Costa Rica is probably best known for its wildlife on land. Monkeys, sloths, birds, and butterflies often steal the show and for good reason. But what some forget is that the waters right offshore are full of life too. Sea turtles, tropical fish, dolphins, and whales all frequent the waters of Costa Rica’s two coasts. In this post, we’ll focus on whales, specifically humpback whales, and let you know when and where you can spot these gigantic, mystical mammals.
Costa Rica is a prime whale watching destination. This is all thanks to the spectacular annual migration of two groups of humpback whales.
This long journey starts when temperatures in both North and South America start to cool during their respective winters. Humpbacks quickly head toward the equator where waters are warmer—and Costa Rica is one of their favorite spots.
An amazing fact is that this migration is the longest of any mammal in the world, spanning a distance of up to 5,160 miles (8,300 km). These whales can go fast too, and one was recently recorded by NOAA making a 3,000 mile (4,830 km) trip in only 36 days!
Once the whales get to Costa Rica, it’s not just about vacationing in the sun. Humpbacks congregate together and use the months that they are here to find suitable mates, breed, and rear young. The temperate waters are thought to be ideal for the growth of baby whales, even though they can already be 13-16 feet (4-5 m) long and weigh up to 1 ton (907 kg) at birth.
When You Can See Whales in Costa Rica
As we mentioned, there are two different migrations for humpback whales: one from areas to the north like Alaska and California and another from the Antarctic zone to the south. These migrations happen at different times of year but don’t overlap.
Northern humpbacks typically start to arrive in Costa Rica in December and can be seen until around April. Southern ones don’t show up until later in July and stay until the beginning of November.
This means that in Costa Rica there is a chance of seeing humpback whales for nine months out of the year!
These two migrations don’t draw the same number of whales, though, so read on to find out the best time of year to see these amazing creatures.
- The Antarctic migration has the most whales and peak season is between August and October. During this time of year, your odds of seeing a humpback whale are good.
- Some of the Alaska/California whales winter in Hawaii and other places to the north so their numbers are fewer in Costa Rica. This means that it is harder to see humpback whales during the December to April season, but not impossible. Whales are sometimes spotted on tours, especially in late December to early February, but it is more likely to see dolphins, turtles, and sea birds.
- There typically aren’t any humpbacks to see from April to mid-July.
- Humpbacks in the northern Atlantic Ocean also migrate near Costa Rica (on the Caribbean Coast) but are not found in great numbers so whale watching isn’t as popular as on the Pacific.
Where to See Humpback Whales in Costa Rica
Although it is possible to see humpback whales along many parts of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, they tend to congregate in the Southern Pacific.
The Osa Peninsula and Gulf of Dulce have high numbers of whales as well as the beach towns of Uvita and Dominical on the Costa Ballena (Whale Coast).
Uvita is probably the town best known for whale watching. In Bahia Uvita, boats launch right from the beaches of Marino Ballena National Park (the National Whale Marine Park). This is a protected area of both land and ocean, which is known for attracting whales close to shore.
Whale watching tours out of Uvita are done on smaller boats, holding about 15-25 passengers, and cost around $80-100. The focus of these tours is on whales, but you’re likely to spot dolphins, sea turtles, rays, and other marine life while out on the water as well. These tours also typically include some time for snorkeling.
While tours devoted to whale watching are most common in the Southern Zone, if you’re visiting areas in northern Costa Rica, like Guanacaste, you might still be able to witness these giants passing through. Humpbacks or other types of whales are sometimes spotted on catamaran, snorkel, or dive tours.
- Humpbacks make spectacular displays with their fins and tails and are known to jump out of the water on occasion. Have your camera ready!
- Males compete for females by singing songs, making elaborate bubble displays, and physically fending off one another.
- A baby arrives about 11 months after mating and calves stay by their mother’s side for up to a year. They can often be seen touching fins to show affection.
Annual Whale and Dolphin Festival
One of the best times to take a whale watching tour is during the Annual Whale and Dolphin Festival in Uvita. This festival occurs every year during peak season, typically in early September, so your chances of spotting whales is almost guaranteed.
Abbreviated two hour whale and dolphin watching tours are given by local tour operators during the festival and there are other events like dancing and music, a beach run, mountain bike race, and lots of activities for kids too.
We attended recently and saw several whales, including a mother and calf, as well as some dolphins and a sea turtle. With the beautiful green coastline, the view from the boat alone was worth the price for admission (around $40 pp).
Have you been whale watching in Costa Rica? Leave us a comment below. Where did you go and what did you see?
Planning a trip to the Southern Zone of Costa Rica? These posts might help you out:
- The Costa Ballena: Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal – Costa Ballena translates to Whale Coast so if you are looking to get out on the water to see marine life, this is your destination.
- The Beautiful Nauyuca Waterfall – Among the Southern Zone’s best attractions. This two-tiered waterfall is one of the most impressive in Costa Rica. And you can jump in to cool off.
- Drake Bay: Costa Rica Unplugged – Another great place to explore both land and sea. Drake Bay is a remote destination but completely worth the effort. Here you can unplug and recharge.
- Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge – A little-known wildlife reserve in Dominical. One of our favorite hiking spots to see monkeys, toucans, caimen, and more.
What a great post, thanks so much for all the info – I hope to come to Costa Rica in the next few years, mainly for the wildlife so it’s good to know the best times to come to see the whales!
Our pleasure, Keri. Hope you make it to CR soon!
Our daughter will visit Uvita this Saturday till Tuesday. Are there any humpbacks spotted right now? Can she make a dolphin and whale tour or is it a waste of money?
Hi Solita, The Alaska/California migration arrives in CR/Uvita in December, but we haven’t heard of any whales being spotted right now. Maybe your daughter could have her hotel call one of the local tour companies and find out. If she’s not set on seeing whales, we recently talked to someone who saw a huge pod of dolphins (they’re much easier to see). Plus being out on the water and taking in the views is awesome even on its own.
Hello – I will be Manuel Antonio from the 18th December to 25th December – is this a good time to go whale watching? Can you recommend a good company to use.
Hi Holly, Whales from the Alaska-California migration start to arrive in December so you would probably see some but it’s not the peak time. There are always dolphins around through, which are really fun to see, especially if they’re in a big pod. Something to keep in mind is that you would want to head south to Uvita for a tour (about 1 hr away) so it would be almost a full day activity. Uvita is a great little town though and will be a lot less crowded that time of year so it might be worth it (more info on Uvita here). We’ll email you with a good company to use.
Hi, would you be able to share the company?
We decided to do whale watching over the catamaran – any recommendations greatly appreciated!
Thanks for all the amazing posts, have been so helpful!!
Hi Paola, Sure, we will send you an email with the details soon.
We saw a momma blue whale & a her baby in September at Playa Flamingo
That is amazing, Amber. We have never seen a blue whale, and to see one with a baby, that must have been wonderful. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Thanks for a great article. We will be in Manual Antonio September 20 – 26th and would love to see whales. We are too late for the festival.
In your opinion would we have more of a chance of seeing them if we travel to Uvita for the day or take a boat trip from Manual Antonio?
Also do you know how we would get to Uvita without a car.
Love your website.
Hi Karen, You will probably have a better chance of seeing them out of Uvita. Uvita’s only about 45 min-1 hr. south so it’s not too hard to get to from Manuel Antonio. You options to get there would be to take the bus (2 hr. trip), take a private shuttle (we know of a reliable company if you need help booking this), or it might be cheapest to rent a car out of Quepos just for the day. You wouldn’t need 4×4 so a regular sedan would only be around $30-40 with our discount. You could make a day of it then and go to lunch and check out the area too. Let us know if you need any more help. We just saw some pictures from a friend of ours who went on a whale watching tour the other day, and it looked amazing!
Hi Matt, travelling to Uvita from San Jose airport, what’s the best way to get there please?
Hi Pete, The best route is to take Highway 27 to the coastal highway, 34, passing Jaco, Manuel Antonio, and then arriving in Uvita.
Hi we will be visiting Costa Rica in the next 18 months. we will be travelling from the U.K and we’re hoping to do a tour, with a beach extension at Manuel Antonio, one of the reasons we have chosen the south west is to hopefully see Whales. Are we right? Also we were hoping to go January/February in your opinion is this a good time to hopefully spot one?
Would we have more chance in the south west than the North West?
Hi Michelle, If you visit in January/February, it will be the time when the humpback whales are here from North America. They start making their journey south to Costa Rica in late July, and people are still spotting them now (August) all along the Pacific Coast. But by January, they will probably not be in transit anymore and therefore be in greater numbers in the southern part of Costa Rica where they hang out for a longer period of time before going back up north. So we’d say the better chance is in the southwest. Hope you spot one!
Hi guys, very helpful page, thanks! We are planning a trip to Costa Rica in November (will be arriving the 5th). Assuming we are headed straight to Costa Ballena, would we still (or again) have chances to see some humpback whales? Or are we better off at Bahia Drake? Would be great to hear your ideas! Thanks a lot, Malte
Hi Malte, That is the end of humpback season in the Costa Ballena so you would definitely have a chance of seeing them. Plan on that being one of the first things to do when you arrive. You can also see Dolphins (Spotted, Bottlenose, Spinner, and Common), Pseudo Orcas, and turtles too so it is a nice tour either way. It wouldn’t make much difference if you went out of Drake Bay instead so stick with the Costa Ballena if that’s where you’d like to go. Hope you see some!
Hi both, your website is really informative and helpful – thank you!
My husband and I are visiting Costa Rica in mid-January for 10 days and it is our dream to see humpback whales. To maximise our chances, would you recommend we go to Costa Ballena or Drake Bay? We might not have time to do both.
Thanks for any advice you can give.
Hi Fiona, It shouldn’t make much difference so if you don’t have a lot of time, go to the Costa Ballena since it’s easier to access. One of the humpback migrations starts in December so with any luck, you’ll be able to see some whales when you go out. We know of a good tour operator in the area and can help with the booking if you want. Once you have your plans finalized, just email us the dates you’re interested in to bookings(at)twoweeksincostarica.com.
Thank you for the great info about whale watching. We’re leaving in 34 days, 1hr and 52min and start our tour at Arenal. We’ll be in the Manuel/Uvita area for the last leg of our trip and we’ll email to book a spot.
Okay, sounds good, Justin! We’ve been booking a lot of whale watching tours lately. It is a pretty cool experience if you’re in the area. Cheers!
Hello! My wife and I are going to be in CR in the middle of February 2017 – I contacted a couple whale watching tour companies that depart out of Uvita asking the likelihood of whale spotting during this time. They both told me that over the past few years, the whale season that used to be from December-April was no longer a great watching season, as most of these northern whales now congregate in the Mexico area and don’t come so far south. Do you think this would be a great time to see some humpback whales still or should I take their advice? Thanks! Love the website btw.
Hi John, Apologies for the delay, we have been waiting to hear back from our contact at the tour company. He said that the August through October season is definitely better for seeing whales, but it is possible to see them during the December to April season too. You just shouldn’t go into a tour in February expecting to see them. January is when they tend to see the most during this migration.
If you don’t see whales it’s still a nice day out on the water because the views are great of the islands and mountains. Other marine life like dolphins and turtles are seen all year long as well. Though the whale watching itself isn’t as good during the December season, it’s a nice time to be out on a boat because the weather is likely to be good. The September season is right in the middle of rainy season so it is more hit or miss. Hope that is helpful, thanks for the great question!
Hi! Is it possible to see whales from the beach in Uvita?
Hi Ku, It is possible at certain times of year to see small glimpses of them in the distance. We have seen dolphins while at the beach in Uvita and whales in Manuel Antonio before. But it’s sort of hit or miss for obvious reasons. The only time we have seen them close up was on a whale watching tour in Bahia Uvita.
We will be visiting in early March, do you think the chances of seeing humpbacks will be good then? If so, which company would you recommend? We are looking at March 10th 🙂
Hi Alia, Early March is not prime season. There are whales in the Uvita area this time of year but you don’t always see them on tours like you do during the September season when the numbers are higher
and sightings are virtually guaranteed. That said, we had some clients go out a couple of weeks ago and they got to spend a half hour watching a mother humpback with her calf 🙂 You can see other things on the tour too like turtles, sea birds, and sometimes dolphins, and the views are really pretty of the mountains. Let us know if you’re still interested in setting something up for the 10th. We’d be happy to help.
Hi! We’ll be in Samara next week, and were thinking of taking a boat tour. I understand this is the end of the migration period of whales, but would we still be able to see dolphins? When are the best times to see dolphins?
Hi Monique, nothing is guaranteed but the dolphins are around all-year long. Sometimes people go out and see none or just a few and other times there are hundreds of them in a big pod, it just depends on where they are feeding. The boat tours are really nice though and you might also see turtles, rays, flying fish, and other types of whales (besides the migrating humpbacks) out there.
Thank you so much for all the information you have posted. We are scheduled to be in Manuel Antonio July 29- August 2. What is the likelihood of seeing whales or sea turtles? Could we take a boat out of Manuel Antonio or would we need to go to Uvita? How doable is that if we do not have a car?
Hi Jolynn, July is the beginning of whale-migration season in this area so with any luck, there should be some. The numbers peak in September, but since this is the biggest season, August is usually pretty good too. Turtles can be seen anytime of year.
Most tours leave out of Uvita, but we know of a sportfishing boat out of Quepos (near Manuel Antonio) that offers whale watching too. Let us know if you would like more information and we can connect you to the company.
Thank you. I would love that information.
We will send you the information to your email now.
We will be in Costa Rica for most of February. We will be on both coasts, which would be the best for whale watching?
Hi Peggy, The Pacific coast has the biggest migrations, with the best places for viewing being the Costa Ballena south to the Osa Peninsula. There aren’t as many humpback whales in this area during that migration season (December to April), but we did have some clients see a mother humpback and her baby on a tour in early February 2017. It all depends on the day, but you can also see dolphins and turtles any time of year. Let us know if you would like help booking a tour.
What a great blog has certainly been helpful for our trip coming up soon!
Myself and my friend have 20-22nd December in Uvita or Dominical for (hopefully) some whale watching. Which location do you think would better and also can you suggest any tour companies please.
Hi Caroline, Uvita is the better location. This is where the majority of tours leave from. We will email you now with information about booking a tour.
Hello, my husband and I would like to do a whale watching tour from Uvita – can you please email me with more information on the tour you recommend?
Hi Jami, We sent you an email with more information a few minutes ago.
I had a peak at your catamaran post from Manuel Antonio, which mentioned potential of seeing whales/dolphins if it was the right time..
We’re going in Feb 2018- I love the idea of the catamaran, see the scenery, have some fun, do a bit of snorkeling (realize not a lot through the catamaran!) – but wonder about doing both if it would be a bit much.
Do they cover the same areas? i.e. where the boats would be going? Like if we did 1 would that be good enough?
Any advice greatly appreciated!
Hi Paola, We would do either the catamaran or a whale watch tour, but not both. Unless you’re staying in Uvita/Dominical, it probably isn’t worth it to do a whale watching tour. Although there can be whales that time of year, the numbers are fewer so it’s not worth driving from somewhere like Manuel Antonio, which is an hour away. If you’re staying in Manuel Antonio, the catamaran is a good option. Whales are less likely (they are more commonly seen that time of year in Uvita) but it’s still a really nice tour. Whales in Manuel Antonio are more commonly seen during the big migration period from August to end of October.
Thank you!! All of your responses are so helpful in the planning purposes!
Hi, I realize you have answered similar questions, sorry to be repetitive but this site seems to be one of the most helpful and straightforward. I am planning on being in Costa Rica for a week starting Feb 14th. I know it might not be prime season but is there a good chance of seeing whales at this time? Some one suggested Nicoya peninsula. Would Uvita be better? Whales would be ideal, but if its unlikely either way, I am just looking for beautiful beaches and some snorkeling. Any suggestions/advice would be so appreciated. Thank you.
Hi Laurah, It is not prime season but you can still see whales in February with some luck. We had a client see a mother and baby last year in early February. Uvita would be better for it than the Nicoya Peninsula. And the Uvita area has some gorgeous beaches too. It also has snorkeling around the whale tail (kayak or SUP tour) if you’re interested in that. Conditions aren’t spectacular but it’s a really nice tour because they take you all around the whale tail so you get gorgeous views of the mountains and beach from the water and then to a small estuary. We’d be happy to help you book this if you would like, just let us know.
We’re planning on getting married in Costa Rica in early December and really want to see whales while we’re there if possible. We plan on being in Manuel Antonio/Uvita from December 4th-9th and Drake Bay from the 9th-13th. Is there a chance of seeing whales during this time? If so, which would be the best location? Thanks in advance for your help! I don’t know how I’d plan my trip without your website. It’s been so helpful!
Hi Abby, The later the better for seeing whales in December so Drake Bay would probably be your best option. We don’t know of any tours out of Drake dedicated to whale watching but you could see them as part of a snorkel tour to Cano Island, on the boat ride to or from the island. They usually spend some time looking for dolphins, and if it’s the right time of year, whales too. Not sure if she is still doing it but there used to be a woman that did dolphin watching tours in Drake Bay. That would be a another good opportunity.
Hello, first of all thank you for your great website and all the helpful information that you share here. So I will visit Costa Rica during April 2019 (6-22) so is there a good chance to see humpback whales? I know its not the best time but you said they will leave during the beginning of April so could there be still one? And when there isnt the opportunity to see one are there any other whales and is possible to see them or are they very rare? Greetings from Germany 🙂
Hi Tobi, It is possible to see a whale around still in April, but not likely on a short tour, so we don’t recommend going out for just that. Most of them have moved on by that time and this migration is smaller in numbers anyway. The next, bigger migration doesn’t start until late July. You can see dolphins and turtles fairly easily, though, if you’re interested in that, especially if you head south to Drake Bay or Puerto Jimenez.
Hola! First of all, a super thumbs up for this amazing website; your articles are such an enjoyable read and do increase our pre-holiday-fun to a great extent!! My Argentinean husband and I will be finally traveling to Costa Rica in the beginning of 2018 with our two sons for our postponed honeymoon. Originally we were supposed to travel to Costa Rica in the beginning of 2016 – just the two of us – but we cancelled the day before departure because of the rapidly spreading Zika virus as I was pregnant of our oldest. Two and a half years later and 2 wonderful boys richer, we’re currently planning our postponed honeymoon-trip-with-kids 🙂 We were really hoping to hop on a fun whale watching tour, but several tour companies are pointing out that those tours are not suitable for young kiddies… Oops… Any chance that you know of a tour company that offers a whale watching tour that is also suitable for an 8 month old baby and a 2,5 year old toddler? If not, then this will be a very good excuse to come back to Costa Rica when the kiddies are a bit older I guess 😉
Hi Carola, Yes, the boats that do the whale watching tours out of Uvita are smaller so not good for very young children like yours, unfortunately. You could do something like a catamaran tour in Manuel Antonio though. There’s a big 100 foot boat that is very sturdy. We went on it with our son when he was 1. Sometimes you can see whales and dolphins on these tours. But in January, there aren’t as many whales so there’s no guarantees of course. It’s still a really fun day on the water, though, and the views are gorgeous. You can read our post about the catamaran tour here.
Hope you have a great postponed honeymoon trip! Costa Rica is great for kids. Be sure to check out our Traveling with a Baby post if you haven’t already. We will also be coming out with some Family Travel articles soon. You can get them for free if you subscribe to our blog.
Hi! Thanks so much for helping out 🙂 If all the boats departing from Uvita are small-ish, then it makes total sense that these whale-watching-tours are not super duper suitable for small kiddies… (to put it mildly!) Thanks for the catamaran-tour-suggestion! Is the chance of seeing whales/dolphins bigger on a tour departing from Uvita then the catamaran tour departing from MA (leaving aside the fact that it will be somewhat ‘off-season’ in general)? Very much looking forward to the Family Travel articles!!
Yes, the chance of seeing whales is better in Uvita, but you can see them in Manuel Antonio too. Especially in August-end of October for the bigger migration, but also December-March for the smaller migration. We have a friend in Manuel Antonio who owns a sport-fishing boat and he has seen whales at all different times. We wouldn’t expect it in January in MA, but it is a definite possibility 🙂
That sounds promising 🙂 Thanks for all the help!!
Do they offer private whale watching tours in Uvita? My husband and I will be traveling Aug 23 – Sept 1 and staying in Playa Hermosa with our 5 year old daughter and 3 year son. I’m afraid if we bring them on a group tour, they’ll decide they want to go back to shore and/or not want to sit in a boat for hours looking for sealife. I’m thinking is we hired someone privately, we take a shorter trip out to see dolphins, whales, and then head back to shore when they’ve decided they had enough. Lol Or are you able to see whales from the beach at Marino Ballena? Thank you for this wonderful website!
Hi Tracy, Private tours are an option. They’re $780 for this season (5 person max). This is through one of the tour companies in Uvita so they would have all the safety equipment and a knowledgeable guide. The tour is 3.5-4 hours long and includes snacks, drinks, and lunch on the beach. Let us know if you’re interested in booking this and we can help. You can see whales from the shore sometimes but they are farther away.
Hope that helps. There are a ton of whales right now!
Is there an age limit for the whale tours? We have a 5, 4, and 3 year old. Also could you send me your recommendation of a good whale watching company in Uvita? Thanks!!
Hi Joel, We’re actually not sure if the minimum age is 3 or 4. We just emailed the company we work with and will reply to this thread when we find out. Thanks for your patience!
Just got back from an overnight stay in Uvita. Spectacular scenery and wildlife. The hotels are a bit rustic and expensive given the amenities, but comfortable and friendly. The national park was great, very low key, not crowded, and inexpensive. In our 3 hr tour with Adventure 1 we saw 3 whale pairs (mother and offspring) and one lone female (?) surrounded by spotted dolphins looking for her milk, also sea turtles. Well worth the long drive from San Jose and in spite of bad roads and traffic.
Hi! I work hard on the planning to see whales and babies ….like everybody here! I would ask you what is your recommandation for half-january? Uvita by small boat? Drake Bay? We will rent a house in the area with a 4×4 for one week….We plan a lot of time to see whales ….
we plan to do two boat trips. Maybe you can help with the compagny?
Hi Nathalie, Mid January is during the smaller migration season, so while sightings are not guaranteed, you have a decent chance of spotting humpback whales. Tours are much easier to organize out of Uvita so we would do it out of there. Uvita is also just as good as Drake Bay in terms of sightings. If you’d like us to help book a tour, just send us an email to bookings(at)twoweeksincostarica(dot)com with your preferred date and the number of people in your party (adults and children) and we can send you more information.
I’m planning a trip to Costa Rica mid/end of July and would love to see the whales. We will be staying in the Tamarindo area so are we likely to see some? Alternatively, can you suggest the best way to travel down the country for a better chance?
Hi Lara, You probably won’t see humpbacks in July in Tamarindo because the migration season will be over but it’s possible to see other types of whales, but it’s really just luck. End of July is the start of migration in the southern part of the country, though, so you would have better odds if you traveled down to Uvita. You would want to spend at least a couple of nights there since it’s a long trip from Tamarindo.
We are staying in San Isidro el General til Monday the 11th. Are there any expat get togethers this week. WE are staying here three months to decide where we want to live in CR We have looked at Grecia, Samara and Brasilito. Usually we attach to an English speaking church but have not heard of one here.
Ok, so I know this is an old post, but just wondering: we will be visiting Costa Rica in late September, early October ( I know, I know) As we will most likely be stranded on the Caribbean side, is it even feasible to get to Uvita to take a whale watch tour. From what I have read, it sounds like the whole south pacific is just under water and difficult to drive during October? Thanks for any help or advice.
Hi Abby, If you’re going to the Caribbean coast, it would be really far to get to Uvita since you’d have to drive all across the country. In any event, the weather in Uvita is rainy in October but we still highly recommend whale watching tours in the morning because it’s a great time of year for it.
We would like to come and see the Whales mid September. Is there a pet friendly hotel close by Uvita or Dominical? we have a dog and would like to bring him, by then he will be almost 6month.
Hi Sunny, We’ll send over some information by e-mail shortly. Thanks!
I live in Grecia but have never seen the whales…would like to visit Uvita in January and based on all the comments, this would be a good time to see them?
Hi Rebecca, Yes, January is during one of the migration seasons for humpbacks. It’s the smaller migration but there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to see them. Since you live here, you could wait for the bigger migration in August-October when sightings are more or less guaranteed, but if you’d rather visit Uvita in January, you still have a pretty good chance. Let us know if you would like any help making the arrangements.
Hi there! What a great article. Unfortunately we will be there in June. I suppose there will be no chance of any whale sightings that time of year? I don’t want to spend all that money on a boat tour (4 people) when it is highly unlikely. Your thoughts?
Hi Stephanie, Yes, June is in between migration seasons, so I think your time would be better spend doing something else. We do know of an excellent wildlife boat tour a little south of Uvita where you can see 4 types of monkeys, sloths, snakes, crocodiles, etc. Feel free to contact us through our Tour Booking page if you’d like more information. It’s not whales but is a good substitute 🙂
Thanks for informative sharing,
Hi there! What a great article. Unfortunately we will be there in July. I suppose chances of whale sightings that time of year are pretty small? I don’t want to spend all that money on a boat tour (4 people) when it is highly unlikely. Your thoughts?
Hi Kelly, In late July, the second migration starts arriving so if you are coming then, it would be worth it since you would have decent odds. Probably not in early July, though. Mid month could go either way and you could just wait to book when you’re here and ask if they have been seeing anything.
Hey there! I went through all the comments but havent come across any on month of March. So, I would have a question whether last two weeks of March are still any good to see the whales (we’re travelling with a 4,5 year old), and if so, I guess it would be better to start with Uvita and then head towards other places we planned?
And thank you for the discount code for car rental! I finally found a company we will get a car from 🙂
Hi KSz, Unfortunately, March is in between migration seasons so we don’t recommend a tour at that time.
You’re very welcome! Glad you are happy with Adobe. Thanks for renting through our site. Hope your family has a great trip!
My girlfriend and I are going to visit Costa Rica in 10 days. The purpose of our trip it’s to watch Humpback Whales, any recommendations Jenn and Matt ?
Hi Henri, Early February is the very end of migration season. We have heard, though, that people have been spotting whales still along the central Pacific coast. You could reach out to a tour operator when you get here to see if they have had sightings recently. That would probably be your best option.
I’m planning on going to Uvita this mid October to hopefully see whales. How good are the chances in mid October(16th)?
Hi Svenja, That’s the end of the season so it can go either way, but yes, whales can definitely be seen in mid October.
Hi there, Thank you so much for your site and insightful information. I plan to be in Costa Rica January 16-28 and will be in Drake Bay for the first few days before heading north and inland. Should we add a day or two in Uvita too to improve our chances of a sighting or would Drake Bay be a good bet for seeing whales? Either way, could you recommend a good tour? Thank you so much!
Hi Michelle, We don’t know of any whale watching tours out of Drake Bay but you could see one on the boat taxi from Sierpe if you’re taking that. Or you could see one on the way to Cano Island if you’re planning on that tour. Mid January is during the smaller migration season so there are whales in the area but no guarantees you will see one. It’s still a very nice day out in the water though, and there’s always the chance of seeing dolphins, turtles, etc. If you’d like us to help book a tour for you in Uvita, feel free to reach out through our tour booking service page. Thanks!
We will be staying near Dominical (Platanillo) in late June. Several group members are very interested in seeing dolphins. Whales, rays, or turtles would be a plus, but sound unlikely that time of year. Would we be see much on a boat trip in the Costa Ballena area or is there a better place? We would be willing to go down to Drake Bay if marine wildlife sightings would be better.
Hi Janina, The Costa Ballena is a great place to go dolphin watching. They see them often. It could be a little early for whales but you never know. Also possible to see turtles; not sure about rays. Drake Bay is awesome too. We haven’t done it but have friends who raved about the Divine Dolphin tour there.
Hello, I have a question and I hope you can maybe clarify the following.
Me and my boyfriend are going to Costa Rica on vacation this January – February. We really want to go whale watching, but I don’te really understand the different sites on the internet. I understand that there are two seasons for whale watching, also one from December-April. But can you only see them in that time on the Caribbean coast, or also by Uviat? Every site say something different.. And we can’t find a tour operator that arranges tours in this time of the year. Do you maybe know some tours for January by Uvita?
Thank you in forward!
With kind Regards,
Hi Demi, The migration starting in December is a much smaller migration (with fewer whales) than the one that comes through July-October. You can see whales in the Uvita area during this time, but from our experience booking tours for people, the best time seems to be late December-mid January. After that, your chances of seeing a humpback whale go down. There are other types of whales that live in the area that you can see any time of year, but it’s not always easy to see them. So that’s why some tour companies stop offering the whale-watching tours after December/January. The best time to see them by far is September and October.
After reading all these posts, is it your experience that November would be a bad time to come for whale watching? It looks like it would be an empty month between migration groups…?
Hi Katherine, Yes, November is between migration seasons.