Watch Whales in Costa Rica: Uvita
If one of your vacation goals is to watch whales in Costa Rica, head down to Uvita, a small community along the southwestern coast of Costa Rica and located just outside Ballena Marine National Park, Latin America’s first marine sanctuary.
Off its coastline of pristine sandy beaches and boulder-studded shores lies a clear blue tropical sea.
Depending upon the time of year, you’ll either see humpbacks from Antarctica or the northwestern coast of the United States that have migrated huge distances to calve in the calm waters along the park, Cano Island or world famous Drake Bay---not to mention bottle nose and spotted porpoises.
High season tourists (late December to late April) are likely to see Northern Hemisphere humpbacks while green season tourists (late July through the end of October) probably will find the magnificent Southern Hemisphere humpbacks, some of which have migrated over 12,000 miles!
In the photo immediately above, you can clearly see “Whale’s Tail”, a small sand outcropping that is visible during low tide. It’s a fitting pictorial tribute to the marine mammals within its waters.
Humpbacks are the largest baleen whales in the world. They’re bigger than many buses, reaching lengths of 60 feet and weighing 40 tons, famous for their breaching high out of the water and their haunting humpback whale melodies.
Uvita Whale and Porpoise Festival
Why not combine your trip to watch whales in Costa Rica with Uvita's annual whale festival which takes place over two weekends each September?
Put together by the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism, it offers parades, children's workshops and art exhibitions, reasonably priced tours and, of course, the opportunity to see the whales and porpoises visiting its waters.
Of course, if you cannot make the Festival, there are plenty of whale watching tours available in the area. Here are some outfitters:
http://www.bahiaaventuras.com/ Tel: +506 2743-8362
Whale and Porpoise Boat Tour $ 85
Hiking at Corcovado National Park $125
Cano Island Snorkeling $125
Mangrove Tour $ 85
Cano Island Scuba Diving $189 up
Also offers surfing lessons and fishing charters
http://www.ballenatourcostarica.com Tel: +506 2743-8548 8336-0266
Whale and Porpoise Tour
Explore Cano Island
Snorkeling (Cano Island and elsewhere) Hiking at Corcovado National Park
Combo: Horseback Riding and Boat Tour
Sunset Boat Tour
Prices unavailable at press time
http://www.dolphintourcostarica.com Tel: +506 8825-4031 2743-8013
Whale and Porpoise Tour $ 65 ($35 children)
Cano Island Biological Preserve $ 80 ($80 children)
Hiking at Corcovado National Park $100 ($80 children)
Mangrove Tour $ 65 ($35 children)
Getting to Uvita
Getting to Uvita to watch whales in Costa Rica is pretty easy these days.
From San Jose, take the Caldera Highway to Jaco/Quepos, head south along the Costanera Highway to Uvita. Travel time about 5 1/2 hours
From Tamarindo (Gold Coast), drive south along coastal highway.
Take a look at Costa Rica map (second map)
More Things to Do Around Uvita
The area around Uvita is sparsely populated so you'll probably have little company at any of its six beautiful beaches.
You'll probably want to do more than simply watch whales in Costa Rica at Uvita, of course. Here are a couple of ideas:
There are a number of waterfalls reasonably close, including the easy-to-get to Catarata Uvita (Uvita Waterfall).
In Uvita, starting from Banco de Costa Rica, simply follow the sign "catarata". At the wallpainting "La Cascada, orgullosamente costaricence", you'll find a short trail to the river and about 100 yards upstream, the waterfall and a beautiful natural swimming pool.
For horseback vacationers, there are two outfitters in or close to Uvita:
Rancho la Merced
http://www.rancholamerced.com +506 2743-8032 8861-5147
http://www.cataratasnauyaca.com +506 2787-0541 2787-0542
There are also kayak tours and rentals in the vicinity as well as nearby river rafting and white water rafting opportunities.