When to go to Costa Rica?

The best time to visit Costa Rica is from December to April. This is the best time to go to the Costa Rican beaches, to watch turtles and whales and this is the time of the year that the rainforest receives the least amount of rain.

When you are flexible in traveling dates, it can be recommendable to avoid traveling to Costa Rica from July till October, but at least avoid the months September and October.

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  check 8x6 best time to visit minus 8x2 reasonable time to visit x 7x7 better not visit World Map Central America  
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The best time to visit Costa Rica

In general the best time to visit Costa Rica is from December to the end of April, this period coincides with the ‘dry season’ of the country (dry means occasional rain). This is the best time for visiting the Costa Rican tropical beaches, watching whales and turtles and this is also the time of the year that the rainforest receives the least rain.

The absolute best time to go to Costa Rica are the months December and January, when the nature is still green by the tropical rains of the past months, but the sky is clear and less rain is received. This is also the best time for watching whales at both the Caribbean coast and the Pacific coast and to watch turtles at the Pacific coast.

Keep in mind that the ‘dry season’ is equal to the ‘high season’ for Costa Rica (together with the holiday months July and August), leading to higher prices, crowded tourist attractions and accommodations running at full capacity (try to book in advance). European and North American visitors are happy to be able to escape their winter, but also Costa Ricans have their main holiday from December to February.

Surfing:
  •  The Caribbean coast: has the best waves for surfers from November to May.
  •  The Pacific coast: best for surfing during the wet season, starting in June, with the best waves in September and October (the peak of the rainy season).
Turtle watching:
  •  The Caribbean coast: the season for turtles is from the end of February to October. With the peak for ‘leatherback’ sea turtles in March and April and for the ‘green turtles’ in July, August and September.
  •  The Pacific coast: the top season for watching the ‘leatherback’ sea turtle and the ‘green’ sea turtle is for both species from November till February.
Whale watching:
  •  The Caribbean coast: best whale watching in December and January (North Atlantic Humpback whales).
  •  The Pacific coast: August to October (Antarctic Humpback whales) and from December to March (California Humpback whales).

The neutral months to visit Costa Rica

The rainy season (Costa Rican tourist agencies prefer the ‘green season’) starts in May, increasing in intensity until the peak rain is reached in September and October. The rain is fading out in November.

The ‘early’ rainy season months of May and June are referred to as ‘shoulder season’. The country is in transition from the dry to the rainy season, these months are considered as reasonable to go to Costa Rica. You will experience a bit more rain, but you can benefit from less crowded sights, cheaper lodging and lower airfares. Note that the rivers start to swell and some roads might become muddy and difficult to travel. The month November also is a reasonable month to visit Costa Rica, when the country is in transition from the rainy season to the dry season.

Better not to go to Costa Rica

It is less recommend visiting Costa Rica from July to October (the wet season), given the amount of rain that the country receives. The peak rain is received in September and October! During the wet season tourists should be prepared for muddy roads and delayed traffic. Note that during the wet season the morning are mostly sunny, while it starts raining in the afternoon.

Having this said, there is a reasonable group of people that prefer to visit Costa Rica during the wet season (except September and October). Different reasons to go to Costa Rica during the wet season are:

  •  Lower prices (both airfares and accommodation)
  •  Fewer fellow travelers.
  •  It mostly only rains a few hours in the afternoon (not always!).
  •  Green scenery: the countryside comes alive, but at some places you need a 4WD and the rivers are at full swing (best for rafting).
  •  Watching ‘green’ turtles at the Caribbean coast.
  •  Surfing at the pacific coast is the best.
Costa Rican beaches
Costa Rican beaches

Surfing Costa Rica
Surfing Costa Rica
Tucans Costa Rica
Tucans Costa Rica

Beautiful Costa Rica
Beautiful Costa Rica

Weather and seasons of Costa Rica

The weather in Costa Rica is rather unpredictable, but there are some general patterns visible during the year. Costa Rica has two seasons: the dry and the wet season. However, some regions of the country are rainy all year (e.g. Caribbean coast, especially south of Limón) and others are dry and sunny for most of the year (e.g. the north western province of Guanacaste).

  •  Pacific coast: dry season from December to April and the wet season from May to November. During the wet season the rain is increasing each month with peak rains in September and October.
  •  Caribbean coast: a bit less rain is received from March to September.

Temperatures are mostly related to elevations and not so much to the seasons (despite Costa Ricans calling their wet season ‘winter’). The coastal areas are normally hot year-round, while it can become cold in the volcanic mountains during the night. The rainforest areas are cool and misty all year.

Below you find an easy overview of the average temperature (low and high) and the average precipitation of each month for Costa Rica.

Temperature and precipitation overview (°F) Temperature and precipitation overview (°C)
Weather of Costa Rica (°F) Weather of Costa Rica (°C)

Map of Costa Rica and current weather

Drag the yellow iconStreetview iconto a location on the map for the "Google streetview" mode.
Click on the weather icon to see the forecast for the next days.
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Costa Rica holidays

Below you find 2 recommended travel adventures in Costa Rica, organized by G Adventures.

Basic Costa Rica Costa Rica Explorer
Basic Costa Rica Costa Rica Explorer

People who want to leave shortly, can find good last minute deals here: save up to 25% on Last Minute Adventure Travel Packages

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Do you have a question about visiting Costa Rica? Or do you want to share your knowledge of Costa Rica with other travelers? Please, visit our Costa Rica forum.

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