Costa Rica in December: Weather, Activities, and Tips

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Should you visit Costa Rica in December? 

December in Costa Rica is the beginning of the dry season in most parts of the country. This time of year is often referred to as “verano” or summer. It is also one of the most popular months of the year to visit the country. 

As a couple who lives in Costa Rica, we have become somewhat experts of what to expect in the country by month. We think December is a great time to visit, but there are a few things you should know before packing your suitcase and heading to this tropical paradise. 

From chilling in the cloud forests to catching waves on the beach, we created this post to break down the best spots and tips for your December adventure in Costa Rica. So, let’s get to it!

Should You Visit Costa Rica in December?

I think there is never a “best time” or “worst time” to visit Costa Rica. But, different months definitely bring different pros and cons. Here is what you can expect for pros and cons in December in Costa Rica. 

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Pros of Visiting in December

  • It is the start of the dry season. So, the weather starts to completely clear up. You probably won’t experience too much (or any) rain, especially at the end of the month.
  • Everything still looks lush and green from the heavy rainy season.
  • In the first half of the month, the madness of dry season hasn’t fully begun yet. 
  • There are a lot of fun cultural opportunities, especially around Christmas time.
costa rica in december pin

Cons of Visiting in December

  • Things start to get more expensive as the high season begins. It is hard to find lower prices for hotels, rental cars, and activities.
  • There is more demand for hotels, rental cars, activities etc.
  • The Costa Rican school year ends, so a lot of locals will be traveling as well (roads are busier, more things are booked out etc.).
  • The weather can be really windy, especially in the central part of the country.

Our Opinion

In our opinion, December is a really great time to visit. However, you definitely should book things as early as possible. 

If you wait too long, all the affordable and nice hotels will be taken. This goes for transportation and activities as well.

We also find that a lot of the main tourist attractions become a bit overwhelming. So, if you plan on visiting places such as Manuel Antonio National Park, it is best to start your day early and enjoy this before everyone else wakes up. 

Costa Rica Weather in December

costa rica beach in december

Although Costa Rica is a small country, it is home to several different microclimates. That means that Costa Rica’s weather can vary greatly depending on what part of the country you are visiting 

Here is what you can expect from the weather in Costa Rica in December by region. 

Caribbean Coast

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, which includes areas like Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, and Tortuguero, has a distinct weather pattern compared to the Pacific coast. Here’s what you can typically expect in December:

  • Rain: December is part of the rainy season for the Caribbean coast, which means you can expect more frequent rainfall compared to the Pacific side. The rain usually comes in short, intense showers, often in the late afternoon or evening. But, it can sometimes last longer.
  • Temperature: Daytime temperatures usually hover around 81°F to 86°F (27°C to 30°C)
  • Humidity: High humidity is standard, given the tropical rainforest environment. It can often feel quite muggy, especially after a rain shower.
  • Sunshine: Despite being the rainy season, you can still expect periods of sunshine. Mornings are often clear and sunny, with clouds and potential rain building up as the day progresses.
  • Sea Conditions: The Caribbean Sea is warm, with average temperatures usually around 81°F (27°C)

A few tips if you’re visiting the Caribbean coast in December:

  • Be Prepared for Rain: Bring lightweight rain gear, including a waterproof jacket or poncho and quick-drying clothing.
  • Accommodations: Some places might have reduced prices due to it being the off-peak season for this region. However, because it’s a popular time for travel overall in Costa Rica, it’s still a good idea to book accommodations in advance.
  • Flexibility: With the unpredictable weather, it’s useful to be flexible with your plans. For instance, if the morning is sunny, take advantage of outdoor activities early on.

While the Caribbean coast in December can be wetter than other parts of Costa Rica, it also has its unique charm. We like to visit here because it is less crowded.

We suggest visiting Tortuguero for a really unique experience or Cahuita for a chance to explore the Cahuita National Park and go snorkeling along coral reefs. 

Guanacaste

The Guanacaste region, located in the northwest part of Costa Rica on the Pacific coast, has a different climate from the Caribbean side. It is often referred to as the “Gold Coast” due to its sunny weather

Here’s what you can typically expect in December for Guanacaste:

  • Rain: December marks the beginning of the dry season for Guanacaste. During the early part of the month, you might still experience some residual rains from the rainy season, but it becomes drier as the month progresses.
  • Temperature: Daytime temperatures in Guanacaste typically range from 82°F to 91°F (28°C to 33°C)
  • Sunshine: Expect plenty of sunshine in December. This makes it an ideal time for beach activities and outdoor exploration.
  • Sea Conditions: The Pacific waters are usually around 81°F to 84°F (27°C to 29°C)
  • The gorgeous beaches in Guanacaste, like Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Hermosa, offer good conditions for swimming, surfing, and other water activities.

A few tips if you’re visiting the Guanacaste region in December:

  • Sun Protection: With the strong tropical sun, ensure you have sun protection such as high SPF sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Accommodations: December is a peak travel time due to the holidays and the beginning of the dry season. It’s recommended to book accommodations, tours, and transportation in advance.
  • Water Intake: The warmer temperatures and sun can be dehydrating, so always carry a full water bottle with you and stay hydrated, especially if you’re participating in outdoor activities. It always shocks us how fast we get dehydrated when we come back after being away from Costa Rica for a few months.

Nicoya Peninsula

December on the Nicoya Peninsula is a gateway month. The end of the rainy season gives way to the approaching sun-drenched days of great weather.

  1. Rain: The Nicoya Peninsula is transitioning from the rainy season to the dry season in December. This means you can expect drier conditions, especially in the latter half of the month. However, the occasional rain shower or afternoon downpour can still occur early in the month.
  2. Temperature: Being a coastal region, it’s warm and tropical. Daytime temperatures can range from 82°F to 91°F (28°C to 33°C). Evenings are slightly cooler, but still comfortably warm.
  3. Humidity: While the humidity starts to decrease as the dry season approaches, it’s still present, especially after the occasional rain shower. The beach areas can feel muggy at times.
  4. Sunshine: December sees a significant increase in sunny days, particularly as the month progresses. The sun can be quite strong, so precautions are needed if you’re out on the beaches or exploring the coastal towns.
  5. Sea Conditions: The Pacific waters are warm and inviting. The Nicoya Peninsula has some fantastic surfing spots, and December can offer good conditions for both beginners and experienced surfers.

Tips for visiting the Nicoya Peninsula in December:

  • Accommodations: December, being a popular travel month, means accommodations can fill up quickly, especially in popular spots like Santa Teresa. Consider booking in advance.
  • Road Conditions: Some roads in the Nicoya Peninsula can be challenging, especially after rains. If you’re renting a car, a 4×4 might be a good choice.

Central Valley

The Central Valley of Costa Rica, which encompasses cities like San José (the capital), Alajuela, Heredia, and Cartago, offers a unique set of weather conditions compared to the coastal regions.

Here’s what you can generally expect in December:

  • Rain: December in the Central Valley is transitioning from the rainy season to the dry season. So, while you can still expect occasional rain showers, especially in the earlier part of the month, they tend to decrease in frequency and intensity as the month progresses.
  • Temperature: The Central Valley’s elevation provides milder temperatures than the coasts. The daytime average temperature typically ranges between 68°F to 81°F (20°C to 27°C). Nights are cooler, often dropping to around 59°F to 64°F (15°C to 18°C).
  • Wind: The Central Valley tends to get really windy in December. As someone who lives here, it’s actually one of my least favorite times of year. The wind makes it kind of cold (OK…cold is a relative term, but still). Also, note that if you are landing at the San Jose Airport the landing at this time of year can sometimes be a bit bumpy because of the strong winds.
  • Sunshine: As December progresses and the region moves into the dry season, you can expect more clear, sunny days, especially in the latter half of the month.

A few tips if you’re visiting the Central Valley in December:

  • Layer Up: Given the cooler evenings and mornings, it’s a good idea to have a light sweater or jacket handy, especially if you’re out and about during those times.
  • School Vacation: During the end of December, the city clears out as a lot of families head to the beaches. 
  • Markets: Local markets, like the Central Market in San José, are great places to taste local foods, buy souvenirs, and engage with local vendors. This is especially fun in December because you can get the chance to try traditional holiday food items. 

Central Pacific

The Central Pacific region of Costa Rica, which includes popular destinations such as Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Quepos, has its own climatic nuances.

Here’s what you can generally expect in December:

  • Rain: The Central Pacific begins to transition from the rainy season to the dry season in December. The early part of the month may still witness occasional rain showers, especially in the afternoons or evenings, but these decrease as the month progresses.
  • Temperature: You can expect warm temperatures in this part of the country. Daytime highs generally range between 82°F to 91°F (28°C to 33°C). Nights are slightly cooler but still comfortably warm.
  • Humidity: The humidity is noticeable but starts to decrease throughout December as the area enters the dry season. Still, the lush environment can bring bouts of mugginess, especially after rain showers.
  • Sunshine: December sees increasing amounts of sunshine, especially in the latter half of the month. It’s a great time for beach activities and exploring national parks.

A few tips for visiting the Central Pacific region in December:

  • Accommodations: December can be busy due to the holiday season and improving weather. It’s recommended to book accommodations and tours in advance. Plus, this is the closest coast to San Jose. This means that towards the end of December, a lot of locals living in San Jose head here and are booking hotels as well.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most biodiverse areas in the country. If visiting, go early to avoid crowds and increase the chances of wildlife sightings.

South Pacific

The South Pacific region of Costa Rica (also known as the Osa Peninsula), encompasses areas like Puerto Jimenez, Drake Bay, Uvita, and Pavones. It is known for its rich biodiversity and pristine landscapes. 

Here’s what you can expect in December:

  • Rain: The South Pacific tends to have a more extended green season than the Central Pacific. December is a transitional month. There is a reduction in rainfall compared to the previous months. However, occasional showers, especially in the afternoons or evenings, are still possible.
  • Temperature: The South Pacific is warm, with daytime temperatures generally ranging between  82°F to 90°F (28°C to 32°C). Nights are a bit cooler but remain comfortably warm.
  • Humidity: High humidity is typical due to the lush rainforests in the region. The environment can feel quite muggy, especially after rain showers.
  • Sunshine: As the region transitions into the dry season, there’s an increase in sunny days, particularly towards the latter half of December.

A few tips for visiting the South Pacific region at the start of the dry season:

  • Prepare for Rain: Even though the dry season is approaching, having waterproof gear, like a rain jacket or poncho, is essential. Quick-drying clothing and waterproof bags can also be handy.
  • Insect Repellent: Given the dense rainforests and high humidity, mosquitoes and other insects can be prevalent. Definitely bring a good insect repellent.
  • Road Conditions: If you’re driving, be cautious. Some roads, especially those leading to more remote areas, can be challenging, especially after rains.

The Northern Mountains

The Northern Mountains of Costa Rica include prominent destinations like Monteverde and La Fortuna (near Arenal Volcano). This area offers a unique blend of cloud forests, volcanic landscapes, and cooler temperatures. 

Here’s what you can expect in December:

  • Rain: December is the transition from the rainy season to the dry season in the Northern Mountains. While the frequency of rain decreases, especially as the month progresses, Monteverde (being a cloud forest) can still have misty and drizzly conditions.
  • Temperature: Due to its elevation, the region experiences cooler temperatures. In Monteverde, daytime temperatures might range from 64°F to 75° (18°C to 24°C). La Fortuna, is at a lower elevation so it can be a bit warmer. Typically temperatures range from 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C). Nights in both areas are cooler.
  • Humidity: Humidity can be high, especially in Monteverde, where the cloud forest environment creates moist and misty conditions.
  • Sunshine: December sees an increase in sunny days, especially in La Fortuna. However, Monteverde, due to its unique cloud forest ecosystem, can remain overcast even on drier days.
  • Visibility: On clear days, especially after rain, views of the Arenal Volcano from La Fortuna can be spectacular.

A few tips for visiting the Northern Mountains in December:

  • Layered Clothing: Due to the cooler temperatures, especially in Monteverde, it’s recommended to wear layered clothing. A light jacket or sweater can be useful in the evenings and early mornings.
  • Rain Gear: Even though December is dryer, having a rain jacket or poncho is a good idea, especially for Monteverde. Waterproof shoes or boots can also be handy for muddy trails.
  • Advance Bookings: December is a popular travel month, so booking accommodations, especially in places like La Fortuna with views of Arenal Volcano, is recommended.
  • Footwear: If you’re exploring cloud forests or hiking near the volcano, wear sturdy shoes with good grip. Trails can be slippery, especially if it has rained.

What to Pack for Costa Rica in December

When packing for Costa Rica for the month of December, consider the following items:

Essentials

  • Passport & Copies: Always keep a digital or photocopied paper copy as a backup.
  • Travel Insurance Information: You never know what will happen during your vacation in this tropical country. It is always best to have travel insurance. You can get a quote for Heymondo, our go to travel insurance, here.
  • Local Currency (Colones): While many places accept USD, it’s good to have some local currency on hand. Check out our guide to Costa Rican currency for more details.
  • Debit/Credit Cards: Notify your bank of your travel dates to avoid any issues.
  • Adaptors/Converters: Costa Rica uses 110V, 60Hz electricity, the same as the US.

Clothing

  • Lightweight Clothes: Think breathable fabrics. Include both shorts and long pants.
  • T-Shirts & Tank Tops: It’s usually warm during the day.
  • Light Sweater or Jacket: Some areas, especially at higher altitudes, can get chilly at night.
  • Underwear & Socks: Quick-drying types are best.
  • Swimwear: There are beautiful beaches and hot springs!
  • Hat & Sunglasses: For sun protection.
  • Sturdy Sandals: Ideal for beach areas.
  • Hiking Shoes/Boots: If you plan to do any trekking or hiking.
  • Pajamas or Sleepwear.

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Toiletries:

  • Sunscreen: SPF 50 or higher.
  • Insect Repellent: Dengue fever, transmitted by mosquitoes, can be a concern.
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss.
  • Shampoo, Conditioner & Soap: Biodegradable soap is preferable if you’re visiting eco-lodges or remote areas.
  • Deodorant.
  • Personal Medications & First Aid Kit: Include basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. We also suggest motion sickness pills if you have issues with that. The roads here can be really curvy.
  • Travel Towel: We like microfiber towels because they dry fast and can easily fit in your suitcase.

Gadgets:

  • Camera: With charger and extra memory cards.
  • Smartphone & Charger.
  • Power Bank: Handy for day trips.
  • Waterproof Bags or Cases: Protect electronics from unexpected rain showers.
  • Headlamp or Flashlight: Especially if you’re planning any early morning or night excursions.

Miscellaneous:

  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated! We like Lifestraw bottles for the added bacteria filtration.
  • Daypack: For day trips or excursions. We like this waterproof one for hiking and beach days.
  • Biodegradable Wet Wipes.
  • Ziplock Bags: Useful for storing snacks, protecting electronics, etc.
  • Snorkel Gear: If you’re planning to snorkel and don’t want to rent.
  • Books or eReader: For relaxation times.

Optional but Recommended:

  • Spanish Phrasebook or App: While many Costa Ricans speak English, especially in tourist areas, it’s always nice to know a few phrases in Spanish. The free Google Translate app is always great. Just download Spanish ahead of time and you can even use it offline.
  • Binoculars: For wildlife viewing. We have these pocket binoculars and they are great.
  • Portable Travel Clothesline: For drying clothes.

Check out the Complete Costa Rica Packing List for all the Essentials You Need in Your Suitcase (and on that subject….we suggest a large backpack instead of suitcase)

The Best Places to Visit / Places to Avoid in December

costa rica pool

All places in Costa Rica are decent to visit in December. However, there are a few things you should know before choosing your trial destinations.

Places to Visit in December

  • Manuel Antonio National Park: The most popular park in the whole country. It offers an abundance of natural beauty including; white sand beaches dotted with palm trees, lush rainforest, and diverse wildlife including sloths and monkeys. Just get here early in the morning and book your tickets far in advance.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: Experience a high-altitude rainforest with misty conditions, a little rain, rich biodiversity, and canopy tours.
  • Arenal Volcano National Park and La Fortuna: Explore the majestic volcano, take a dip in the thermal hot springs, and enjoy various adventure activities.
  • Corcovado National Park: Located on the Osa Peninsula, it’s considered one of the most biodiverse places on earth. However, it’s a bit more rugged and remote, making it ideal for more adventurous travelers.
  • Tortuguero National Park: Known as the “Amazon of Costa Rica”, it’s a maze of water channels great for boat tours. However, note that this time of the year is outside the main sea turtle nesting season.

Places to Avoid in December

  • Popular Beaches on Weekends: Local families tend to flock to the beaches during weekends in December, especially around Christmas and New Year. These could include Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Tamarindo.
  • Central Pacific Coast: This region, especially around Jacó and Manuel Antonio, can be particularly crowded since it’s easily accessible from San José.
  • Tourist Hotspots During Holidays: The period between Christmas and New Year’s sees a surge in both international and domestic tourism. Book accommodations and day trips well in advance if you’re traveling during this period.
  • Caribbean Coast (Cahuita and Puerto Viejo): December can still be a bit rainy here compared to the Pacific side.

Fun Things to Do in Costa Rica in December

This is the perfect time of year to do the following activities in Costa Rica. 

  • Beach Days: With the dry season starting, beach days are a must. Visit popular spots like Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Playa Flamingo, or the more remote beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula.
  • Surfing: Costa Rica has world-class surfing beaches for both beginners and pros. Check out spots like Santa Teresa, Nosara, and Dominical.
  • Wildlife Watching: Nature lovers will enjoy exploring national parks like Corcovado, Tortuguero, and Manuel Antonio.
  • Zip Lining: Experience the rainforest canopy firsthand. Monteverde and La Fortuna are popular spots for canopy tours.
  • Thermal Springs: Relax in the natural hot springs near the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna.
  • White Water Rafting: The Pacuare and Savegre rivers offer exciting rafting opportunities for both novices and experienced rafters.
  • Hiking: Explore the trails around the Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, or the rugged paths in Corcovado National Park.
  • Scuba Diving & Snorkeling: The waters around the Isla del Coco and the Catalina Islands are excellent for diving. For snorkelers, the waters around Cahuita on the Caribbean coast or Marino Ballena National Park on the Pacific coast are fantastic.
  • Coffee Farm Tours: December is a good time to learn about coffee harvesting and processing. The Central Valley offers several coffee tour options.
  • Local Festivals: December is full of festivities in Costa Rica. You might catch local parades, bullfights (where the bull is not harmed), and other celebrations leading up to Christmas and New Year.
  • Fishing: The Pacific Ocean, especially the area around Quepos and the Osa Peninsula, offers world-class deep-sea fishing opportunities.
  • Bird Watching: With over 900 bird species in Costa Rica, December is a good time for bird enthusiasts, especially in regions like the Quetzales National Park and the cloud forests.
  • Sailing & Sunset Cruises: Enjoy the Pacific coast’s stunning sunsets aboard a sailboat or catamaran.
  • Canyoning & Waterfall Rappelling: Adventurous travelers can explore waterfalls and canyons, especially around the La Fortuna area.
  • Local Gastronomy: Try traditional Costa Rican dishes like gallo pinto, casado, or tamales, which are especially popular during the Christmas season.

December Holidays and Festivities

Here are the holidays and festivities going on in December.

December 8th- Immaculate Conception (La Inmaculada Concepción de María): This is a national holiday, and it’s an important religious celebration for Costa Ricans. Many people attend church services. As it’s a public holiday, banks, government offices, and some businesses are closed.

Mid-December – Festival de la Luz (Festival of Light): Held in San José, this festival marks the beginning of the Christmas season. It includes a nighttime parade with illuminated floats, marching bands, dancers, and fireworks. Thousands of people line up along the streets of San José to witness this event.

December 24th – Christmas Eve: A lot of people attend evening church services and celebrate with their families.

December 25 – Christmas Day (Navidad): Just like many countries around the world, Christmas is a significant holiday in Costa Rica. Families gather to celebrate with feasts, music, and church services. Keep in mind that Costa Rica is a primarily Catholic holiday, so this day is very significant.

On Christmas, the traditional meal is tamales. Tamales are made by families as a fun activity on the days leading up to Christmas. Every family makes them a little different. If you get the chance to try traditional tamales, you do not eat the banana leaf. Undo the twine, peel back the banana leaf, and eat the delicious filling.

December 26 – El Tope Nacional: This is one of the country’s most significant horse parades. It is held in San José. Thousands of riders from all over the country come to participate, showing off their high-stepping horses. It’s pretty cool to see. I had never seen horses walk like that before coming to Costa Rica.

Late December to Early January – Zapote Festival: This festivity is held in the Zapote district of San José on the fair grounds. This festival is known for its traditional bullfights (where the bull is not harmed), carnival rides, games, food stalls, and live music.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja): While not an official public holiday, Costa Ricans celebrate New Year’s Eve with parties, family gatherings, music, dancing, and fireworks. Many beaches along the Pacific coast, like Tamarindo and Jacó, host parties and events. 

January 1st- New Years Day: New Years Day is a national holiday and people will have this day off of work. 

Just Note: This is not a festival or holiday, but the school year ends for Costa Rican students usually the week before Christmas. They will then have their “summer break” and start school again in the middle to end of January.

I tell you this because a lot of Costa Rican families will be traveling around the country as well at this time. 

Booking Transportation in December

We suggest booking your transportation for Costa Rica in December as early as possible. 

With transportation it is not so much about getting the best deals, but more so about getting any transportation at all. 

See, the prices of rental cars and shuttles are usually set ahead of time, so the price won’t necessarily be lower if you reserve far in advance. However, things book out fast.

We work exclusively with a local rental car company called Adobe. They are our absolute favorite rental car company in Costa Rica and they have given us a 10% discount plus other perks to pass on to you. 

They have a huge fleet of new vehicles, but during the peak travel season it is not unusual for them to be completely booked out. So, reserve as early as possible. 

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Costa Rica in December: Weather, Activities, and Tips

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One of the many great things about Adobe is that they allow free cancellation. We suggest reserving as soon as possible and altering your reservation if your plans change.

In our opinion, having a rental car is always the best way to get around the country. It will give you the most flexibility and will allow you to enjoy fun day trips without depending on tours with transportation.

For December, you don’t usually need a 4×4 vehicle, but we suggest booking an SUV for decent clearance for hilly roads.

Another good way to get around is by shuttle. You can get a private shuttle quote from Adobe Transfers here.

For a shared shuttle to anywhere in the entire country, we usually have the best luck with Bookaway. They offer the widest selection of share shuttles with reputable Costa Rican companies.

Booking Hotels in December

As with transportation, we suggest booking your hotels as early as possible. Hotel prices go up a lot in December!

To find a great place without the higher prices it is somewhat essential you book early. This is especially important in coastal areas and popular tourist towns. 

I suggest Booking.com for hotels and VRBO for vacation rentals. Search by places with free cancellation if you are concerned about your plans potentially changing. 

Booking Things to Do in December

Usually in Costa Rica, it is not really necessary to book a lot of day excursions ahead of time. However, for December, I would suggest booking your activities as early as possible.

Our go-to website for booking things to do is Viator. Here you can find adventurous activities, wildlife guides, catamaran tours etc. from reputable Costa Rican travel companies.

We like Viator because it takes out the work of searching for tours yourself and you have the backing of a big company for things like online payments.

We also like Viator because a lot of the tours have free cancellations. 

Travel Tips for Visiting in December

costa rica december
  • Book in Advance: December is a peak tourist month due to holidays and the warm weather. Ensure that you book accommodations, transportation, and tours well in advance.
  • Prepare for Crowds: Popular destinations like Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo, and La Fortuna can get crowded, especially around Christmas and New Year’s.
  • Pack Appropriately: While it’s the beginning of the dry season, brief rain showers can still occur especially in early December. So, pack a lightweight rain jacket. Also, remember essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable footwear for hiking.
  • Drive Safely: If you plan to rent a car, be cautious. While main roads are generally in good condition, secondary roads can be rough, especially after the rainy season. Always check the route and road conditions, especially if traveling to more remote areas.
  • Stay Hydrated: While December is not typically the hottest month of the year, it is still decently warm with high temperatures. Drink plenty of water, especially if you’re out exploring.
  • Be Respectful of Local Customs: December has several religious and cultural holidays. Be respectful, especially if you participate or observe any local celebrations.
  • Budget Accordingly: Prices can be higher in December due to increased demand. This includes accommodations, tours, and sometimes even restaurant prices.
  • Plan Your Itinerary: With the potential for crowds, it’s beneficial to have a planned itinerary, but also be flexible in case you need to make changes. You can check out our vacation planning page to help get you started.

Conclusion: Costa Rica in December

In conclusion, December is a great time to visit Costa Rica. It marks the end of the low season and the start of peak tourist time. You will also likely experience very good weather. 

The downfall of visiting at this time of year is that everything becomes more expensive. The best ways to combat that are to book things early and stay in less popular areas. 

We love Costa Rica in December and are sure you will as well!

If you have any questions about planning your trip to the Central America paradise in December, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you!

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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.

🏄🏽 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.

✈️ 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?

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

🗣️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.