Whale Watching in Costa Rica
Curious about where, and when, to go whale watching in Costa Rica? Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about whale watching in Costa Rica, first you’ll learn about the humpback whales season, second about the best destinations to go on a whale watching tour, and in addition to that the dos and don’ts while on a whale watching boat adventure.
Humpback whales are the most common whale in Costa Rica. In this post, you’ll find all the information you need about the whale season in Costa Rica, so you know the best time to visit, the best destinations to spot them, and where to book the perfect whale watching tour in Costa Rica.
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Humpback Whales Season in Costa Rica
Whale watching is a must-do to add to your Costa Rica Trip. Knowing when they will arrive, and where to go, opens up the possibility to spot these magnificent mammals during your family vacation in this tropical paradise.
The best time for whale watching in Costa Rica is from July to October in the south pacific area (Marino Ballena National Park, Drake Bay, and the Golfo Dulce Bay) and in the north pacific area (Gulf of Papagayo) there are two sighting peaks, July to September and December to February.
So, in conclusion, you can spot whales in Costa Rica, almost all year long, you just need to know where they are.
3 different species of Humpback whales come to Costa Rica to breed and give birth, and during this period they are very active, so it is common to watch them breach and slap their tails on the water surface.
Best Destinations for Whale Watching in Costa RIca
1. Whale Watching in the Golfo Dulce Bay
The “inner sea” of the Golfo Dulce bay, known as a tropical fjord, on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific Coast, is a critical habitat for Humpback Whales and is key to the species’ survival.
Southern Humpback Whales arrive to reproduce and give birth in the warm waters of Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast, from the Marino Ballena National Park down to the Golfo Dulce and the Golfito Bay.
Female Humpback whales swim into the shallow waters of the Gulf’s interior to give birth to their young and breastfeed them. Males concentrate in the outer area of the Gulf, waiting to breed with available females.
A large part of the Gulf is used by Humpback whales to rest, give birth to their young, and nurse them until they are able to get out to the Pacific to continue with their migration.
Golfo Dulce also is home to important resident and migratory communities of Bottle nose Dolphins, Spotted Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, and the occasionally seen False Killer Whales.
The best time to spot humpback whales in the Golfo Dulce Bay is from August to October, and the best option to take a whale watching tour in Golfo Dulce Bay is to stay in Golfito.
2. Whale Watching in Drake Bay
Southern Humpback whales visit Drake Bay from August to October, they love this area to give birth and nurse their young calves, due to its warm, calm waters.
3. Whale Watching in Marino Ballena National Park
The Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita is one of the best destinations in Costa Rica to spot whales, southern and northern humpback whales can be spotted in this area during both seasons.
Marino Ballena National Park, which means Whale Marine National Park, is also home to the largest coral reef on Central America’s Pacific Coast.
Whale Watching in Costa Rica Tours
You can book whale watching tours in Costa Rica almost all year long.
Costa Rica Humpback whales are an endangered species with international government-protected status.
In the context of tourism, feeding, swimming and diving with dolphins and whales is strictly prohibited in Costa Rica’s coastal waters.