Bahia Ballena is in the Gulf of Nicoya on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. We spent three nights here at anchor.
The anchorage is calm but not entirely free of swell. There are many acres of anchorage in 6-10m, sand bottom. Several of the guide books that we have suggest landing your dinghy at the fishermen's concrete pier. There are a lot of local pangas already fore and aft moored near the pier so we decided to land elsewhere. There is a gravel beach 50m W of the pier where an easy landing can be made.
The Bahia Ballena Yacht Club is a restaurant with free wifi, a book exchange, and a dinghy dock. Their wifi is among the best that we have used, with strong signal and good bandwidth in the anchorage. Their concrete pier for the dinghy dock lacks a ladder or floating dock, but it makes a good landing spot if you have a rope ladder to attach to the supports.
The nearby town of Tambor has a few hotels and restaurants, a grocery, and a hardware store with limited marine supplies. We're not sure what attracts the tourists. We greatly enjoyed eating at the restaurant of the Costa Coral hotel. We rowed our dinghy over to Tambor's beach where the landing was easy.
While we where here we also replaced our fresh water pump with our spare pump. It has been acting oddly for a few months and finally just started running all of the time. It took a while but we eventually noticed that the pump itself was leaking. We swapped it for the spare, which also leaked. Luckily we had a spare rubber diaphragm to make the second pump work properly. It's working so well that its only clear in retrospect how long the previous one has been behaving oddly. Incidentally, both pumps are twenty-year-old Jabso 38600's which have obviously given decades of service. While 38600's are still available we're going to buy one of Jabsco's newer models as a spare, as they are lighter, quieter, use less power, and have new features like built-in pressure accumulators and overheating protection. Most importantly, the new models cost half what the old ones do now.
We're moving on to other nearby anchorages today.