Whales and Whale-Watching in Costa Rica
For thousands of visitors to Costa Rica whales and dolphins are a wonderful part of their vacation experience. The country's marine waters are home to or visited by 35% of all the remaining species of these creatures.
In fact, there are 29 different species in Costa Rica's tropical waters, ranging from the mighty Blue Whale---the largest animal the world has ever seen---to a recently discovered freshwater porpoise, the Tucuxi---previously thought to exist only in the Amazon River.
And, of course, there are Humpbacks, always a whale-watcher crowd pleaser. At 50' and 40 tons, many of these great creatures, one of the world's great underwater singers, spend their Northern Hemisphere summers as far north as Alaska and winter off the Costa Rica coast.
Not to be outdone, the Antarctic Humpbacks swim even further so that, during the Southern Hemisphere winter, they migrate to Costa Rica, too.
The result? Costa Rica has the longest Humpback whale-watching season on earth.
While whales can sometimes be seen off the entire Pacific coast of the country, the central and southern coasts are particular suited for whale-watching.
Humpbacks are more regularly seen from Jaco, Costa Rica, south to the Osa Peninsula (and magnificent Corcovado National Park) between December-March and again from August-October.
A particularly good spot to see Humpbacks is at Marino Belleno National Park (Whale Marine National Park) a few miles south of Dominical, a popular surfing area.
From November-April, False Killer Whales and Pilot Whales can be seen along the southern coast, too.
And, of course, there are many varieties of porpoises, many of which are year-round residents, often numbering in the dozens and sometimes seen in the hundreds or more, particularly along the southern coast around Drake Bay or the Osa Peninsula.
Turning to the other coast, the Caribbean, travelers might see the Tucuxi (also called Guyana) porpoise, one of the country's smallest, but very unique, species of porpoises. These creatures are found in both fresh and salt waters of the Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Sometimes they are found far upriver in the Sixaola River close to the border with Panama.
Not only are they the only freshwater porpoise north of the Amazon River, they are the only known porpoise that shares a common language with another species of porpoise: the Bottlenose Porpoise.
To see these creatures it's best to hire a local guide but with a bit of luck, you might find them almost any day of the year.
About the writer: Vic Krumm lives in sunny Costa Rica. Visit his acclaimed website about Costa Rica Vacations.
If whale watching while on vacation to this tropical land appeals to you, learn more about Costa Rica Whales here.
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