Bahia Ballena is the area that surrounds the Marino Ballena National Park. But for a practical (Waze and Google Maps) understanding, is everything located between the towns of Dominical and Ojochal, including Dominicalito, Ventanas and Uvita. The area has lots to offer its visitors, including surfing lessons, nature hikes, visit to waterfalls, horseback riding, but the two most representative activities are the visit to the Tail of the Whale at Marino Ballena and the boat tour for Whales and Dolphins observation during season which is from June to November.
Another very important theme is the holistic, organic, healthy vibe you can sense. There are a good number of yoga retreats and surf camps that combine all those elements.
I could extend my article talking about the great family time we had at Villas Tekoa, but I am sure you will find more interesting and useful our final report of the area. So here it goes.
Bahia Ballena is great for adults, specially if you like to do Surf and Yoga. There is great nightlife in Dominical. And very active tours that involves a decent physical condition. For example Savegre River rafting and the hike to Nauyaca Waterfall. But it can be very family friendly too. Specially if they are teenagers and young adults. There are many activities they could do including, boat tours for whale watching, surfing lessons, zip lining, horseback riding, sea kayaking and snorkeling. If you travel with little kids like we do (under 8) options are a little limited. But you can still do stuff. And they will still have a good time doing things like a mild walk at Hacienda Baru for wildlife observation, build sand castles at any of the beaches of the area, and spend some time at the swimming pool of your hotel or vacation rental.
And accommodations are great too.
Here is what we have seen and recommend: Hotel Cristal Ballena, Kura Design, Villas Tekoa, Cuna del Angel, Villas Rio Mar.
If you are planning to include Bahia Ballena in your future travel plans try to combine it with the Manuel Antonio area first and Osa Peninsula afterwards. This combination will give you an interesting perspective of the different elements Costa Rica has to offer to all visitors looking for the perfect Beach and Nature Experience.
By the way, the best local tour operator is called Bahia Aventuras.