Costa Rica in October: Weather, Spots to Visit, Things to Do

Should you visit Costa Rica in October? 

October is when the rain in Costa Rica can be at its worst. However, that means that everything will be lush green and there are way fewer tourists than at other times of the year.  

We have lived in Costa Rica for several years and have been through many Octobers in this country. We now know the best things to do, places to visit, and places to avoid. 

So get ready to discover the weather during October in Costa Rica, and find out the most captivating destinations to visit during this time. 

Let’s get to it!

Should You Visit Costa Rica in October?

Pros of Visiting in October

Although October is peak rainy season in Costa Rica, there are still some perks at visiting at this time of year .

  • Fewer Tourists: With fewer crowds, you can enjoy the tranquility of serene beaches, national parks, and other attractions. Trust us, it is completely different than the high season. 
  • Lush greenery: October is when the country is at its greenest, offering stunning views and opportunities for wildlife spotting. There is something to be said for experiencing a jungle country like Costa Rica when it is actually completely lush. 
  • Charming rain showers: The rain showers are generally short and in the late afternoons, bringing a certain charm and freshness to the atmosphere.
  • Ideal surfing conditions: October is a great time for surfing, with the Pacific Coast offering world-class waves.
  • Lower costs: Travel and accommodation costs tend to be lower in this off-peak season, making it a more affordable choice for budget travelers.

Cons of Visiting in October

However, visiting Costa Rica in October also has its disadvantages:

  • Rainfall: October is one of the wettest months in Costa Rica, which might disrupt your travel plans.
  • Road Conditions: Keep in mind that the rains can affect road conditions from time to time. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of flooded roads in this country!
  • Wildlife Spotting: The lush greenery is a haven for wildlife, but spotting them might be a bit more challenging when there’s heavy rainfall. Keep your eyes peeled!
  • Limited Things to Do: When heavy rains hit, it’s possible that some outdoor activities may be unavailable or restricted. For instance, white water rafting might not be safe during this time of year.
  • Business Closures: Just a heads up, some businesses, especially in beach areas, tend to close during the wet season because there are usually fewer tourists around..

Our Opinion

If you’re a nature enthusiast who doesn’t mind the occasional rain shower and is on a budget, visiting Costa Rica in October could be a fantastic choice. The landscapes are at their greenest, and you’ll have the chance to ride some incredible waves if you’re into surfing. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that there might be disruptions to your plans due to rainfall, limited activities, and potential travel difficulties caused by road conditions. 

So, we suggest considering your comfort with humidity, possible travel disruptions, and the likelihood of some businesses being closed before making your decision.

For us, October is the month that I start to really crave cold weather. It’s as if this change of seasons is in my blood from growing up in New England. I crave apple pies, pumpkins, hayrides, and foliage haha.

We always make a trip to San Gerardo de Dota in October because it is cold and rainy and only 1.5 hours from San Jose. After about 4 days there I feel like I’ve gotten my fix of cold weather and can return to warm weather life. 

Costa Rica Weather in October

costa rica october weather

The weather in Costa Rica can vary depending on which area of the country you are in. Let’s go through what you can expect in each region.

Guanacaste Province

  • Expect occasional afternoon showers and thunderstorms.
  • The weather remains hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 78°F to 95°F (25°C to 35°C).
  • Lush green landscapes due to recent rains.

Nicoya Peninsula

  • Occasional afternoon downpours can be expected, but it’s generally sunny in the mornings.
  • Temperatures range from 78°F to 95°F (25°C to 35°C), with high humidity.

Northern Mountains

  • October is part of the rainy season
  • Expect frequent showers, often in the late afternoon or evening.
  • The temperatures range from 70°F to 86°F (21°C to 30°C), making it cooler than coastal areas.

Central Valley

  • October is still within the rainy season in the Central Valley.
  • Rainfall can vary, but it tends to be less intense than in coastal regions.
  • Temperatures range from 64°F to 79°F (18°C to 26°C), and the region can experience some overcast days.

Central and South Pacific

  • October is part of the rainy season in Puntarenas.
  • Expect frequent afternoon showers, but mornings can be sunny.
  • Temperatures range from 75°F to 88°F (24°C to 31°C), with high humidity.

Osa Peninsula

  • October is considered the rainiest month in the Osa Peninsula.
  • Expect heavy rainfall and thunderstorms, often throughout the day.
  • Temperatures range from 73°F to 88°F (23°C to 31°C), and humidity is high.

Caribbean Coast

  • October is still within the rainy season on the Caribbean Coast.
  • Expect significant rainfall, and the region may experience occasional hurricanes or tropical storms.
  • Temperatures range from 73°F to 86°F (23°C to 30°C), with high humidity.

The sun rises in Costa Rica around 5:45 AM in October and sets around 6:00 PM each day. So no matter where you go, you’ll have plenty of time to explore all that this gorgeous country has to offer!

Also, keep in mind that Costa Rica does not change their clocks for daylight savings time in October like you may be used to.

Despite the rain, the tropical landscapes are lush and vibrant during this period. 

What to Pack for Costa Rica in October

When packing for Costa Rica in October, consider the following items:

  • Lightweight clothing: Since temperatures can be high, pack breathable, lightweight clothing. Don’t forget your swimwear for those beach days.
  • Rain gear: A waterproof jacket or poncho is essential due to the frequent rain showers in October.
  • Sun protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are must-haves to protect you from the tropical sun.
  • Hiking gear: If you plan to explore the mountains or forests, sturdy walking shoes, hiking boots, or water shoes are necessary.
  • Insect repellent: To protect against bugs in the rainforest.
  • Binoculars and camera: For wildlife viewing and capturing the stunning landscapes.
  • Warm clothing: Pack a couple of warm items for cooler nights or trips to the mountains.
  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated is key in the tropical climate.
  • Snorkeling equipment: If you plan to snorkel but prefer using your own gear.
  • Travel documents: Don’t forget your passport, travel insurance documents, and any other necessary paperwork.

Check out our rainy season packing list for more ideas

The Best Places to Visit / Places to Avoid in October

costa rica beach october

The Best Places to Visit in October

  • Caribbean Coast: It most likely won’t be completely dry, but the Caribbean will be a bit more dry than the Pacific Coast. 
  • Ostional: This is usually peak turtle nesting season. Ostional is difficult to get to at this time of year because the trip involves some river crossings (which can be flooded), but keep up with the turtle nesting schedule and visit if possible. 
  • Pavones: If you are interested in surfing, the swells at Pavones are usually at their biggest around this time of year. 
  • Manuel Antonio National Park: Despite occasional rain showers in October, the park’s beaches and hiking trails are less crowded, providing a more peaceful experience.

Places to Avoid in October

  • Corcovado National Park: The park entrance at Sirene is closed in October
  • Monteverde: If you don’t want heavy constant rain, it’s best to avoid Monteverde. 

Fun Things to Do in Costa Rica in October

costa rica catarata del toro
  • Experience the Limón Carnival: October is an incredible time to experience the vibrant culture of Costa Rica at the Limón Carnival. Celebrated in the city of Limón on the Caribbean coast, this week-long extravaganza hosts parades, live music, and street food, all culminating on Columbus Day (October 12th).
  • Go Bird Watching in Quetzales National Park: The park is home to a variety of bird species, including the resplendent Quetzal, one of the most beautiful birds in the world. October is an excellent time for bird watching here, as the lush green scenery provides a stunning backdrop.
  • Enjoy a Retreat: I think October is a great month to take a wellness retreat in Costa Rica. The prices are down and the rain brings a sort of peace and calm over the country. You can check out upcoming retreats here
  • Check out a Museum: If you are in San Jose, there are plenty of indoor activities to do such as exploring one of the many museums. 

Booking Transportation in October

When you’re traveling in Costa Rica, we highly recommend renting a car. It’s the best way to have the flexibility to get around and explore. 

If you’re visiting in October, renting a 4×4 vehicle is a good idea, especially if you’ll be in Monteverde, Nosara area, or any other remote town with steep hills.

Why? Well, certain parts of the country have roads that may not be in the best condition, especially during the rainy season when dirt roads can become more challenging to navigate. Keep in mind that there are river crossings in some areas like Nosara, Purto Jimenez, and the back road between Mal Pais and Montezuma.

During the dry season, river crossings are usually not a problem as the water level is low. But in the rainy season, the water level can rise, and you may not be able to cross the rivers. 

Safety first, right?

By the way, we have an awesome recommendation for a local rental car company called Adobe. They’re our favorite!

#1 Pick
Costa Rica in October: Weather, Spots to Visit, Things to Do

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

In October, rental cars are usually more budget-friendly compared to the high season. Plus, we have an exclusive 10% discount and other amazing perks just for you! 

Booking Hotels in October

In October, you’ll have plenty of hotel options to choose from as it’s not a peak travel time. 

This means you can score some great deals and enjoy the freedom to pick the perfect accommodation for your stay.

Just keep in mind that a few hotels might close temporarily during this period due to lower demand. 

So, while you have flexibility and affordability on your side, it’s always a good idea to double-check the availability of your preferred hotels.

Holiday & Festivals in October

October in Costa Rica is a time of pure celebration and festivity in Limon. This event is called “Carnival of Limón.” 

This awesome festival is a burst of color, music, and dance, all in honor of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in 1502.

Get ready to party for an entire week and experience the grand parade on October 12th. 

It’s extra special because it’s also the Day of Cultures, a national holiday that celebrates the rich multicultural and multiracial aspects of Costa Rican society.

Travel Tips for Visiting in October

Costa Rica in October: Weather, Spots to Visit, Things to Do
  • Watch out for flash flooding. Unfortunately, it does happen and can definitely be scary. If you see a stream or river suddenly turn muddy, that’s a sign to get out ASAP. A flash flood is likely on its way.
  • Also, keep in mind that things can get slippery after a rainstorm. Just so you know, in some places, there might not be the same level of safety measures you’re used to back home. It’s up to you to use your judgment. For instance, at waterfalls, there’s often no fencing around the base or top. In the past, people have gotten seriously hurt or even killed by getting too close to the edge and slipping. So, take care out there! 
  • Don’t forget to book travel insurance. This will cover you for if your travel plans change, you get injured, etc. We suggest booking your insurance with Heymondo, our go-to Costa Rica travel insurance company. 

Do You Have Travel Insurance?

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FAQ: Costa Rica in October

Does it rain all day in Costa Rica in October?

In Costa Rica in October, it doesn’t typically rain all day, but you can expect frequent afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Mornings are often drier, allowing for outdoor activities, while rain tends to be more common in the afternoons and evenings.

Is October a good time to go to Costa Rica?

October can be a good time to visit Costa Rica for travelers who don’t mind occasional rain, as it offers fewer crowds, lower prices, and lush green landscapes. However, those seeking dry weather and extensive outdoor activities may prefer to visit during the dry season from December to April.

Is it hurricane season in Costa Rica in October?

The Caribbean coast is more susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms during this time of year. However, hurricanes are rare.

Conclusion

In conclusion, October in Costa Rica brings a unique set of pros and cons. It is a great time to visit if you are on a budget, but you will have to contend with daily rain.

If you have any questions about visiting at this time of year don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!

You Should Also Check Out:

Costa Rica in September: Plan Your Visit

Costa Rica in November: Weather and What to Expect

Costa Rica Dry Season: What to Expect

Costa Rica Rainy Season: What to Expect

Costa Rica Rainy Season Packing List

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 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.