The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – From August to October and from December to March, tourists in Costa Rica are able to watch humpback whales, who migrate from the Northern and Southern hemispheres to breed and give birth in the warm waters of the Costa Rican Pacific Coast. This event can be enjoyed by going to Dominical or Bahía Ballena beaches, among others, located just three hours away from San José.

According to Keto Foundation, a Costa Rican organization focused on protecting marine life, there are more than 15 micro entrepreneurs who offer services in the marine tourism industry near Marino Ballena National Park. These small companies have been working together with Keto Foundation for two years now to improve the conditions of the infrastructure used to transport tourists to the sea to enjoy the whale-watching event; also, they have taught these businesspeople to respect and protect these huge and beautiful mammals by not approaching them too much or bothering them with the boats. By doing this, both the workers and the animals have benefitted, since now these people know that they have to keep the whales’ habitat in good condition so they can continue offering their services.  This foundation gave a badge called the Good Practices Sea Star System to the businesses that are involved in this program.

Humpback whales come to Costa Rica attracted by the thermic dome. MarViva, another group dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems, reports that this thermic dome, “is an oceanographic feature created by the interaction between wind and ocean currents, causing a high concentration of nutrients which cause an explosion of phytoplankton, single-celled organisms that are the base of the food chain. These organisms promote the growth in the source of food for migratory species such as tuna, dolphins and whales.”  The relevance of this place is both ecological and commercial: it provides marine animals with food, and it represents a source of income for fishermen.

Tourists will be able to watch female whales nursing and swimming with their young near Golfo Dulce. These animals are usually calm as long as they do not feel threatened and there is enough distance between them and the tour boats. That is why people have to stay in the boats and follow the instructions at all times for the adventure to be pleasant and memorable. The prices of these tours are not that high and are usually available Monday through Sunday, so they are always accessible for tourists who really want to witness this magical experience that nature offers. During the tours, people will also be able to watch other marine species such as bottlenose and spotted dolphins and “false” orcas.

By Laura Zúñiga

 

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica