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Rickshaw Travel
Costa Rica, Panama & Nicaragua
Beach with palm trees in Costa Rica

Best time to visit Costa Rica

Climate and weather

Costa Rica might be little in size but it’s definitely big in weather systems. There are all kinds of different climates going on in the different regions throughout the year. This means that choosing when to travel to Costa Rica really does come down to your personal priorities, whether that’s spotting wildlife in the cloud forest, lazing on sunny beaches, learning to surf or a mix of all three!

Broadly speaking the dry season runs from December to May, when the official rainy season begins. The temperature during the day swings between 24 and 29°C across both the dry and wet season. We believe that the wet season can be the best time to travel as the rainforests are in full bloom and everything turns a rich, deep green. It’s also a great way to avoid the crowds of the drier months. Our best advice – take along a swimsuit and a waterproof and you’ll be ready to face whatever Costa Rica has in store.

Costa Rica Average weather conditions chart
Costa Rica Average temperatures chart

Pacific Coast

The dry season on the Pacific coast runs from December to April. There still may be afternoon showers during this period, but we’re pretty sure you’ll welcome these because they really do clear the air. There’s also usually a gentle ocean breeze to keep you refreshed while you laze on the beach. From May to November the rain falls more regularly and during September and October the swells are perfect for surfers. The further south you travel on the Pacific Coast, the more rain you’re likely to see.

Pacific coast Costa Rica Dolphin wildlife spotting
Costa Rica Caribbean Beach

Caribbean Coast

Along the Caribbean coast, the temperature is around 28°C throughout the year. There is no real dry or wet season. The climate is influenced by winds and weather conditions on the Atlantic Ocean. When it rains it is in the form of short, heavy tropical downpours and shouldn’t affect your enjoyment at all. There is less rain in January, February and March and from August-September there is a short dry period. If it does rain, the day usually starts bright and the rain comes late in the afternoon.

Central Valleys

Central Costa Rica including San Jose is known invitingly as ‘The Land of Eternal Spring’. It’s fresh, mild and almost impossibly green. The actual temperature and rainfall depends on your height above sea level. From 600 to 1650 metres, which includes San Jose, Monteverde Cloudforest and Arenal Volcano, the average daytime temperature is a balmy 25°C. Again, it can rain anytime, but that’s all part of the magic. The highlands are much cooler, so you’ll need warmer gear if you’re heading for higher ground, and the temperature drops to about 7°C on the high peaks of the Chirripo and the Irazu volcano.

Costa Rica hanging bridge through the rainforest