Costa Rica in March Travel Guide: Weather and What to Expect

Are you dreaming of traveling to Costa Rica in March? With its sunny days and balmy nights, the country is beautiful in the month of March. However, there are some things you should know before visiting.

We are a couple from the United States and Germany who have been living in Costa Rica since 2016. We know EXACTLY what you can expect when exploring Costa Rica at this time of year because we have done it many times.

So, let’s go through all the pros and cons of March in Costa Rica, the weather in detail, the best spots to visit, what to pack, and insider tips to make sure you get the most of your upcoming vacation in paradise.

Should You Travel to Costa Rica in March? 

Costa Rica in March Travel Guide: Weather and What to Expect

We say definitely! It’s a good time to visit for really nice weather before the rainy season possibly starts in April. However, there are a few things you should know about this time of year. 

Let’s go through the pros and cons of March 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 without 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.
  • Costa Rica is a great place to go to break up the long cold winters of North America or Europe. 

Cons

  • We don’t think it is the most beautiful time of year. Yes, you will have great weather, but it is the peak dry season. This means that by March the plants haven’t had rain for almost three months. Everything gets kind of dried out.
  • It is peak tourism time and considered the height of high season. The country really fills up with tourists. So, make your reservations early! 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In 2024, Easter is on March 31st. The week before Easter tends to be the busiest travel time of year in the country. 

Costa Rica Weather in March

las catalinas costa rica

Costa Rica’s weather in March is typically quite pleasant and enjoyable, depending on which area you are traveling to.

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

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 has the opposite rainy season to the Pacific Coast. In other words, you might experience rain on the Caribbean at this time of year.

March brings warm temperatures, ranging from 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C), with occasional rain showers.

The Caribbean is the perfect retreat if you want to avoid crowds on the Pacific.

Central Valley


The Central Valley, encompasses areas like the capital city of San Jose and the beautiful valley town of Alajuela.

The Central Valley typically has more mild weather than other areas of the country. This is where we live, and it gets warm, but not unbearable.

While March sees increased tourism, the Central Valley remains somewhat calm. Most people don’t spend much time here (but we think it is worth a visit).

Expect mild temperatures, ranging from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C) in March. This makes it a comfortable time for exploring the city, visiting historical sites, and enjoying the scenic landscapes surrounding the valley.

Guanacaste Province

Guanacaste Province, on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, is notably drier than other areas of the country. Sometimes there are even forest fires as the season progresses.

In March, Guanacaste is bustling. The Liberia International Airport makes it easy to access the beautiful beach town and top-notch resorts here.

For a quieter experience near Liberia Airport, consider Playa Avellanas or beaches north of the airport near Santa Rosa National Park.

March brings hot, sunny days with average temperatures ranging from 82°F to 95°F (28°C to 35°C). Evenings remain mild, providing a comfortable setting for outdoor activities and beach outings.

Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula can be very dry like the Guanacaste Province, but typically not to the same extreme.

March sees increased activity on the peninsula, especially with rising tourism around its pristine beaches and charming towns.

For a more tranquil experience, explore Malpaís or Montezuma on the southern tip of the peninsula.

Popular towns like Santa Teresa and Nosara will likely be busy, but they are still fun to visit!

Expect warm and sunny weather in March, with daytime temperatures ranging from 80°F to 95°F (27°C to 35°C).

Northern Mountains

The Northern Mountains of Costa Rica, features La Fortuna and Monteverde. These towns offer a cooler and more lush jungle environment.

In Monteverde, you should expect some rain. It is best to have a rain jacket if visiting here.

La Fortuna should still be dry and you (should) have great Arenal Volcano views.

Anticipate temperatures ranging from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C) in March.

Central Pacific

The Central Pacific region of Costa Rica, encompasses popular destinations like Jaco and Manuel Antonio. This area is known for its beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife, and vibrant coastal atmosphere.

In March, the Central Pacific experiences warm and sunny weather, making it an attractive destination for beachgoers and nature lovers alike.

Expect temperatures ranging from 75°F to 90°F (24°C to 32°C) in March.

South Pacific

The South Pacific region of Costa Rica, featuring gems like Uvita, Drake Bay, Puerto Jimenez, and Corcovado National Park, offers a pristine and less-trodden tropical paradise.

In March, the South Pacific experiences warm temperatures and is known for its lush rainforests and abundant wildlife. This is a great time of year to visit Corcovado National Park.

Anticipate temperatures ranging from 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C) in March.

What to Pack for Costa Rica in March

Costa Rica in March Travel Guide: Weather and What to Expect

Because it is so hot in March I suggest packing lightweight breathable clothes that will protect you from the sun. 

Layers are also a good idea because it doesn’t get cold in the evenings, but it does definitely cool off a bit. 

Essentials:

  • Passport & Copies: Always keep a digital or photocopied paper copy as a backup.
  • Travel Insurance Information: Ensure you have travel insurance for unforeseen circumstances. Get a quote for Heymondo, our recommended travel insurance provider.
  • Local Currency (Colones): Most places accept USD, but it’s good to have some local currency. 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. These are the same outlets/ plugs as the United States.

Clothing:

  • Lightweight Clothes: Opt for breathable fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily.
  • Light Sweater or Jacket: Some areas, especially at higher altitudes, can get chilly at night.
  • Swimwear: Enjoy the beautiful beaches, hotel pools, and hot springs!
  • Hat & Sunglasses: Essential for sun protection.
  • Sturdy Sandals: Ideal for beach areas.
  • Hiking Shoes/Boots: If you plan to do any trekking or hiking.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 50 or higher.
  • Insect Repellent
  • Shampoo, Conditioner & Soap: Biodegradable soap is preferable if you’re visiting eco-lodges or remote areas.
  • Personal Medications & First Aid Kit: Include basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. We have this travel first aid kit which we love. Also, consider motion sickness pills for curvy roads.
  • Travel Towel: Microfiber towels are great. They dry fast and easily fit in your suitcase.

Gadgets:

  • Camera: With charger and extra memory cards.
  • Smartphone & Charger
  • Power Bank: Handy for day trips.
  • Headlamp or Flashlight: The sun sets around 5:45 pm every night here, so a headlamp can be very helpful.

Miscellaneous:

  • Reusable Water Bottle: We like Lifestraw bottles for added bacteria filtration.
  • Daypack: For day trips or excursions. Consider a waterproof one for hiking and beach days. We have this awesome waterproof daypack.
  • 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.
  • Binoculars: For wildlife viewing. Consider pocket binoculars for convenience.

The Best Places to Visit / Places to Avoid

santa teresa costa rica

Really, you can’t go too wrong with any Costa Rican destination in March. If you visit the Caribbean coast you may experience some rain, but it usually isn’t too bad. 

If anything, you may want to avoid more popular tourist destinations on the Pacific coast if you aren’t interested in crowds.

For example, big towns such as Manuel Antonio, Jaco, and Tamarindo might be very full and you’ll be stuck paying peak season prices. This especially applies to the last week of the month in 2024 during Easter Week. 

Instead, check out smaller places such as Uvita/ Dominical, Montezuma, Playa Avellenas, San Gerardo de Dota, and the Osa Peninsula

Fun Things to Do in March

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 fun tours during this time of year without having to worry that they will be canceled due to rain. 

Keep in mind that March is one of the hottest months in Costa Rica. So, take it easy when you arrive as you adjust. It is so easy to get overheated or dehydrated.

In March, some waterfalls might not be as nice due to a lack of rain/ water. However, some waterfalls, like Rio Celeste, are excellent options during this time of the year.

Here are some other fun activities you might consider:

costa rica in March infographic

Booking Transportation in March

Because this is the most expensive time to travel, it also means that car rentals also tend to be very expensive. However, we still think having a rental car is the best way to get around.

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

Save 10% Plus Other Great Perks with Adobe Rent-a-Car

Just note, that in March they sometimes run out of cars because the demand is so high.

So, definitely book early to avoid a last minute struggle to find a vehicle. 

Some other transportation options include private and shared shuttles, domestic flights, and public buses.

Booking Hotels in March

We suggest booking your accommodations as far ahead as possible. 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 it has AC. sometimes you might be fine with just an electric fan, but we have learned to give preference to places with AC because the evenings can stay hot. 

Booking Things to Do in March

Usually, it’s not highly necessary to make activity bookings well in advance. However, in March, 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. Book your tickets for Manuel Antonio as early as possible.

If you would like to organize day tours, we suggest doing that through the Viator website.

Holidays and Festivals in March

easter costa rica

Easter and Holy Week

This year (2024) Easter falls on March 31st. 

The week before Easter is called Semana Santa (Holy Week in English). 

This is one of the most popular travel weeks for not only international tourists but also nationals. Almost everything in the country closes in the week leading up to Easter Sunday and the beaches are filled with family gatherings. 

You can find out more in our guide to Easter in Costa Rica. 

Dia de Boyero

On the second Sunday of March, there is a festival called Día del Boyero, or “Day of the Oxcart Driver” in San Antonio de Escazu (a part of San José).

This fun festival consists of a parade with colorfully painted oxcarts, dancers, musicians, and tons of delicious food.

If you find yourself in the area, definitely check it out for a bit of culture. 

Travel Tips for Visiting in March

  • Check out flying into both the San Jose and Liberia Airports for your trip to Costa Rica. More and more flights are flying into Liberia Airport and sometimes you might find great deals. We like San Jose because it is very centrally located, but Liberia is a lot less hectic and great if you are planning to visit the Guanacaste Province or Northern Mountain region. 
  • Don’t forget travel insurance. Since we suggest booking everything as early as possible. It is always good to have travel insurance for if your travel plans change. 
  • March is considered a peak tourist month in Costa Rica, so it’s advisable to book accommodations, transportation, and tours well in advance to secure your plans.
  • Popular destinations such as Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo, and La Fortuna may experience increased crowds during March. Be prepared for busier attractions and plan accordingly.
  • March can be one of the hotter months, so staying hydrated is crucial, especially when exploring. Drink plenty of water, and consider beverages like Gatorade to replenish electrolytes if needed.
  • Due to heightened demand, prices for accommodations, tours, and even restaurant meals may be higher in March. Budget accordingly to avoid unexpected expenses.
  • Given the potential for crowds, having a well-planned itinerary is beneficial. However, remain flexible in case adjustments are needed. Explore our vacation planning page for assistance in structuring your itinerary.

Conclusion: Costa Rica in March

In conclusion, March is a great time to visit Costa Rica for excellent weather. However, it is the peak of busy season in the country. To have the most enjoyable experience it is best to plan ahead for the perfect March vacation.

If you have any questions about visiting Costa Rica in March don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!

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Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know

๐Ÿš— 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.

๐Ÿ„๐Ÿฝ 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.

๐Ÿ 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.

โœˆ๏ธ 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).

๐Ÿ›๏ธ 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.

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ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.

๐Ÿ’ฐ What is the currency in Costa Rica?

The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colรณn (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas

๐Ÿ“ž 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.

๐ŸŒด 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.

๐Ÿ›‚ Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.

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