Wildlife Enthusiasts & Eco-tourists alike come to the Pacific just off Costa Rican coast for incredible dolphin and whale watching tours. The country’s warm ocean currents are home to a biologically diverse marine habitat. Shallow, temperate waters create ecosystem ideal for many species of dolphins & whales.

Humpback whales pass through Costa Rica’s Pacific seas regularly between late July and November, and again in December through March as they migrate to and from their feeding grounds in the North Pacific to mating grounds in the warmer water of the Tropical Pacific. Mother’s can sometimes be seen with young calfs and males put on great shows of strength to attract mates leaping from the water.

All in all, there are over twenty-five species of dolphin and whale which permanently reside in, or whose migratory patterns take them through the Pacific Ocean just off the Costa Rican coast.

Common Dolphin & Whales seen in Costa Rica

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)— A species of baleen whale ranging in length from 12–16 metres and weighing approximately 79,000 lbs. Humpback whales are known for their magical songs, which travel for great distances through the world’s oceans. They are found near coastlines, feeding on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton, and small fish. Humpbacks migrate annually from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator. Read more.


Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)— Long and slender, the blue whale’s body can be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath. Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet long and weigh around 200 tons. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant and their hearts, as much as an automobile. Read more.


Pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata)— Relatively small dolphins, reaching lengths of 6 to 7 feet and weighing approximately 250 pounds, these mammals can be distinguished by a dark “cape” or coloration on their backs stretching from their head to almost mid-way between the dorsal fin and the tail flukes and by a white-tipped beak. Read more.


Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus or Tursiops aduncus)— These sleek swimmers can reach speeds of over 18 miles an hour. They surface often to breathe, doing so two or three times a minute. Bottlenose dolphins travel in social groups and communicate with each other by a complex system of squeaks and whistles. Schools have been known to come to the aid of an injured dolphin and help it to the surface. Read more.


Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis or Delphinus capensis)— Found in all of the world’s temperate and tropical waters, this dolphin is the second most widely distributed cetacean, right behind the killer whale. They live to be about 35 years old and can be identified by distinct bright coloration and patterns: a dark gray cape along the back that creates a “V” just below the dorsal fin on either side of the body, they are yellow/ tan along the flank, between the dark cape and white ventral patch. Read more.


Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris)— A small dolphin (measuring 6 to 7 feet and weighing approximately 130 to 170 lbs) found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air. Read more.

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