Watching a majestic humpback whale performing acrobatic leaps out of the sea rates as one of Costa Rica’s best bucket-list experiences. These magnificent creatures, some of the largest marine mammals in the world, are an awe-inspiring sight.
They jump for all sorts of reasons: they jump for joy, they jump to exfoliate themselves of barnacles and they also jump to communicate with their mates. Being privy to the spectacle is utterly breathtaking and only one of many wildlife encounters you can enjoy in Costa Rica.
Uvita’s Whale and Dolphin Festival
Whales migrate nearly 10,000 miles every year to congregate with their offspring in the aptly named Bahia Ballena (or Whale Bay) in September. They make the harrowing journey north every year and are attracted by the bay’s calm and shallow waters. The temperatures are ideal for young claves and lack of depth means threat from larger predators is immensely diminished.
Humpbacks have been such a revered sight in the Uvita province of Costa Rica that, for the eight year in a row, a whole Festival has been hosted in their honour. Thousands of visitors descend in the Ballena National Park and cast off on whale-watching boats, carefully monitored to ensure distances are kept in check, and whales are not disturbed.
The Whale and Dolphin Festival is a wonderful affair, with plenty of educational workshops, live music gigs and social events taking place onshore as well. Yet it’s arguably best loved because it highlights the fact that Costa Rica is one of the world’s best whale-watching destinations.
Large mammals like whales and dolphins absolutely adore Costa Rica.
And you will too!
Our Whale Watching Guide to Costa Rica is an invaluable reference if you’re keen to head on over to admire these ginormous creatures at their best. We highlight the best spots in Costa Rica for whale-watching and offer nifty tips to ensure your journey is a safe, responsible and unforgettable one.
Interesting humpback whale facts
- Humpbacks can grow to a length of about 52 feet
- As with all other baleen whales, the females are ever so slightly larger than the males
- A humpback whale’s heart weighs as much as three average adult men!
- Humpback whales teach songs to their young, and each ‘community’ has its own tunes, much like our regional dialects
- They can way up to 40 tonnes, and can completely lift their bodies out the water when breaching
- They can eat up to one and a half tonnes of food a day, and feed on krill and small fish
- Mama humpback whales nurse their young for a whole year
- A calf is considered ‘adult’ and fully-grown, when he/she is about 10 years old
Dolphin watching in Costa Rica – an added bonus!
Whales aren’t the only marine dames to grace the waters of Costa Rica. Dolphins also make an appearance. Unlike whales, however, dolphins actually do hang around all year long giving you the priceless chance for a whale and dolphin extravaganza of colossal proportions.
Best places to spot dolphins: Both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica attract several species of dolphins, among them bottlenose, spotted and spinner. Puerto Viejo and Cahuita are among the best spots on the Caribbean, while just about ANY spot on the Pacific side guarantees you a sighting. Oftentimes, you don’t even need to get on a boat! Dolphins are seen frolicking in the shallow surf and provide much entertainment to beach-goers, from the north all the way to the southern end of the coastline.
Costa Rica is an amazing wildlife watching destination and one of the most biodiverse countries on earth. Here at Costa Rica Rios, we love nothing more than to organize adventure tours in nature and show our guests a crazy WHALE of a time! So check out our Costa Rica adventure, honeymoon and family-friendly tour options and let us show you the very best this country has to offer.