Want to know the number one question we get asked on this site? “What is the best season to visit Costa Rica?” I always struggle to answer this because Costa Rica is so different depending on the time of year and there is no “best” time. Instead, each time of year brings its own set of pros and cons. We created this guide to help all of you trying to figure out when is the best time for you, with your specific interests, to visit Costa Rica.
Note this was written with the San Jose and Pacific coast in mind. The Caribbean coast has an opposite rainy season. Meaning it tends to rain from January through May. If you are heading to a cloud forest (Monteverde or San Gerardo de Dota) you need to always be prepared for low temperatures and rain.
Let’s start with January (because that’s when the year starts duhhh).
Best Season to Visit Costa Rica: January-March
January through March gets a lot of hype as being a great time visit Costa Rica. Rainy season is officially over at this point, so you can guarantee sun every day. This time of year tends to be windy and warm.
The problem with these months is that they are peak tourism season. That means expect for most places to be filled with other tourists and expect to pay max price for any hotels or activities.
Pros: You don’t have to worry about rain. You’re guaranteed to have sun. If you like flying kites or sailing, I promise there will be wind.
Cons: It’s really busy. You will pay top dollar for any accommodations or activities.
Best Season to Visit Costa Rica: April-June
In April into the beginning of May you can expect to still pay dry season prices. I suggest not planning to visit the weekend before Easter. Everyone in Costa Rica has this week off and going to the beach is really popular at that time. This means you have to book a place to stay far in advance and deal with serious crowds.
You could start having a bit of rain during this time, but not much. The problem is that everything starts turning yellow and dead due to lack of rain (as you can see in the picture above).
In the middle of May the rain usually starts. You can expect some crazy afternoon thunderstorms, but nice weather during the day.
Pros: Nice weather. It can be really hot.
Cons: It is still a popular time for tourists. Everything starts to look really yellow and dead.
Best Season to visit Costa Rica: July- September
This is, in my opinion, the best season to visit Costa Rica. You can expect hot weather during the daytime and rain storms like clockwork every afternoon around 2pm for a few hours. Sometimes these storms are absolutely terrifying, but they usually don’t last long. You should definitely pack a rain jacket if you plan on visiting at this time.
At this time of year, everything returns to its green glory and it’s beautiful. There are fewer tourists and prices for accommodations and activities tend to go down.
One thing to note about this time of year is that the weather tends to say thunderstorms every day. Although this can be true, I tend to take it lightly. It’s almost like all the weathermen in Costa Rica go on vacation during the rainy season and just predict rain all day every day. I assure you that very very rarely will you ever have a full day of rain.
Usually, sometime in July, there will be about two weeks of no rain. It’s random, but always a nice surprise.
September tends to be more rainy with usually a few gray days thrown into the mix.
Pros: Prices are lower. Things start to be green again. There are fewer tourists.
Cons: You can expect rain most afternoons. Sometimes the thunderstorms are really scary.
Best Season to Visit Costa Rica: October – December
October through December are not popular months to visit Costa Rica. In fact, a lot of hotels tend to close because there are just not enough tourists. That being said, if you are looking to save a lot of money on your travels in Costa Rica these are the best months to visit. Most places are so desperate for tourists that everything goes down in price.
October can be a bit gray with several afternoons of rain. November is kind of random. Sometimes you can have many afternoons of rain and thunderstorms. Other years it starts drying out a bit. December tends to be a bit rainy at the beginning and end with dry weather and a breeze. The end of December is a popular time for tourists to visit Costa Rica and the prices tend to rise again.
Pros: Fewer tourists in October and November. Prices can be really low.
Cons: The weather can be pretty bad at times. A lot of places are closed. December can be really expensive and crowded.
Do you have any questions about the season you plan on traveling to Costa Rica? Leave them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
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