If you live somewhere that gets cold, (like the UK) you probably can’t wait to plan your getaway to Costa Rica. But when maybe the best time of year to visit Central America? In this post, we’ll go over the best (and worst) time to go to Costa Rica depending on weather, peak travel times, cost, and more.
The Climate of Costa Rica
Costa Rica has 2 distinct seasons: A dry season that runs from December through to April, and a rainy season that runs from May through November. The peak travel season is usually when people visit coincides with the dry season, and handily, North America’s and Europe’s winters.
Dry Season: The Safest Time to Visit
We’ll make a case for why the rainy season really isn’t that terrible below, however if you’re one among those that are very troubled about rain ruining your vacation, plan your visit during the dry season.
Most areas of the country see little to no rain between mid-December and April, so you don’t have to worry about having to change your plans based on the weather.
The dry season is the best time to go to certain attractions in Costa Rica.
- For example, Poas Volcano tends to get fogged in during the rainy months and might be that way during your entire stay. But throughout the dry season, you’re very likely to get to see it with clear skies.
- Certain hikes are also better in the dry season. If you’re trekking Mt. Chirripo, you’ll have the best chance of seeing both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean from the top throughout the dry months.
- Similarly, the Rio Celeste Waterfall gets muddled with sediment during rainstorms, skewing its characteristic bright blue hue.
- The trails at parks and reserves in the wet Southern Zone, like Corcovado National Park, tend to get very muddy during the rainy season.
- One of the most popular activities Snorkelling is best in this season because visibility is also better when there’s less rain and runoff to cloud the water.
The In Between Months: A Good Time to Visit if You’re Flexible
If you’re somewhat versatile with your plans, think about visiting Costa Rica during the supposed hedge months in between seasons. November to early December and may through August are nice times of year to travel.
Not only can temperatures be a bit more pleasurable and the rainforest nice and green, you’ll also avoid the large crowds and find cheaper costs. Hotels and rental cars tend to be cheaper, and tour prices are easier to negotiate.
Monsoon Season: For the Brave
There are a few parts of Costa Rica that you can visit with ease during much of the rainy season. In drier areas like Guanacaste, showers begin in the afternoon or evening and tend to last for only a few hours. But if you’ve got only a week or two to get away, there are certain times of year you’ll want to avoid.
The rainiest months normally are September and October. During this point, you might have several days in a row with prolonged periods of rain, which can make it difficult to get out and explore. For this reason, we recommend avoiding travel to Costa Rica during this time for all but the most adventurous travellers.
Events & Festivals
Other times of year that you may want to avoid are popular holidays. The weeks around Christmas and New Years are the busiest travel times in Costa Rica. Locals get time off during the week leading up to Christmas, all the way until after New Year’s Day, and go on holiday with their families. Not just that, but this is a popular time for tourists to travel as well. The same is true for Semana Santa (Easter week).
- El Tope and Carnival (December)
- Festejos Populares (December)
- Copa del Cafe (January)
- Palmares Fiestas (January)
- Santa Cruz Fiesta (January)
- Diabilitos Fiesta (January)
- National Orchid Show (March)
- Juan Santamaría Day (April)
- Virgin of the Seas Fiesta (July)
- Annexation of Guanacaste Day (July)
- Independence Day (September)
- Maiz Fiesta (October)
- Limon Carnival (October)
If money is no worry and you book in advance, the best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season since you don’t have to worry about rain.
If you’re more flexible and want to save a few pennies, visit during the hedge months of November to early December and May through August
Lastly unless you like a challenge avoid most of the rainy season and the weeks around Christmas, New Years, and Easter
We hope you got some insight into the best time to visit Costa Rica.