Hola! It’s a beautiful time here in Costa Rica! The rains have come for an extended visit, but I don’t mind. If you ask me, this is one of the best times to visit the Rich Coast. It is less crowded and it’s easier to pay attention to your surroundings. Even the major tourist spots are calm! A few weeks ago I took advantage of this unique time and headed off to Manuel Antonio.
This is one of my favorite spots in the whole country this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, Manuel Antonio is fantastic at any time, but September-October is special. Since there are very few tourists, the locals take advantage of the open beaches and shops. The handful of tourists that are in the area are usually very adventurous and ready to mingle. It is a great time – there is a real feeling of harmony and community. At night the local workers clear out all of the merchandise from the shops and replace it with music and dancing. There are bonfires on the public beaches across the street, and everyone is laughing, drinking, and enjoying themselves, even the taxi drivers!
I woke up on a Thursday and I could feel the energy of the ocean pulling me toward the coast, so I called my old friend Marlena. She lives in Quepos (the town next to Manuel Antonio) and is always so gracious when I come to visit, letting me stay in her home and helping me out with anything I need! She really embodies the idea of Costa Rican generosity and pura vida! I hopped in my car made my way out of the valley an on toward the coast. Usually, the trip takes about 3 hours, but because there were less people around it only took me two – another great reason to travel between September and October.
I arrived in Manuel Antonio early and asked Marlena if there were any special events going on in the area. Her face lit up, and all she said was “whales!” She explained that they come to Manuel Antonio every year to mate and give birth, and the sight is incredibly humbling. She told me that her friend operates whale-watching tours in the area, and before I knew it I was sitting in a boat with my new buddy Miguel, waiting to spot some whale tails! Luckily for me, it didn’t take long. About 10 minutes into our trip Miguel pointed out something in the distance. It took me a while to find it amidst the choppy waves, but once my eyes focused I could see at least one whale, swimming along the surface of the water. How excited I was! I didn’t even realize that I was in store for much more – we spent 2 hours in the boat and at one point we were close enough to reach out and touch one of these massive creatures. I couldn’t believe it.
Just two hours sparked a new sense of intrigue within me. How can something so immense be so full of peace and grace? How can something so amazing happen so consistently? This is just nature doing its own work, and to watch it all from a tiny boat in middle of the endless ocean really puts it all into perspective. I am already planning my next whale adventure. I hope to head down the Marino Ballena near Uvita for a real whale watching excursion. It is a HUGE whale hot spot, and the coastal land has even formed its own “whale’s tail” shape! What could be better? Have you ever been to Playa Uvita or Dominical to watch whales? If so, we would love to hear about it!
Ready for your own whale watching adventure? Browse our Nature Vacations for trip ideas!