You definitely don’t want to miss the 6th annual festival marking the peak of the annual migration of Pacific Humpback Whales to the Ballena National Marine Park in Costa Rica. This year’s 2014 Festival of Whales & Dolphins will be held over the two weekends of Sept. 5-7 and Sept. 12-14.
Festival activities will include whale-watching tours, a beach run, mountain biking race, sand-sculpture contests, photography exhibits, concerts, environmental workshops, crafts and food sales. A 6k and 10k beach run will be held in the national park on Sept. 6, and the mountain biking race takes place on Sept. 7.
The Ballena (“whale”) National Marine Park covers 110 hectares of land and 5,375 marine hectares, and was created in 1989 as the first marine park in Latin America. It is an important sanctuary for migrating humpback whales, pilot whales and false orca whales; resident Pacific Spotted, Common and Bottlenose dolphins; along with stingrays, hammerhead sharks, and several kinds of sea turtles. The whale refuge is famous for its sandbar isthmus formed perfectly into the shape of a large whale’s tail.
Whale watching in Costa Rica lasts from August to October for southern Pacific Humpback Whales from Antartica (the largest population), and from December to April for northern humpbacks from Alaska. The endangered whales swim thousands of miles to the shallow, warm coastal waters of the Ballena National Marine Park to reproduce and give birth.
Biologists consider the protected area a perfect setting between the northern and southern hemispheres for the birth of new marine life. The park is located in what is known as the Costa Rica Thermal Convection Dome, a large “bubble” of shallow, oxygen-rich warm water layered over the top of colder water with less oxygen. The conditions create an ideal habitat for marine life.
The Costa Rica sustainable community of Portasol Rainforest & Ocean View Living, in the coastal mountains between Manuel Antonio National Park and Dominical, is offering a special promotion in their vacation bungalows during whale-watching season. Stay two nights, with full breakfast included, and receive a whale-watching tour for two persons.
Portasol offers Costa Rica property for sale and tourism hospitality with unique vacation rentals. Stay in one of Portasol’s vacation bungalows or Costa Rica homes for rent while you explore the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica.
Article by Shannon Farley