The Ballena Marine National Park is located in Puntarenas, at the South Pacific coast of our country. This national park has an extension of 110 terrestrial hectares and 5,375 marine hectares and it was created on December 14th of 1989.
Although the park extends mainly in the marine area, also counts within their protected areas with a numerous of beautiful beaches, among them we can mention, Ballena Beach, Uvita Beach, Arco Beach and Piñuelas; although Ventanas Beach is not part of this National Park, it has a great attraction: the caves, which are distributed in the ocean as in the beach. In low tide you can walk through them and in the tour of whale watching you can go through with the boat to one of the. This park was created with the main goal of protecting the reef corals that are located in Punta Uvita and in Whale’s Island, besides this park protects the whales that migrate from the North and South Poles and they come here to procreate and to give birth to their calves as well. Also between the marine species that we can find in the waters of this park we can see spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, olive ridley sea turtle, as well as a great variety of reef fishes and sea stars, among others.
The Punta Uvita Tómbolo or “The Tail of the Whale”
Within the Ballena Marine National Park is one of the most interesting geological formations, which generates great interest at an international level: the Punta Uvita Tómbolo, popularly known as the Paso de Moisés, which resembles the tail of a whale when looking from a high place or from the air and that appears only at low tide.
The visitor can walk on it and swim in any of its two pools, where the water is very calm and warm, and enjoy the magnificent views of the mountains that rise on the shore
The tombolo is a sand bank that links an old island or island to the coast, a geographic sedimentary feature. The Tómbolo of Punta Uvita is characterized by the deposit of sand (terrestrial and biogenic) on the crest of the rocks that join the head of the tombolo with the coast, forming the figure of a whale tail recognized internationally today.
Facts of the Humpback Whale:
Did you know that?
- Its scientific name is Megaptera novaengliae and they are called also yubartas…
- After the international ban for hunting humpback whales in the 70’s this whales started to recover and the population started to increase…
- There is approximately a population of 10.000 humpback whales…
- The males measure about 15 to 16 meters, the females about 16 to 17 meters. The weight is about 40 tons…
- It has between 16 to 20 ventral pleats. These are some parallel folds that extend from the tip of the lower jaw to the umbilicus and they allow the mouth to extend widely.
- The characteristic baleens filter the water retaining the food and they have between 270 and 400 baleens on each side of the mouth.
- They generally give birth to calves every 2 to 3 years. The pregnancy lasts 11 months which the calf can measure between 4 to 4.5 meters and weight approximately 700 kilos. Also they breast-feed approximately 6 months and they leave the mother when they have 2 years old approximately, that’s when they measure 9 meters long and also they reach the sexual maturity at 5 years old.
- They feed only during the summer and live from their reserves of grease during the winter (migration to Costa Rica)
- They eat krill and small fishes as herring… – The most characteristic fishing technique that they use is the bubble nets. Bubble nets consists of a series of small bubble columns blown in a circle or spiral by the whales, that enclose a central space in which the fishes got caught and they force them to go up in the surface. After this the whales go to the surface camouflaged by the bubble net and with the open mouth they can caught thousands of fishes at the same time. The bubble net created by a group of whales (even by 12 whales) can reach to a 30 meters diameter!
- In general they live between 40 to 50 years…