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Squirrel monkey, Costa Rica

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.

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Costa Rica Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Costa Rica

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.

Scarlet Macaw, Costa Rica

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.

Humpback whale

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.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, 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.

Squirrel monkey, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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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Travel advice

Practical tips for travelling to Costa Rica, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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