Costa Rica in March: How to Plan an Unforgettable Trip

isla tortuga

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Are you dreaming of traveling to Costa Rica in March? With its sunny days and balmy nights, the country offers an idyllic destination to get away from it all.

We have lived in Costa Rica for several years and have become somewhat of self-proclaimed experts on the weather by month and location.

So, to help you make the most out of your trip to Costa Rica in March, we have put together this comprehensive guide covering everything from packing to the best areas to visit and which places to avoid.

Lets get planning your amazing trip!

Should You Travel to Costa Rica in March? 

dry season beach

We say definitely! It’s a good time to visit for really nice weather. 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 into the weather details further in this post, but in general, you can expect perfectly sunning days and warm evenings.

– 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

– 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.

– Costa Rica in March is peak tourism time. A lot of people think it won’t be that crowded because most schools have spring break over Easter. But, that is not true. The country really fills up. 

So, make your reservations early! 

– It is one of the most expensive times to travel. Hotels and activities know that things will book out during the high season, 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.

Costa Rica Weather in March

Costa Rica’s weather in March is typically quite pleasant and enjoyable. Temperatures range from the upper 70’s to mid 80’s Fahrenheit along the coast, while in the higher elevations, temperatures can hover around the mid-60s to low 70s. 

In cloud forest areas like Monteverde, you may experience fog until about 10 am, but even there you most likely won’t have rain. 

The Caribbean coast experiences more rain than other parts of Costa Rica during this time of year, with frequent showers in the late afternoon that usually last for an hour or two. 

costa rica in March infographic

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

Along the Pacific coast, you might experience a decent amount of humidity. So, be warned that hikes may feel a lot more strenuous than you are used to due to the heat and humidity.

What to Pack for Costa Rica in March

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. 

As far as gear, we suggest:

– A good sun-blocking hat

– A glasses strap to keep your sunglasses secure

– A filtered water bottle just to block out any additional bacteria

– Motion sickness pills (for boats and for curvy drives)

– Sunscreen

– Bug spray

– A day pack (preferably a waterproof one for beach days)

– Pocket binoculars for spotting wildlife

The Best Places to Visit / Places to Avoid

guanacaste dry season

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. 

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

Fun Activities at this Time of Year

dominical

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. 

So, do some fishing, go snorkeling, try zip lining, go whitewater rafting, and just relax on the beaches or by a pool. 

Also, another tip, if you plan on visiting the national parks we suggest getting there when they open in the morning. There are two reasons for this.

1. They will be less crowded so you can enjoy the beauty without a lot of other people around.

2. Most animals are morning active and tend to not be as active as the day goes on and there is peak heat.

Booking Transportation

driving dry season

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. 

Our #1 Car Rental Choice
Costa Rica in March: How to Plan an Unforgettable Trip

Adobe Rent-a-Car

  • 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

Just note, that if you are visiting Costa Rica in March, Adobe 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. 

Booking Hotels

We suggest booking your accommodations as far ahead as possible. We like to use Booking.com and reserve places with free cancellations 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 definitely learned to give preference to places with AC because the evenings can stay hot. 

Holidays and Festivals

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 Jose).

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. 

Sometimes Easter falls in March. For this year (2023) that is not the case. It is during the second week of April. However, in 2024 Easter will be at the very end of March. 

I say this because 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

Travel Tips for Visiting in March

isla tortuga close up

– Check out flying into both the San Jose and Liberia Airport for visiting Costa Rica in March. More and more flights are flying into Liberia Airport and sometimes you might find great deals.

We like San Jose Airport because it is centrally located, but Liberia is a lot less hectic and great if you plan to visit the Guanacaste Province or Northern Mountain region

– We have a guide to Costa Rica weather for more info on what to expect all year round and throughout the country.

– 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.

FAQ: Costa Rica in March

What is the weather like in Costa Rica in March?

In coastal areas, temperatures typically range from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (around 29-34 degrees Celsius). In higher altitudes it is slightly cooler, ranging from the mid-70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (around 24-28 degrees Celsius).

What should I wear in Costa Rica in March?

It is best to wear lightweight and breathable fabrics that will provide sun protection. March is typically a very warm time of year, especially along the Pacific coast.

Is March a good time to travel to Costa Rica?

Yes, March is the very end of the dry season. You most likely will not experience any rain at this time of year. However, it is a popular time to visit, so it is best to book your travels early.

How rainy is Costa Rica in March?

Typically, there isn’t any rain in Costa Rica in March. The exception to this is in the cloud forest towns such as Monteverde and San Gerardo de Dota as well as the Caribbean coast.

Is Costa Rica still green in March?

No. Unfortunately, most of the trees and grass are brown in March. The rainy season usually ends in early December so by March everything is dried out.

Conclusion: Costa Rica in March

All in all, March is a great time to visit Costa Rica for perfect weather. Just book your travels early and you will likely have an amazing visit!

Do you have any questions about Costa Rica in March? Leave them in the comment section below and we will help you out!

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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 allow you to visit more off-the-beaten-path destinations and will allow you to take fun day trips on your own.

Save 10% Plus Other Perks with Our Adobe Rental Car Discount

☀️ 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?

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

🌴 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.

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