• Settings:

When to visit Costa Rica

The best time to visit Costa Rica is all year round with the right amount of planning due to the microclimates. With two very different coastlines along the Pacific coast and the Caribbean coast, and everything from dense tropical rainforest to mist-shrouded cloud forest and mountains in between, Costa Rica has a wide climate and diverse rainfall which means the best time may slightly differ depending on which parts of the country you wish to travel. The average temperatures in Costa Rica range from 30ºC along the coasts to a milder climate in the cloud forest areas of Santa Elena and Monteverde, where it can dip to 10ºC at night.

You are likely to experience a vast range of weather on any trip at any time of year, even in the dry season, particularly if you are planning to incorporate a lot of the natural highlights into your itinerary. 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.

St Costa Rica Boca Tapada Toucan Shutterstock Ondrej Prosicky
St Costa Rica Rio Sierpe Shutterstock Cl Medien

Talk to a Costa Rica Destination Specialist

The best time to visit Costa Rica

  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

January is part of Costa Rica’s high season so expect bright green forests, little rain and sunny beaches. It is an excellent month for wildlife activities, so do expect it to be one of the busier times to travel. No area of the country should be avoided, so it is the perfect time for all over travel. January is a good month for watching humpback whales and this can be done on the Caribbean and Pacific Coast.

Dry Season: December to 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.

Rainy Season: May to 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.

What to do in Costa Rica

Explore the National Parks

You can observe nesting sea turtles, including green turtles and leatherbacks, on guided night tours at Tortuguero National Park. Explore Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its beautiful beaches and abundant wildlife, including capuchin monkeys, sloths, and iguanas. Hike through the remote and biodiverse Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula to spot jaguars, tapirs, and scarlet macaws.

Skywalk in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve to see unique flora and fauna, including the resplendent quetzal and other bird species. Walk on the Skywalk bridges that take you through the canopy of the cloud forest and experience the exhilaration of ziplining through the canopy.


Costa Rica is home to over 900 bird species. The most popular time for birdwatching in Costa Rica is in the dry season from December to April as many bird species are actively nesting and mating during this time, increasing the chances of observing interesting behaviours. Clearer skies makes it easy to spot and photograph birds and migratory birds from North America are present. The wet season from May to November is also a good time for bird watching, lush vegetation and blooming flowers attract a wide variety of bird species and many resident birds are actively feeding and displaying their vibrant plumage.

Humpback Whale Watching

From December to April, you can go on humpback whale-watching tours in Marino Ballena National Park and the Osa Peninsula.