When to Travel to Costa Rica

Costa Rica Section 1

When Should You Visit Costa Rica?


Costa Rica's location near the equator keeps it warm year round. Its tropical climate does not vary much as its lows are around 60 degrees and the highs are around 85 degrees throughout the year. Thus, it does not really have seasons unless you consider that some months have more rain than others. This occurs from May to November, but if you wish to visit during the North American summer have no worries. Your trip is not likely to experience monsoon like showers the whole time. However, you should avoid Costa Rica around the end of August to October as that is when hurricane season is on the highest alert.

Of course, weather in Costa Rica will depend on where you are staying. The mountain regions are more temperate with an average of 50 degrees during day, and fairly cool nights. Thus, pack layers if you plan on traveling around the country. This will allow you to stay comfortable no matter what the weather.

Costa Rica Section 2

Scoring Deals on Travel and Accommodation to Costa Rica

Flights to Costa Rica are least expensive in the North American fall and spring. If you are eager to visit the country, then you will need to book your ticket at least three months in advance. This will give you enough time to search around for deals on hotels and excursions as well.

Just keep in mind that many people visit Costa Rica via cruise ships. Therefore, you will want to avoid major ports of call if you do not like dealing with crowds. If you visit where the cruise ships dock, then you will also be lumped into pile of "cruising tourists." Prices instantly triple for tourists here for one afternoon. Also, cruise ship passengers are often treated poorly because of their reputation for ignorance and obnoxious behavior. You do not want to experience this during your week long stay in Costa Rica. Plus, there is nothing worse than being treated like an inconsiderate tourist when all you want to do is experience the authentic side of an exotic locations.

Costa Rica Section 3

You can easily get to know the local side of the country if you are open to grittier experiences. Costa Rica is not really known for its glamorous five star resorts and spas. They do exist, but the country is better choice for active people who like being in nature. However, even the most expensive hotels in Costa Rica's major tourist sports are not very expensive when compared to American standards. You will be able to stay in a luxury hotel for as little as $50 a night. However, you can also try staying in smaller boutique hotels through special websites that are dedicated to bed and breakfast. This will make your trip a little more unique, and you will feel like a local thanks to the individualized experience.

Experience New Terrain in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has some of the most incredibly diverse flora and fauna on the planet. Its location near the equator makes it prime rain forest material. You will not find an exotic location filled with more species of plants and animals anywhere else on the planet. Thus, if you love hiking and exploring nature, then Costa Rica will be a dream destination.

Do not be afraid to book a stay in an rainforest lodge where you can stay in the canopy overlooking the lush wildlife. It will be an experience you will never forget. Costa Rica is also home to great beaches and historically rich cities. There is something for everyone in this diverse and beautiful tropical country.

Costa Rica in January

“Summer” School Holidays?The long public school vacations in Costa Rica run from the middle of the second week in December through the beginning of the second week in February.  Expect families on vacation and bigger crowds at the beach.  All of January is always included.

Expect 23°C daytime maximum temperatures in the shade with on average 7 hours of sunshine per day in Costa Rica in January. Check more long-term weather averages for Costa Rica in January before you book your next holiday to Costa Rica in 2019. The January weather averages shown above are for San Jose.

Costa Rica in February

?Summer? School Holidays?The long public school vacations in Costa Rica run from the middle of the second week in December through the beginning of the second week in February.  Expect families on vacation and bigger crowds at the beach.  Exact dates can be found on the Ministerio de Educación Pública calendar.

In many experts? opinions February is considered the best month to visit Costa Rica and take that Family Costa Rica Vacation or Honeymoon that you have been dreaming about. Generally speaking, February offers the best chance for dry, sunny weather throughout your stay. This is the heart of the dry or summer season.

Costa Rica in March

January and February of 2018 were the busiest we’ve ever seen in Costa Rica and it looks like March and April are following suit.  We normally tell people that if they’re flexible they shouldn’t have any problem winging it without reservations but not this year.  Make some reservations on your own or with a qualified travel planner who may have expanded availability compared to online booking sites.

Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is the week that leads up to Easter Sunday. The dates for Holy Week fluctuate from year to year between late March and early April, but it is the most important date to know ahead of time when considering a trip to Costa Rica during these two months. This is because almost everyone in Costa Rica takes this week as vacation and heads to the most touristy spots.

Costa Rica in April

This one of the most popular months for Costa Rica travel. It’s the heart of the high season for international travelers. Activities and accommodations fill up very quickly.  Advanced reservations (as far ahead as one year ahead for popular beaches) are strongly advised around Easter (April 1 in 2018).

If Easter and Semana Santa (Holy Week) falls in early April, book your hotel reservations as far in advance as possible. Easter is tied with Christmas as the busiest travel week of the year. In addition to gringos fleeing winter, there are lots of vacationing Costa Rican families. This creates enormous competition for good hotels, with peak season prices reflecting that.

Costa Rica in May

In the South Pacific ? one of the wettest regions in Costa Rica ? the rainy season officially arrives by May. You can still enjoy beautiful sunny mornings, but be prepared for medium to heavy rain in the afternoon.

The month of May is typically a transition month between dry season and green season. In our experience, the weather tends to still be rather nice, but just a little more unpredictable. The good news is that May ushers in low season pricing which means that travelers might be able to get more competitive deals on their accommodations and activities in this month. Read on to learn more about planning a trip to Costa Rica in May.

Costa Rica in June

In general “green season” (rainy season) travel is gaining popularity for Costa Rica travelers, but June is not nearly as crowded as July.  If you want the flexibility of traveling without reservations then June is a good choice and you should find good last minute availability.

Historically, June is the month that ushers in the Costa Rican green season. Heavier and more frequent rains begin to fill up the rivers, revive brown, dusty Guanacaste to a vibrant green, and low season pricing makes for more affordable visits to the country.

Costa Rica in July

Although it is the middle of the rainy season Costa Rica typically experiences a short mid-year mini-dry season in July and the beginning of August. Rainfall decreases significantly for three or four weeks especially in the northern Pacific.  Ticos call this the veranillo or little summer and you can read about how it occurs here.

Expect 24°C daytime maximum temperatures in the shade with on average 6 hours of sunshine per day in Costa Rica in July. Check more long-term weather averages for Costa Rica in July before you book your next holiday to Costa Rica in 2018. The July weather averages shown above are for San Jose.

Costa Rica in August

The majority of the rain falls in the afternoon or overnight everywhere in Costa Rica. The hot August sun evaporates moisture from the sea and rain forest canopy creating a layer of warm moist air that rises as the day progresses. As the air rises it expands and cools causing the water to condense out forming clouds. Later in the day as the temperatures fall the air can hold even less water and some of it falls as rain.

In most of the country, August means clear, sunny mornings with afternoon showers. If you don’t mind waking up early, there’s plenty to see and do. And when the rain hits you can head back to your hotel to relax, sip world-class coffee, and gaze out on Costa Rica’s lush, beautiful scenery.

Costa Rica in September

Tortuguero, Cahuita and Puerto Viejo are the best September destinations in Costa Rica. Cahuita and Puerto Viejo are famous for beautiful beaches and lovely corals offshore. September’s combination of sunshine and calm water is great for enjoying both. September is also turtle nesting season in Tortuguero National Park, when thousands of sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach. Nightly sea turtle tours, guided by official park naturalists, are available throughout the month.

The next best place to visit in September is northwest Costa Rica, particularly the northwest coast (Playa Flamingo, Playa del Coco) and the northern Nicoya Peninsula (Tamarindo). Although it’s still rainy, this region is much less rainy than the rest of the Pacific coast and the surrounding mountains. The southern Nicoya Peninsula, however, is much more rainy.

Costa Rica in October

Due to this inverse of weather patterns, travel to Costa Rica in October can be a little more complicated to work out; some eco-lodges on the Pacific will actually close for the month due to high rains, while Caribbean accommodations are often booked up months in advance. Read on to learn more about planning a trip to Costa Rica in October.

In October, Costa Rica?s weather patterns tends to flip. A mountain chain runs down most of the central part of Costa Rica creating two vast slopes (the Pacific watershed and the Caribbean watershed), which define the weather on each side of the country. On the Pacific side (pretty much everything from the capital of San Jose and westward) in October, they are in the heart of rainy season. It is not uncommon for it to rain everyday as precipitation levels are at their highest. Conversely, the Caribbean side gets a reprieve from the rain in October and tends to be sunnier and dryer. In fact, the weather on the Caribbean side of the country (San Jose and eastward) tends to be so nice in October that high season pricing and availability is in effect.

Costa Rica in November

Weather in Costa Rica in November is a gamble. On average it’s a rainy season month on the Pacific and in the central mountains but sometimes (especially with El Niño) the dry season comes early.  La Niña years typically have the opposite effect – intensifying and lengthening the rainy season.

The best time to visit Costa Rica (based on weather) is from late November through mid-April for the driest weather, or from May to November for lower prices and occasional rain (but still plenty of sun). It all depends on your goals for your trip, whether that be relaxing on dry beaches or exploring lush rainforests.

Costa Rica in December

?Summer? School Holidays?The long public school vacations in Costa Rica run from the middle of the second week in December through the beginning of the second week in February.  Expect families on vacation and bigger crowds at the beach.  Exact dates can be found on the Ministerio de Educación Pública calendar.

Visit Costa Rica in early December and the rainy season still lingers in the south Pacific (Osa Peninsula, Corcovado, Drake Bay). By this point, however, the dry season has arrived in the Central Pacific (Manuel Antonio, Uvita) and North Pacific (Nicoya Peninsula, Tamarindo, Nosara). Early December is also the start of the dry season in San Jose and the Central Valley.

TOP