COSTA RICA NEWS – From 2010 to 2013, the sighting of whales and dolphins boomed in Costa Rica if you consider that the number of tourists coming to the country, encouraged by this practice, increased from 43.302 to 131. 373, respectively, according to ICT statistics.
In addition, nearly 9,000 Costa Ricans, joined the program “Vamos a turistear”, aimed at promoting tourism in the town.
The numbers are confirmed by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), the Costa Rican tourism board, in an analysis of surveys of foreign tourist arrivals at the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) and Daniel Oduber (Liberia) airports.
Costa Rica is located in a unique area in the world of two populations of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). While the native group of Baja California (Mexico) visit Guanacaste between December and March, migrating animals from Antarctica head for the warm waters of Osa between July and October.
ahía Ballena, in the southern part of Costa Rica, is a community that understood that conservation can be an engine for development of the area. In fact, 90% of the local economy depends on whale watching and other ecotourism activities.
In fact, the Asociación de Operadores de Turismo de Bahía Ballena (Asotur) is preparing, this weekend, for the VI Festival de Ballenas y Delfines – the sixth edition of the festival dedicated to these marine species in the South Pacific Area of Costa Rica.
Fernando Guerrero, head of the Asotur, said “for us, conservation is good business.”
The celebration, sponsored by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), will be on Sept 5, 6, 7 and 12, 13, 14 in the area near the Bahía Ballena, in the town of Uvita.
Those who attend the activities organized as part of the event in the Marino Ballena National Park will enjoy the show, which include the reproduction of these cetaceans in their natural habitat.
Participants can also engage in whale tours, athletics competitions, cycling, sand sculpture, photo exhibition, concerts, environmental workshops, food offers and other activities.
This festival allows national and foreign tourists to learn more about such a valuable natural resource such as whales and has the aim to foster the inclusion of the Ballena Bay community in the list of places to be visited in Costa Rica, Asotu added.
Data provided by this organization refer that this protected area is visited every year by different species of whales, such as the humpback, the pilot, the bryde and the false killer whales.
Three resident varieties of dolphins also swarm that area -the bottlenose, the spotted, and the spinner dolphins- and families of hawksbill, green and olive ridley turtles.