Ballena Marine National Park.

After snorkeling, you will make your way to the famous Whale’s Tail sandbar for some water and fruit refreshments, and to check-out this natural land formation that is an iconic landmark in the Costa Ballena region. After your short break, you will get back on your board and paddle back to Uvita Beach.

Time: Depends on the tides
Distance: 7 or 25 km north of Hotel Cristal Ballena
Additional
Information:
 Children are welcome on the tour.

Horseback riding

Born to ride free: horseback riding in the rainforest or on the beach in Costa Rica.

Born to ride free: horseback riding in the rainforest or on the beach in Costa Rica.

Both expert and beginner riders will enjoy horseback riding through the mountains or along the beach on the south Pacific Coast. While riding, you can see birds and other wildlife, and also gallop down the beach. There are horseback rides at Uvita Point in the Ballena Marine National Park, in the forest in Ojochal, or at Playa Tortuga.

For experienced riders, galloping on the beach is an unforgettable adventure.

Schedule: Mornings and afternoons
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: 7 to 10 km from Hotel Cristal Ballena
Additional
Information:
Wear comfortable clothing and long pants. Bring drinking water and insect repellent. When making your reservation, give your height, weight and riding experience

Diving at Caño Island or at The Marino Ballena National Park

Snorkeling-Marino-Ballena-Uvita_01

Caño Island has some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Costa Rica. The island’s clear blue waters offer remarkable underwater visibility, allowing you to see sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, giant manta rays, sharks, and large schools of fish.

Tours to Caño Island depart at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. from Uvita Beach or from Sierpe by boat, and last all day. Once at the island, you will be provided with the necessary equipment for diving. You will dive at two different sites (each lasting approximately 40 minutes), during which you can admire amazing marine life and brilliantly-colored corals.

You can spend time lying on the beach or exploring the forest trails. On the voyage back to the hotel, you may be lucky enough to see whales or dolphins.

Diving in the Ballena Marine National Park is a half-day tour; you depart from Dominicalito Beach or Uvita Beach at about 8:00 a.m. Dives are conducted in different parts of the park, such as Whale’s Rock, Three Sisters, and Rock Window, among others. This tour includes water and snacks, diving equipment and a dive guide.

Time: Depends on the diving site
Distance: Approx. 2 hours to 1 hour, depending on the dive site.
Additional
Information:
You can order your breakfast to go at Reception the day before the tour.
Lunch snack is included in the tour rate (On Caño Island tour).

ATV Tour

Explore the Costa Rica countryside by ATV.

Explore the Costa Rica countryside by ATV.

This very scenic, easy-paced ATV tour takes you over the mountains and into some deep jungle, providing you with many spectacular ocean and valley views.

You will pass through several streams, coffee and banana plantations, and have the chance to see monkeys, toucans and other exotic wildlife. On your way home, you will visit the San Luis Waterfall.

Time: Daily at 9:00 a.m.
Included: Professional equipment, guide, drinks and snacks
Duration: Approx.2 hours
Distance: ATV Motorsports Office in Uvita
7 km north of Hotel Cristal Ballena
Additional
Information:
Wear comfortable clothes, swimsuit, hat bring sunscreen, camera and a plastic bag to keep electronic items dry if necessary.
Observation: You must be in good, healthy condition

San Buenas Golf Resort

Enjoy a relaxing round of golf on Costa Rica’s only southern region golf course

Enjoy a relaxing round of golf on Costa Rica’s only southern region golf course

San Buenas Golf Resort is the latest creation of Dan Lavis, a Canadian golf course architect. It broke ground in April 2009, and opened the first 9 holes in 2010, combining links, tropical forest and an astonishing mountain view.

Located about 25 minutes south of Hotel Cristal Ballena, San Buenas Golf Resort offers everything for an enjoyable round of golf – motorized carts, pull carts, and rental clubs.

The existing 9 holes are Par 37, over 3,700 yards long from the back tees, and affordable from the blue, white or red tees. The grass used is Paspalum, a salt water resistant turf from Australia that is ideal for this climate and conditions.

The greens are big and fast, with challenging slopes and always well-protected by strategically placed bunkers. The fairways are rather wide, but with deep rough, and water hazards longing or crossing.

Time: Opens daily at 8:30 a.m.
Duration: Approx. 3 to 4 hours
Distance: 10 km south of the Hotel
Additional
Information:
 Special price for children under the age of 9.

Tour prices

We are happy to help you on your tour selection and booking. Latest tour information is available at our reception where you also can book tours directly.

NR TOUR PRICE
PER PERSON
1. Marino Ballena National Park,
Whales+Dolphins, Whale Watching Tour
$70
2. Corcovado National Park Day Tour
a) Corcovado, San Pedrillo section
from Sierpe or from Uvita

$130
b) Corcovado, Sirena section from Sierpe $160
3. Caño Island, Boat Trip with Snorkeling
from Sierpe or from Uvita

$130
4. Mangroves Tour by Boat, Térraba-Sierpe $60
5. Nauyaca Waterfalls on Horseback $60
6. Zipline and Canopy Tours
– Hacienda Baru, Canopy Tour $40
– Hacienda Baru, Zipline Tour $40
– Osa Canopy, Zipline Tour $55
7. Bird Watching
– Hacienda Baru, Bird Watching $45
– Rancho La Merced, Bird Watching $45
8. Sportfishing
Half day/full day, starting from

$550/$900
9. Kayak Tour $65
10. Reptilandia – Reptile park visit $12 ($6)
11. Surf and Stand-Up Paddle
– Surf at Chamán or Dominical Beach $60
– Stand-Up Paddle $80
12. Rancho La Merced, Horseback Riding $45
13. Scuba Diving
– Scuba Diving Cano Island $160
– Scuba Diving Marino Ballena National Park $160
14. ATV Tours from $95


This information on tours and prices has been carefully compiled. We endeavor to ensure that all the information on our website are accurate, however occasionally changes and errors occur and we reserve the right to correct prices and other details in such circumstances. Vers. 10/2014