Spotting the Maginificent: Dolphin and Whale Watching in Costa Rica
I’m sure you never go out of the house without putting on your sunscreen because you know overexposure to sun will give you a sunburn or even worse, cancer. Whales and dolphins are also suffering from sunburns due to ozone depletion, but for them to have protection from the sun they need a cleaner atmosphere, which means clean energy. Costa Rica announced today that they will be taking a loan to build a massive hydro-electric damn that will make this country the first nation in the world to run on 100% renewable energy. Costa Rica is already at 90% renewable energy. The whales and dolphins are probably cheering about this announcement because as recent reports show many whales and dolphins are on the endangered species list. In the Osa Peninsula, you can spend a day dolphin and whale watching and it is well worth the adventure to learn more about these intelligent mammals. Dolphins and whales are simply magnificent playful creatures to watch in action.
What makes this area a haven for marine mammals are the warm waters. Many whales and dolphins travel through the Southern Pacific as part of their migration pattern. These are the mammals of the ocean and Costa Rica is teaming with marine life including the endangered humpback whale. The Osa Peninsula is a nursery for humpback whales who have the longest migration of any species traveling from the warm waters of the Pacific to the Arctic. There babies are born without any fat on their bodies, so being born in warm water is essential to their survival. The waters in the Golfo Dulce are a nursery for many other dolphins, whales and most of the fish found in these waters. Among the variety you can spot while dolphin and whale watching here, in addition to the legendary humpback, are killer whales, pilot wales, spotted dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins.
Whales, dolphins and porpoises are all the same species formally known as Cetaceans. You may be surprised to learn that the only difference between whales, dolphins and porpoises is size. So what the cutoff point for whales and dolphins? Cetaceans longer than about 9 feet are considered whales and those less than 9 feet are considered dolphins or porpoises. That’s it, pretty simple. Another interesting fact is that cetaceans are conscious breathers, which means they have to be awake or semi-awake to breathe, which is why when they sleep they float on the surface of the ocean. They are also known as the most intelligent of all ocean life.
When whale or dolphin watching in the Osa Peninsula you never know what your are going to observe. You can see a humpback whale mom teaching her baby to breach, or a pod of dolphins doing flips in the water. Crocodile Bay organizes whale watching eco tours and it is a great way to learn more about these marine mammals and observe them in their natural habitat. Plus if you have already had an active vacation hiking, rappelling and sport fishing, then whale watching is a quieter way to spend the day and provides time to rest up before taking on your next wilderness challenge while traveling in Costa Rica. Take a day spotting the magnificent.