Playa Dominical, Marino Ballena national park, Pacific coast, Costa Rica.

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Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

Top choice in Quepos to Uvita

Famous for its wide, 4km-long beach, part of which is shaped like whale's tail at low tide, this small but important marine park protects coral and rock reefs surrounding several offshore islands, along with migrating humpback whales, dolphins and nesting sea turtles. The best times of year for whale spotting are from December to April and July to November. You can walk along the sandy 'whale's tail' at low tide only; at high tide much of the beach is covered.

At the end of the 'whale's tail' are rockpools, and kids will enjoy searching for small marine life here. However, ferocious waves break at the end of the tail, so it's not suitable for swimming – keep kids at a distance from it so they don't end up being swept away.

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