Costa Rica enjoys one of the most biologically diverse ocean ecosystems in the world. This is mainly because the heart of this vast habitat is known as the Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome (named for its proximity to this country) lies here. Shallow warm waters lie on top of low-oxygen cold water, creating the perfect ecosystem for a vast variety of marine life. Whales (orcas, pilot, humpbacks, beaked, brydes), dolphins, tuna, marlin, manta rays, sea turtles, sailfish and more, congregate in this area taking advantage of the rich waters year-round. The humpback whales visit us from two separate hemispheres, giving us the longest humpback season in the world. The great whales come to our warm protected waters from December to April from Alaska and again between August and the end of November from Antarctica. It’s easy to spot humpback whales since they live at the ocean’s surface, both in the open ocean and in shallow coastline waters. They swim slowly and are the acrobats of the sea, which makes them perfect stars for whale-watching tours. The best place to see these gentle giants are the Ballena Marine National Park, which is named for the whales that migrate there every year. Further south off the Osa Peninsula, humpbacks may be seen in Drake Bay near the Cano Island Biological Reserve and in the Golfo Dulce off the shores of Puerto Jimenez. One of my most memorable experiences has been swimming with dolphins in the Golfo Dulce, seeing the dolphins swim next to you and even hear how they communicate under water was something I will never forget. I felt so close to them, but not in a physical way; more in a spiritual way. It was one of those moments when you feel so grateful to be able to enjoy this life we were given and to feel you are one with Nature itself.