The best time to be in Costa Rica: The ultimate guide

The best time to be in Costa Rica depends entirely on what you’d like to experience while your vacation takes place. What do you want to do?
Adventure, nature, leisure, wellness…Find with us when is the best time to be in Costa Rica for you.

Monteverde Rainfores Costa Rica
Monteverde Rainfores Costa Rica

When we are talking about the best time to be in Costa Rica, it’s important to realize that any time in Costa Rica has its rewards as it is any region you visit.
As small as Costa Rica is there are significant changes from one area to the next, and from one month to the next.

So we will start this series by taking a look at the general aspects of the weather and seasonality to continue with a series that comprises a guide month to month of the different regions in Costa Rica.

The first thing to understand about the weather of Costa Rica is that we are in the tropics.

The tropics are regions of the Earth that lie roughly in the middle of the globe, and it holds 36 percent of the Earth’s landmass and is home to about a third of the world’s population.

The tropics are warm all year, averaging 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 28 degrees Celsius) and this happens because the tropics get more sun. Because of all that sun, the tropics don’t go through the kind of seasons the rest of the Earth does.

Corcovado Beach in Costa Rica
Corcovado Beach

The tropical seasons are divided up into only two: the dry season and the wet season.


You may also like to read:  Costa Rica Adventures – Safety guide


The amount of rain can change considerably from one region of Costa Rica to another. While in the Caribbean annual rainfall average can rise to 5000 mm (300 in) approx. In the North Pacific will get half of that or less in a dry year.

The amount of rain a region gets directly influences which animal and plant species live there.

Therefore while on the area of the Nicoya Peninsula, you will find cactus, and several species of trees are thriving to save water with different adaptations, on the other side in the rainy Caribbean you will find all sorts of adjustments to survive in flooded fields.

Tropical Seasons:

There are two tropical periods in Costa Rica. But they are not all at the same time throughout the country.

If you are: on the Pacific Coast, the Central Valley, and the Southern, Central and Northwest mountain ranges, the sunny or dry season goes from December to early May
The dry season is as well the high season as many snowbirds escape from the cold to the tropics, and it’s sunnier and warmer. While the high season is the favorite travel time, the green season is frequently a favorite among the real local experts.

Río Celeste Costa Rica
Río Celeste Costa Rica

If you are on the Caribbean Coast, the Northern area and the Turrialba Valley the sunny or dry season goes in March and April and September and October.

Green Season – May through November –

The green season typically experiences sunny mornings (great for morning excursions) and afternoon rain showers (perfect for a rejuvenating afternoon repose). There are many perks of traveling in the green season like discounted hotel rates, fewer crowds, and more active wildlife.

Of course, with seasons there are other aspects to see: wildlife migrations, holidays and the general behavior of the travel industry in the country.

Some facts that are important to acknowledge to know when is the best time to be in Costa Rica for you:

  • In the travel business, there are three seasons: High season, green season and rainy season.
  • High season starts on Christmas Eve and goes all the way to the end of Easter. Booking in advance is essential.
  • There are two peak periods in high season: From Christmas Eve to the first Sunday of January and on Easter week (Whenever that is, as it changes year to year. Accommodations are more expensive, and there are crowds and fully booked tours throughout Costa Rica. If this is the time of year you are planning to use for your vacation, please know that you must reserve at least a year prior.
  • The green season goes from May to July and even August. It is the time of year for families and students groups.
  • From August to November it’s the rainy season on the Pacific side although September and October in the Caribbean side are as sunny as can be.
  • Cruises are in Costa Rica from September to May. On both coasts. Ports of Puntarenas, Caldera, Quepos, and Limon on the Caribbean, will be busy with cruise ship days.
  • As well, in the high season, areas like Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Arenal, Tortuguero, and Tamarindo will be crowded. The local tour operators are prepared for this, and it is well organized.
  • In Tortuguero, sometimes, you will have to wait on the boat while online to get into National Park.
  • In Manuel Antonio National Park, the most popular and the smallest of all our destinations, they only allow 800 visitors per day. You have to be there early enough and prepare for a waiting line.
    It’s worth it though.
  • Monkeys, sloths, coatimundis, agoutis, crocodiles, iguanas, all snakes and vipers, basilisks and all resident birds of Costa Rica are visible all year round.
La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
La Fortuna Waterfall

Please contact our travel designers and let us customize your vacation. We are locals, we know Costa Rica, and it will be more relaxed and at the end more affordable to grant your vacation to be the best.

In our next post, you will find Costa Rica month to month, with the weather, regions and holidays.

References:
tropics | National Geographic Society. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/tropics/

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