Of all the wildlife in Costa Rica, seeing a whale is perhaps the most exhilarating experience. Luckily, Costa Rica is home to an estimated 25 whale and dolphin species which migrate, mate and live in the coastal waters of both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. As a breeding ground for many whale species, Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world for whale watching thanks to its warm waters and protected inlets.
The best time to visit for whale-watching is mid-July to October and December to March as the whales migrate and bread along the coastlines. Both Southern hemisphere humpbacks traveling from Antarctica and Northern hemisphere humpbacks travelling from Alaska pass by Costa Rica. As you can see, the Humpback whales are one of the farthest migrating animals on Earth.
Famed for the Humpbacks who spend more than eight months in the waters off Uvita, Kura Design Villas is by far, one of the best places to see whales. The Ballena National Marine Park, visible from Kura’s patio, offers the longest Humpback whale season in the world. This national park, fittingly named after the whales that commonly visit and the whale tail shaped sandbar, is a natural oasis full of pristine beaches and teaming with wildlife such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles, birds and tropical fish.
Humpback whales are easier to spot thanks to their distinctive hump and black dorsal fin. These whales also prefer to spend much of their time on the surface and near the shore and can grow from 12 – 16 meters in length.
Although the humpback whale is seen most often, this area is home to pseudo-orcas, pilot whales, spotted dolphins, spinner dolphins, bottle-nose dolphins and common dolphins. During your stay at Kura Design Villas you may want to take a day trip to maximize your whale watching experience and enjoy the surrounding scenery. Half day whale watching or snorkeling tours are offered, depending on the season. Visit Caño Island Biological Reserve, the perfect paradise for diving and snorkeling. Here you have the opportunity to see turtles, dolphins, sting rays, moray eels, barracudas, tuna snapper, parrot fish, puffers and more. Deeper diving off the island may present white-tipped reef shark, silky shark, bull shark, with occasional whale shark and the amazing humpback whale. This all day tour includes a picnic lunch and an optional guided hike on the island.
If you chose to travel a little farther down the coast, Drake Bay, is another common breading ground for whales thanks to the calm waters in this area. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a mom playing with her new baby splashing in the water near the shoreline as she teaches her young how to breach, dive and feed.
If you’re closer to Harmony Hotel, on the Nicoya Peninsula, there are also good places to go whale watching. The Tambor and Pochote beaches are places where humpback whales are most commonly seen. While whale-watching tours are not common in these areas, snorkeling and scuba diving are the best options for spotting marine wildlife. Sightings in this area include humpback whales, bottle-nose dolphins, spinner dolphins, common dolphins and sea turtles.
If you love animals and the ocean, then going whale watching in Costa Rica will be an activity you definitely shouldn’t miss out on. It’s an amazing experience to see these impressive creatures and reminds us just how much we need to protect our nature and earth.