Watching the Whales and Dolphins in Costa Rica – Part 1

Did you know that:

  • Costa Rica has the distinction of having more months with humpback whales in residence than any other place in the world?
  • Costa Rica recently celebrated the longest humpback whale season of the world?
  • Humpback whales are the most commonly targeted for whale watching tours in Costa Rica?
  • The whales from the northern hemisphere are generally smaller than their relatives in the southern hemisphere? The northern whales can reach 15 meters in length and weigh up to 40 tons. The southern hemisphere whales can grow to 18 meters and up to 50 tons!
  • Humpback whale watching in Costa Rica is best from the end of August through mid-October? This is when the southern whales are here are closer to shore.
  • Bottlenose and spotted dolphins can be observed nearly year round in Costa Rica? They frequently follow boats offshore, so most catamaran cruises, snorkeling trips and fishing excursions are graced with the presence of the curious dolphins.

Migration of the humpback whales

The migration of these gentle giants is one of most remarkable journey accomplished by any creature of the world, and they are known to travel with stretches of 5000 miles or more at a time. Indeed, every year humpback whales swim over 11.500 miles from the Arctic Ocean to mate in Costa Rica, and many more swim the same distance from the Antarctica. They are the largest living mammals of the planet, and indeed catching a glimpse of them is simply mystifying.

Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliae)
Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliae) by

Why is Costa Rica the perfect place to see the humpback whales?

They choose this place because of the Costa Rican Thermal Convection, or Dome; the shallow warm currents lie above low oxygen and cold currents making the water swell up, creating the ideal ecosystem for the survival of marine wildlife, and providing a never ending source of food for the whales, and for the dolphins.

When is the time of the year to see the humpback whales?

The Humpback whales visit the waters of Costa Rica between mid-July to October late (Southern Humpback Whales), and again in mid-December through late March (Northern Humpback Whales) as they migrate to and from feeding and mating grounds.

During these 10 months, the marine zone offshore from Drake Bay and into the Golfo Dulce is known worldwide as one of the best locations on earth for whale watching. Not only will the visitor have a great opportunity to see the humpback whales, but also some of the other 24 species of whales and dolphins, who either migrate through or live full time in the area.

What other species of whales and dolphins can be seen in Costa Rica?

Most people hear of the Humpback whale that come to this area, however there are many other types too: The Pilot Whale, Brydes, Killer Whale, Sei Whale, and Beaked whales. The Bottle Nosed Dolphins and Pacific spotted Dolphins are regularly seeing year round in the waters of the Ballena Marine Park.

If you plan dolphins and whales watching in Costa Rica we hope we can be useful for your planning. TikiVillas Rainforest Lodge is the perfect location to set off on various adventure tours and activities or just relax in the peaceful surroundings, perhaps taking one of the massage therapies on offer.