Costa Rica is known for its green gold: the forest and the biodiversity that animates it. But this country also has a blue gold just as valuable: the Pacific Ocean.
It is home to a particularly rich wildlife and mythical animals that fascinate children as the greatest. Among them, there is one particularly impressive: the whale.
This majestic and mysterious cetacean is still very often associated with endangered species. Still hunted in some parts of the world, whales suffer a heavy tribe.
One way to preserve them from our voracious appetite may lie in environmental education. To observe them, to get to know them and even to make an income (let’s be so pragmatic) will it help to save them here and there? In any case, it is the bias taken by Costa Rica that sets the example in the matter and can prove by A + B that can generate significant and sustainable income through the observation of whales (+ 5 millions of dollars a year). Let’s hope that this example gives desires to the countries that massacre these cetaceans to change their paradigm.
The 3 species of whales present in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, it is possible to observe 3 different species of whales depending on the seasons and places. I will use the term “whale” in a common way because it does not correspond to a rigorous scientific reality. In the common language, we mix bluish whales (real whales) and false whales such as pilot whales (pilot whales) or false killer whales (which can be delphinids and thus be more like dolphins). ) but we will not quibble here. Let’s say that the three species mentioned here are massive enough to be entitled to the designation whale. Let’s make a little acquaintance with them.
The humpback whale, the quiet force
The humpback whale is probably one of the most observed whales and because Madame is very sociable and sometimes approaches very close to the boats. In addition, his jumps are particularly impressive and spectacular.
This migratory species can travel up to 25,000 km per year. A feat when we know that this animal weighs the trifle of 25 tons and measures 14 meters. On the way, he happens to hurt himself or to fall on enemies not very nice which leave him some scars on the way (these grayish or white traces). Otherwise, his black body is illuminated on his ventral side which is adorned with a very beautiful whiteness. We also see furrows along its length. These last ones prove to be very useful when it comes to making a nice meal. Indeed, they serve to unfold the mouth (a system borrowed from the accordion unless it is the opposite).
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The patterns that appear on the belly are also the unique imprints of each individual. Two other elements make it easy to identify them; the long pectoral fins which offer cuckoos to the curious of passages and the protuberances which crimp the head and the jaw of this beast.
The false killer whale, the hybrid usurper
Biologists will probably scream about the description I’m going to make of the false killer whale, but I would say that it’s a clever mix morphology issue between a whale and a dolphin but not quite an orc! This species is particularly recognizable by its dentition. Do not look for the baleen, the false killer whale has beautiful teeth (up to 46) ready to bite what will pass under the nose (sometimes even dolphins or whales).
She is part of the same family as the dolphins. Do not look for a round body like that of a real orc, the false killer whale has a gray or black elongated body with a lighter task between the pectorals and the genitals. The animal measures between 4 to 6 meters (depending on sex) and weigh about 2 tons.
The pilot whale … is a dolphin!
Another animal that usurps his name because it is scientifically a dolphin! The other sweet name of the pilot whale is the tropical pilot whale, which makes it possible to recognize etymologically one of its morphological characteristics: its globe-shaped head! His head is indeed recognizable by the rounded prominence of the forehead. It can measure up to 7 meters and weigh 4 tons. Also dark gray, the perfect color to camouflage in the ocean.
The 3 whale watching spots in Costa Rica
Ballenas Maritime Park
Uvita is the starting point of the Ballenas Maritime Park, which is aptly named because it allows the observation of these cetaceans. It is 1h30 from Quepos bus or 5h from San José. It has beautiful beaches and a protected marine area where you can see different species of whales but also dolphins and turtles. Be aware however that nature is capricious and it is not because it is the season that you will have the 100% guarantee to see all these species.
Corcovado Park, Drake Bay, and Golfo Dulce
The famous Corcovado Park is known for its exceptional rainforest and rare species that can be seen (tapir, anteater …) is not left aside sea. Located on the peninsula of Osa, it is also a good place to observe various cetaceans. Drake Bay Drake bay is particularly suitable for this activity. On the side of Golfo Dulce, you can also see humpback whales and whale sharks!
The Gulf of Papagayo
The Gulf of Papagayo where the sublime beaches with the sweet name of Ocotal, Coco, Hermosa or Panama are lined up, in the North of the Country Pacific side is the third interesting spot for the observation of the marine fauna.
There, you will have the opportunity to rent a small boat with a local to stroll from beaches to beaches and cross on your way whales, dolphins and turtles.