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2/9  Humpback whales

Not only is Marino Ballena National Park one of the best areas for whale-watching in Costa Rica, its coastline is naturally shaped like the tail of a whale, too. 

Fun as it is to imagine that feature is what attracts humpbacks to overwinter here between December and March, the warm South Pacific and a pristine marine environment are probably the real deal-breakers. Take a whale-watching cruise at the right time of year, and kids will occasionally see female humpbacks teaching calves to swim in Marino Ballena’s safe waters. 

Where to see whales in Costa Rica

  • It’s possible to see whales year-round in the Marino Ballena area, but sightings are almost guaranteed on whale-watching cruises between December and March.
  • Golfo Dulce to the east of the Osa Peninsula is the only place on earth where northern and southern humpback whales swim in the same waters. There are whale and dolphin cruises year-round here, too, but the best time to see the meeting of humpbacks is in August.   

Find out more about whales and where to spot them in Costa Rica

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