Costa Rica

Costa Rica in December

December weather & where to go

The start of December can be similar to November, in that it is unpredictable, and you can expect the odd heavy downpour, although to be fair you can expect rain at any time of year in Costa Rica. As we move towards the middle of the month, we come again into peak season, so Christmas and New Year in Costa Rica is a very real possibility if you plan in advance!

December can be a wonderful time to travel Costa Rica in search of wildlife, especially towards the end of the month. But it does require early planning and booking over Christmas and New Year.

Most safaris will start in San Jose, leading on to exploration of the beautiful Central Valley. This area receives little rainfall throughout December, averaging at 41mm for the month, and a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. The Central Valley will be beautiful at this time; green, vibrant, and wonderfully photogenic.

Just up from here is the intriguing Monteverde Cloud Forest and Arenal Volcano. This is one of the best places in the country for birders to visit, and is beautifully simplistic area to venture to. Among the undulating, fertile hills are waterfalls, wild forests and piercing mountains. As we move into the cloud forest, the vegetation is thick and lush, with a six ecological zones in the one park. Rainfall averages at 385mm for December, and the temperature sits at a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius.

Over on the Pacific Coast, towards Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, there are plenty of national parks and idyllic, reef-fringed beaches to be explored. This area has become a mecca for those who want to get away and relax. We recommend it for the relaxing final destination of your wildlife safari and to honeymooners who are looking for something a little different. The beaches here are some of the most beautiful on the Pacific Coast.

Down the coast towards Manuel Antonio, rainfall is quite dramatically reduced in December, averaging at about 142mm for the month. This park is around four hours from San Jose, and its easy access does make it quite busy, especially at this time around Christmas and New Year. If you want something more remote, we can take you further down the coast to the Osa Peninsula where you will find Corcovado National Park. This park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the rare jaguar of which you may spot if you are very lucky, and very patient. This wonderful area has a beautiful mix of wild jungles and beaches, as well as some amazing snorkelling opportunities. In December, rainfall in the area averages at 217mm for the month which is a huge drop from November, which has an average of 604mm. The temperature is high at 31 degrees Celsius in the daytime, making it a great time to explore.

Over on the Caribbean Coast and in Tortuguero National Park, rainfall is still quite high, at 570mm average for the month. You can still travel here, but you can expect more rainfall than that of the Pacific Coast.

Water activities, such as rafting, may still be available in December, which, alongside the zip lining the country is famous for, makes for an excellent family excursion, and is also great for individuals seeking an adrenaline adventure.

Overall, December can be a wonderful month to travel if you know where you’d like to, and a fabulous way to spend Christmas and New Year.

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