When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?
The best time to visit Costa Rica is between December and April on its Pacific Coast, when the weather is at its driest and brightest, and between March and September on the Caribbean side.
We’d also recommend travelling in Costa Rica’s green season, from May to June or in November. This is when you catch the seasons in transition, and the national parks are quieter.
Costa Rica’s wildlife is hard to rival and a key attraction of the country, as long as you miss September and October’s heavier rainfall. It’s a tropical country, so you should be prepared for rain at any time of year, even in the dry season, but it’s this rainfall that makes Costa Rica so lush and beautiful.
Nik, Latin America Specialist
May is a wonderful month to visit Costa Rica. Although there is some rainfall, it is rare for this to persist all day and I have enjoyed plenty of wildlife spotting and beach relaxation at this time of year. Clouds move quicker than at the start of the year, increasing your chances of spotting the Arenal Volcano's perfect cone. Airfares are also lower, making your money go much further in May and June.
Costa Rica Climate Guide
|Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves||28°C 284mm||29°C 183mm||30°C 129mm||30°C 118mm||29°C 281mm||28°C 442mm||28°C 546mm||28°C 501mm||28°C 444mm||27°C 486mm||27°C 402mm||27°C 385mm|
|Corcovado & Osa Peninsula||32°C 87mm||33°C 62mm||34°C 140mm||34°C 218mm||32°C 442mm||31°C 474mm||32°C 487mm||31°C 601mm||31°C 722mm||30°C 801mm||30°C 604mm||31°C 217mm|
|Dominical||32°C 65mm||32°C 35mm||34°C 65mm||33°C 171mm||32°C 386mm||31°C 396mm||32°C 384mm||31°C 455mm||31°C 480mm||31°C 617mm||30°C 360mm||31°C 133mm|
|Manuel Antonio||32°C 62mm||33°C 31mm||34°C 53mm||34°C 168mm||33°C 408mm||32°C 426mm||32°C 438mm||32°C 487mm||31°C 524mm||31°C 642mm||30°C 380mm||31°C 142mm|
|San José & Central Valley||24°C 11mm||25°C 11mm||26°C 13mm||26°C 52mm||26°C 240mm||25°C 289mm||25°C 211mm||25°C 262mm||25°C 351mm||25°C 326mm||24°C 142mm||24°C 41mm|
|Tamarindo||32°C 4mm||33°C 3mm||35°C 5mm||35°C 21mm||33°C 223mm||31°C 243mm||32°C 146mm||32°C 192mm||31°C 300mm||31°C 305mm||31°C 95mm||32°C 10mm|
|Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast||30°C 374mm||30°C 238mm||32°C 186mm||32°C 242mm||31°C 306mm||31°C 365mm||30°C 537mm||30°C 397mm||30°C 250mm||30°C 329mm||29°C 557mm||29°C 569mm|
Month-by-month guide to travelling in Costa Rica
- January - April Jan - Apr
- May - June May - Jun
- July - August Jul - Aug
- September - October Sep - Oct
- November - December Nov - Dec
Visiting Costa Rica in January - April
Costa Rica’s high season brings the least amount of prolonged rainfall; though tropical showers are always to be expected in a country with such plentiful rainforest. This season brings many visitors, particularly in January and over Easter, with busier national parks and beaches but wonderful conditions for viewing wildlife, trying adventure activities and relaxing on jungle-fringed coastlines.
Visiting Costa Rica in May - June
The official start of Costa Rica’s ‘green season’. While rainfall does indeed become more frequent, this is still interspersed with plenty of warm sunshine; particularly in the Central Valley, Caribbean Coast and Northern Pacific. National parks are quieter, so you can spend longer periods observing the wildlife without interruptions. Surfers will also enjoy this time of year, with increasing swells on the country’s best surfing beaches.
Visiting Costa Rica in July - August
Rainfall is increasing, but this does not deter all visitors; particularly those with school-age children heading to Costa Rica to enjoy its wealth of adventure activities. This is also a great time to see green sea turtles on the coastline of the Tortuguero National Park, and the beginning of whale watching season around Dominical. For those looking for some beach time, sunshine can still be found on the far northern Pacific coast, which receives the lowest year-round rainfall in Costa Rica.
Visiting Costa Rica in September - October
This is the height of Costa Rica’s wet season and travel is not recommended. Prolonged heavy rainfall makes wildlife spotting challenging, while roads will be muddy and sometimes impassable due to higher river crossings or landslides, making exploration beyond the main highways difficult.
Visiting Costa Rica in November - December
The end of the heavy rains can be difficult to predict, with some heavy rain still to be expected until the end of November. The worst will certainly be over, and by mid December the peak period commences in earnest, with Christmas and New Year visits requiring particularly early planning.
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