The best time to travel to Costa Rica

THE WEATHER IN COSTA RICA

The best time to travel to Costa Rica

There are two climatic zones in the country, on one hand, we have the central valley area that along with the Pacific slope have defined a rainy season between May and November and a dry season between December and April. On the other hand is the slope bathed by the Caribbean where the climate is rainiest and at the same time more variable. Normally the months with the least precipitations and typical Caribbean landscapes are September and October. Otherwise, July and December are the months with the most precipitations.

In general, there is a significant climatic difference between the two coasts. The weather in the Pacific is relatively predictable and responds to the pattern of dry and wet seasons we have mentioned. In the Caribbean, conditions are more unpredictable and things can change quickly from rain to blue sky. Temperature is mostly connected to altitude, and as general information the Pacific coast enjoys an average temperature of 31°C, the Atlantic coast has an average temperature of 27°C and the Central Valley stays at 22°C.

The special Costa Rican relief makes it possible to speak of real microclimates throughout the country, and the main responsible for this is the altitude, which is very variable. All this means, basically, that it is normal that in a hundred kilometers of traject you see a shining sun, a thick fog, an insistent rain and again a blue sky. You have to be prepared for all these changes, so don't forget the sun block, the cap, the rain poncho and the sweatshirt.

The extreme variability of meteorology within very short distances leads to the same thing happening with the landscape, and attend to these drastic transformations of the natural environment is one of the most fascinating experiences that you can live here. This phenomenon is also responsible for the enormous diversity of animals and vegetables that characterizes Costa Rica.

SO WHEN VISIT COSTA RICA?

DECEMBER - APRIL (DRY SEASON)

The high tourism season in Costa Rica is the dry season. The most frequented weeks are Christmas and Easter, when many hotels charge high rates and reservations must be booked in advance.

The months from January to March are the best to visit Costa Rica's South Pacific (Osa Peninsula, Marino Ballena, Uvita...) because the rainy season here is longer than anywhere else.

In the Nicoya Peninsula (Santa Teresa, Malpais, Montezuma...), in the North Pacific, you can experiment months without a single drop of rain. The disadvantage is that the last months of the dry season can be extremely dry, with leafless trees and roads so dusty that motorcyclists have to wear sunglasses and are covered with scarves because of the dust that rises.

On the Caribbean coast, which is rainy all year round, February and March are relatively dry months.

the weather on genuary in Costa Rica on may

MAY (AN INTERESTING MONTH)

The rainy season officially begins in May, but May is not such a rainy month and you have many options to enjoy many sunny days with only a few rains in the afternoon - night. May is also the month when the American traveller escape from the winter and when they start their school holidays, which means that there are groups of travellers but limited all over the place. In short, in May you can enjoy some of Costa Rica's most popular destinations with less crowds and lower prices.

the weather on May in Costa Rica

JUNE - AUGUST (WE ENTER INTO THE RAINY SEASON)

We are already immersed in the rainy season, which means clear and sunny mornings followed by rainfall at the end of the afternoon. If you are looking for a good day on the beach, this is a good opportunity to visit the Nicoya Peninsula, which is drier than the Central Pacific and much drier than the Caribbean coast. This said, you can always be lucky and enjoy consecutive sunny days without rain. The summer is also a common phenomenon that generally offers 1 or 2 weeks of sun from mid to the end of July.

the weather on august in Costa Rica in summer

SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER (THE REAL RAINY SEASON, EXCEPT IN THE CARIBBEAN)

September and October are the official rainy season, with October raining almost continuously. Early in November it often still rains, but the end of November starts to clear things up and the transition to the dry season begins. In the North Pacific (Papagayo Gulf, Tamarindo, Nosara, Liberia...) relatively drier, the dry season often begins early in November.

However, there is an important exception to these rainy months. The Caribbean coast, where September and October are the best months to visit. Although the Caribbean is normally the rainiest part of Costa Rica, September and October have sunny days, calm seas, lsea turtles that lay their eggs and good low season prices.

weather in Costa Rica on september and november

What To Pack For Costa Rica

Take note of the things you can't forget:

  • light clothing that dries quickly
  • a raincoat
  • a sweatshirt
  • sandals
  • trecking shoes with well-fitting soles
  • a hat
  • swimwear
  • shoes that don't slip for rafting and other water sports
  • a waist bag
  • 7 x 24 binoculars
  • a flashlight
  • sun protection and mosquito repellent
  • adapter for the plugs (voltage in Costa Rica is 120)

BAGGAGE REGULATIONS FOR DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

how to prepare your luggage

About luggage on Fly Sansa and Nature Air domestic flights

Nature Air flights booked through Rutas:
The maximum checked luggage may not exceed 13 kg per passenger.
Hand luggage, maximum 4 kg per passenger
Fly Sansa flights booked through Rutas:
Maximum checked luggage may not exceed 14 kg per passenger.
Hand luggage, maximum 4 kg per passenger

Nature Air

Hand luggage

Any passenger may carry hand luggage as long as it does not exceed 4.54kg (10 pounds) in weight or linear dimensions of 84 centimeters (length + width + height) if it exceeds the weight or dimensions allowed by the fare the passenger purchased at the time of his reservation, it will be checked and will be considered and charged as excess luggage. Any type of medication that the passenger needs during their vacation must be carried in their hand luggage.

Checked Baggage

Every passenger is allowed to bring a luggage with a maximum size of 127 centimeters (length + width + height). Any baggage exceeding the stipulated maximum weight and size (according to the type of fee, see below) will be considered and checked as additional baggage or excess baggage.

Baggage of more than 27 kg or dimensions over and above those allowed will be subject to disponibility. Tariff class and authorized weight:

Type Checked Luggage Hand Luggage
Flex * 13 kg 4 kg
Promo 7 kg 4 kg
Locos 2 kg 4 kg

* This is the type of luggage we will book with Rutas Costa Rica

Excess luggage must be paid for at the airport before you travel. All luggage is subject to space availability . The following charges apply:

Extra Weight Charge
1-2 kg $ 15
3-5 kg $ 35
7-13 kg $ 60
14-27 kg $ 90

If you travel with oversized or heavy luggage (such as surfboards, golf clubs, fishing equipment among others) you must pay a penalty of $30USD per piece. However, for safety or operational conditions, this type of luggage may not be accepted for transportation on the flight, which is why it will be sent on the next available flight under the absolute responsibility of the passenger. In case of delayed luggage, the responsibility of the company is committed to deliver the luggage at the final destination of the passenger (up to 8 kilometers away from the airport).

Golf equipment, fishing, surfboards, bicycles and any other sports equipment not included in this list, as well as musical instruments and others, are subject to space at the airport at the time of check-in. Fees for these items are $30USD per piece for each flight.

Tortuguero and Punta Islita excess luggage will be charged roundtrip at the Pavas airport at the beginning of your trip, due to the fact that there are no staff to perform these charges.

FLY SANSA

Permitted Luggage Allowance

SANSA SANSA (flights operated at Cessna Grand Caravan): 1 piece with a maximum weight of 30 lbs./ 14kg of 45 inches / 114 cm. (length + height + width).

Hand Luggage

It is permitted to carry only one piece of hand luggage with a maximum weight of 10 pounds /4.5 kg of 20 pgl./ 50 cm (length + height + width).

In addition, each passenger may be carried in their cabin, under their custody and at no additional cost:

  1. Women's bag.
  2. Reading material
  3. Infant food to consume in the flight.
  4. Coat or blanket.
  5. Camera or binoculars.
  6. Laptop computer.
  7. In case of space limitations in the cabin, you may be required to document your luggage.

Excess Luggage Charge

It can only be transported by paying an additional fee for this concept. Overweight and additional pieces travel subject to the space available on the plane. For each additional pound a charge of $1 USD applies.

Sports Equipment

You may check sports equipment as part of your luggage allowance, if you check it as an extra piece (in addition to your luggage allowance) it may be subject to over dimension and/or overweight charges, as well as being subject to space availability. One item per passenger of the following sports equipment is allowed with a charge of 30 USD per way:

  • Fishing: 2 rods, 1 pair of boots and 1 net
  • Golf: 1 bag with up to 14 golf clubs (up to 62 inches), 1 pair of golf shoes, 12 balls (all secured inside the bag)
  • Diving: 1 air regulator, 2 rubber fins, 1 conventional harpoon, 1 mask, 1 rubber suit and 1 weight belt.
  • Archery: 1 bow and arrows, packed in a suitcase designed for this purpose.
  • Skiing: 1 pair of skis, 2 poles, boots and shoes.
  • Bicycles: 1 bicycle is accepted in its respective protective bag and subject to the availability of weight and space. Tires must be deflated for transportation.

Surfboards

Dimensions: Maximum length of 6.7 feet/2 mts.
Quantity: 1 Surfboard per passenger, per flight.
Charge: Charge per board is $30 USD per way.
Handling: Surfboards are not part of the free baggage allowance and are considered subject to space.

Useful tips when packing your surfboards:

  • The fins must be removed.
  • Clothing or other items are not allowed inside the package.
  • Damaged or tamper-resistant packaging is not accepted.
  • Damaged boards are not accepted.
  • It cannot be transported as part of your luggage:
    • 1. Windsurf boards
    • 2. Kayaks
    • 3. Surfboards that exceed 6.7 feet/2.0 meters in length.
    • 4. Diving Tanks

PASSPORTS AND DOCUMENTATION

What documents do I need to travel to Costa Rica?

Your passport must be valid, and must keep validity for six months after your arrival. You will also need to show your flight ticket to leave the country. Presenting both things you will be stay in Costa Rica a maximum of 90 days.

If your flight stops in the United States, your passport must be machine-readable and you will have to apply for ESTA. Here you can find out how to do it: https://www.esta.es/.

As always, it's a good idea to send to yourself an email before you travel. Include in it the key information about passport numbers, insurance, telephone numbers and any other information that may be necessary to help you.

Which papers do you need to enter Costa Rica

HOW SAFE IS TRAVEL TO COSTA RICA?

When you are preparing a trip to Costa Rica or when you are thinking of visiting Central America we always keep in mind the fact about insecurity and violence. The bad reputation and crime levels are unfortunately higher than in other parts of the world, although they don't deserve it. However, there are also many places that are very safe for visitors and there would be nothing to fear.

Here are some tips for good travel:

1. Avoiding Obsolete Information

Security levels can change in a few years. For example, Costa Rica and Panama are one of the safest countries in Central America. Nicaragua, on the other hand, which was going to become a safe country and we were writing this in this section, is now being devastated by political and civil disturbances that unfortunately make us recommend that for the moment don't visit the country.

The other destinations that appear in this web, don't have any problem and we can say that right now it is safe to travel through New York, Miami, Panama or Cuba.

Be sure to check out the year of the travel guide you have or the website you are visiting. Your information may not have been updated long ago. Try to collect information for at least the last three years and you will surely have a better idea of what is happening in Central America. Luckily, things have changed for the better in most cases.

2. More caution in capitals

If there is a consistent pattern in Central America, it is that capital cities have the worst levels of crime, often contributing greatly to crime statistics in the country in general (while the rest of the country experiences less problems). Taking official taxis at night and staying in a hostel/hotel located in a good neighborhood, will avoid problems.

On the other hand, capitals are not the most representative of Central American countries. Compared to Asian countries where a visit to Ha Noi or Bangkok, you would never escape, in these lands this doesn't happen. So it is better not to waste too much time in these cities.

Recommendations: take the official taxis, do not walk at night and choose accommodation located in safe areas.

3. Common sense

If you are one of those who like the night, you need to know and inform yourself, depending on where you are, the areas you need to avoid, if there are any. Do not show jewelry or objects of value that attract attention. Leave your passport and valuables in the hotel safe.

If you're going to spend the day at one of Costa Rica's wonderful beaches, it's better not to carry anything of value.

Avoid beaches at night. Normally these are not illuminated and therefore are not safe.

4. Knowledge is power

Rutas Costa Rica has in all these countries people who will be in charge of information of the situation of every place. They are there to welcome you and to answer all your questions.

On the other hand, it is necessary to consider very much the information of the personnel of reception of the hotels that can guide you in those days that are planned as days off.


all trips include an International Travel Insurance

All our trips include an International Travel Insurance with Travel Assistance and Cancellation Insurance.

Inquiry Warranties

Costa Rica is a safe and quiet country, and the kindness of the Ticos makes it very pleasant to travel through the area. But that doesn't mean you can leave prudence and common sense at home: keep an eye on your backpack or wallet and if you go out at night, it should be in crowded and rather touristy places. Remember to leave valuables things safe in the hotel's safe box if your room doesn't have one.

TRANSPORTATION IN COSTA RICA

How to get around Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a public bus network and private companies that covers the routes between different tourist destinations.

Cities are full of taxis, recognizable by their red color and the yellow triangle on the front doors. All legal taxis have a taximeter (called maría) and for the first kilometer they usually charge about 560 colones (1 dollar).

For the time being, internal Costa Rican flights are handled by Fly Sansa. There are also charter flights with Aero Caribe and Aerobell.

To offer our personalized itineraries, in Rutas América we use private transportation and domestic flights. This gives us the possibility to choose different combinations and allows us to move more comfortably and quickly. Local flights are usually short (the longest is around fifty minutes) in small planes, which gives the opportunity to enjoy the experience of flying over Costa Rica at low altitude.

Discover a new way to travel with Rutas Costa Rica!