Explore whale-watching in Costa Rica for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Costa Rica is the place to be if you’re a lover of marine life. With its vast coastline and diverse marine ecosystem, it’s no surprise that whale watching is a popular activity in the country. In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about whale watching in Costa Rica, from the best time to the types of whales you can expect to see.

When is the Best Time to Go Whale Watching?

The best time to go whale watching is from December to April. During this time, the waters off the country’s Pacific coast are calmer, making it easier to spot whales. Humpback whales are the most commonly spotted species during this time of the year, and you can catch a glimpse of them breaching, tail-slapping, and spy-hopping in warm waters.

What Types of Whales Can You Expect to See in Costa Rica?

You can expect to see several types of whales in Costa Rica. The most commonly spotted species are humpback whales, which come to the country’s Pacific coast to mate and give birth. You may also see orcas, pilot whales, and false killer whales, which are all known to frequent the waters of Costa Rica.

Where are the Best Places for Whale Watching in Costa Rica?

There are several places in Costa Rica where you can go whale watching. One of the best places in Marino Ballena National Park is in the country’s southern part. Here, you can take a boat tour and get close to the whales as they breach and play in the water. Another great spot is the Osa Peninsula, home to diverse marine life, including humpback whales, orcas, and pilot whales.

Tips for a Successful Whale-Watching Trip in Costa Rica

If you’re planning a whale-watching trip in Costa Rica, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the most of your experience. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Book your tour in advance: Whale-watching tours can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. Be sure to book your tour in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Choose a reputable tour company: Many tour companies offer whale-watching tours in Costa Rica, but not all are created equal. Choose a reputable company with experienced guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
  • Bring a camera: You’ll want to capture the incredible sights and sounds of the whales in action, so be sure to bring a camera with a good zoom lens.
  • Dress appropriately: You may be out on the water for several hours, so be sure to dress in layers and bring a rain jacket in case of inclement weather.
  • Be respectful: Whales are wild animals, and respecting their space is important. Don’t try to touch or approach them, and follow your guide’s instructions at all times.


Whale watching is an unforgettable experience that should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. With its diverse marine ecosystem and the opportunity to see several species of whales in their natural habitat, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular activity in the country. With this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to plan your own whale-watching adventure in Costa Rica and create memories that will last a lifetime.

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it guaranteed to see whales when whale watching in Costa Rica?

While whale sightings are common, they are not guaranteed. However, the chances of spotting whales are higher during the peak season from December to April.

Can children go whale watching?

Yes, children can go. However, it’s important to ensure they’re accompanied by adults and wearing life jackets.

What should I wear when whale watching in Costa Rica?

We recommend wearing comfortable clothes and shoes that can get wet. Dress in layers, as the weather can change quickly, and wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

How long does a whale-watching tour last?

Whale-watching tours in Costa Rica typically last two to four hours, depending on the location and tour operator.

Is it safe to go whale watching in Costa Rica?

Yes, it’s safe to go whale watching. Tour operators follow safety guidelines and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Can I swim with the whales when whale watching?

No, swimming with whales is not allowed in Costa Rica. Respecting the whales’ space and not disturbing their natural habitat is important.

Can I bring my own food and drinks on the whale-watching tour?

It depends on the tour operator. Some tour operators provide food and drinks, while others allow you to bring your own. Check with your tour operator beforehand to confirm their policy.


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