Parque Nacional Marino Ballena
This stunner of a marine park, created in 1989, protects coral and rock reefs surrounding several offshore islands. Its name comes not only from the humpback whales that breed here but also because of the Punta Uvita 'Whale Tail,' a distinctive sandbar extending into a rocky reef that, at low tide, forms the shape of a whale's tail.
Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge
Located on the Pacific coast 3km northeast of Dominical on the road to Quepos, this wildlife refuge forms a key link in a major biological corridor called the Path of the Tapir. It comprises around 330 hectares of private and state-owned land that has been protected from hunting since 1976.
Escaleras, a small community scattered around a steep and narrow dirt loop road that branches off the Costanera, is famed for its sweeping views of the coastline. If you want to make it up here, you’re going to need a 4WD to navigate one of the country’s most notoriously difficult roads.