Which is the best season to visit Costa Rica? We get this question a lot at Asuaire Travel, and we are happy to tell you all about Costa Rica’s different seasons and destinations depending on when you want to travel.
Costa Rica is considered to be one of the happiest places in the world and one of the most beautiful to visit for its incredible biodiversity.
- 1 What are the requirements for travelling to Costa Rica?
- 2 Different experiences in different weather conditions
- 3 December-April season
- 4 January: perfect for visiting Guanacaste
- 5 March: a good time to see cities.
- 6 April: the best time to go to the beach
- 7 May-November season
- 8 May: A month of transition between seasons
- 9 June: perfect for visiting Monteverde
- 10 July: the time to visit the national parks
- 11 August: perfect for a visit to the Central Valley
- 12 September: perfect for seeing the South
- 13 October: the Caribbean mini-summer
- 14 November: the last month of the green season
What are the requirements for travelling to Costa Rica?
When visiting Costa Rica as a tourist, the general requirements are:
– A valid and in-date passport.
– A return or onward travel ticket.
– Proof that you have enough money, i.e., $100 for each month of travel.
Different experiences in different weather conditions
Costa Rica has plenty of different activities to offer, and the experience is totally different depending on when you decide to go. During the green season, rain is frequent and vegetation thrives all around, while in the summer season the beaches are where everything happens.
Book now and explore over 5000 species of flora and fauna, the amazing beaches, impressive volcanoes and forests overflowing with life.
The best season to travel to Costa Rica is the dry season, from December to April. The biggest advantage is that it rains very little and will allow you spend your holiday sunbathing, taking the odd dip in the sea and exploring various different places.
You should also be aware that this is the high season and that means it might be more expensive as there is high demand and low availability. Set a bigger budget and book early for a stress-free holiday.
December: Christmas is just around the corner
Depending on where you are in Costa Rica, you could spend Christmas and New Year in a warm, cool or windy destination.
Even in the Caribbean you might experience torrential downpours in the middle of the jungle. Obviously even in the cooler areas, Costa Rica is still a tropical paradise and you will not need anything more than a light sweater.
A popular month for tourists, almost 70% come from Canada and the United States, a perfect time to practice English. Escape the cold winters and travel to Costa Rica to start the new year in the sun.
You will experience the amusing contrast of walking around San José city in short sleeves and enjoying a cold drink, surrounded by Santa Clauses, Christmas trees, sledges, reindeer and lights, both in the streets and in people’s houses.
January: perfect for visiting Guanacaste
If you want to visit in a month of good weather, January is the one.
You should avoid the first days of the month because people will still be enjoying the New Year break, and prices are still high.
Most of the area will have sunny, windy and dry days. We recommend visiting the Guanacaste area, in the North Pacific region.
This is an area known for its magnificent beaches like Tamarindo, Flamingo, Nosara or the beautiful Gulf of Papagayo. February: perfect for visiting the Caribbean area.When is the best time to visit Costa Rica? If you love sunny days with little rain, this month is for you. As well as that, if you have a limited budget, this month is better because it is cheaper, so take advantage and visit the Caribbean at this time, since Costa Rica is usually much more expensive in high season.
If the North Caribbean catches your eye, visit Tortuguero, a protected wildlife area with a large network of canals and rivers and an area where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. In the South Caribbean, we would recommend Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, an area that is famous for surfing in Salsa Brava and Playa Negra, named after the black volcanic sand that covers it.
March: a good time to see cities.
Costa Rica is a small country and you probably want to make the most of the opportunity to get to know it, so we suggest you to get on a plane and experience it for yourself. You can see its greatest attractions without the rain spoiling your fun, so what could be better than walking through one of the most important cities on a day with plenty of light.
One option would be visiting San José, a bustling place within a tropical paradise and full of important historical buildings. The centre of the Costa Rican capital is a maze of streets and avenues, museums, hotels, restaurants, parks and squares.
Another option for this season is the area of Limón, 152 kilometres east of San José. This is one of the regions with the most diverse geography. It is filled with mangroves, jungles, beaches, and high mountains.
April: the best time to go to the beach
Do not miss the opportunity to go in April because it is the last month of the dry season and you can enjoy plenty of sun and high temperatures.
This is the best season to travel to this Central American country if you want to go to the beach. Consider visiting the Nicoya Peninsula on the North Pacific coast if you love diving, a different way to experience the abundant marine life, especially around Santa Catalina Island.
You must want to know about the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, and we have the answer. One of the best-known is Playa Montezuma Beach in Puntarenas, where you can appreciate the amazing diversity that makes the landscape so impressive.
It is also worth mentioning Playa Sámara, a habitat for numerous exotic animals that is protected from the waves. Finally, there is Playa Flamingo in Guanacaste, a very beautiful place with plenty of sea excursions to see lots of fish.
If you want to explore the jungle or surf on the Pacific coast, the rainy season is the best option, that is, from May to November, which is also known as the green season.
If you want to know what is considered to be the low season for travel to Costa Rica, we have the answer to that too. This is the greenest and wettest season, which is great if you love rain.
The biggest advantages are that it is cheaper, there are lots of special offers, the parks and beaches are emptier and you can take better advantage of seeing all the natural attractions. As well as that, this is when all kinds of animals migrate, so you can enjoy seeing the huge humpback whales and turtles laying their eggs.
May: A month of transition between seasons
This month is characterised by the beginning of the transition between the dry and rainy seasons and it is impossible to predict what kind of weather you will find when you get there.
At the beginning of the green season, the forest and nature take centre stage and, if you are a fan of big waves, keep your eyes peeled in this wonderful natural paradise. The morning hours are all about the sun, and then the tropical rain takes over in the afternoon.
Are you looking for amazing destinations in Costa Rica? The Osa Peninsula and Drake Bay are two of the most beautiful areas and known as “the first eco-tourism destination in the area with a large number of cabins and jungle hiking trails”.
If you are an adventurer, there is also the Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste, which we have already mentioned is in the northwest of Costa Rica, an area with four volcanoes and many hiking trails. Be brave and experience tubing on the Río Negro or dive into the volcano’s hot springs.
June: perfect for visiting Monteverde
June is one of the months with the highest rainfall and this is when more tourists start to arrive compared to the earlier months.
This rainy season is ideal for visiting the entire Monteverde area, known for the biodiversity in its cloud forests. You can also go on a tour to learn about the different plantations in the area, or see monkeys, turkeys, the striking quetzal with its iridescent feathers and the rare bell bird.
July: the time to visit the national parks
The best season to visit Costa Rica will depend on what you like doing. If you want to swap the sun for rain, this is the place for you.
This is the perfect time to visit the national parks as it rains and there is more vegetation to see.
If you are in the North Pacific, you must visit Tamarindo, which is famous for its wildlife refuge to protect crocodiles and howler monkeys. If you want to escape from the crowds and experience true nature, we would recommend the Gulf of Papagayo because it is wild and extremely beautiful.
In the Central Pacific you will find the Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its enormous diversity of flora and fauna, like three-toed sloths and white-faced Capuchin monkeys that are in danger of extinction.
Another of the places you should visit is the Tortuguero National Park, where you can rent a canoe, see the smaller canals and enjoy the diversity of animals.
August: perfect for a visit to the Central Valley
August also has tropical rainy weather, but unlike the other months, temperatures are higher. This is a great time to visit the Central Valley, where San José is located.
This is an area with amazing green landscapes and two impressive volcanoes that you must see: the Irazú volcano and the Poás volcano.
An excursion here is highly recommended, as these are two of the best tourist attractions in the area. The Poás stands out for its huge craters measuring no less than 1.3 kilometres in diameter, which makes it the largest geyser crater in the world.
September: perfect for seeing the South
September is at the height of the green season and is characterised by prolonged heavy rains which can make outdoor activities more challenging and cause a few problems.
For that reason, it is best to leave the beaches and national parks and instead see some cities like Puerto Jiménez, which has almost 9000 inhabitants.
Another place of interest is the quiet town of Sarchí, which is known for the typical elaborate carts, the symbol of Costa Rica, as they were used to transport coffee and other products.
If you are a coffee lover, you can learn about collection and preparation, in addition to all the culture behind this product.
October: the Caribbean mini-summer
October is almost the same as September, still in the rainy season, so one option is visiting the Caribbean coast. An area that tends to have a kind of “mini-summer”, when it’s still raining in the rest of Costa Rica.
This month is great for visiting the Arenal area with its impressive volcano, its birds-eye excursions over the jungle and the wonderful hot springs that are heated thanks to their proximity to the volcano.
November: the last month of the green season
November is a transition month where Costa Rica moves away from the torrential rains of the rainy season and into sunny and windy days. The temperature does not vary much, and although the weather can be unpredictable, there are more clear and dry days than rainy days.
In the Guanacaste area, in the North Pacific, the sunny season starts earlier than in any other part of Costa Rica, which is why we recommend visiting during this month.
By the end of November, beaches like Flamingo or Tamarindo are at their best with intense colours of the green season, and the fantastic climate of the dry season.
At the end of the month, many Americans visit as they choose to combine this perfect season with their Thanksgiving holiday, so it is important to book early if you want to visit Costa Rica that weekend.
In short, if you want to know what time of year is best for visiting Costa Rica, we would say that it all depends on what you like and what you want to do.
Do you want to spend your time on beaches with crystal clear water and white sand?
Or would you rather hike along a trail through the rainforest?
You are sure to fall head over heels in love with this country and its people from the moment you first set eyes on it. Life to the full!