Las Baulas National Marine Park, Playa Grande

3.9
#1 of 8 in Things to do in Playa Grande
National Park Nature / Park
Head to Las Baulas National Marine Park, a sanctuary protecting Costa Rica’s largest population of nesting leatherback sea turtles on the Pacific coast. The park, which covers over 175 sq km (42 sq mi), is home to beaches featuring pristine white sand and crystal clear waters. Though most of the park consists over protected marine environment, you can go scuba diving, snorkeling, and free diving to examine the local marine life. Bring plenty of food and water with you. Use our Playa Grande itinerary maker to add Las Baulas National Marine Park and other attractions to your Playa Grande vacation plans.
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16 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA June, teens, kids, relaxing, beaches, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 1 day in Playa Grande BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in Province of Guanacaste BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 25 days in Panama & Costa Rica BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS July, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Province of Guanacaste BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Playa Grande BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, outdoors, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: August, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM BELGIUM December, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: August, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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4.6
  • An impressive stretch of golden sand, home to surfers when we were there, but apparently a turtle nesting area until March. Low bushland adjacent is impassable, unfortunately, but the beach itself is ...  more »
  • There is nothing here beyond the lovely beach worth seeing or patronizing. The hotels and apartments are all so run down and nasty. There are real estate signs posted everywhere but I am told for the ...  more »
  • No where near as touristy as Tamarindo. In fact it's very laid back and mellow. Wonderful waves and a cool surf vibe!  more »
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  • Would be nice to see the turtles but there are less and less of them. In Jan-Feb 2017 they were spotted only every third day. Sometimes they don't answer the phone but they do have the night tours every day. If not in high season, just come for a visit around 11:30pm (don't forget your passports)
  • Amazing sunsets, perfect for surfing, very little shade and no pets allowed.
  • Favortie beaches, in a national park. Dont have to deal with insane amounts of people or commerce... just chill. Some of the best waves for surfing, but we ware of the rip currents. Also if you want to have a chance to see the leather back turtles, you need to check into the local tourisim office, limited spaces availavle and there are no guarantees you'll see them either.
  • We booked a canoe tour of the estuary in this park. Jonathan was a great guide. We started at Hotel las Tortugas. Jonathan showed an older couple and my wife and I where to enter the estuary. Then Jonathan guided us around the estuary for two and a half hours on two canoes. We saw amazing trees, a crocodile, crazy birds, howler monkeys, colorful crabs. Jonathan was skilled at pointing all these out. The only thing I felt a bit confused about is why there are so many lots of land "for sale" inside of the Baulas "National Park" at the start and end of the tour. Square lots of land have been cleared of trees, which used to be monkey habitat. I wish the government did more to protect the wildlife. Also I heard that there used to be hundreds of turtles every night, but when we went with the wonderful guide Thomas a couple nights ago, we only saw one, because there's more real estate at the beach causing serious damage with light pollution. (I do recommend the turtle tour with Thomas for $30/person. You'll find him selling coconut water around noon in the parking lot of Hotel las Tortugas.) I'm glad we got a canoe tour instead of a motor boat tour. There is such amazing nature there and the few times a motorboat came by, we were so glad we chose canoe. The motorboat is just loud and smelly and should be banned. There's no reason to take a motor boat. Even elder folks can canoe, since Jonathan did the paddling for the older couple. Motor boats probably really disturb the nature too. Highly recommend coming to see all the wildlife! We booked it for $60 with a debit card at Hotel las Tortugas.
  • - A conservation disaster - Looking for sun and snorkeling oppertunities we came to visit the area of Las Baulas National Marine Park for 5 days. First of all, this is one of the few national parks that charges no entree fee. The park consists mainly of beach, some forest land, mangroveforest habitat and marine habitat. Drive all the way to Playa La Grande and park your car wherever, as soon as you hit the beach you're in the park. The beaches are pristine, largely undeveloped and virtually empty of people. Walking towards the north end, follow a small trail that leads into the woods. Furtherdown you'll find Playa Carbon. A small beach with the best snorkeling oppertunities! Forget about doing an expensive boattour: we spotted sharks, rays, octopuss and countless species of fish around the rocks. When tide is low; walk a long the tidepools and cliffs to discover more wildelife such as vultures, hawks, large iguanas, huge crabs and fishspecies that hide in the tidepools. As the turtle nestingseason was at it's end, we decided not to take a nighttour. Apperently the nighttours have a bad reputation. For the mangroveforest part we did a canoetour. We would recommend this tour for sure as you not only get to see more wildlife, but also hike around with the guide inside the forests. We spotted the Howler monkey and crocodillians. Driving around by car and hiking here and there, something disturbing was catching our eye. The Costa Rican goverments is nowedays known for it's strict natureprotection efforts. But this seems all lost for this park. Almost half of the park's land is for sale or rent!!! Mostly North American real estate agencies are buying up the land. Then they clearcut the parts and burn the remains to make it look 'tamed'. It was very sad to see so much of this area beeing destroyed for commercial purposes. So much lost allready! We think a few years from now the park will not be what it used to be. Time for the people there to wake up!