Whales are frequently seen from the mid-Pacific coast down the length to the Peninsula de Osa. The most common species in this area are: humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whales (Physeter catodon or Physeter macrocephalus), and pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) actually of the dolphin family.
Humpbacks and sperm whales are seen in August and December. Pilot whales can be seen throughout the year since they tend to stay in tropical warm waters.
Some biological stations, such as Marenco, are beginning identification of whales spotted in order to monitor their yearly appearances. High bluffs or lookout points are ideal, and binoculars are a must. Expeditions in search of mating whales depart from the coast.
What to do?
Be attentive and watch deeper waters rather than shorelines. Flocks of marine birds flying close to the ocean’s surface often herald the presence of both whales and dolphins. Pilot whales and sperm whales feed at considerable depths, preferring large deep-water squid and fish. But humpbacks, belonging to the baleen whales, feed on plankton and can be seen feeding on the surface as they emerge from the depths with a big splash. Some tours carry audio equipment that picks up the whale’s song, a treat not to be missed. An added measure? Cross your fingers.