Costa Rica

When to go to Costa Rica

The best time to go to Costa Rica

Costa Rica enjoys a huge variety in its geography, with two very different coastlines and everything from dense tropical rainforest to mist-shrouded cloud forest and mountains in between. This means you are likely to experience a vast range of weather on any trip at any time of year, particularly if you are planning to incorporate a lot of the natural highlights into your itinerary. The average temperatures in Costa Rica range from 30ºC on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts to a milder climate in the cloud forest areas of Santa Elena and Monteverde, where it can dip to 10ºC at night. 

As a general rule of thumb, there is a rainy season and a dry season, which you can follow when planning your trip to this wonderfully biodiverse country.

When to go

This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather. Please remember that where in the country will vary depending on month of travel.

When to go to Costa Rica by season

May - November

This is Costa Rica’s rainy season, with September and October in particular being the wettest months.  The rain pattern is usually that of sunnier mornings and a build-up of cloud and rain following in the afternoon. Towards the end of these months you tend to see the landscapes become much more verdant. Those who are into surfing will find the best swells on the Pacific Coast in September and October.

December - April

These are the driest months in Costa Rica, but there are some regional exceptions as each area has its own microclimate. The Caribbean coast generally sees more rainfall than other areas and you may experience downpours, even in the dry season. One consideration when planning your visit is that spring break can mean some areas are filled with American students, and you may wish to avoid this when it occurs sometime between February and April. Surfers should head to the Caribbean coast if visiting in this period, as the swells are better here than the Pacific side.

When to go for Wildlife

As wildlife is a prime reason for visiting Costa Rica, this is something to factor into your planning. Many will be hoping to visit Tortuguero National Park where night walks take you out to witness green and hawksbill turtles, but this is only possible between July and September. Humpback whales arrive to mate in Costa Rica from colder waters between November and December and stay to give birth around the southern Pacific coast until March. The resplendent quetzal is most regularly spotted between January and July in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

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