Are you planning you planning to visit Costa Rica in August?
This time of year is the peak of the green season. But, don’t let that stop you! There are still plenty of fun activities to do!
Plus, it is usually one of the cheapest times to travel around the country.
We created this guide to give you all the best tips on Costa Rica in the month of August. So, let’s get to it!
Should You Visit Costa Rica in August?
Yes! You should always visit Costa Rica no matter what time of year.
I know that is not really the helpful answer you were hoping for.
But let me explain…
Prices are low
Costa Rican children are back at school, so there are fewer local travelers
You can expect lush green scenery that makes for beautiful pictures.
It’s turtle nesting season!
The rain can be bad at times
You might have to skip certain activities due to the rain
You might have some overcast days (but hey…less chance of a sunburn!)
Costa Rica in August is so hit or miss.
When writing this post, I looked through some of our old pictures to get a better idea of years past. From my pictures, the weather is really all over the place.
I have some pictures of perfectly sunny days and some pictures of absolute washout weather.
In all the time we have been living in Costa Rica we experienced the worst weather ever in August. That was in 2017 but, it was because a tropical storm hit and caused serious destruction on roads across the country.
We were at the beach for a few nights with my dad and it took us two days to drive home.
It was horrible.
However, I also had a friend visit a few years ago in August. When looking at those pictures they are mostly all sunny and nice.
So, basically, I am zero help. I think you just need to travel and hope for the best. Plus, have some activity options for those total washout days (I’ll get to some ideas later on in this post).
Costa Rica Weather in August
In August, the rainy season is in full swing.
Sunrise will be daily around 5:27 am
Sunset is daily around 5:50 pm.
Let’s go through every area of Costa Rica in August to give you a better idea of what to expect.
In Guanacaste (the northwest corner of the country just below Nicaragua), you can expect dry hot days and an afternoon rain storm which will last about an hour. This area notoriously has very mild rainy seasons.
Also, August is turtle nesting season around the country. Guanacaste has two good places for spotting female turtles laying their eggs. These are Playa Grande near Tamarindo and Playa Ostional near Nosara.
The Nicoya Peninsula is usually a bit rainier than Guanacaste, but not too bad. You can expect afternoon rainstorms to last about an hour or two.
Days should be sunny and warm, but occasionally you may have some overcast weather.
Central & South Pacific
The Central and South Pacific are known for hot days and warm evenings. In the afternoon you will likely have rain for an hour or two, sometimes longer.
Usually, these are just rain showers, but sometimes they can be really heavy rains with thunder and lightning.
We like to get up early, enjoy the day, take a little afternoon siesta during the rain, and head back out for the epic Pacific coast sunset views.
Keep in mind that the mosquitos tend to be bad here once the sun sets.
The Central Valley area consists of the capital city, San Jose, and the surrounding hills and valleys. This area tends to always be a bit cooler than the coastal towns. Usually, daytime temperatures are in the mid-70s °F and evening temperatures in the mid-sixties.
Typically, the rain will roll in around 2pm and last for an hour or two. Sometimes these are torrential rain storms with thunder and lightning and sometimes these are just steady rains.
Also, we have experienced that sometimes if there is a very heavy rain it is almost impossible to drive for a few hours because the streets can get flooded.
But, check out the pictures above. Look how beautiful the Central Valley area is when everything is nice and green. It always feels a bit like Switzerland to me.
I was talking to someone from La Fortuna recently and they said that they believe that the best Arenal Volcano views are usually in July and August. I found this surprising, but maybe they are right.
In Monteverde, you can expect that there will probably be constant rain. I feel like this is part of the charm of this area though. Just bring plenty of rainproofing gear!
It is now time to shine for the Caribbean coast! This coast has an opposite rainy season from the rest of the country. So, you can expect zero rain here at this time of year.
The days are hot and sunny and the evening temperatures are also usually in the mid 70’s.
Just so you know, it doesn’t happen often, but this side of the country is the most likely area to get hit by a tropical storm.
So, if that happens you will of course have less than ideal weather.
What to Pack for Costa Rica in August
Rain Jacket – I have the Venture 2 jacket from Northface and I really like it. I’ve had it for about four years now and it is holding up just fine. It is lightweight and has zippers under the armpits if you need a little extra air. In Costa Rica, even when it is raining it is still warm out, so having a breathable rain jacket is essential.
Bug Spray – You can always buy bug spray in Costa Rica. If you are bringing a checked bag and would like to bring some yourself, remember that aerosol cans are not allowed in luggage and we always put our bug spray in a large zip lock bag. You don’t want it to leak and have all your clothes covered in bug spray.
Waterproof Backpack – A good waterproof backpack is one of those things we finally recently invested in and I have no idea why we didn’t do it sooner. Having a day pack that you can use for hiking or other fun activities and not have to stress that all your belongings might get soaked is essential.
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An Umbrella – We usually never use umbrellas here except for in San Jose. So, totally your call on this one. I personally prefer just to use my rain coat.
A good sun-blocking hat – Yes, maybe it might be a bit overcast on certain days, but that doesn’t mean that the sun is not still super strong. I like this one from Columbia. It is breathable, blocks the sun, is great for hiking, and doesn’t look too nerdy (just a little nerdy).
A filtered water bottle just to block out any additional bacteria – I am a ride-or-die fan of the Lifestraw water bottle.
Motion sickness pills (for boats and for curvy drives) – You can always buy some motion sickness pills in Costa Rica, but I suggest just bringing some Dramamine with you. If you think you might find yourself out on a boat, sometimes the waves can be worse during the rainy season.
Sunscreen – Because, sun in Costa Rica is strong!
Games (for when you’re stuck inside) – Even just a deck of cards will open up tons of game possibilities.
For clothing, we suggest items that are quick-drying and lightweight. Personally, sometimes it is just to hot and humid to want to wear a rain jacket even in heavy rains. In this case, I like to wear some sporty shorts, and a tshirt and just deal with the rain. It’s more comfortable.
For footwear, there are a few things I suggest.
Keens- Keen makes nice hiking shoes that are designed for getting wet.
Tevas- I always wear Teva flip-flops because they have a stable sole (this is kind of essential in Costa Rica) and are fine in the water. Just note, I feel like their sizes run a bit small. You may want to size up.
At most hiking places which are really muddy they have rubber boots which you can rent. I definitely suggest doing this. So, make sure to bring your socks.
For more packing tips check out our complete Rainy Season Packing Guide.
The Best Places to Visit / Places to Avoid
Also, if you are planning to rent a car to get around, I would suggest avoiding very remote areas, especially if they have dirt roads.
As I mentioned before, for the best weather head to the Caribbean side of the country.
Fun Activities at this Time of Year
You can still do almost any activity at this time of year. We just suggest getting up early and enjoying the day before the rain rolls in.
Sometimes hiking can be a bit of a muddy adventure. As I mentioned above, a lot of hiking areas will offer rubber boots to rent. I suggest taking them.
I can show you what we were faced with when we visited Rio Celeste and opted not take the rubber boots haha.
I’m never making that mistake again! We were completely covered in mud by the end.
One activity I really like to do in Costa Rica in August is zip lining. You don’t have to worry about hiking through mud and you also get a chance to see the country from above while everything is green and lush.
Tortuguero National Park
I think that a visit to Tortuguero National Park is an absolute must-do activity in August.
Tortuguero is a remote town located in the northern part of the Caribbean coast, not too far from the Nicaragua border.
It is only possible to get here by taking a boat. I feel like this completely adds to the charm of it.
Anyway, the Tortuguero National Park is a Green Sea Turtle nesting zone.
Each night these turtles come to shore to lay their eggs. If you don’t know anything about Green Sea Turtles, they are huge! They can weight sometimes between 300 and 350 pounds!
If you visit at this time of year, you can take an evening sea turtle tour with a guide and experience this firsthand.
In my opinion, this is a must-do activity. It is by far one of the coolest things I have experienced in all my time living in Costa Rica.
Activities in the Rain
If it is raining all day while we are traveling in Costa Rica we tend to do a few different thing.
– Stay at your hotel or villa and play games. We always bring a deck of cards.
– If you are in La Fortuna, head to the hot springs. I mean, you’re going to get wet in the water anyway. This is great as long as there is no lightning.
– Work on your photography skills. Thomas loves to bring the camera outside and try to capture some cool rainy pictures.
– If you are in San Jose, head to the museums, the mall, or the cinema. I know you didn’t really come all the way to Costa Rica to go to the mall and see a movie, but sometimes you’ve just got to stay entertained.
– Head to a restaurant where you can have a long leisurely meal and some drinks.
– If you are staying at a villa, sometimes we like to go to the grocery store and just cook elaborate meals.
– Read a book. I always bring my Kindle when traveling. Sometimes it’s nice to sit inside and read with the sound of the rain.
– Just deal with it and get out to do fun things anyway. A little water won’t kill you.
We always suggest renting a car for your travels in Costa Rica because it will give you the most flexibility for getting around.
If visiting Costa Rica in August, it is a good idea to rent a 4×4 vehicle. This is especially important if you are staying in Monteverde, Nosara area, any other remote town, or in an accommodation on a steep hill.
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The reason I say this is because the roads aren’t always the best in certain parts of the country. During the rainy season, dirt roads can become more difficult to navigate.
Also, keep in mind that certain areas involve river crossings. For example, near Nosara, near Puerto Jimenez, and on the back road between Mal Pais and Montezuma there are river crossings.
During the dry season, this usually isn’t too much of a problem because the water level is low enough. However, during the rainy season, the water level can get high. There is a good chance you won’t be able to cross the rivers.
We always suggest renting your car with our favorite local rental car company, Adobe.
In August, rental cars tend to be way cheaper than they are during the high season. Plus, we have a 10% discount plus other great perks for you!
You can find out all about it here.
For hotels, we like Booking.com. Many of the listings offer free cancellations up to a certain date. This will allow you to book early and cancel if your plans change. Just keep track of the cancellation deadline!
We also really like VRBO when booking condos, houses, and villas. This is a good option because you can rent a place with a kitchen to cook your own meals. VRBO also has some listings with free cancellation.
In August, it is important to pay attention to the location of the accommodation you would like to book.
A lot of beach towns have houses up in the hills on steep dirt roads. These can be difficult to navigate.
So read reviews before booking anything or message the owner and ask about road conditions if you can’t figure out the location from the maps.
Holiday & Festivals
August 2nd – This is the day of the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. It is Costa Rica’s most significant religious celebration.
On this day, devout followers embark on a pilgrimage, either walking or crawling on their knees, towards the Los Angeles Basilica in Cartago.
They gather there to pay reverence to La Negrita, the revered black Virgin of Costa Rica, and pray to her for the fulfillment of their wishes.
August 15 – Mother’s Day. This is not a national holiday that people have off from school or work, but it is an important day in Costa Rica. Family is really important to Ticos.
You might see a lot of large families gathering at the beach to have all-day barbecues and fun family bonding time.
Travel Tips for Visiting Costa Rica in August
Please keep an eye out for flash flooding. It, unfortunately, does happen and can be really scary. If you notice a stream or river instantly turn muddy, that means it’s time to get out ASAP. A flash flood is likely coming.
Also, keep in mind that things can be slippery after a rainstorm. Typically, places don’t have the same security levels that you might be used to in your home country. It is up to you to use your discretion.
For example, at waterfalls, there is often not any fencing around the base or top of the falls. In the past, people have gotten killed and seriously injured by getting to close to the edge and slipping.
So, what do you think? Is August the perfect time to visit Costa Rica for you? If you have any questions about planning your trip, just leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!
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🚗 Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?
Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will also allow you to take fun day trips on your own.
- Save 10% Plus Other Perks with Our Adobe Rental Car Discount
- You might also consider; shared shuttle services or private transfer services
🏄🏽 How can I book things to do?
We find that Viator tends to have the most comprehensive selection of activities with secure booking and good cancellation policies.
🍍 I’m overwhelmed with planning. Can you help?
✈️ What is the best way to book a flight?
Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).
🛏️ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?
🗣️What is the main language in Costa Rica?
The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.
💰 What is the currency in Costa Rica?
The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas
📞 What is the best way to stay connected?
An eSIM from Airalo is the easiest way to get 4G data while traveling in Costa Rica.
🌴 Is Costa Rica safe?
Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.
🛂 Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?
Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.