Our kayaks sitting on the beach during our excursion in Marino Ballena National Park
Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Kayaking in Costa Rica

March 5, 2018

Our excursion with Bahía Ballena Kayaks in Costa Rica’s Marino Ballena National Park started out in a relaxed and tranquil fashion. Paddling along a quiet mangrove channel, we spotted herons and sandpipers. We had our knowledgeable and very funny guide, Anner, entirely to ourselves, likely because we visited during shoulder season. But even in the placid mangrove, adventure wasn’t far away. In order to cross the occasional floating log blocking the creek, we charged at them as fast as we could so that the kayak’s momentum would carry us over. Who knew that blasting over logs in a kayak could be such fun?

Our guide, Anner, paddling through the mangroves in Marino Ballena National Park Photo by Hideaway Report editor

After returning to the channel’s mouth, we dragged the kayaks for a stretch along the beach — this excursion did require some upper-body strength — and left them near a trailhead leading into a former coconut plantation. Anner collected coconuts and demonstrated how to crack them open using a stake and a stone. The coconut water inside tasted marvelously refreshing.

We walked along the forest-fringed beach back to our kayaks; it was time to try them in the sea. After successfully clearing the break, we paddled in relatively calm water along the famous “Whale’s Tail,” a spit of sand extending from the beach to a line of rocks parallel to the shore, the whole of which did indeed resemble its namesake. Turbid water made snorkeling by the rocks pointless, so we alighted instead on the narrow shaft of the tail, where we had the unusual experience of seeing waves approach us from opposite directions.

Our kayaks on the beach in Marino Ballena National Park Photo by Hideaway Report editor

In order to reach the main beach, we had to once again pass over the surf zone. Anner had given us some pointers about how to “surf” a wave with our kayaks back to the beach, and I was excited to give it a try. I paddled with gusto as a large wave grew and felt a rush as I caught it and started speeding toward the beach. Unfortunately, my technique left something to be desired, and I watched with surprisingly calm fascination as the bow of my kayak dug ever deeper into the water, eventually flipping end over end. Anner had prepared me for just such an eventuality, however, and I was uninjured. On the contrary, I was thrilled by the experience. My spouse was the one who expressed regrets, lamenting that Anner hadn’t caught my dramatic spill on video.

The coast in the distance as seen during our kayaking excursion in Marino Ballena National Park Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Less adventurous sorts will want to keep to Marino Ballena’s mangrove, hiking in the coconut plantation and strolling along the beach. Even without the kayak surfing, the excursion is sure to be memorable.

Bahía Ballena Kayak Tours

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who they are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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