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- Photo via Institute of Tourism -

Costa Rica Congress pre-approves whale watching law

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Published on Monday, September 18, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


The Congress' Special Tourism Commission pre-approved bill No. 23,375, which proclaimed the humpback whale watching season to be in the public interest of the country.

According to Congress, the measure intends to increase whale-watching tourism while also ensuring effective environmental management.

The legislators emphasized their support for encouraging tourism and economic development, while also stating that everything will be done "as long as visitation levels and tourist practices do not cause harm to whale populations," according to their statement.

Carolina Delgado, the commission's president, stated that this activity produces development in the town and the business sector related to whale-watching trips when she voted in favor of the plan.

The bill has now moved on to the stage of scrutiny and vote by the Congress's 57 members.

According to the Institute of Tourism, whale-watching in Costa Rica is a popular activity, as the country's Pacific and Caribbean coasts are home to various whale species that visit throughout the year. 

While humpback whales are the most commonly seen species. Visitors may also have the chance to spot other types such as pilot whales, orcas, and Bryde's whales. Spinner dolphins and bottlenose dolphins are often seen on both coasts.

The best time to see humpback whales on the Pacific Coast is generally from December to April. During this period, humpback whales migrate from the colder waters of the Southern Hemisphere to the warmer waters of Costa Rica to breed and give birth. 

Some of the popular places for whale-watching on the Pacific Coast include the Osa Peninsula, Marino Ballena National Park near Uvita, the Gulf of Papagayo, Drake Bay and Golfito Gulf.

While on the Caribbean Coast, the best time for whale-watching is usually from February to March, and later from September to October, when humpback whales can be seen. Tortuguero National Park is a well-known destination for spotting humpback whales.

What else can Costa Rica do to promote whale-watching tourism? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com