Ballena park protects the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. It is here on the Costa Ballena and around the Ballena Islands down to Drake Bay that the whales migrate. This oceanic event happens nowhere else on the planet.
Ballena Whales of Costa Rica in Ballena National Park
The Humpback Whales migrate from 2 different hemispheres, from both North and South America to the same place, to have their babies and mate. The Southern Humpback Whales come from as far as the Antarctica, 11,500 miles away! It is one of the longest migrations known to mankind. The Humpback Whales arrive in late July and remain in Costa Rica waters through early November. The Northern Humpback Whales arrive in late October and remain in Costa Rica until the end of April. Costa Rica has the longest season of humpback whales in the world.
When the Humpback Whales from both hemispheres meet in Costa Rica, especially around the time of October and November, you can experience a “one of a kind” oceanic event. Here, in this “Whale Merging Market”, they will meet their beloved mate and they will sing their Whale Songs… and start a little family. You can experience being up and close to these Giants of the Sea and marvel at the interactions between the two different cultures of Humpback Whales. The symphony of different Whale Songs is magnificent!
Humpback Whales are the only whales that sing and communicate with long and complex songs. They can be heard by using a hydrophone or when you are in the water. The whales from each hemisphere have their own personalized songs of love. The Humpback whales produce the longest and most varied songs in the animal world that include recognizable sequences of squeaks, grunts and other hauntingly beautiful sounds.
They produce a new song each year and yet that song still containing parts from the previous year. Over the years, the original song is completely changed and becomes a new song. Researchers believe that Humpback whale songs are complex messages to other whales and can be heard for up to 1,000 miles. Only the males have been recorded singing and they sing their complex songs only in the warm embryonic waters off Costa Rica. Think of the vibrations in these waters.
After their long journey to Drake Bay, pregnant mother whales give birth in surprisingly shallow waters, near the coast of Caño Island. The baby whale calves are about 4 meters long and weigh about 4,000 pounds at birth. A baby Humpback drinks more milk in one day than a human baby does in one year. They can gain up to 200 pounds per day!
The moms and their new babies will then spend the next 4 months here in these warm waters, sometimes traveling with a male escort whale, which may or may not be the father. During their stay in Costa Rica, the mothers will teach their new babies to breach, (jumping full body out of the water) and to swim in all kinds of weather. The mom and baby will stay together for about a year, finally separating in the feeding waters when the baby is about 8 to 10 meters in length.
The babies, while in Costa Rica, only drink mother`s milk. Humpback whales do not feed in Costa Rica waters. The adult whales, subsist on their own blubber during the mating and breeding season. On rare occasions, some have been spotted feeding on sardines and krill. By the time the Humpback whales are leaving for their winter feeding waters, they are very thin, with bones sticking out from their tail sections.
Whales watching has been a fascination of mankind since the beginning of time. These magnificent creatures are graceful, mysterious and commanding.
In these waters you have the opportunity to see over 25 five kinds of whales, mostly the humpback, the Pilot whale and the false killer whale, pygmy and sperm.
The Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica, in the waters surrounding Drake Bay, is one of the best places in the world to experience dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. Over 25 different species of dolphins and whales either migrate through or make Costa Rica their home.
Dolphins abound in these waters. Four types predominate: the Spinner, Bottlenose like “Flipper”, the spotted and the common.