The best time to travel to Costa Rica
THE WEATHER IN 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.
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.
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.
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.