Between December and April, when the weather is at its sunniest and driest, is the best time to visit Costa Rica.
Traveling from May to June, or in November, would also be ideal because of the country’s green season. The national parks are less crowded and you can see the seasons changing at this time.
With incredible surfing, foggy cloud forests, breath-taking nature, and wildlife, Costa Rica is a traveler’s dream. Adventure tourism is popular in Costa Rica, but the country is also progressing in its efforts to promote equitable and sustainable travel. Due to the small size of this country in Central America, visitors can experience a wide range of activities during a brief journey.
There are only two seasons in Costa Rica because of the tropical climate: the green season and the dry season. Many travelers believe that the dry season is the greatest time to visit Costa Rica because the days are often sunny and warm, with no rain in sight. Others favor the green season.
For instance, people looking for the cheapest time to travel to Costa Rica might discover that everything, including flights and hotel rooms, is cheaper when there’s a higher possibility of rainier weather. In that case, plan your travels for the earliest hours of the day since the green season frequently provides clear mornings and rainy afternoons.COSTA RICA WEATHER
Because Costa Rica has so many diverse microclimates, it’s critical to double-check. Our monthly overview offers a broad outlook and monthly average temperatures for Costa Rica. However, it’s important to keep in mind that each location has distinct differences.
Month-by-month Guide to Explore Costa Rica
January – Best Time to Travel to Costa Rica in General
According to many, January is the best month to visit Costa Rica because the weather is clear and dry. Rainfall on occasion keeps landscapes looking lush while serving as a gentle reminder that the green season has just about ended.
It’s frequently very dry, so if you’re thinking about visiting Nosara or another place in the Guanacaste region, now might be the time to do it. For cities on the northern Caribbean coast, it’s one of the wettest months.
During this time, you may also visit a yoga retreat center in Santa Teresa and spend some time stretching into a variety of poses for a getaway with a wellness theme.
Activities fill up quickly, so planning ahead is crucial. Hotels and vehicle rental firms operate their High Season prices. For a significant portion of January, many Costa Ricans are also on vacation, which causes domestic tourism to increase costs all around the country.
Key events & activities – Las Fiestas de Palmares is the first and longest festival of the year; it lasts for two weeks and is held in the center of Palmares.
A wide range of activities are available at this event to suit the preferences of all audiences. There are live performances, a lantern procession, stand-up comedy, bullfights, a carnival, fireworks, and, of course, plenty of local food and beer.
Costa Rican commemorate Fiesta de la Santa Cruz on January 14. The festivities feature traditional cuisine, bull fighting, a cavalry spectacle, fireworks, numerous performances, and street masquerades.
February – Best Season to Visit Mount Arenal
Costa Rica experiences plenty of warm, sunny days throughout February while North America and Europe are trapped in the chilly grip of midwinter.
The weather is pretty dry, and is the ideal time for outdoor pursuits here, and to be close to nature. If you’re tired of the cold, now might be the time to visit Costa Rica!
Average temperatures start to sharply increase and frequently remain in the mid-20s and 30s.
When it rains, it usually falls in the afternoon, evening, or midnight. On the Caribbean side, there is still a sizable possibility of rain, but there is also a sizable chance of sunshine.
It’s prime time for some types of nesting turtles to do their duties, and the skies over Nicoya are very clear.
Key events and festivals – Envision a festival, a civic celebration in Liberia, a festival of the little devils, Fiestas Cívicas de La Fortuna, and Carrera Chirripo.
The last week of February brings the Carnival of the Queen which host parades that make their way through the center of Puntarenas, Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast city.
Get ready to enjoy comparsas, masquerades, guys on stilts, local music, and more. Fishing, sporting events, concerts, a horseback riding parade, fireworks, and the crowning of the Carnival Queen are just a few of the leisure activities that you will enjoy.
March – Ideal Season to Visit Pacific Coast Beaches
March is in the midst of Costa Rica’s dry season. You might see a lot of family vacations and student group trips in Costa Rica because this month is also Spring Break in the United States.
Make sure to plan far in advance if you agree that this is the best time to go to Costa Rica. Plan your trips and hotels ahead of time.
Travelers may anticipate lots of sunshine, a dry climate overall, and very little rain during the month of March.
Smoke can occasionally be released into the atmosphere in Guanacaste due to small forest fires. Many trees are blooming in various locations, creating an incredible foliage season for tourists.
Key events & festivals – Costa Ricans celebrate Día del Boyero on the second Sunday of March. The holiday is celebrated with colorful parades of carts driven by oxen from all across the country.
The most recognisable craft in Costa Rica is the cart, which serves as a national symbol. It attracts attention because of its vivid colors and distinctive hand-painted motifs.
These traditional carts support Costa Rican culture by depicting farmer and coffee picker operations. The carts and oxen make a long convoy from Escazu city to the Church of San Antonio.
This celebration features a variety of activities, including fireworks, masquerades, music, folk dances, traditional food, and more.
April – Best Time to Start Surfing in Costa Rica
As the dry season ends, April brings warm temperatures and plenty of dry weather to Costa Rica’s visitors. The temperature looms between 66 F and 86 F.
This time of year, the scenery is less lush, especially near the northern Pacific coast where the humidity is typically lower.
The Pacific Northwest of Guanacaste is a surprise to many visitors because it resembles a desert more than a jungle.
All seasons are suitable for surfing, but April through December sees the best waves. If you want to make the most of this time, we recommend staying at a beach hotel in Jaco, such as Selina, or a hotel in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, to be near the surf.
Key events and festivals – Costa Rican commemorate April 11th as Juan Santamaria Day. Since it is a public holiday, most businesses and schools are closed. The festivities, particularly in the city of Alajuela, typically last the entire week preceding it.
Parades, performances, and dances are all part of these events. Typically, the president delivers a speech to honor Juan Santamaria and highlight his accomplishments.
May – Best Season for Costa Rica Sea Turtle Nesting
May marks the beginning of Costa Rica’s rainy season, which brings cooler weather in Costa Rica and some rain, albeit not as much as you’d get if you went during the peak of the green season.
Rains start sooner in the Caribbean coast, where it is typically wetter all year. As students return to school after Spring Break, May is a fantastic transition month for travelers.
The beaches and lowlands are hot, but mid-elevations, such as the Central Valley and San José, are 5-10 degrees milder. High altitude locations like Monteverde and Chirripó can experience 20 to 30 degrees cooler.
This month usually sees a decrease in the amount of visitors, especially near popular areas, making it much easier to find hotels in Manuel Antonio or Puerto Viejo. As an added bonus, it is often easier to discover lower fares for hotels and local experiences.
Key events & festivals – May witness Día de los Trabajadores which features marches and the Presidential “state of the union” address to the people.
Do not miss the Fiesta Pattronale Desamparados which features street fair with music, dancing, and traditional culinary fest.
June – Optimal Period in Costa Rica for Swimming with Whale Sharks
In Costa Rica, June is a transition month for the weather, yet it is considered part of the “green season.”
The majority of June’s rain falls in the afternoon, evening, or overnight.
The beaches are fantastic early in the day, and there is lots of sunshine. Summer vacationers from the United States and Europe make this month a busier one.
At the same time, rates are generally lower, making June one of the best months to visit Costa Rica in terms of budget, and light rainfall.
If you want to swim with whale sharks in Cocos Island or elsewhere in Costa Rica, the months of June through September offer improved visibility and more encounters.
Rainy season typically begins in the Caribbean in June a bit before it does in the Pacific.
Key events & festivals – Fiesta San Juan de Tibas is a national holiday in Costa Rica and is observed in the month of June. It includes street festivals, music, dancing, and traditional food together with bullfights without the gore.
July – The ideal season to visit Costa Rica with children
But Costa Rica gets a brief mid-year mini-dry season in July. It usually occurs between the middle of July and the beginning of August, and is known as “veranillo” or “little summer” in Costa Rica.
For three or four weeks, there is a considerable reduction in rainfall, particularly in the northern Pacific, which is replaced by long days of sunshine and breathtaking sunsets.
The entire month of July is a great time to go, with warm sunny days for enjoying the beach and cool afternoon and evening rains for enjoying the evening.
This is the best time of year to visit Costa Rica with children because of the generally low prices and the abundance of wildlife. This is the rainy season near the Caribbean coast, so explore the Pacific side, in San Jose, or in the mountains.
Key events & festivals – Costa Ricans celebrate The Virgin of the Sea Day on July 16th which is a religious feast here and is especially important to the inhabitants of Puntarenas.
On the Saturday closest to July 16 every year, a procession of festive fishing boats sets out to sea. Fishermen attend the event to petition the Virgin for protection so they can have another fruitful year at sea.
There is plenty of dancing, food, and drink for attendees to enjoy in addition to watching this distinctive religious festival and colorful boats in the ocean.
On this day, Costa Ricans commemorate the historic event of the Nicoya district’s incorporation to the Guanacaste province. This is a significant portion of what is today this lovely province.
On this day, there are bullfights, horse parades, carnival rides, musical performances, food booths, dances, marimba music, and other exciting cultural events.
August – The Best Time to See Humpback Whales in Costa Rica
The rainy season lasts from June through August, but there is a break in the rain between the end of July and the beginning of August.
This is especially true in Guanacaste. The Caribbean side is firmly ensconced in the rainy season, with some rain falling virtually every afternoon or evening.
If you have some flexibility in your schedule, August is an excellent time to visit Costa Rica.
For honeymoon getaways when couples desire a more laid-back attitude, don’t mind a little precipitation.
August tends to be a calmer month and there are frequent deals to be found throughout the country.
But by the end of the month, rainfall picks up and the weather has signaled that the green season has begun.
Key festivals & events – The Day of the Virgin of Los Angeles is a prominent Catholic celebration in Costa Rica. The people of Costa Rica come together for this celebration from all across the nation to honor the patron saint.
One of Costa Ricans’ most ingrained and obvious traditions is the annual pilgrimage. It departs from the nation’s capital of San Jose and ends at the Basilica Church in Cartago.
The most traditional and religious residents complete the final few steps of the pilgrimage on their knees to express their sincere gratitude and devotion to the Virgin.
September – Best Season to Visit the Caribbean in Costa Rica
The rainy season has begun by September. However, don’t let this get you down. Long wet days and powerful storms are more frequent.
Rafting is fantastic in September, which is one of the best months for surfing in Costa Rica.
Numerous fish and macro-species are attracted to the cooler temperatures and rainy conditions in Papagayo.
This is a fantastic time to save money on activities and lodgings alike because more rain means considerably fewer visitors.
If you enjoy wildlife viewing, you’ll be happy to learn that now is the best time to go to Costa Rica and see magnificent animals in amazing surroundings.
Key festivals & events – The two-day Independence celebrations in Costa Rica include a light procession. It typically begins at 6 o’clock in various “neighborhoods” of towns all around the nation.
The handmade nature of each lantern is a part of the custom. When the clock strikes 6 p.m., children, joined by their parents and teachers, gather to tour the different streets with their lanterns illuminated, chanting the national anthem.
October – Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Cheap Vacations
With the exception of the southern Caribbean coast, October is the wettest month of the year in Costa Rica. The temperature looms between 64 F and 77 F.
During October, this generally rainy region often receives a break from the rain, making beach vacations even more enjoyable. Travelers can continue to get fantastic deals while there are fewer
people around and more wildlife activity.
Mornings are the best time for outdoor activities since it will frequently be sunny in the mornings but rain later in the day. The Osa Peninsula and Southern Pacific coastline regions frequently experience heavy rainfall and windy conditions.
Lodging and tourism activities are frequently discontinued during this period until the Thanksgiving holiday.
You might be fortunate, especially if you go later in the month and receive loads of sunshine, but you might also experience a week of non-stop rain.
Key festivals & events – The city of Puerto Limon on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast hosts the annual, week-long Limon Carnival.
Visitors have a fantastic opportunity to get a taste of the area’s distinctive culture. Visitors can expect vibrant Caribbean rhythms, floats, parades, traditional food, folk dancing, music, vivid decorations, and bright costumes.
In front of Puerto Limon, on the island of Uvita, Christopher Columbus and other Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1502, and this ceremony commemorates their arrival.
Costa Ricans observe Masquerades Day on October 31st. It is marked as the happiest and most popular festivities.
It consists of a colorful display of hand-crafted masks depicting figures from folklore. Traditional folk music is frequently played during these street celebrations.
November – Best Time to Visit Waterfalls, Costa Rica Coffee Tours, and Hot Springs
November is referred to as Costa Rica’s “bridge month” by travel experts. Holidays and cold weather in the northern hemisphere are contributing reasons to a minor increase in visitors.
Costa Rica weather showcases less rainfall this time of the year. You might see a modest increase in rates since November officially ends the Costa Rica off-season.
November is a great month to visit waterfalls because the weather is warm enough to soak in hot springs. If you enjoy coffee, this is the best time to visit your favorite beans while they are still in the ripening stage.
Key festivals and events – Catholic liturgies and visits to cemeteries mark the occasion of All Souls Day across Costa Rica.
In November, coffee picking competitions are sponsored by local towns all across the Meseta Central and highlands.
December – Best Season for Flowers, Scenery, and Costa Rica Rainforest Treks
December in Costa Rica sees a significant boost in visitors due to less rain and drier conditions.
A few rainy days are common at the beginning of the month, but by the end of December, it is obvious that Costa Rica’s high season is beginning to take off.
It is recommended to arrange accommodations and tours well in advance.
There is more to enjoy all the time, although prices do rise in response to nicer weather and wonderful holidays. This is undoubtedly the best month to travel to Costa Rica if you’re looking to escape the cold of winter.
Key festivals and events – The second Saturday in December mark’s Festival de la Luz.
It is the most significant and most anticipated public event of the year.
The Festival de la Luz consists of a float parade that spans over 5 kilometers. The event starts at 6 o’clock in the evening when it is already dark, giving the audience time to marvel at the amazing enchantment, ingenuity, lights, and sparkle of each of the participating floats.
Masquerades, live music, and fireworks are all present throughout the festival of light.
Plan Your Trip to Costa Rica
The best time to visit Costa Rica depends on a wide range of factors, from important things like your budget, the activities you want to do and the seasons to explore, to specifics such as your nationality and passport.
Think about how much time you need for each part of your journey and what will work best for you. Try to avoid short-term visitations during vacation seasons or school breaks; instead, opt for a quieter time.
If a specific location is famous for wildlife viewing it is likely that animals will migrate or spend more time in another area at certain times of the year (e.g., animals are active/reproduce when food is abundant).