Hotel Resort & Spa Cristal Ballena is situated in a grand scale of 12 hectare (30-acre) private tropical garden, embedded on a hill between the Pacific Ocean and rainforest-covered mountains.
This unique position allows breathtaking ocean views while a cooling breeze is coming from the mountains. The daily sunsets are occasions in your life you will never forget from your Costa Rica trip.
The entire resort is built in a very generous way with lots of green areas. All buildings are designed in elegant Mediterranean style.
* Restaurant and Pool-bar
* Beauty, well-being and top care in our hotel spa
* WLan and internet station
* 1300 sq. ft. swimming pool, deckchairs and sunshades
* room and laundry service
* souvenir shop
* pool table, park grounds, shuttle service to the ocean
* tour organization, rainforest hiking path, fitness trail.
All the hotel's generous Suites are designed with a special eye on details and comfort. Natural interior materials harmonize with the luxurious vegetation in front of the private balcony. The warm and personal atmosphere will let you feel like home.
The Hotel Resort Cristal Ballena offers:
* 16 spacious, connectable junior suites - 52sm
* 2 master suites -94 sm and
* 1 family suite - 94 sm,
all with private balcony and outrageous ocean views.
These stylish, spacious suites are equipped with four-poster beds, air conditioning plus ceiling fan, satellite television, WLAN, telephone, refrigerator, safe, coffee maker and private bathrooms with hairdryer.
Cristal Ballena's 2 simple but charming Adventure Lodges are situated in a colorful garden, surrounded by exuberant tropical forest. Each lodge is complete with terrace, separate tiled bathroom, king size bed, electricity and ceiling fan.
Pool Bar and Pura Vida Restaurant
The "Pura Vida" pool bar and restaurant, located at the swimming pool, features international and Costa Rican cuisine and serves a variety of refreshing cocktails and beverages.
At the lavish breakfast buffet you will find everything your heart could desire: typically Costa Rican “Gallo Pinto”, eggs prepared just the way you like them, fresh fruits, cereals, yogurt, home-baked bread and much more.
How about lunch next to the pool, where you can be treated with sandwiches, fresh salads, as well as light meals.
In the evening, allow the chef to enchant you with superb dishes, both national and international, served in the restaurant area or our fully air-conditioned Salon "Cristal”.
Hotel Cristal Ballena's well-trained staff is happy to prepare fresh fruit juices and cocktails for you, as well as presenting you with top-quality international wines.
Conferences and Meetings
The air-conditioned Salon "Cristal" is located on the first floor of the restaurant area and offers wide views to the ocean, the lush hotel area and to the rainforest covered mountains. It can be rented for exclusive events, such as weddings and meetings.
The room might be darkened if required. WLan is available.
Following capacity is possible:
* Banquet: 70 pax
* Classroom: 80 pax
* Theatre: 110 pax
A visit at the exclusive Spa Cristal is another magnificent experience at the Hotel Resort & Spa Cristal Ballena.
You will find a place full of harmony and relaxation. The lovely-decorated Spa pampers its guests with natural aromas, meditative sounds and sensuous atmosphere.
Situated in the generous tropical park we offer a beauty salon, a private terrace with breathtaking view to the pacific, steam bath and Jacuzzi. The steam bath and Jacuzzi can be used also by couples.
The Spa's professional skilled therapists supply a wide range of beauty treatments with high quality Germaine-de-Capuccini cosmetics as well as chocolate and marine scrubs and wraps.
* Facials: Deep-Cleansing
* Facials: Deep-Cleansing facial with foot reflexology
* Cristal Classic Facial
* Mini facial
* Back Cleaning
* Wraps: Chocolate, Papaya, Coffee, Grapes, Aloe or Seaweed
* Wraps and Scrubs
* Jacuzzi Bath
* Steam Bath
Therapies and Massages:
In addition the therapists offer a variety of innovative and different massages.
* Bowtech Therapy Massage
* Ayurveda Massage
* Aromatherapy Massage
* Hot Stone Massage
* Relaxation Massage
* Sport Massage
* Anti-Stress Massage
* Foot Reflexology
* Lucky Luke - Child Massage
* Indian Head Massage
* Foot Massage
Snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, bird and whale watching, walking tours, horseback riding, ultralight flying tours and boat tours are only some of the most exciting tour options available for you to discover during your stay at Cristal Ballena.
Ballena National Park: was the first marine park in Latin America and is the only one in Costa Rica. The park is a system of reefs and islands called Las Tres Hermanas that protect the coastline which is made of several unique geological formations and creates some of the best diving and snorkeling in Costa Rica.
*walking or horse riding on the endless beaches
*snorkeling and diving
*bird watching on a boat trip to the Roca Ballena
The Mangrove: The delta area of the longest river of Costa Rica the Terraba River, is a natural habitat for monkeys, birds, reptiles, crocodiles and many other exotic species.
*mangrove tour with boats or kayaks
*dining tour with the Riverboat ManglarSur
Caño Island: The island is well known for its white sand beaches and the well protected inshore coral reef. It is the best spot in Costa Rica for snorkeling and scuba diving because of its clear water and its pristine wildlife. (reef sharks, dolphins, humpback whales, giant manta rays, sea turtles, puffer fish, angel and barracuda, just to name a few).
Ultra Light Flights: Skyline Nature Flying Tours lets you live new and intense emotions as you discover a bird's-eye view of the enchanting scenery in the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica.
Corcovado National Park: This park is considered as one of the best National Parks on the world by National Geographic. It preserves 65% of Costa Rica's biodiversity. You can see up to 4 species of monkeys, red scarlet macaws, agoutis, tapirs, coatis, sloth's, birds and more.
*full day tours with bus and boat
Nauyaca Waterfalls: These wonderful waterfalls are one of the main attractions of the Southern Pacific area. Not only because of its natural beauty but also for climbing and jumping the falls, swimming and bird watching.
*horseback riding tour that takes you to the waterfalls
Hacienda Barú: Barú offers a wide variety of tours like “The Flight of the Toucan” (Canopy), Tree climbing, Mangrove Walk and Rainforest Experience
Paradise Feeling: Garden and Rainforest Walk
Enjoy a walk through the gardens of the Finca Cristal Ballena with its two rivers, the powerful hills, lush rainforest and a spectacular wildlife. The hotel is surrounded by our own beautiful gardens and park area. Perfect for a relaxing, eye-pleasing walk. From the pool area enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the whole area.
Snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, bird and whale watching, walking tours, horseback riding and boat tours are only some of our exciting tour options available for you to discover during your stay at Cristal Ballena.
All Tours can be booked at the hotel and paid locally. The indicated tour prices are based on the information of the tour operators, are non binding and may vary depending on season and exchange rates. The current tour prices and information is provided at the hotel reception..
Cristal Ballena Rainforest Trail: The Trail is an approximately 1¼-mile walk through the jungle, during which you will have an opportunity to observe howler and capuchin monkeys, leaf cutter ants, coatimundis (pizotes) and a variety of other jungle animals.
If you wish to take a walk with a guide along the “Cristal Ballena” Rainforest Trail, please register one day in advance at the reception.
Whales and Dolphins: You'll ride with an experienced crew out into the ocean to an area where whales and dolphins can generally be spotted.
The best time to see whales is between July and the end of October, as well as from the end of November until late April. Because these excursion boats are in radio contact with each other, whale sightings are reported at once and boats quickly converge on the areas in question. Several dolphins can generally be found in the vicinity.
If you are lucky, you will see any of five different whale species, including humpback and pilot whales. If you are then daring enough to jump into the water, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to eavesdrop on whales as they sing to each another.
The tour takes you past the Roca Ballena, where you will be able to espy numerous bird species and their nests. On the beach of Playa Ventana, you can still see beautiful caves forged by the sea and the colonies of pelicans that live here.
Corcovado Day Trip:You will be picked up by the tour operator's bus early in the morning and taken on an approx. 1 ½-hour drive to Sierpe, during which your English-speaking tour guide will get you in the mood for the day ahead. Before you board the boat, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy some breakfast in Sierpe (not included in the price).
Once on the boat, you will make your way past the mangroves and through the Sierpe river. You will then head out across the open ocean to the “San Pedrillo” ranger station, located in the country's second-largest national park, the “CORCOVADO”. With a little luck, you will have a chance to spot dolphins or whales from the boat.
Once you have arrived at the national park, you will take a walk lasting around 3 hours through the beautiful rainforest, Led by your guide, you will be able to observe all kinds of animals, including capuchin and howler monkeys, coatimundis, parrots, along with amphibians and reptiles. After the hike, you will be served lunch at the ranger station. You will have some free time to yourself, before embarking on the boat ride back to Sierpe through the mangroves.
Horseback Outing of the Nauyaca Waterfall: Led by an experienced guide, you will ride horses to one of the region's most impressive natural highlights – the Nauyaca Waterfalls.
Before you reach them, you will cross the Barucito river and, after 45 minutes, come to “Don Lulo's” House, where you will be served a typical Costa Rican breakfast. A mini zoo there gives you the opportunity to become friends with a variety of animals.
After breakfast, you will continue on horseback to the waterfalls, where you will spend about 1½ hours. This will give you plenty of time to swim in the 10,700 sq.ft. pool below the waterfall, to climb the rocks (at your own risk) and take a daredevil jump into the 22 ft.-deep waters below. Perhaps, however, you might prefer just to quietly enjoy the nature around you.
As you make your way back to the start of the tour, a lavish TICO lunch awaits you at “Don Lulo's” House.
Mangroves Tour: You will leave Ojochal by boat and make your way out to the biggest contiguous mangrove area in all of Central America. Bird lovers, in particular, will have the time of their lives, having the opportunity to observe a wealth of birds, including a variety of herons, osprey, parrots, etc. Monkeys swinging through the tree tops and caymans (small crocodiles) can readily be observed along the shoreline.
Because the boat brings you very close to the animals, you can capture these unforgettable experiences with your own camera.
Flight of the Toucan Canopy Tour: The Canopy Tour in the “Hacienda Baru” nature reserve is a true joy for the whole family. Glide down a variety of zip lines from one platform to another and enjoy the superb views from your tree lookout platform (115 ft. above the ground), not only of the rainforest itself, but also those fascinating vistas of the coast and ocean.
Your two guides don't only pay close attention to your safety, they also share – in English – all kinds of insights regarding native flora and fauna, as well as about the the re-naturing of the reserve, part of the “Refugio National de Vida Silvestre”.
Climbing in Tree Tops: Accompanied by a bilingual guide, you will make your way up to the very top of the rainforest.
Secured by a special harness, you will climb a 115 ft. rope up the side of one of the giants of the rain forest, enjoying the wonders of nature as you go. You can take a break and relax whenever you want. Average physical conditioning suffices to climb the tree. No athletic prowess necessary!
The perfect way to explore the rain forest. Soak in the scenery to your heart's content, before you allow yourself to float like a feather back down to the ground below.
Rainforest Hiking Trail: A clearly marked, 4½ mile-long hiking trail provides you with a perfect way to explore the rainforest on your own, access a pristine beach located within the nature reserve, as well as to enjoy splendid views out over the ocean from the hill tops.
Various vegetation zones reveal themselves before you – the path takes you through primary and secondary forests, wetland areas, grasslands, as well as mangroves. Along the trail and on the beach, you are sure to encounter an animal or two. So keep your camera handy!
Birdwatching: Visit the ORO Verde, a private bio-reservation, and discover a broad range of magnificent tropical bird species, such as toucans, parrots, trogons, motmots, manakins, chachalacas and many more.
While walking along the carefully laid out paths, it is often possible to spot beautiful, shimmering blue Morpho butterflies. Your experienced tour guide will give you expert information on the flora and fauna along the way.
With a little bit of luck, you will not only see birds, but also monkeys, coatimundis, sloths, squirrels and many other creatures.
Hiking Trip: Guided hike in the private Oro Verde bio-reservation, amid hilly terrain and through primary and secondary rainforest.
Experience birds, monkeys and other animal species in their natural habitat. You can opt to make this leisurely hike either a 2 or 4 hour tour.
After your hike, you'll receive a snack to give yourself an energy boost. On the way back, you should still have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the splendid scenery of the Marino Ballena National Park.
Sport Fishing Sierpe: Costa Rica is well known for its deep, blue, crystalline water that
offers some of the most magnificent fishing experiences in the world.
The water of Drake Bay offers world class bill fishing with a wide array of species throughout the year.
Fishing Tour Uvita: You will be picked up from the hotel by the tour operator and driven to the “Playa Uvita”, a beautiful beach in the National Park.
Once there, you will board a boat already equipped with fishing rods and sail out to some good fishing waters. Here you will have an opportunity to fish for tuna, mahi-mahis and marlins.
If you make arrangements with the captain, you'll also be able to take a cruise around nearby Ballena Island. Book a long enough tour and you will also have an opportunity to sail out to Caño Island (approx. 2 hours away).
Kayaking in the Mangroves: Led by an experienced kayaker, you'll paddle along, generally in a 2-person boat, through broad waterways and narrow canals, often only passable during high tide, and through the biggest mangrove area in Central America.
As you make your way close to shore, you'll discover a wonderful world of animals and birds. If desired, the tour operator can pick you up and take you out to the start of the kayak tour (around 20 mins. from the hotel).
Reptile Land: Visit the only reptile park in the southern Pacific region. Stroll along, either accompanied by a knowledgeable guide or on your own, through the beautifully designed botanical garden.
In the 55 different terrariums, you will discover, not only poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, but also frogs, iguanas, caymans (small crocodiles) and turtles.
For a very special experience, attend the feeding of the turtles and crocodiles which takes place every Friday. And don't forget to bring along a picnic to enjoy in the pavilion.
Diving and Snorkling on Caño Island: You will be picked up early in the morning by a bus provided by the tour organizer. You'll then drive to the village of Sierpe, where you will have an opportunity to enjoy a wonderfully prepared breakfast.
Then it's time for a boat ride along the Sierpe River and out onto the open ocean for a 50-min. trip to Caño Island. Once you've arrived, you'll be outfitted with the very latest in snorkeling or diving equipment, depending on which you have chosen to do. As well you can just enjoy yourself at the beautiful beach.
During the 2 dives, each of which lasts about 40 minutes, you will be able to enjoy the sight of reef sharks, moraine eels, and numerous other colorful fishes and corals. Between dives or snorkeling sessions, the boat will take you to land, where you will be served a small snack. You will also have a brief opportunity to lie on the beach and let your thoughts wander.
On the return trip to your starting point in Sierpe, your experienced guides will acquaint you with the wonderful world of the mangroves, as well as show you the monkeys, snakes, owls, crocodiles, toucans and bats along the banks.
Surfing Playa Ventana or Dominical: There are two opportunities close to the hotel: Playa Ventana (approx. 3.5 miles from the hotel): smaller waves, ideal for learning surfing technique; surfing lessons are offered to groups of 2 or more people.
Playa Dominical (around 19 miles north of the hotel): bigger waves, ideal for surfers who are already more expert.
Living the Dream
The Hotel Resort Cristal Ballena is a very special place for guests. Gazing out over the endless waters of the Pacific. Unremittingly, the ocean waters roll up against the beach. Eyes rest upon the sight of verdant offshore islands. The high mountains to the hotel's rear contrast with the expanses of the ocean. The plants and flowers, the warm air, the colorful butterflies, humming birds and toucans add to the tropical charm.
And in the midst of it all, our gentle hilltop paradise. Barely a few years ago, this was actually a cow pasture.
Centuries before, this intersection between coast and mountains was regarded by the Indians as a sacred bastion against mountain spirits. With songs, prayers and rituals, they sought to mollify these powers. Medicine men grew healing herbs. This is, at least, the conclusion drawn by a renowned Indian professor and tribal elder on discovering the mixture of special therapeutic herbs which grow on the meadows around this hotel.
Perhaps – he opined – the Spanish conquerors violently occupied this place and put an end to the local religious practices. In a solemn ceremony, he has now returned harmony and peace to this once perhaps brutally desecrated place.
Things might have been very different, of course. We have no way of knowing. But from the very outset, we sensed that immense power and energy resided here. When, how and, above all, why did this all begin?
All questions which friends, visitors and guests frequently ask. How do a retired lawyer and an author from Salzburg, Austria, end up putting down roots and building a hotel in the south of Costa Rica? If you happen to be in a hurry, there is a short response and an important message for you: The hotel owners made their dreams reality. And it is never too late for you to do the same!