Costa Rica Plane View

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

A month by month guide of when to visit Costa Rica

Costa Rica from a plane

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Month by month guide of where to go and when

Costa Rica, known for its breath-taking landscapes and diverse ecosystems, offers a range of experiences throughout the year. To make the most of your visit, it's essential to consider the varying weather patterns, temperatures, and notable events in different regions. Here's a seasonal guide to help you plan your trip to Costa Rica.

Dry Season (December to April):

The dry season in Costa Rica is synonymous with sunny days, minimal rainfall, and pleasant temperatures. It's an ideal time to explore various regions of the country.

Pacific Coast: The Pacific coast, including Guanacaste experiences lower humidity levels and offers an array of outdoor activities. From December to April, temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C (81°F to 90°F) on average. It's perfect for beach lovers, surfers, and water sports enthusiasts. Don't miss the Envision Festival in Uvita, a vibrant celebration of music, art, and sustainable living held in February or March.

Central Valley: The Central Valley, home to the capital city San Jose, enjoys mild temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). Explore the coffee plantations, visit cultural landmarks, and indulge in the lively atmosphere of San Jose. The Fiestas de Palmares in January is a popular event featuring traditional (blood-free) bullfights, rodeos, music, and local cuisine.

Green Season (May to November):

The green season, characterized by occasional rain showers, is a great time to visit Costa Rica for lush landscapes, wildlife encounters, and fewer tourists.

Caribbean Coast: The Caribbean coast experiences a more pronounced rainy season compared to other regions. From May to November, temperatures range from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F). Despite the rainfall, this period offers unique opportunities for turtle nesting and watching, especially in Tortuguero National Park. Additionally, the vivacious Limon Carnival in October showcases colourful parades, music, and cultural displays.

Northern Plains and Arenal: During the green season, the Northern Plains and Arenal region offer viridescent rainforests and incredible biodiversity. Temperatures range from 24°C to 29°C (75°F to 84°F). Witness the impressive Arenal Volcano and enjoy thrilling activities like zip-lining, hiking, and relaxing in natural hot springs.

Central and South Pacific: In the green season, the central and south Pacific regions experience occasional showers, but they are often short-lived. Temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C (81°F to 90°F). Explore Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its stunning beaches and abundant wildlife..

Overall, Costa Rica offers diverse experiences throughout the year. Whether you prefer the dry season for sunny beach getaways or the green season for jungle cruising and wildlife encounters, each region has its own unique charm. Consider the weather, temperatures, and noteworthy events when planning your visit to make the most of this incredible country.

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  • Alistair

    Alistair

    Managing Director

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Costa Rica Arenal volcano

January

January in Costa Rica falls during the dry season when the weather is characterized by sunny days and minimal rainfall.

It's an ideal time to visit regions like Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, known for their beautiful beaches and perfect conditions for ocean activities. Places like Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo offer pristine shores and warm waters for swimming, surfing, and snorkelling. For adventure seekers, Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna are popular destinations, offering opportunities for hiking, zip-lining, and exploring hot springs. Manuel Antonio National Park is another fantastic location to visit in January, where you can enjoy both stunning beaches and diverse wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds.

Don't miss the Zapote Festival in San Jose with its bull riding, amusement park rides, and live music.

Costa Rica Rainforest walkway Jaco

February

February continues to be part of the dry season in most parts of Costa Rica. It's an excellent time to explore the natural wonders of this incredible country.

Still a great time to go to Manuel Antonio National Park as it offers fantastic opportunities for beach relaxation, hiking, and wildlife spotting. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is another must-visit destination in February, offering extraordinary birdwatching experiences and breathtaking hikes through misty cloud forests. Tortuguero National Park, located on the Caribbean coast, is famous for its turtle nesting season, and you may have the chance to witness the incredible sight of sea turtles laying their eggs.

Soak up some culture by attending Dia de los Diablitos in Rey Curré, where you can immerse yourself in indigenous culture with traditional dances and masks.

Costa Rica Beach

March

The dry season continues in March, providing sunny and dry weather, perfect for outdoor exploration.

Visit Guanacaste, including popular destinations like Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo which offer idyllic beaches, ideal for sunbathing and water activities like swimming and surfing. In addition to beach destinations, March is an excellent time to visit Montezuma, known for its bohemian atmosphere, stunning waterfalls, and vibrant arts scene. Rincon de la Vieja National Park, famous for its volcanic activity and thermal hot springs, is another recommended spot for hiking, wildlife viewing, and relaxing in natural hot springs.

Costa Rica Pink Flowers San Jose

April

April marks the transition from the dry season to the beginning of the rainy season in Costa Rica. The weather becomes more unpredictable, with occasional rain showers and increasing humidity. While you might experience some rain, this month offers its own charm and advantages for visitors.

In the Central Valley, including the capital city San Jose and the neighbouring city of Heredia, you can explore cultural attractions, museums, and local markets to get a taste of Costa Rican city life. The Osa Peninsula is a great destination for nature lovers, with its rich biodiversity in Corcovado National Park, offering opportunities to spot monkeys, sloths, jaguars, and various bird species.

April brings the Dia de la Madre Tierra (Mother Earth Day) celebrations held in various towns, which emphasize environmental awareness, sustainable practices, and community involvement.

Costa Rica Tortuguero turtles

May

May is part of the rainy season in Costa Rica, characterized by increasing rainfall and higher humidity levels. Although the weather may be wetter, this month brings its own allure and opportunities.

Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast is a must-visit, as it is the peak season for turtle nesting, and you can witness the incredible sight of sea turtles laying their eggs on the beaches. Sarapiqui, located in the north-eastern part of the country, offers rainforest activities such as guided hikes, river rafting, and visits to chocolate plantations. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the southern Caribbean coast is known for its laid-back atmosphere, reggae vibes, and world-class surfing spots.

Costa Rica waterfall

June

The rainy season continues in June, with more rainfall and high humidity levels. Despite the rain, this month offers its own set of attractions and activities.

Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna, known for their stunning landscapes and adventure opportunities, are ideal destinations during June. Explore the rainforest trails, soak in volcanic hot springs, and embark on thrilling activities like zip-lining and canyoning. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is perfect for birdwatching enthusiasts, offering the chance to spot rare and colourful avian species. Cahuita National Park remains an excellent choice for snorkelling, beach relaxation, and immersing yourself in the Afro-Caribbean culture of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Costa Rica landscape

July

July falls within the rainy season in Costa Rica, with continued rainfall and high humidity. Despite the weather conditions, there are still plenty of destinations and experiences to enjoy during this month.

Manuel Antonio National Park remains a popular choice, offering a combination of pristine beaches, lush rainforest, and abundant wildlife. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, with its Caribbean vibe, offers a laid-back atmosphere, surfing opportunities, and chances to explore the nearby wildlife-rich Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.

The Festival de la Virgen del Mar in Puntarenas is a notable event in July, honouring the patron saint of fishermen with boat parades, fireworks, and lively festivities.

Costa Rica White Water Rafting

August

August remains within the rainy season in Costa Rica, with high rainfall and humidity. Despite the rain, this month offers its own unique experiences and destinations.

The Osa Peninsula, home to Corcovado National Park, is a wildlife enthusiast's paradise, offering the opportunity to spot endangered species like jaguars, tapirs, and scarlet macaws. Turrialba and Pacuare are an excellent choice for adventurous travellers, known for white-water rafting opportunities, volcano hikes, and beautiful landscapes. Manuel Antonio National Park continues to be a favourite, with its picturesque beaches and diverse wildlife.

Costa Rica resplendent quetzal

September

September falls within the rainy season in Costa Rica and is the peak of the hurricane season. It's essential to be prepared for heavy rainfall and potential storms during this month.

La Selva Biological Station, located in the Sarapiqui region, offers the opportunity to explore the rainforest, engage in birdwatching, and learn about ongoing research projects. San Gerardo de Dota, nestled in the Talamanca Mountains, is a prime destination for birdwatching, particularly the elusive and vibrant Resplendent Quetzal.

September also marks Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia) celebrations throughout the country, with parades, music, traditional dances, and patriotic events taking place.

Costa Rica San Jose

October

October is also part of the rainy season in Costa Rica, with heavy rainfall and occasional thunderstorms. While the weather may be wet, there are still fantastic experiences to be had. The Central Valley, including San Jose and Heredia, offers cultural experiences, historical landmarks, and excellent museums that provide insight into Costa Rican heritage. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast is known for its laid-back atmosphere, reggae vibes, and world-class surfing spots. The Osa Peninsula, with its rich biodiversity in Corcovado National Park, is another recommended destination for wildlife enthusiasts.

In October, you can participate in Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day) celebrations throughout the country, which include parades, traditional dances, and cultural events that celebrate the diverse heritage of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Ox cart art

November

November marks the transition from the rainy season to the beginning of the dry season in Costa Rica. The weather becomes more predictable, with decreasing rainfall and more sunshine. Guanacaste, including popular beach destinations like Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo, offers beautiful beaches, perfect for sunbathing and engaging in water activities like swimming and surfing. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a prime destination in November, offering exceptional birdwatching opportunities and breath-taking hikes through misty cloud forests. Rincon de la Vieja National Park is known for its volcanic activity and thermal hot springs, providing opportunities for hiking and relaxation.

Special celebrations in November include Día de los Muertos (All Soul’s Day) which is observed across Costa Rica with Catholic masses and pilgrimages to graveyards, and El Desfile de Carretas (Wagon Parade) in San José — one of the largest parades of ox-carts in the country.

Costa Rica brown back toucan

December

December marks the official beginning of the dry season in Costa Rica, with very occasional rainfall. The weather is generally pleasant and offers ideal conditions for outdoor activities.

Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna are perfect destinations in December, providing opportunities to soak in volcanic hot springs, embark on adventure activities, and explore the rainforest. Tortuguero National Park is known for its wildlife and boat tours, where you can spot monkeys, toucans, and various bird species.

In December, Costa Rica celebrates the Festival de la Luz in San Jose, a massive parade of illuminated floats, music, and fireworks that marks the start of the holiday season.

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    Alistair

    Managing Director

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