Sunday, January 7, 2024

Costa Rica Days 8-10: Whale Watching

We moved on to our next accommodation outside of Quepos. It was a small complex with a great-sized pool that was almost always empty. We passed a fair bit of time here, enjoying swimming and bird-watching. A real highlight was watching four scarlett macaws fly just overhead our first evening here. 

Standing on the whale tail

We also did a day trip to Uvita, home to Ballena National Park and the famous whale tail sand formation. Not only does it look like a whale, but there are many actual whales that migrate by. We hopped aboard a boat and skimmed our way across the water towards a reported spotting.

Adventure Girl had been a bit nervous about the idea of going on a boat and wearing a life jacket. But her face spread into a wide grin as we bounced along the waves. Then the boat stopped, solitary amongst the rise and fall of the ocean. We waited patiently where our captain had heard a mother and baby humpack had been seen. We listened intently, hoping to hear that unmistakeable puff of air of a whale clearing its blowhole. There were 14 of us aboard the boat and everyone wanted to be the first to spot a whale. 

Then, all of a sudden, there they were - mother, then baby, rising to the surface, showing us their backs. We got lots of views of them, since newborns can't hold their breath for long yet. Our guide told us that this mother looked very relaxed with us closeby (that some mothers only rise once, then move on when they see boats). We enjoyed our time watching them, then headed onwards towards a dolphin spotting.

Our guide had told us that we were unlikely to see dolphins because they live further out in the ocean where they can hunt their favourite fish: tuna. But our luck continued and we got a great show of the spotted dolphins (probably 20 or so) surfacing over and over. There was also a baby with this group - so small and sticking right beside its mama. It was a real treat to see them interact. 

From here, our boat took us to some nearby caves, then to a swimming spot. There was coral but it was 8 meters down so it was a bit too cloudy to try to snorkel. 

La ventana

Back on land, we headed onwards to a lovely lunch spot up in to the jungle hills. We were pleased to find gluten and lactose-free pizza (as well as an extensive cocktail list), but even more excited when we heard, then spotted, two howler monkeys outside the restaurant. After hearing them so often, it was great to finally get to see them. We got a great view of them munching on some leaves. 

Yes, the cocktail is smoking!

Howler monkey munching 

We crossed our fingers that our luck would continue on our next adventure: into Manuel Antonio National Park.

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