Rainy season in Costa Rica, or green season as it is often called, runs from later April until December. Yes, that is a long rainy season. Although this time is considered the rainy season, it does not mean that you will have non-stop rain. In fact, there is a chance you won’t have any rain at all!
Rainy Season in Costa Rica – Should you visit?
We say yes! In fact, we think rainy season is the best time to be in Costa Rica. Everything is green, all the tourists go home, and prices go down. Sure, you may be blessed with the daily afternoon thunderstorm, but it’s all just part of the experience!
Rainy Season in Costa Rica – What to Expect
See this picture above? ↑ This picture was taken at our favorite beach called Playa Blanca in August.
See this picture below? ↓ This was taken at the same beach about four hours later. We then got nailed with a scary storm.
The rainy season in Costa Rica doesn’t mean that you won’t have sunny days. We actually love traveling in Costa Rica from May through August because although you can expect a rainstorm every afternoon like clockwork, the mornings are amazing! We like to start our day around by 7 am and enjoy the beautiful weather before the rain moves in.
If you are traveling between August and December, it’s a bit iffier. For example, my dad visited last year in late September and he had very few sunny days. In fact, the weather was downright horrible for most of his trip.
It’s hard to say exactly what weather you will get, but either way, you can still have an amazing travel experience.
Plus, if you know the best places to visit during rainy season you can maximize your chances of awesomeness, so let’s talk about where to visit next…
Rainy Season in Costa Rica – The Best Places to Visit
There really is no “bad” places to visit during the rainy season, but there, of course, some spots that seem to get all the rain. For example, although I absolutely love San Gerardo de Dota, it can be really cold and nonstop rainy if you visit later in the rainy season. Monteverde can be pretty similar.
You can expect anywhere on the Pacific coast or in San Jose to have the typical rain storm in the afternoon, but mostly good weather during the morning.
La Fortuna is kind of random. It seems that sometimes the weather is amazing there in July. In fact, the time we had the best views of Arenal Volcano was in July.
If you really want to avoid the rainy season when visiting during the rainy season, just head to the Caribbean coast and explore Tortuguero, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo. The Caribbean coast has an opposite rainy season. You can expect perfect weather.
Pro Tip: Visit Tortuguero between July and November to see turtles laying their eggs. It will be one of the coolest experiences of your life!
Rainy Season in Costa Rica – Fun Rainy Season Activities
Usually, you won’t have to worry about finding things to do in the rain. When the rain moves in we like to just go take a nap because we’ve usually been up since really early enjoying the good weather. We just wait until the rain is over and go out to do more fun activities again. However, on the off chance that you end up visiting at a particularly rainy time, these are the activities we suggest.
Go see a movie
I know, you didn’t come all the way to Costa Rica to go see a film, but sometimes, if the rain is really heavy, it may be your best option. There are several cinemas throughout the country and almost all movies are shown in English with Spanish subtitles. You can expect to have a good selection of the latest movies at a good price. Just ask at your hotel where the nearest cinema is and they can help you out.
Try out some craft beers
Craft beer culture in Costa Rica is brewing (haha total dad pun right there) and we are so excited about it! One of our favorite rainy day activities is finding a local brewery to try some nice beers. Just be warned craft beer can be expensive here because almost all the ingredients have to be imported.
Enjoy each others company
We always pack a deck of cards and our other favorite game, Bohnanza (seriously highly recommend this game) to entertain us while traveling. On rainy days we love to cook lots of food, make good drinks, and play games.
If you want to have a similar experience, we suggest staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel. We love getting a place with a kitchen so we can cook nice meals.
Go to a Hot Spring
If you are in the La Fortuna area why not head to one of the best budget hot springs on a rainy day? I mean, you’re going to get wet anyway right? In fact, we really like doing to the hot springs during rainy days because they tend to be really empty. All of the picnic areas at our favorite hot spring are covered. Just bring some food and you can enjoy a full day of fun!
You can read more about our favorite hot spring here.
Check out a Day Spa
Not exactly a budget activity, but there are some really nice day spas throughout Costa Rica. Most day spas are at the big hotels, but you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy some serious relaxation.
If you are anything like me you will be excited to hear that many of the hot springs have chocolate massages. How cool is that?!?
Do Some Shopping
I know you didn’t come all the way to Costa Rica to go shopping, but I don’t mean at a mall (although if you are in the San Jose area Multiplaza is a pretty nice mall). Lot’s of towns in Costa Rica have streets with nice little shops. Our favorites are Montezuma, Tamarindo, Cahuita, Nosara, and Puerto Viejo.
Check out a Museum
San Jose is home to several nice museums. The three top ones are the Jade Museum, the Children’s Museum, and the Museum of National History. All three museums are in the downtown San Jose area so you can easily check out more than one of them in one day.
Relax at a Cafe
I love finding cute cafes or nice restaurants and just having long lazy lunches. It’s fun to people watch, talk, and just relax! Find a spot with a view and you can enjoy the comforts of being away from the rain while still seeing outside.
See Some Sea Turtles
Had to add this in here because if you visit Costa Rica during the rainy season you have a much higher chance of seeing turtles than all of those none rainy season visitors. I think turtles alone are a reason to visit during this time. Our favorite places to see turtles are Tortuguero, Montezuma, and Ostional. If you plan to be in the Ostional area check out this Facebook page to find out more info on seeing the turtles.
Put Your Rain Gear on and Deal
The rain isn’t much fun, but sometimes you end up visiting during a rainy week, and you still want to enjoy your vacation. In that situation, we just bundle up in our rain gear and enjoy our time anyway. Don’t let the rain get you down!
Rainy Season in Costa Rica – What to Pack
Packing for Costa Rica during the rainy season isn’t that different from packing for Costa Rica during the rest of the year. Here are the few things we think you must have during the rainy season.
-A lightweight rain jacket
Thomas and I both have lightweight rain jackets that can fold up into little pockets. They are great for traveling because they don’t take up much room in your luggage but still protect you from the rain.
-Chacos or Keenes
I’m a huge fan of Chacos and Keenes for Costa Rica and not just during rainy season. I love that they have a solid sole, are comfortable, and dry quickly. I can’t suggest these enough!
-A dry bag
A dry bag is an essential item if you plan on going out in the rain. This is the best way to protect all your stuff. In fact, we recommend a dry bag even for non-rainy beach days in Costa Rica because you never know when things are going to get wet.
-A warm shirt
When the rain starts, the temperature definitely cools off a lot. I like to have some kind of flannel shirt that keeps me warm and I can easily wear buttoned or unbuttoned with a t-shirt underneath. I also always have a warm cardigan with me.
Thomas lives by hooded sweatshirts to keep his head warm as well and flannel shirts because they keep him warm but also look good for a dinner out.
-Lots of bug spray
You can of course by bug spray here, but it tends to be more expensive because it is imported. I suggest bringing some with you from home instead. Just remember, you cannot pack aerosol cans in your suitcase, so buy the normal spray kind and always put it in a ziplock back. There is nothing worse than having your bug spray leak and having your entire suitcase reak of spray. Yes, I know this from experience!
We have a complete post about protecting yourself from mosquitos in Costa Rica here.
-Fast drying shorts/pants
When we know we are going to get soaked Thomas usually wears his swimming shorts because they obviously dry fast. I have several pairs of lightweight shorts that I use for running. I usually wear these because they are comfortable, good for action activities, and dry quickly.
Rainy Season in Costa Rica – Money Saving Tips
Visiting during the rainy season is almost always cheaper in general because prices go way down!
-Rent a car with Adobe. We have partnered with our favorite rental car company in Costa Rica, Adobe to bring you all a 10% to 20% discount. If you are renting a car during the rainy season the price is automatically a lot lower than during the dry season. Plus, rainy season is when Adobe sometimes increases that savings up to 20%. Either way, it’s a really great deal! You can find out more about our discount with Adobe here.
-Check out hotels and Airbnb’s. Hotel prices go way down during the rainy season, but I have found that sometimes Airbnb prices go down even more than hotels do. Definitely, check both to find the best deals.
If it is your first time using Airbnb we have a $25 discount for you. Just click here!
-Don’t hesitate to ask for discounts. Sometimes companies don’t advertise that their price is lower during the rainy season, but they are happy to lower their costs a bit. If you are doing an activity ask if they have a rainy season discount. Just remember, Ticos don’t do well with confrontation so if they say that they don’t have a discounted rate it is best not to push the subject. It will make them very uncomfortable.
-Ask your hotel if they partner with any local companies. It is not unusual for hotels to partner with different activities in the area. Sometimes your hotel might be able to give you a great green season discounted rate on nearby activities.
-Pay attention to when schools are off in Costa Rica. During national holidays and school vacation time things tend to fill up a bit more. If you want maximum saving and minimum crowds, pay attention to these dates before booking your vacation. If you’d like a good list of national holidays, here you go!
I hope this helped you all to plan your trip to Costa Rica during the rainy season. If you have any questions about rainy season in Costa Rica, just leave them in the comment section below. We love to hear from you and are always happy to help you out!
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