The highly anticipated Whale and Dolphin Festival has returned to the shores of Osa, providing visitors with a front row seat to experience these magnificent marine mammals in their natural habitat. Organized by the Tourism Operators Association of Marino Ballena National Park, the three-day event kicking off on September 1st promises fun for the whole family.
The festival celebrates the annual migration of humpback whales who travel thousands of miles to mate and give birth in Costa Rica’s warm coastal waters. “This is a breeding area for whales that visit our waters, either for mating or giving birth. Hence, the most crucial thing is to respect responsible tourism guidelines, ensuring we don’t disturb their behavior. This way, we can protect marine ecosystems and contribute to the local community’s development,” stated Melissa Álvarez, Communications Manager of the MarViva Foundation.
The main attraction is the two-hour whale and dolphin watching tour conducted by certified guides. Priced at ₡20,000 for adults and ₡15,000 for children under 10, the tour includes transportation, a bilingual naturalist guide, water and snacks. “The season is in our favor, with a high probability of observing whales.
We know that attendees will have an enriching experience, allowing them to recognize and appreciate the beauty present in Costa Rican waters,” added Fernando Guerrero, a tour guide with over 15 years of experience in cetacean spotting.
In addition to the tours, visitors can enjoy live music, food stands featuring delicious local cuisine, a photography contest celebrating the whales, and educational lectures about marine conservation. The festival offers fun for all ages while promoting environmental stewardship.
Experts remind that although whale watching can be an unforgettable experience, it must be done responsibly. “These cetaceans could suffer from stress caused by poorly regulated tourism. Therefore, it’s vital for companies and tourists to take responsible measures like maintaining the recommended distance, adhering to the observation time, avoiding excessive noise, and not entering the water when these mammals are present,” cautioned Cristina Sánchez, Science Manager of MarViva.
She added, “To reach Costa Rican waters, whales undergo a lengthy migratory journey. Once here, they devote all their energy to reproduction, giving birth, and nursing their young, which makes them much more vulnerable.”
Visitors are advised to verify tour operators are certified members of the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Operators. “Tourists also bear responsibility. It’s important to be informed and to monitor these boats by ensuring they comply with regulations,” Sánchez emphasized.
With breathtaking natural scenery and majestic creatures, the Whale and Dolphin Festival offers an experience unlike any other. It’s an opportunity to revel in the beauty of Osa while protecting the environment for generations to come.