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Whales Watching

Edition Jun 23, 2016
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Numerical facts about Costa Rica


The number of annual visitors who come for whale watching


Costa Rica is blessed with two annual whale migrations, with humpback whales traveling as far as 8,000 km to reach warmer waters near the equator. Northern humpbacks descend on Costa Ballena in December and stay until April, while a separate migration from the south arrives in July and remains until early November. In all, more than 2,000 whales, weighing up to 80,000 pounds and stretching up to 50 feet in length, make an appearance along Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline.

The town of Uvita, along Costa Ballena, puts visitors in the heart of whale watching heaven, with close to 20 separate tour companies launching boats from the beaches of Bahia Uvita and the protected environment of Marino Ballena National Park. The region’s peak season is between August and October, accentuated by the annual Festival of Whales and Dolphins in Bahia Ballena in September which brings in as many as 5,000 visitors to the quaint little town in a single weekend.

Whale watching tourism in Costa Rica generates an estimated $21 million in annual revenue, including $5 million in direct spending on tours.

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