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Costa Rica in April: Weather, Places to Visit, Travel Tips

Costa Rica in April means the end of the dry season and the beginning of the change in weather. It can also be one of the most popular and best times of year to visit the country. 

If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica in the month of April, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know! We’ve been living in the country since 2016, so we are well aware of what you can expect during this month.

Let’s get to the weather by region, festivals, fun things to do, and things to avoid for the month of April!

Costa Rica in April at a Glance

  • This is the end of dry season and the start of rainy season (towards the end of the month). Weather will be hot and sunny with occasionally afternoon rain showers.
  • Book your rental car, hotels, and activities early because this is a popular time to travel.
  • Focus on sun blocking clothing, high SPF sunscreen, and lots of water for hydration. This time of year is hot!

Should You Travel to Costa Rica in April? 

Costa Rica in April: Weather, Places to Visit, Travel Tips

We say “yes!” It’s a good time to visit for mostly nice weather. However, there are a few things you should know about this time of year. 

Current Costa Rica Travel Discounts

Note: I need to preface this by saying 2024 is a bit different than other years because Easter is at the very end of March. Typically mid-April is the busiest time of year to travel because locals are off for Easter week and a lot of tourists take advantage of Easter holiday days.

However, this year might be a bit different. Things may be calmer in April than usual. I am writing this post with this change in mind, but I can’t say for sure how different things will be.

I know that April can also be spring break time for schools in the US, so that could potentially contribute to higher tourism, but it’s hard to say for sure. 

Let’s go through the pros and cons of April in Costa Rica.

Pros

  • The weather will be perfect. We go more into the weather details further in this post, but in general, you can expect sunny hot days and warm evenings with very little (if any) rain.
  • Everything will be open. Sometimes later in the year, tour companies and hotels close because there are just not enough tourists for there to be a reason to stay open.

Cons

  • It is one of the most expensive times to travel. Hotels and activities know that this is a popular time, so they don’t hesitate to charge top dollar for hotels, activities, transportation etc. 
  • Things book out fast. If you have planned your vacation months in advance you’ll be all set. However, if you are planning to kind of wing it and book accommodations at the last minute you might have some trouble.
  • April can be one of the busiest times to travel. This is usually the peak of high season. 

Again, it’s hard to predict though. This year might bring a calmer April due to Easter falling at the end of March. 

Costa Rica Weather in April

Costa Rica in April: Weather, Places to Visit, Travel Tips

April is often the transition month from dry season into the rainy season in Costa Rica. Usually the first rain doesn’t happen until mid to late April and some parts of the country might not experience rain at all.

When I say “rain” don’t worry, I mean very little rain. Typically this is just an afternoon rain for an hour or two. Then it will clear up and you can enjoy the rest of your beautiful day in paradise!

The sun rises every day around 5:45am and sets around 5:45pm. So, you get a perfect 12 hours of sunlight every day at this time of the year.

Let’s go through each region of the country to give you a better understanding of what you can expect in the specific locations you are visiting.

Caribbean Coast

The Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, including areas like Puerto Viejo and Tortuguero. This area is known for its vibrant culture, lush rainforests, and stunning beaches.

The Caribbean Coast tends to have the opposite rainy season as the Pacific Coast. This means, that there is a higher chance of experiencing rain on the Caribbean.

However, every time we have been on the Caribbean in April we have had really good weather. So, it’s kind of hard to predict.  

The sea temperatures remain warm and pleasant. It is an ideal time for water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the beaches.

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 84°F (29°C)
  • Average Temperatures in the Evening: Approximately 72°F (22°C)

Central Valley

The Central Valley of Costa Rica, including the capital city San José and surrounding areas, offers a mix of urban vibrancy, cultural richness, and pleasant climate. 

In April, the Central Valley experiences the transition from the dry season to the beginning of the rainy season.

This area is always a bit cooler than the beach towns and the transition to rainy season can occur a bit sooner.

We like this time of year because the landscapes become lush and vibrant again as the rain starts. 

Just bring layers to accommodate temperature variations throughout the day.

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 77°F (25°C)
  • Average Evening Temperature: Approximately 62°F (17°C)

Guanacaste Province

Guanacaste Province in Costa Rica is known for its beautiful beaches, diverse ecosystems, and vibrant culture.

Guanacaste is typically the driest region in the country. The rainy season usually starts a bit later. So, in April, you can expect warm and dry weather.

While other areas of Costa Rica might see an increase in humidity as the rainy season approaches, Guanacaste tends to have lower humidity levels. 

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 85°F (29°C)
  • Average Evening Temperature: Approximately 72°F (22°C)

Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula, located in the northwest of Costa Rica, is known for its laid-back atmosphere, charming coastal towns, and diverse ecosystems. 

April sees a high amount of sunshine throughout the day. While there might be occasional brief showers, overall rainfall is minimal.

The Pacific Ocean waters along the Nicoya Peninsula remain warm. This is excellent for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing.

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 88°F (31°C)
  • Average Evening Temperature: Approximately 75°F (24°C)

Northern Mountains

The Northern Mountains of Costa Rica encompass popular destinations like La Fortuna and Monteverde.

Monteverde is a cloud forest, so expect somewhat consistent drizzles of rain. In our opinion, this just adds to the charm of the area. 

In La Fortuna you should have mostly dry weather with an occasional afternoon rainstorm. Wake up early to enjoy clear views of the volcano before the clouds roll in. 

Monteverde:

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 72°F (22°C)
  • Average Evening Temperature: Approximately 60°F (16°C)

La Fortuna:

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 80°F (27°C)
  • Average Evening Temperature: Approximately 70°F (21°C)

Central Pacific

The Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica includes popular destinations like Manuel Antonio and Jacó.

This area offers a perfect blend of tropical beauty, diverse wildlife, and vibrant coastal activities. 

The rainy season may start a bit earlier here than in Guanacaste or Nicoya. However, you can expect great weather in the morning until mid-afternoon.

Even if there is an afternoon rain shower it will typically only last from about 2pm until 3pm.

Take a little siesta at that time and then get out and enjoy the rest of your day.

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 88°F (31°C)
  • Average Evening Temperature: Approximately 75°F (24°C)

South Pacific

The South Pacific region of Costa Rica is also known as the Osa Peninsula. This area encompasses Drake Bay, Corcovado National Park, and Puerto Jimenez.

In April, you can expect warm temperatures, lush rainforests, and unique wildlife experiences.

While April is generally considered part of the dry season, it’s essential to be prepared for occasional rain showers, especially in rainforest areas like Corcovado National Park.

  • Average Daytime Temperature: Around 88°F (31°C)
  • Average Evening Temperature: Approximately 75°F (24°C)

What to Pack for Costa Rica in April

Shop All The Dry Season Essentials Here

This will vary a bit by location and your travel style, but here is a general list of what you should pack for Costa Rica in April. 

Clothing:

  • Lightweight and breathable clothing (shorts, T-shirts, tank tops). We suggest opting for moisture-wicking clothing that also blocks UV rays. 
  • Long-sleeved shirts and lightweight pants for cooler evenings and sun protection
  • Swimsuits for beach and water activities
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals for exploring
  • Rain jacket for occasional showers during the transition to the rainy season
  • Sunglasses for sun protection

Weather-Specific Items:

  • Sunscreen (high SPF) for sun protection in the tropical climate
  • Insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes, especially during evenings
  • Daypack for carrying essentials during day trips and excursions. I suggest a dry bag. 
  • Plastic bags or waterproof pouches for protecting electronics and important documents from rain

Outdoor and Adventure Gear:

Electronics and Accessories:

  • Camera or smartphone for capturing the stunning landscapes and wildlife
  • Portable charger to keep devices powered during outdoor excursions

Health and Safety:

  • Travel first aid kit with basic medications, bandages, and any necessary prescriptions
  • Motion sickness tablets if you’re sensitive to travel on winding roads or if you plan to take boat trips
  • Hydration tablets or electrolyte supplements for staying hydrated in the warm weather
  • Hat with a wide brim for added sun protection, especially during outdoor activities

Miscellaneous Items:

  • Copies of important documents (passport, travel insurance, itinerary)
  • Zip lock bags to separate wet items in your luggage

The Best Places to Visit / Places to Avoid

costa rica in april sunset

Almost any spot in Costa Rica is a winner in April.

While the Caribbean coast may bring a bit of rain, it’s typically manageable.

If large crowds aren’t your thing, you might want to skip the Pacific coast’s more touristy hotspots. Places like Manuel Antonio, Jaco, and Tamarindo can get pretty packed, and you might find yourself spending more for peak season prices.

Instead, consider exploring quieter gems like Dominical, Montezuma, Playa Avellanas, San Gerardo de Dota, and the Osa Peninsula.

Fun Things to Do in April

Costa Rica in April: Weather, Places to Visit, Travel Tips

This is a great time of year for pretty much all activities.

As people who live in the country, we like to take advantage of the fact that we can do day tours during this time of year without having to worry that they will be canceled due to rain. 

A few of our favorite things are….

  • Zip-Lining in Monteverde
  • Surfing in Santa Teresa
  • Soak in Hot Springs in La Fortuna:
  • Go Birdwatching
  • Explore a National Park
  • Take a Catamaran Tour
  • Relax by Your Hotel Pool

Booking Transportation in April

Typically April is one of the most expensive times to travel and rental cars book out early. However, as I mentioned above, because Easter is early this year the demand shouldn’t be as high. 

We still suggest booking your rental car as early as possible though. 

We work exclusively with our favorite rental car company here, Adobe, and have a 10% discount plus other perks for you. 

Check Availability and Save 10% with Your Car Rental

Some other transportation options you might consider are:

Booking Hotels in April

We suggest booking your accommodations as far ahead as possible for a greater selection and to potentially avoid higher prices.

We like to use Booking.com and reserve places with free cancellation up to a certain date. This will give you the most flexibility if your plans change or if you find a better option. Just make sure to remember to cancel in time!

We also really like VRBO for booking villas or houses. Again, we suggest filtering by places that allow free cancellation if you are concerned about your plans possibly changing.

When booking a place make sure there is AC if you are staying in the warm coastal towns. sometimes you might be fine with just an electric fan, but we have definitely learned to give preference to places with AC because the evenings can stay hot. 

Check out our guide to Costa Rica hotels for more info

Booking Things to Do in April

Costa Rica in April: Weather, Places to Visit, Travel Tips

Usually, it’s not highly necessary to make activity bookings well in advance. Nevertheless, in April, there might be instances where activities get booked up early.

Please be aware that reservations are generally not needed for most national parks. However, Poas Volcano and Manuel Antonio National Park are exceptions, where it is advisable to pre-purchase tickets.

Holidays and Festivals in April

Costa Rica in April: Weather, Places to Visit, Travel Tips

As mentioned above, typically Semana Santa (the holy week leading up to Easter) is celebrated in April.

However, this year it is in March.

You can find more info about Semana Santa and Easter with our guide to visiting Costa Rica over Easter Week.

The other major holiday in April is Dia de Juan Santamaria on April 11th.

This day is a Costa Rican holiday commemorating the Costa Rican victory during the Battle of Rivas in 1856 against William Walker and his troops.

William Walker was a US citizen who had previously defeated the Nicaraguan government. Next, he had his sights set on Costa Rica and other Central American countries.

The chances of Costa Rica winning the battle were very slim. However, young Juan Santamaria had the idea to set fire to a building in which Walker’s troops were gathered. The fire caused Walker’s troops to flee. Unfortunately, it also resulted in the death of Santamaria due to enemy fire.

The story about Juan Santamaria seems to be a bit hazy with everything we read saying different things about exactly who this young boy was. However, everyone agrees he helped save the country.

In honor of his sacrifice a national holiday was enacted in Juan Santamaria’s name.

On this day you can expect parades throughout the country to celebrate. These parades tend to be put on by schools with kids leading the festivities.

When driving through towns you may have to deal with a few delays due to these parades. If you would like to watch a parade, just ask at your hotel. They should be able to tell you when and where a celebration will occur.

Conclusion: Costa Rica in April

In conclusion, April is a great time to enjoy the end of dry season, have sunny days, and overall great weather.

Just keep in mind that it is usually peak tourist season, so you should plan accordingly by booking early and considering smaller towns.

If you have any questions about planning your Costa Rica vacation don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you plan!

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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.

🏄🏽 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?

Of course! I suggest joining our Facebook group for specific questions and head to our Start Here Page to get started planning.

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Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).

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We highly suggest Booking.com for hotel bookings and typically use VRBO for Costa Rica vacation rentals.

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💰 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?

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🛂 Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?

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