Amazing jumping dolphin in Osa Peninsula


Did You Know? Several Species of Dolphins Call Coast Rica Home

My homeland of Costa Rica offers visitors more than just breathtaking landscapes, once-in-a-lifetime outdoor activities and a rich local experience. It is also a place that features an abundance of animal life, and the opportunity to view that life in its natural habitat. Among those animals are my friends, the dolphins, which come in swarms to the warm and tropical waters on the coasts of Costa Rica. Dolphins live and travel in groups, and in Costa Rica, you can often spot scores of dolphins at sea, and even a few near shore, playing and hunting. Sometimes I wish I hop right in the water to play with them! A great adventure for families and individuals, plan some time to watch these amazing animals while you are visiting Costa Rica. I know that I make sure to take some time to watch them whenever I can!

Which Types of Dolphins You Can See

One of the greatest things about my dolphin friends in Costa Rica is that there are so many different species that visitors can discover. Bottlenose dolphins are the most common and well-known species, and can be seen in groups and families year-round. Rough tooth dolphins are also a species that can be seen almost any time in Costa Rica. These dolphins have a longer, narrower nose than the bottlenose species, and their flippers are set further back.

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Once a threatened species, the spotted dolphin is now one of the most abundant in the world and can be seen year-round in the waters of Costa Rica. These animals are named for the spots on their chins, throats and bellies, and are known for their playfulness.

There are also some species that you can see seasonally. These include the pseudo orca, which resemble a killer whale, and the spinner dolphins, which are known for their high-flying acrobatics. I love to watch them pop out of the water and dive back in!

Most unique to Costa Rica, though, is the Guyana dolphin and its relationship to the bottlenose dolphins of the area. The two species are distantly related, and normally each species has its own language. However the small and shy Guyana dolphins and the bottlenose dolphins seen in the Caribbean waters in Costa Rica appear to be able to interact socially, according to recent studies. This is very exciting news, and I am hoping that one day maybe I’ll find a common language so that I can talk to the dolphins too!

Dolphin swiming next to boat in the Papagayo Gulf


When You Can See Dolphins

You can see hundreds of dolphins year-round, including the bottlenose, rough tooth and spotted species. The seasonal species, including the pseudo orca and spinners, are most likely to travel to Costa Rica and be seen during December through March.

Where You Can Find Dolphins

The stretch of coast along the Pacific in Costa Rica has many locations where dolphins are known to frolic. I love to travel north to the Santa Rosa National Park to view the dolphins that inhabit those protected waters. During the dry season, I like to head toward Corcovado National Park to get my dolphin-watching in at Golfo Dulce and Drake Bay. Another place that I like to visit to see dolphins is the Marino Ballena National Park. In short, there are many, many places in Costa Rica that are home to these beautiful animals!

Spinner Dolphins near Tortuga Island


How You Can Watch Dolphins

Visitors will have the best experience if they work with an adventure operator, which can be found in plenty throughout Costa Rica. Taking a tour with an operator will help make sure you are going to the best-known location for dolphin-watching, and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. As preserving the natural beauty and abundant life in Costa Rica is a priority, there are no tours offered that include swimming with the dolphins as it has been recorded as a health risk for the species.


Dolphin Pods in the Gulfo Dulce