Walking on the Whale's Tail
The Whale's Tail is a magnificent geological anomaly that juts out into the Pacific Ocean on Costa Rica's Western shore. The tail itself is an island completely separate from the mainland. During low tide, a sandbar emerges between the island and the mainland connecting the two and creating a 'tail' if viewed from above.
Two converging ocean currents circulate on either side of the tail, bringing with them deposits of sand and rock. Emerging from the watery sand, a kilometer from mainland, these remnants of tectonic movements are an impressive sight.
Walking between the island and the mainland was a surreal experience as the ocean continuously swept over my feet hinting at its sole discretion to sever the link.
The Whale's Tail is surrounding by a combination of five sandy beaches. On a quiet day, this place looks like an unexplored world, ripe for the taking.
The only sounds to be heard are the waves crashing into the shore. But a few steps into the jungle, you will see Scarlet Macaws squabbling over food and canopy real estate. On shore, some other local residents make periodic appearances.
Costa Rica's strays are cuter and healthier than most dogs I've encountered abroad. This little guy appeared out of nowhere and became an excellent companion for the stroll back.
To get to the Whale's Tail, you must enter the Marino Ballena National Park which has a small fee, best paid in local Colones although USD will also be accepted. However, having said that, there are many access points to the beaches and they are not patrolled so it is entirely possible to enter the park without paying but if an officer does approach you while you're strolling, don't be surprised when asked to provide payment.
The beach itself is not very safe for belongings and it is recommended to leave your things in a shoddy looking plastic bag if you're going to leave them unattended.
The interior of the park has some walking trails but there are a lot of bugs and insect repellant is an absolute must!
The beach has little cover and no chairs or other amenities. Bring your own towel to lie on and plenty of sun block. The beach is really popular for surfers and you can catch some really great waves during the right time. There is also a lively reef so snorkeling gear would be useful. If you don't you may be able to rent one from a local hostel.
A great place to stay is the Flutterby Hostel, only a 5 minute walk from the beach.
Finally, check the daily schedule for low tide timing, otherwise you won't be able to get to the tail!
Happy Exploring :D
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