The rainy season (or “green season”) in Costa Rica is from May to mid-November in most of the country and this is a great time to visit! Costa Rica is home to dozens of micro-climates, which offer pockets of sunshine even during the rainiest of months. You’ll typically have sun in the mornings and afternoon rains to green up the tropical foliage and cool things off. It’s also the perfect time for wildlife lovers, especially those interested in whales and turtles. We think it’s one of the best times to visit!
Costa Rica is home to an estimated 25 whale and dolphin species, which migrate, mate, and make their homes in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea each year. Experts believe that the warm and shallow waters of the area attract whales to give birth and raise their calves here. Various dolphin species frolic up and down the Pacific coast, while the Caribbean is home mostly to the bottle-nose dolphin.
In the Southern Pacific, specifically around the areas of Dominical, Uvita, and the Osa Peninsula, it is the major stomping grounds of Costa Rica’s whale and dolphin species, and is home to the longest season for humpback whale watching in the world! Uvita’s Ballena Marine National Park is also home to the nation’s annual Dolphin and Whale Festival which happens every September.
The Whale and Dolphin Festival is a two-weekend oceanic extravaganza welcoming the arrival of the humpback whales, which migrate to Costa Rica to give birth. There will be boat tours to view the marine mammals and also hang out at the nearby national marine park, where low tide reveals a sandbar in the shape of a giant whale’s tail. There will also be cultural events, concerts, parades, environmental workshops, performances, and lectures.
The National Marine park is recognized nationally and internationally for the annual visitation of different species of cetaceans such as the humpback whale, pilot whale, bryde whale, false killer whales; Plus three resident species of dolphins including bottle-nose dolphins, spotted dolphins, and spinner dolphins, as well as several species of sea turtles – hawks-bill turtle, green turtle, and parrot turtle.
Since responsible travel is always our utmost concern, you’ll be happy to know that The Association of Tour Operators in Ballena Marine National Park has been working to comply with laws regulating whale-watching. Among other reforms, they changed their boats’ engines to reduce noise in the water. They also work with scientists to collect data that they are using to plan and define better routes for the tours, in order to avoid disturbing the whales.
So, if you’re a lover of wildlife, this is definitely the best time to visit Costa Rica. Whale season extends from August until October, which is the ideal time to catch more than just a glimpse of whales and dolphins.
Where to Stay?
Uvita de Osa is a small beach town in southern Costa Rica, on a section of coastline known as the Costa Ballena of the Pacific Ocean. Playa Uvita is among the most stunning beaches on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, located in the southern Puntarenas province, roughly 16km south of Dominical, a surfing hotspot. Uvita is famous for it’s wildlife and nature and a favorite destination for those looking for a quiet getaway in nature as it’s not as developed or touristic as the North Pacific.
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Airbnb is also a great choice for accommodation in Uvita. You can pick from tiny houses, cabins, townhouses, private homes, chalets, or a private room. If you have not used Airbnb, I highly recommend it!
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What to Do?
Hike the Whale’s Tail at Uvita Beach
During low tide, a sandbar at Marino Ballena National Park located in Uvita, is revealed in the shape of a giant whale’s tail. The whale’s tail is a result of converging currents. These currents deposit sand on on top of the rock formations to create the unique, tail-shaped pattern. Not only is this one of the most unique rock and sand formations, but it’s located in the exact spot where hundreds of humpback whales congregate each year.
Whale Watching Tour
Uvita is probably one of the best whale watching spots on the planet. The delicate ecosystems that the park protects include things like mangroves, coral reefs, beaches, and whale-breeding grounds.