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Should you visit Costa Rica in November?
We think yes!
November is a bit of a transition month in Costa Rica. Things are starting to dry up, but there might still be a decent amount of rain, especially during the first half of the month.
Everything will be lush green and there will be way fewer tourists than at other times of the year.
We have lived in Costa Rica for several years and have been through many Novembers. We now know the best things to do, places to visit, and places to avoid.
We created this guide to give you a good overview of what to expect in November in Costa Rica. From weather to fun activities to what to pack; we’ve got you covered.
Let’s get to it!
Should You Visit Costa Rica in November?
There are definitely many pros for a trip to Costa Rica in November and many cons as well. Let’s go through them all…
Pros of Visiting Costa Rica in November
- The landscape is in full bloom. Everything will be super lush green and vibrant. It is an ideal time for nature lovers and photographers.
- With the high season yet to kick in, November allows for a more relaxed trip to Costa Rica without the influx of tourists.
- Prices for hotels, transportation, and activities are much lower than they will be in December and January.
- If you like fishing, this is a good time of year for snook, marlin, roosterfish, and snapper.
- Surfing conditions on the Pacific Coast should still be really good.
Cons of Visiting in November
- Some services and accommodations might be undergoing maintenance or closed in preparation for the high season.
- Some regions, especially the more remote ones, might be less accessible due to the lingering effects of the rainy season, like muddy trails and higher river levels.
- It is still technically Costa Rica’s rainy season and the weather will be unpredictable, especially at the beginning of the month.
Yes, the weather will be somewhat unpredictable in November. However, in our opinion, it’s not a bad time to visit.
If you are debating about visiting Costa Rica in November or waiting until the dry season, go for November.
If possible, the last two weeks of November and the first week of December should be decent for the weather and prices should still be low.
The dry season is great, but the cost and over-saturation of tourists is a bit much.
Bring your rain gear and be prepared that you’ll just need to be flexible with your plans due to the weather.
Travel Tip: Get up early and enjoy the sunny mornings. It is very unusual to have rain all day in November (especially later in the month). If it does rain it will likely only be for an hour or two in the afternoon.
Costa Rica Weather in November
The Costa Rica weather in November is a mix of sun and rain with the weather clearing towards the end of the month.
It really could go either way.
Sunrise: Around 5:30 AM
Sunset: Around 5:15 PM
Travel Tip: Ignore the weather forecast. They seem to predict rain every day even when it doesn’t rain at all.
Guanacaste notoriously has the driest weather in the country. This area tends to get its dry season a little sooner than the rest of the country.
In other words, if you really don’t want rain, Guanacaste is probably your best option.
The days are mostly sunny with clear skies with temperatures hovering around 80°F (27°C).
It’s the place to be if you want to catch the early vibes of the dry season mixed with the lingering greenery of the rainy season.
Central Valley and San Jose
The mornings in the Central Valley are usually bright and sunny in November.
The afternoons might see some rainfall, but it’s usually light and short-lived.
The temperature stays pleasantly cool, ranging between 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C).
Towards the end of the month and in early December it can get very windy here.
The Central Pacific region transitions from the rainy to the dry season in November. The rain is tapering off, making way for more sunny days and blue skies.
There will like be occasional rain showers. Usually, these will be in the afternoon.
The daytime temperature is warm but comfortable, averaging around 80°F (27°C).
This is a good time of year to visit Manuel Antonio National Park before the crowds of the dry season.
In November, the Caribbean side of Costa Rica is somewhat unpredictable. This coast typically has the opposite rainy season as the Pacific side of the country.
Showers can be quite frequent, but it’s hard to predict when. Sometimes it might rain all day. Sometimes it might rain all night. Sometimes it might not rain at all.
I know, I am absolutely zero help.
What to Pack for Costa Rica in November
When packing for Costa Rica in November, consider the following items:
- Rain Gear: A waterproof jacket or poncho for frequent rain showers.
- Lightweight Clothing: Breathable fabrics like cotton or linen for the warm climate.
- Swimwear: Because you will most likely enjoy some beach and pool days.
- Sun Protection: High SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Hiking Gear: Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots and waterproof shoes for wet terrains.
- Insect Repellent: Reliable insect repellent for exploring rainforests and for in the evenings.
- Binoculars: For optimal wildlife viewing. We have this pair of pocket binoculars that we love.
- Camera: To capture the stunning landscapes and exotic animals.
- Warm Clothing: A cozy sweater or light jacket for cooler nights or mountain areas.
- Reusable Water Bottle: To stay hydrated in the tropical climate and be eco-friendly. Our go-to is LifeStraw for the added filtration.
- Travel Documents: Passport, travel insurance documents, and other necessary paperwork.
- Emergency Kit: Basic first aid supplies and any personal medication needed.
- Snorkeling Gear: If planning on exploring underwater, having your own gear can be handy.
Fun Things to Do in Costa Rica in November
Explore Corcovado National Park
The lush post-rainy season landscapes make it a prime time for wildlife spotting. You need to visit the national park with a guide, so the fewer tourists in November definitely add to the experience.
Visit a Coffee Farm
November is the peak of the coffee harvest season, and visiting a coffee farm might allow you to see the harvest in action.
Hike in the Cloud Forests of Monteverde
The refreshing weather and lush surroundings make it an ideal time to explore the misty trails and spot the rich biodiversity of the cloud forests. Zip lining in Monteverde at this time of year is also great.
Hot Springs Relaxation in La Fortuna
The cooler evenings in November are perfect for soaking in the thermal waters and enjoying the views of Arenal Volcano.
Sea Turtle Nesting in Ostional Wildlife Refuge
It’s the arribada season, where thousands of olive ridley sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs. It is, hands down, now of the coolest things you can experience in this country.
Fishing on the North Pacific Coast
The fish are plentiful, making it a great time for both inshore and offshore fishing experiences.
Surfing in Santa Teresa
In November, there are consistent swells and less crowded beaches. It makes Santa Teresa a surfers’ paradise for those looking to catch the perfect wave.
Holiday and Festivities in Costa Rica in November
There are not any national holidays in Costa Rica in November. This means that schools, banks, government institutions etc. are open as normal.
However, there are two holidays/ festivals that are celebrated.
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Date: November 2nd
This is a day when Costa Ricans honor and remember their deceased loved ones. It’s a reflective and celebratory day where people visit cemeteries to decorate graves with flowers, light candles, and sometimes share meals.
It’s not as festive as the same holiday in Mexico, but it’s significant and is observed by many.
If you happen to be near a cemetery on November 2nd you might spot some people celebrating. Of course, always be respectful and don’t take pictures, but it is an interesting cultural experience to witness.
Coffee Picking Festivities
As I mentioned above, November is typically the prime time for coffee bean picking to occur. I was searching for some festivals that you can attend, but I couldn’t find any.
Instead, I think the best way to enjoy this is by going on a coffee farm tour. This will allow you to see the coffee production process and maybe you’ll get to see them harvesting the beans.
Booking Transportation in November
We always suggest renting a car if you can. Having a car will grant you the freedom to explore, and soak in every bit of this tropical paradise at your own pace.
Renting a 4×4 vehicle is a smart move. This is particularly true if your plans will take you to some destinations with unpaved roads such as Monteverde, certain parts of the Nicoya Peninsula, and down at the Osa Peninsula.
The main river crossings you might encounter are near places like Nosara, Puerto Jimenez, Mal Pais and Montezuma. In November the water levels will be at their highest and you most likely will be unable to pass.
Adobe Rent-A-Car is our go-to car rental company in Costa Rica. They have excellent customer service, are upfront with their costs, and are just overall a great company.
We’ve got an exclusive 10% discount and some other great perks to pass on to you with Adobe.
- 10% discount for Costa Rica Vibes readers
- Free second driver
- 0% deductible on Liability Protection Insurance
- Excellent customer service
- New fleet of well-maintained vehicles
Booking Hotels in November
November in Costa Rica is a quieter travel time, so you should have a ton of hotel options!
It’s a great opportunity to nab some attractive deals and pick your ideal spot.
Just note some hotels close for November due to the lower demand and to get ready for the high season.
Travel Tips for Visiting in November
Be Cautious of Flash Flooding: Flash floods are a reality; be vigilant. If a stream or river turns muddy suddenly, evacuate immediately. A flash flood might be on its way.
Be Careful of Slippery Surfaces: Safety measures in Costa Rica are often not up to the standards you are probably used to. It’s important to use your judgement, especially near waterfalls where there often aren’t fences and there are slippery surfaces. Keep a safe distance to avoid any mishaps.
Purchase Travel Insurance: You never know what us going to happen. It’s always good to ensure you are covered for any changes in travel plans or any injuries. I suggest considering Heymondo. They are our go-to travel insurance company in Costa Rica.
Do You Have Travel Insurance?
Don’t let unexpected medical expenses or trip interruptions overshadow your dream Costa Rican vacation.
Book in Advance: While November is not peak travel time, it’s always a good idea to book accommodations ahead of time so you can have the best variety and get the best deals.
Watch out for Mosquitoes: With the rainy season, there may be more mosquitoes. Use insect repellent regularly, especially in the evenings. This country does sometimes have cases of dengue or zika.
Embrace the Pura Vida: Immerse in the local culture, enjoy the natural beauty, and just go with the flow. It’s the Costa Rican way!
Conclusion: Costa Rica in November
In conclusion, November is not the perfect time to visit Costa Rica for good weather, but it will be more affordable and there will be fewer tourists.
If you are willing to be flexible with your planned activities and pack a variety of clothing for all weather, you will likely have a great time!
If you have any questions about the Costa Rica weather in November or anything else about this time of year, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you plan!
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Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know
🚗 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 allow you to visit more off-the-beaten-path destinations and will allow you to take fun day trips on your own.
☀️ Should I buy travel insurance for Costa Rica?
Yes, travel insurance is always a good idea. It is not just for illness or injury, but also lost luggage, delayed trips, and more!
We like Heymondo for Costa Rica travel insurance.
✈️ 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
🌴 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.