Whale watching is a big draw to coastal areas of Central America. This is especially true of the popular tourist destination of Costa Rica. The most popular whales to watch are the majestic Humpback Whales and if you time it right, you can plan your next visit to Costa Rica during the Humpback Whale migration season.
One of the biggest draws to the area of the Costarican coast for the whales is the sub-tropic waters. Since it is part of their long migration route, they will appear like clockwork. If whale watching is on your agenda for your vacation, then you have definitely come to the right spot.
Humpback whales migration: The Amazing Journey
The North Pacific Humpback Whales have the longest migration path. They travel from the cold, icy arctic waters where they feed to the warmer ocean waters that stretch from the Northern California coast down to Central America.
The Southern population is bigger, with about 6000 whales. They travel thousands and thousands of miles from Antarctica to the warmer waters of Central America.
Those annual migrations of humpback Whales from high-latitude zones (feeding areas) to low-latitude tropical zones (wintering areas) are well known, but the forces driving them in this migration are still unclear. Several hypotheses have been proposed in order to explain this phenomenon. Some of them are:
- A vestigial behaviour from when smaller ocean basins meant closer feeding and wintering areas.
- The optimization of energy budgets by wintering in warm waters.
- Increased calf (offspring) growth and survivorship in warm protected waters.
- Avoidance of killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation at low latitudes.
If you would like to know more about the Humback whale migration, there are some good and well documented articles to read. You may want to visit whales.org or check this report at NCBI. There are many interesting articles about the migration theories and scientific facts about the whales.
When is the best time for whale watching in Costa Rica?
Some coastal areas like Costa Rica in Central America are a great vacation destination for whale watchers. During the season time the Humpback Whales can be found in
plentiful numbers and they can be seen frolicking in the warmer waters. Along with their majestic size and the way that they effortlessly break the surface of the water. The waters are also filled with the melodic sounds of the Humpback whale calls that are very unique to their species.
Since the whales like the warmer waters of the sub-tropic zone off of Central America and the North American coast, you can nearly enjoy whale watching year-round. However, August, September and October are the best months in the year to see them. During this time the Humpbacks are extremely active when they are swimming as this is also their breeding season.
A unique experience in life
With thousands of these majestic creatures occupying the same stretch of ocean can be breathtaking for the many whale watchers. There truly is nothing on earth that compares to sudden surprise when a 50-foot creature breaches the surface of the water and smacks back down with a rush. If you have not seen it yet in person, you really need to. The adrenaline rush will virtually take your breath away the very first time you see and feel it.
The waters off of the Pacific coast from Central America all the way up to Northern California are the second most important to the population of the Humpback Whales with Hawaii. If you are looking for someplace to go on your vacation, you really need to check out Costa Rica. Come and see the Humpback whales !