Best time to visit Costa Rica
Since Costa Rica is located in the tropics, it is a great year-round destination, but the dry season between December to April is generally considered the best time to visit. For those hoping to avoid the crowds and get off-season deals, May to November (the wet, green season) can be a fair alternative.
The temperature is consistent throughout the year and varies most based on altitude. The coast enjoys warm and sunny temperatures between 71º and 81ºF (21-27ºC), while higher elevations can dip into the 50s. In the highlands, temperatures can be between 5-10℉ cooler than the coast.
If you want to have the best beach experience, then December to April is ideal. It’s worth noting though that holidays and spring break tend to be considerably more crowded. As a result, tours and hotels book quickly so it’s important to plan a trip at least three months in advance.
In January and February in the northeast, it is possible that the “temporalis del Atlantico” (polar air pushing across the Gulf of Mexico) brings with it a few days of continuous heavy rain. Otherwise, the dry season is mostly hot and dry.
The wet season goes from May to November, with daily showers reaching their peak in October. Humidity tends to rise after May and June, but the increased rainfall actually makes it a unique time to see the dense green foliage of the jungle in full bloom, which is why this is sometimes referred to as the green season. Plus, since this is the off-season, there are some excellent deals on hotels and activities. Additionally, you’re much more likely to encounter considerably smaller crowds.
It’s worth noting that the heaviest rain in the southwest and northeast regions of the country, especially on the Osa Peninsula, can receive so much rainfall during this season, especially between December and February, that some lodges will close temporarily.
The weather patterns are very much opposite on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, so when rainfall is heavy on the west coast in September and October, it is generally sunny and dry on the east coast; similarly, when the winds shift in January and February, the west coast is drier than the east. The Tilaran and Cordillera mountain ranges, which form the Continental Divide, tend to break up any storms before they cross from one side of the country to the other which is why the sides vary in weather patterns so much.
Although the jungle receives less rainfall between December and April, it is wet all year-round. Since the rainforest depends on the annual precipitation, there is never a “dry season” here. Especially in the Monteverde cloud forest, where moisture is constantly condensing on the leaves and in thick mists, you can expect to either be a bit wet or completely soaked, even in the dry season. With a change of clothes and proper rain gear, though, this isn’t anything that will dampen your trip! Be sure to contact our travel experts at Adventure Life, as they’ll assist you by telling you what to pack for the time and region you plan to visit.