Whale Watching and Whale Shark

US$300/boat

boat up to 6 people

Whale Watching

Be on the lookout for whales! Costa Rican waters are home to Humpback, Orcas, Pseudo Orcas, Sei, Beaked, Bryde’s and Pilot whales. If you are traveling Southern Costa Rica during the green season, adding a humpback whale watching eco-expedition to your vacation in the Osa Peninsula is a must. Whales can be seen all year round off the Pacific coast of Central America, but the humpback whales from North and South America frequent the Golfo Dulce mostly between July and November to give birth and raise their little ones in warm tropical waters. At the same time, they fast and live off their fat reserves. Being the most popular tourist attractions in the gulf during these months, Costa Rica is pampered with humpback whales during more months than any other countries in the World. Bryde’s whales and false killer whales are rarer, but have been encountered in some occasions in the embayment.

This majestic animal is wild and there is never a guarantee to see it, but chances are high if you are in the right season. Boat captains will be in communication by radio with other boats around the Osa Peninsula and constantly look at their GPS to maximize the possibilities to find them. Hunted to the brink of extinction decades ago, their population has slowly grown back, but humpback whales are still affected with noise pollution, fishing gears and ship collisions.

Whales are generally curious. They like to soar into the air spy hopping, fin slapping, breaching and fluke flipping to impress visitors on the touring boats. Whales are air-breathing mammals, they usually don’t spend more than 15 minutes under the water before getting the air they need at the surface. For a truly wild adventure, take a boat charter at night. Seeing whales slashing through clouds of plankton is an experience of a lifetime!

 

Whale Shark

The Golfo Dulce receives every year between April and May, the visit of the World largest fish species: the whale shark. With a maximum length of 18 meters (60 feet), this solitary and slow-moving marine animal is a very gentle creature. As it is the biggest animals in the fish kingdom. More than one would think that this monstrous must be a dangerous predator, but it turns out to be the complete opposite. The endangered animal is docile and, because of its special diet, has no interest in eating large animals which differentiates it to other sharks. In fact, its alimentation is based on micro-organisms, plankton being the main food source. The whale shark often travels with its mouth wide open. Its jaw is compounded of thousands of small teeth placed in rows, that make a type of grill used as a filtering feeder. The purpose is to release debris and water back into the ocean, while only trapping the food inside its mouth.

The charismatic megafauna behave more has a whale even if it is a shark. However, it also presents some interesting particularity. While the Humpback whale gives birth to a single calf, the whale shark produces hundreds of eggs that hatches inside the mother and about 300 babies are born. The females have their first offspring at the age of 25 years old. Whale sharks may live up to 150 years, which is up to three times longer than the Humpback whales.

It is possible to swim beside the giant fish without risking of being eaten or crushed. It travels at a speed of only 3 kilometers an hour and spends 60% of its time at the surface of the water, so a close encounter is possible in this fascinating quest to find whale sharks.

The Golfo Dulce is also a calving ground and nursery for scalloped hammerhead sharks and other sharks. Due to geographic and climatic reason, the fjord hosts an impressive variety of marine life including dolphins, whales, whale sharks and sea turtles. 

Highlights

  • Enjoy the intimacy of a private tour
  • Experience the uniqueness of the Golfo Dulce and learn about its importance in the world’s ecosystem
  • Swim alongside hundred different species of fish
  • Enjoy a close encounter with whales or whale shark

What's included?

  • Private, local, bilingual, experienced and licensed captain/instructor/guide
  • Life vests for adults and children
  • First-aid kit
  • Complimentary drinks and fruit snacks
  • Motorboat shaded by a T-Top and seating for all guests
  • Bluetooth radio for streaming music of your choice
  • Cooler with ice for storage of personal snacks and drinks (if required)
  • Free time on a wild tropical beach (if wanted)
  • High-quality snorkeling gear and flotation devices (if wanted)
  • On board bathrooms
  • Umbrellas or any other beach materials
  • Gratuities

What to bring?

  • 1 liter of water
  • Sunblock and Insect repellent
  • Beach towel
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Sunhat or cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimwear
  • Raincoat or poncho (in the rainy season)
  • Waterproof pack (for personal items)
  • Camera

Why book with us?

  • Emails and phone calls answered in English, Spanish or French
  • Safety experience is our priority
  • Eco and sustainable tours
  • Professional, experienced and certified guides and boat captains
  • Helping and supporting locals
  • Competitive prices
  • Fair cancellation policy
  • No hidden fees
  • Rated 5-stars on TripAdvisor

Additional info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Departure time is flexible. Depending on the activities you want to realized we might suggest a time, either according to the tide, the weather or the best hour to see wildlife.
  • The water is usually calm in the Golfo Dulce, but if you get seasick easily, bring sea motion pills or medications just in case.
  • There is no age restriction for travelers to participate in this tour
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Must have a valid travel insurance
  • Must advise of any particular health conditions before booking
  • Tour available all days of the year (snorkeling is not recommended between September and November due to the poor water visibility)
  • Each boat trip is customized according to the interest of the passengers. Boat trips are also private meaning you do not share your boat tour with strangers. We have different types of boats, some can fit up to 6 people others can fit larger groups up to 40 people. The price will vary depending on the boat that is available and the size of your group.
  • In protected Costa Rican waters, which includes the Golfo Dulce, it is illegal for anyone but scientific researchers to swim with whales or dolphins. As a reliable tour operator, Osa Green Travel understands and respect this law and visitors should too.
  • Beware of strong currents while snorkeling and swimming: stay close to sandy beach or the boat.

Transportation

This tour offers roundtrip boat transportation from and to Puerto Jiménez or Golfito dock. Other shore locations may be available at an extra fee. We can help you to book hotel pick-up and drop-off if necessary.

Cancelation

This tour is subject to favorable weather conditions (if canceled due to poor weather, you will be given the option of an alternative date or full refund). If you book a boat tour between September and November, there is a higher possibility that the tour gets cancelled.