When is the Best Time to Visit Costa Rica?

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What’s the weather in Costa Rica like?

Costa Rica is beautifully warm all year, with an average annual temperature of 80°-90° Fahrenheit on the coasts and 75°-80° in the countryside and on the mountainsides. The most stable weather is between December and April. These months have little to no rain in most of the country. Other months typically have rain at some point of the day which has the benefit of vibrant, lively green throughout the natural views. Discounts can be found for rainy season months.

Without much further a-do, here is the breakdown of Pros and Cons of coming to Costa Rica by month:

Visiting Costa Rica in January

February: Best Time to Visit

Is Costa Rica Busy in March?

If Visiting in April, Mind the ‘Semana Santa’

Month of Transitional Weather: May

June in Costa Rica: Few Crowds & Good Deals

 

July: ‘Veranillo’ aka Costa Rica’s ‘Little Summer’

Is it Worth It to Visit Costa Rica in August?

Visiting in September: It Starts Raining (Again)

October: Good Time to Travel to Caribbean Side

Costa Rica in November: Transition to Dry Season

December—A Great Time to Visit


Visiting Costa Rica in January

Pros:
What better place to ring in the new year? Costa Rica weather in January is picture perfect. Let us know what kind of trip you dream about and we can match you to the best of the best options out there, depending on your preferences. Start your year off right.
Cons:
January in Costa Rica comes with New Year’s prices. Prices throughout January, and through mid-April,, in Costa Rica, are higher than most other times of the year.


February: Best Time to Visit

Pros:
The best weather you could ask for in Costa Rica is in February. A typical day would be sunny and warm from 6 am to 6 pm (more than what you’d get up north), with uninterrupted activities. You can sleep in and relax all morning and count on stable weather in the afternoon.

Cons:
Most of Costa Rica’s boutique hotels (the best experience is a stay in one of these beauties, if you ask us) are usually booked well in advance. Plan ahead because February is a very busy time in Costa Rica.


Is Costa Rica Busy in March?

Why, yes! We’re glad you asked.

Pros:
Sunny days and clear nights is the best description of Costa Rica weather in March. Picture yourself enjoying spring break in Costa Rica! It’s the best way to escape the cold in the north.
Cons:
Escaping the cold isn’t a novel concept, unfortunately for you, so during March, Costa Rica gets very busy. You will see other guests and share tourist attractions and activities if you choose to come to Costa Rica in March. Still, your friends will be jealous when they hear of your Spring Break in Costa Rica. Availability is scarce and should be booked well ahead of time.


If Visiting in April, Mind the ‘Semana Santa’

‘Semana Santa’ is a term used across Latin America for the week before Easter, Holy Week.

Pros:
Costa Rica is a nice place to celebrate Easter. You might partake in local traditions for a typical Easter in Costa Rica. If you’re a crowd lover, this is a great time to come!
Cons:
If you’re not a fan of crowds at the airport or beaches, the week prior to Easter is one to avoid, not only in Costa Rica but in all of Latin America. It’s like Thanksgiving, only in spring time. Costa Ricans that live and work abroad travel home to spend the whole week with their extended families. Roads going in and out of the Central Valley are often at a standstill. It’s the second busiest week, after Christmas, in all coastal towns.


Month of Transitional Weather: May

Pros:
In May, there are fewer crowds and many great deals in Costa Rica. Nature lovers particularly love May in Costa Rica because it’s turtle season. And anglers can enjoy great deep sea fishing for marlin and dorado in the Central Pacific and tarpon on the Caribbean coast.
Cons:
May is a transitional month. Seasons are changing and this makes the weather unpredictable.


June in Costa Rica: Low Crowds and Good Deals

Pros:
June in Costa Rica is known for low crowds. It’s a peaceful time with plenty of space to relax and rejuvenate.
Cons:
Sometimes the weather in Costa Rica is unpredictable in June, mid-day showers are a common occurrence.


July: ‘Veranillo’ aka Costa Rica’s ‘Little Summer’

Pros:
The weather is much more predictable by July in Costa Rica. While there will be afternoon showers, the mornings are bright and sunny.
During the second half of the month, the weather usually stabilizes completely. This time is locally known as ‘El Veranillo de San Juan’ (and for some reason colloquially known as ‘Little Summer’). The countryside is lush and green.
There are few tourists at this time so attractions and activities are less crowded. Additionally, the price of lodging can drop by half compared to what you’d pay for the festive season.

From mid-July to mid-November, and then again from mid-December to April, it’s whale watching season, because of the whales’ migration cycle. In July and August, you can see turtles nesting.

Cons:
Aside from during veranillo (which falls somewhere around June 23rd, but varies from year to year), expect the weather to include an occasional light shower once a day in July in Costa Rica.


Is it Worth It to Visit Costa Rica in August?

Pros:
The weather is like clockwork in August in Costa Rica. You can count on lots of sunny weather. Hotels offer great deals and tours are not too crowded. It’s a good time of year to visit two parts of the country in a single trip. You can enjoy both the rainforest/volcano area with adventure activities and the beach area with marine activities.

Cons:
August is not exempt from the occasional shower but there won’t be enough rain to ruin your plans to enjoy Costa Rica. Showers tend to pass quickly.


Visiting in September: It Starts Raining (Again)

Pros:
Visiting the Arenal Volcano area is ideal because this part of Costa Rica has very stable weather in September. There are many tours available and you’ll likely have the guides all to yourself. During September and October, you can see turtles hatching and running down to the water.

Cons:
Avoid going to the Osa Peninsula during September and October. While most of Costa Rica has light daily showers, Osa gets too much rain at this time of year.


October: Good Time to Travel to Caribbean Side

Pros:
October is a great time to visit the Caribbean coast, where the weather is the most stable. There are practically no tourists in the country at this time. This means there are great deals and almost private tours with guides focusing on you.

While rain might put some people off, most of the time a good rain jacket, closed shoes and an adventurous spirit will be more than enough to enjoy the weather and the rich wildlife you can observe during this time of year.

The leatherback turtle’s nesting season runs from October to March, in Guanacaste.

Cons:
October is not a great time to visit the Central Pacific. Guanacaste would be a better option, as it’s a dry forest climate.

The amount of rain can make getting around some parts of the country highly problematic, as landslides and other natural obstacles become more common.

 


Costa Rica in November: Transition to Dry Season

Pros:
The weather in Costa Rica usually stabilizes in November, as it transitions over to the drier season. Some hotels and restaurants offer organized Thanksgiving dinners in Costa Rica. Plus, it’s nice to avoid the cold weather, and skip the long underwear for once, while celebrating Thanksgiving in Costa Rica with your loved ones.

Cons:
There’s still a chance of the occasional tropical shower during afternoons in Guanacaste in November, but this keeps the landscapes incredibly green, lush, and photo worthy.


December—A Great Time to Visit

Pros:
Yes, you heard right, December is the clear start of Costa Rica’s dry season. The weather is extremely stable and everything is still very lush from the rainy season that just ended. Overall pricing is very reasonable in Costa Rica for the beginning of December and there are lots of deals to be had. What better way to celebrate Christmas than in Costa Rica?
Cons:
Around December 20th, the peak season starts. Just trying to book a room at that boutique hotel you liked (even months in advance), will give you a headache. If you’re not a fan of crowds and don’t want to break a bank, you’ll want to avoid travel at this busiest time, if possible.


When to come to Costa Rica so it’s not too humid?

You’d want to come to Costa Rica between January and March or in June or July to avoid humidity. Avoid September and October. Humidity also depends on the area you’d visit. Rainforest areas have rain almost all year. To avoid humidity, we recommend Guanacaste, as it has the least rain in the country, year-round. For the most pleasant, least humid weather in Costa Rica, you want to be in Guanacaste.

Costa Rica clouds over mountains


Seasons

Unlike other countries with four established seasons, the climate in Costa Rica can easily be divided into two seasons: rainy and dry. Or, summer and winter. High and low. You get the idea.

Generally, dry season is from December to late April and the rainy season is from May to November. The Caribbean coast is the big exception, where the seasons are flipped and the driest months are mid-May through mid-November. Confused? Read on.

The dry season, which runs from late November until late April, is also known as the high season or summer. During these months, the weather in many parts of the country is very warm getting little to no rain, and with temperatures ranging from the mid 80’s to the high 90’s depending on which part of Costa Rica you are in. However, in some provinces, seasonally cool winds offer some respite from the heat, particularly in January and February.

Temperatures tend to reach their highest in March and April at the peak of the dry season. Because the summer season occurs during the cold winters of the Northern Hemisphere, Costa Rican dry season attracts thousands of tourists annually who flock to the beaches of the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

While the rainy season attracts fewer tourists, it’s unarguably the time of year when Costa Rica is at its most beautiful. May to November is affectionately called “The Green Season” by tourism experts and is the time of year when all vegetation starts to grow again and the country blooms into life and becomes incredibly lush.

Although temperatures rarely drop below the mid-60s (around 18 degrees Celsius), the overall climate is much wetter, and thunderstorms, heavy rains, and tropical depressions are far from unusual, especially in the afternoon. It can be quite a spectacle!

Costa Rica valley

Transitional Months

Many say the best months of the year to travel are May/June, July or November. May/June and November represent the “cusp” of the seasons—the change from dry to rain in May and vice versa in November. This means that you can expect very little rain, perhaps an hour or so in the late afternoon but rarely more than that. The countryside is lush and green, marking a difference from the browns of the dry season.
During these months, you still get the low season rates and amazing deals, plus the good weather. On top of that, every July there is a two/three-week long phenomenon called the ‘Little Summer of San Juan’. Basically, it is a two/three-week dry spell during the middle of the green season.

Rainy or ‘Green’ Season in Costa Rica

Rainy season starts around mid-May, but it gets a much undeserved bad reputation. A typical day in the rainy season starts off hot and sunny and then, if it does rain, it will cloud up at 2-3 PM and rain for a couple hours until it clears up again at 5-6 PM. This is the rule of thumb—there are days when it might rain more, but there are also days when it won’t rain at all, especially in July. The only months where it may rain all days are September and October and even these months will see sunny days.

This time of year temperatures rarely drop too harshly, but the rainy afternoons can be an acquired taste, especially for those who expect Costa Rica to be the land of eternal summer. The rainy season has many wondrous elements, though, particularly because the entire country seems to become greener. Trees and flowers are in bloom, and what at some point might’ve been an arid countryside, is turned into paradisiacal scenery.

Rainy season is ideal for nature lovers who will undoubtedly be thrilled by the variety of animal and plant species they will see here, especially for whale watching and turtle nesting tours, as this is the prime season when these animals migrate to Costa Rica. Prices tend to drop too, making the green season perfect for travelers with tighter budgets.

Costa Rica’s Dry Season

The dry season—aka high season—running from mid-December through the end of April, is best for your sun worshiper, although not quite as good for wildlife spotting. During this time of the year temperatures rise all over the country. Because of its proximity to the equatorial line, seasons are “inverted” in Costa Rica and while other countries celebrate snowy Christmases, the weather in places like Guanacaste is pleasantly warm, giving you opportunity to unwrap those Christmas presents on the tropical beach.

High season is perfect for Americans and Europeans who are looking to escape the harsh winters of the Northern hemisphere. High season offers endless options for travelers who mostly visit the beaches of the Pacific and go on adventure tours in the Arenal area. For obvious reasons, hotels, airfares etc. tend to be more expensive during the high season. Most local schools and universities are on vacation, too, which means the beaches and other tourist destinations might be more crowded.