Best time to visit Costa Rica

temperature & rainfall

Despite its skimpy scale, Costa Rica's mountains, rainforests, cloud forests and Pacific and Caribbean coasts mean that temperatures and rainfall vary wildly. Late Dec-April are driest and sunniest and the northern Pacific experiences the least rain, but this is still rainforest: bring waterproofs and quick drying clothes regardless of the season. San José and the Central Valley are springlike year-round, while high peaks experience frost. The cool, misty cloud forests provide respite from the lowland heat – as well as the relentless bugs.

When to visit Costa Rica

a month by month guide

The start of the year, in January and February, is considered one of the best times to go to Costa Rica however, be aware that the lack of rain will attract more crowds and higher prices so don’t think that you’re going to get things all your own way.

March and April are still relatively dry months but getting into May and June you’ll find afternoon and evening rainstorms are becoming more frequent which, to be honest, is no bad thing.

July and August continue in the same vein weather-wise but will also attract a few more families thanks to Europeans and North Americans breaking up for the summer hols. If you do come at this time, the Pacific coast will be slightly drier than the Caribbean. This is also the start of peak turtle nesting season in Tortuguero - it continues right through to October.

The majority of Costa Rica’s rain will fall in September and October with rivers swelling and rural areas, including the Osa Peninsula, shutting down completely due to impassable roads and fallen trees.

November will still find a few mild showers but as the year draws to a close you’ll find the dry season starting in earnest during December with an abundance of gorgeous green foliage to match the ever exciting animal encounters.

Best time to visit Costa Rica recommends

David Orrock, from our supplier Pura Aventura, shares his advice on the best time to visit Costa Rica: “It’s hard to advise when to go because one of the things that makes Costa Rica so amazing is the insane amount of microclimates and ecosystems. I wouldn’t advise someone not to go in the rainy season – because that covers seven months of the year! It’s known as the “green season” so you’ll see some rain but being a tropical country there’s always that chance in Costa Rica anyway. We take families in July and August but we don’t hear that they’ve had any issues.”
Tenille Moore, from our supplier Geodyssey, shares her advice on the best time to visit Costa Rica: “The best place for beach is the north Pacific side, as that’s the driest part of the country. So if you’re there in July or August, that’s the place to go. There are microclimates around the southern Caribbean. It can be quite wet at that time of year, but not in October, for example. For a small country it’s quite variable!”
Photo credits: [Temp chart background - Rio Aguajitas: Trish Hartmann] [rt recommends - canopy bridge: Fran Devinney] [The arribada: Brandon Schabes]
Written by Vicki Brown
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