South Pacific Coast Places

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Ballena Marine National Park

Diving and Snorkeling

Bahía Aventuras. This outfit's bilingual guides lead half-day tours in covered boats that combine whale- and dolphin-watching with snorkeling for $85. A boat tour of the Terraba Sierpe Mangrove costs $85. You can also go fishing from a 23-foot locally designed and built boat. Bahía Ballena. 2743–8362 or 8846–6576. www.bahiaaventuras.com.

Mystic Dive Center. Specializing in dive and snorkel trips to Caño Island, about 50 km (31 miles) offshore, this long-standing dive operation takes a minimum of four divers or eight snorkelers ($115 full-day snorkeling; $158 full-day diving). The tour leaves at 6:30 am and returns around 2 pm. Or you can dive or snorkel closer in, only a 15-minute boat ride from Playa Ventanas, morning or afternoon, with a minimum of four ($80 for snorkelers, $100 for divers). You can also rent surf- and boogie boards or take PADI dive lessons. West side of Costanera Hwy., near entrance to Ojochal, Ojochal. 2786–5217. www.mysticdivecenter.com. Open only during dry season, Dec.–Apr.

The best spot for snorkeling in the park is at the north end of Playa Ballena, near the whale's tail.

Dolphin Tours of Bahía Ballena. This tried-and-true tour company takes a minimum of two people on four-hour boat tours that combine dolphin- and whale-watching with snorkeling and a visit to a rocky island bird sanctuary ($70). Half-day fishing trips for snook and red snapper cost $500 for up to four anglers; full-day trips are $650. 2743–8013 or 8825–4031. www.dolphintourcostarica.com.

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