August through October are the peak months of migration for this magnificent mammal–the humpback whale. Whale watching in Costa Rica is so special as we are able to observe these majestic creatures in our nearby waters. Costa Rica’s coastlines are blessed with a healthy ecosystem providing the whales with plentiful food and ideal water temperatures. Our geographic location is between their breeding grounds and where it is safe to give birth to their calves. Some whale species come here year round to mate, give birth and raise their young before heading back to feed on abundant krill which are rich in the Pacific’s colder waters. Lucky for us it is the humpback whale that we see most often and for the longest duration here in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
There are many different spots around the country to see whales and you’ll probably be able to see other animals like dolphins, manta rays and sea turtles as well. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a glimpse of pilot whales, which are actually the second largest oceanic dolphin. Also the Orca has been seen more along the Costa Rican Pacific coast, even though they are not common here as due the fact they prefer colder, more northern waters.
You can see whales between December through March and again August to December. This is due to the migration patterns of the humpback whales, of which both Northern and Southern hemisphere humpbacks pass through Costa Rica. However, the months of August and September are known to the best to see humpback whales as they are coming to breed and raise their young.
The Southern Hemisphere humpback whales travel from Antarctica to Costa Rica from late July through early November. This migration route is 11,500 miles (18507.5 kilometers). Northern hemisphere whales head to Central America from Alaska from the months of December to March. These long routes make them one of the farthest migrating animals on Earth.
Between the months of October and November, it is common for both sides to pass through Costa Rica at the same time and this could serve as an advantage for males, increasing the genetic diversity during mating. Because of this, Costa Rica has the longest humpback whale season in the world!!
There are many tours for whale watching in Costa Rica along the Pacific coast. We have Costa Rican guides who know these waters well and will delight with excitement right along with you when you seen one breech for the very first time! We do need to keep in mind, however there are laws that apply to whale watching and all the tour operators know and respect them. No one can swim with whales and /or dolphins, except for scientific researchers and these laws are instituted to protect these animals.
Perhaps visiting Santa Teresa AND enjoying whale watching in Costa Rica is an item on your bucket list, you should visit during this beautiful season where the chances to see them are the most likely and enjoy a natural show that these warm tropical waters has to offer to those who love and appreciate the gifts Mother Nature provides!