This post may contain affiliate links.
Uvita, Costa Rica is the best place to see whales in Costa Rica, but it can be hard to find a good, reasonably priced tour. In this post, I’ll share with you what to expect on a whale-watching tour, and recommend my favorite tour company in the Uvita area.
I recently spent some time in the beach town of Uvita with a good friend who owns a successful restaurant in San Ramon, my husband’s hometown in Costa Rica. I was in town to do some paperwork left over from when I was living in Costa Rica, and I know that the whale watching in Costa Rica during the time I was going to be there was epic.
I had been wanting to visit the Uvita area to see the whales, as it is one of the best places in the world to see the majestic humpback whales. The ironic part is that the beaches they frequent are a land mass that actually resembles a whale’s tail. Cool, right? So off on a whale tour we went, and it was an amazing experience. I’ll share it with you here.
Another tour you might like in the area: Nauyaca Waterfalls Tour
Types of Whales In Costa Rica
Humpback whales are the most common whales seen in Costa Rica, and there are two seasons to see them as both the Northern Hemisphere humpback whales and the Southern Hemisphere humpback whales pass through.
In parts of Costa Rica, you can see the whales from December to April and then again from July to November. The best place to see them is in Marino Ballena National Park near Uvita. It’s also known as Whale Bay, or Bahia Ballena.
You can only see the whales on the Pacific Coast, and the South Pacific Coast is the best place to see them In this area, you can only see the whales by boat, which means you’ll need a whale-watching tour in Uvita.
Whale Watching Tour- What To Pack
You’ll be around lots of water for the tour, and here’s what I think you should pack:
- Waterproof shoes or sandals (I wore Chacos)
- Waterproof case for your phone (I used a ziplock bag and just put the phone in and out of it)
- Reef Safe Sunscreen
- Bathing Suit
- Hat and sunglasses (optional)
- Lunch (optional)
YOU’LL ALSO LIKE: Costa Rica Packing List (For Families)
Whale Watching In Uvita- What To Expect
You’ll arrive at your tour company either in the morning or the afternoon, depending on when you have booked your tour. My recommendation is to always book the tour in the morning, as the afternoons tend to get rainy and your photos won’t turn out as nice. You can expect your tour to last about three hours.
For this tour, I decided to book with Ballena Aventura. I liked their prices ($75 per adult at the time of writing) and that they are owned by a national company. Plus, they have offices near Corcovado National Park and Caño Island, so I know that they are reputable and insured. There are many tour operators who are not, so it’s important to do your research before you choose one.
I arrived at the tour office in the morning and we were served light snacks (cookies and Costa Rican fruit) and there was Costa Rican coffee available. Once we checked in, we walked about 10 minutes down to the national park entrance and then headed /to the beach.
The nice thing about this tour is that the national park entrance fee was included in the price of the tour. We were given a wristband so that we could access the park at any time between opening and closing. This was great because we came back to watch the sunset on the actual whale tail- and yes, it was as magical as it sounds.
Read Also: Whale Tail Hotel Review– A Great Choice!
Our boat was waiting for us, so we took off our sandals and waded a bit into the water before getting on the boat. Once on the boat, we were given life jackets and a seat. The boat was open air but had a top to shield us from the sun, which I was thankful for because I am so fair-skinned.
First, we drive around looking for the whales. I was impressed with our drivers because they had a really great GPS and would mark where they had seen the humpback whales in recent days. They would then go to those spots to see if the whales were active.
We, unfortunately, did not have luck seeing the whales as there were False Orcas in the area. These are predators of humpback whales, so they generally leave the area when the Orcas are there. It was a bummer- but part of trying for epic animal sightings in the wild- sometimes the wildlife just doesn’t cooperate. We did get to see the false orcas jump out of the water and play, which was super cute.
After we looked for whales we went to see Playa Ventanas, where at low tide you can look through rock formations that look like windows. Nearby we snorkeled for about a half hour, but there really wasn’t anything to see. If you are an avid snorkeler, this is not the best place. But we were there for the whales, so it was ok.
We then looked for more whales before heading back to the beach. The entire tour lasted about 3 hours.
We were then able to spend the rest of the day in the national park, but since we didn’t pack a lunch or any snacks, we went to town to eat something and came back for the sunset. Next time I would definitely pack a lunch and snacks and just stay on the beach all day as it was absolutely gorgeous.
We headed back to our rental car and that was it! I highly recommend the whale-watching tour in Costa Rica, and booking with Ballena Aventura.
What type of whales can I see in Costa Rica?
You can see Northern Hemisphere humpback whales and Southern Hemisphere humpback whales.
When is the best time to see the whales in Costa Rica?
There are two seasons for whale watching in Costa Rica- January-April and July-November.
Where can I see the whales in Costa Rica?
You can see the whales along the Pacific Coast, and the best place to see them is Marino Ballena National Park near Uvita.
RELATED POSTS YOU’LL LOVE:
Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by