It’s always whale-watching season in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has the longest humpback whale watching season in the world.

Bahía Ballena, Isla del Caño and Bahía Drake in Costa Rica are among the best places in the world to see humpback whales.

These giants can be found in Costa Rica for 10 months per year, likely the longest humpback whale watching season in the world. This is due to visits from both Northern and Southern Hemisphere whales, which travel long distances to the warm breeding grounds off Costa Rica’s coast.

  • December-April: Whales that migrate from the Northern Hemisphere arrive to Costa Rica, traveling on average 5,200 km one-way.

  • July-November: Whales that migrate from the Southern Hemisphere arrive in this period, traveling on average 8,400 km one-way. This is the longest regular migratory journey among all mammals.

To protect these valuable visitors, Costa Rica in 1992 created Marino Ballena National Park, a sanctuary for humpback whales and other marine species such as dolphins, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, parrotfish and mackerel.

Marino Ballena National Park was the first marine park in Central America and Costa Rica’s first protected wildlife area established exclusively to protect marine resources.

Marino Ballena National Park

Marino Ballena National Park is located in Costa Rica’s South Pacific, about an hour south of Quepos (Manuel Antonio). Some of the attractions for visitors are as follows:

  • La Cola de la Ballena (Whale Tail): A natural rocky and sandy formation caused by the sedimentation generated by tides.

  • Isla Ballena: Located about 1.24 miles (2 km) from the coast, it’s a rock formation that houses birds and iguanas. In its vicinity are coral reefs.

  • Tres Hermanas Islets: Three rock formations that house nesting birds.

  • Snorkeling: Permitted during low tide near the whale tail.

  • Beaches: Uvita is the most popular, with several other beaches to the north and south that are worth exploring.

  • Whale watching: Humpback whale watching season is best here from July to November. Resident dolphins can be seen throughout the year. While you may get lucky and spot animals from the beach, you’ll have more success by booking one of the many tours offered in the small town of Uvita.

Happy whale watching!

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