The are two humpback whales season in Costa Rica, one is from December to March and the other from July to December.
When the whale season is officially started the Pacific ocean gets busier with visiting migrating Humpback Whales.
The annual migration of Pacific Humpback Whales is one of the most remarkable journeys by any creature on the planet. The cetaceans travel between 3,000 and 5,000 miles each way, from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, making them one of the farthest-migrating animals on Earth.
Northern Hemisphere Humpback whales travel from Alaska and British Columbia to Mexico, Hawaii and Central America, for the months of December to March.
Southern, Antarctic-based Humpback Whales spend their winter months near Australia and as far north as Costa Rica from June to November. They are most likely to be seen in Costa Rica between August and October.
The southern humpback whales are more abundant in the Golfo Dulce, according to research by the CEIC.
Where and when you can spot Humpback whales in Costa Rica?
Humpback whales are easy to spot since they live at the ocean’s surface, both in the open ocean and in shallow coastline waters.
They swim slowly and are known as the “acrobats of the sea” for their aerial antics, which makes them perfect stars for whale-watching tours.
The best places to spot humpback whales in Costa Rica are in the Golfo Dulce Bay and at the Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita.
Golfo Dulce Bay Humpback whales
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.
Humpback Whales arrive to reproduce and give birth in the warm waters of Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast, from the Ballena National Marine Park down to the Golfo Dulce and Golfito Bay.
Female Humpback whales swim into the shallow waters of the Gulf’s interior to birth 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 Bottlenose Dolphins, Spotted Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, and the occasionally seen False Killer Whales.
Best time to spot humpback whales in the Golfo Dulce Bay is from August to October
golfo dulce whale watching tours
The best option to take a whale watching tour in the Golfo Dulce Bay is staying in Golfito, these are two options we really recommend:
- Golfito Homestay – Golfito Maison D’Hôtes ( if you’re on a budget )
- La Marsellesa Golfito Vacation Rental, (wifi and concierge service)
- Casa Roland Resort (If you’re looking for something fancier + swimming pool)
Marino Ballena National Park, UVITA humpback whales
The Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita is the only place that has an abundance of humpback whales during both seasons. This Costa Rica National Park is also home to the largest coral reef on Central America’s Pacific Coast.
If you want to visit Marino Ballena National Park to see the humpback whale migration, tour operators in Uvita run whale watching tours almost all year long.
humpback whales are protected by costa rica government
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.
Whale watching Tourism revenue in Costa Rica generally helps ongoing conservation efforts. But if undertaken incorrectly, whale watching can be harmful to the animals that tourists come to see.