Whales in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, we have two seasons for the sighting of the Humpback Whale. These large mammals migrate from their feeding areas in the North and South of America to warm zones with the reproduction mission. These whales are characterized by being very sociable, they travel almost always individually or with their breeding. They rarely travel in groups which are usually formed by males to compete for a female.

The strategy of these whales during their breeding season is to stay in shallow warm waters and in Bays with certain special geographic features to give greater protection to their breeding (called calf). The Great Bay of Coronado, which includes Marino Ballena National Park, Drake Bay, and Cano Island, is one of the areas with the best conditions, geography, temperature and depth for breeding and protection of the whales in their first weeks. Here is where most migrating whales give birth to their babies so these areas become into a newborn section in the open sea. This process in the life cycle of whales has an immeasurable value for the preservation of this species.

This natural event favors ecotourism in this area of Southern Costa Rica, where you can find the largest tourism industry for whale watching, especially the humpback whale. In addition, you can see dolphins of which three species are regularly spotted and other species of whales that visit the area occasionally as Bryde Whale.

The two migrations occur at different times.

From July to the end of October: in the rainy season, the Humpback Whales travel from the Southern Hemisphere in their migration from the Patagonia to the warm waters of Costa Rica's Pacific. Their mission is mainly to raise the breeding, some individuals perform courtship for copulating. The warmth of these waters offers many benefits in the growth of the young, as well as protection against its main predators such as the Orca whale and some species of sharks. This population of the South is quite large in quantity of individuals which makes its observation easier. The peak months, where there are more sightings are August and September.

The second season is from late December to late February: the dry season begins with the visit of the Humpback Whales of the Northern Hemisphere. These whales begin arriving in late December on a migration from Oregon in the United States, with the same purpose, reproduction, and courtship. This population is characterized by being very reduced which causes that the percentage of sighting is much lower than with the ones of the South.

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