Costa Rica is not your traditional northern country. Here you do not have the turn of four different seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. It really only has two seasons, Wet and Dry. The dry season, in particular, is a great time of year for traveling and vacationing. The weather is nice every day and you love every moment of it.
Perks of Coming during the Dry Season
The best reason to travel during the dry season is, of course, you won’t get wet. And secondly, the sun is shining brightly almost every single day. This lets you see more of the country in a shorter time. If you want to see the volcanoes you will have clear skies. Nothing is blocking the way from there majestic views. Whereas during the rainy season it can be pretty foggy.
Going to the beaches during dry season has its pro and its cons. It will be really hot and the sun can get pretty dangerous, especially in Guanacaste where you will mainly experience dry heat. So make sure to pack Factor 50 sun block! But on the plus side, the weather is fabulous every day and you can enjoy the fun beach activities like ATV tours, horseback riding and surfing without being stuck in rainy weather. For the quieter beaches perfect for swimming, you can visit the Gulf of Papagayo and Peninsula Papagayo. For the best surfer beaches for those looking for sone action, head further South to beaches like Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Nosara and Pavones.
During the dry season, or high season, you will get a higher chance to experience sone clear views. Of course, for the more active volcanoes this is not always guaranteed. Volcanoes like Irazu can get cloudy even on the better days!
This is pretty obvious but after being in rain for half the year, it is definitely a welcome change and a great chance to get out and experience the longer days without having to worry about the rains. It also makes places like the Osa Peninsula and even Barra Honda safer and easier to reach.
In general, there are a bunch more thing you have time to do in the dry season. It is true the wet Costa Rica Rain Season can be very beautiful but you won’t get to have as much fun.
A whole lot of Rain!
Like most tropical countries, Costa Rica has a wet and a dry season. When planning a trip here, you will want to make sure that you know what the weather will be like, so you don’t end up disappointed. While there are some benefits to visiting during the Costa Rica rain season, many visitors prefer to avoid this time of year.
As the name suggests, generally you can expect much more rain during the wet season. However, there are regional variations to this rule. The other important thing to note is that, although there is an increase in precipitation, temperatures remain stable year round for the most part.
When is the Costa Rica Rain Season?
The rainy season lasts from May until mid-November. The wettest months are September and October when the country as whole receives and average of 355 and 330 millimeters of rain respectively. May and June are also wet months, but there is a slight decrease in July when levels drop down to an average of 181 millimeters. To put this into context, the nationwide average for January is just 6 millimeters.
Costa Rica’s geography is nothing if not varied, and this variation can make a huge difference to how each region experiences the rain season. Some places get more rain than others, and the Caribbean coast has an entirely different climatic cycle to the rest of the country. The hills and valleys of Costa Rica create an abundance of micro-climates. As clouds break on mountain peaks or get trapped in between ridges, areas which are remarkably close to one another can receive vastly different levels of rain.
The Pacific coast – particularly in the north – is the driest part of the nation. While it follows the same seasonal weather patterns as the rest of the country, the rainfall levels are significantly lower here. To illustrate this, Heredia in the Central Valley can expect an average of 333 millimeters of rain during the month of May, Liberia (in the heart of the Pacific North) only gets 194 millimeters.
If you do find yourself in the Costa Rica rain season and find that you have had enough of the rain, consider visiting the Caribbean. The region experiences more rainfall than the rest of the country across the year, but its driest times are from February to March and September to October. You will find your stay interrupted much less by the weather over here than you would in other parts of the country during these months.
What to expect during the wet season
It goes without saying that you should expect rain during the rainy season, however that does not mean that for six months straight visitors won’t be able to leave their hotels without getting soaked.
The rain usually comes in the afternoons. The mornings are often sunny and dry, meaning that there is plenty of time to get out and see all the great things that Costa Rica has to offer with the added bonus of lusher surroundings.
Advantages to traveling in the Rain Season
Visiting during the Costa Rica rain season can have some real advantages. For a start, there are much fewer travelers around meaning that you might even have some of the sights to yourself. Furthermore, costs come down to attract visitors, so you will find yourself paying less for everything from hotel rooms to tour guides.
There are other reasons why traveling in the wet season might have some advantages. Already a natural paradise, the rain allows the country’s flora and fauna to thrive. This is nesting season for Costa Rica’s turtle population, for example. Thousands of turtles come to the Pacific coast of the country to lay their eggs in the sand, and many people visit just to see this phenomenon. One of the best places to experience this miracle is the Ostional Wildlife Refuge on the Nicoya Peninsula in the Guanacaste Province. In the Osa Peninsula, despite the chances of very rough weather, the rainy season is the best time to try and sport the humpback whales.
If you have come to Costa Rica to explore its rainforests (and the country has some of the best in the world), you will get a more authentic experience during the wet season as the waterfalls are an important part of what makes these ecosystems so unique. In fact, the whole country gets greener, and many people find this more makes it more attractive. After a downpour, the country’s many waterfalls get stronger as the amount of water flowing in the rivers increases. This makes them more impressive and much more photogenic.
The wet season does bring disadvantages as well, however. Apart from the obvious drawback of having to avoid the daily rainfall, it can also make travel difficult. This is only really a problem in the more remote parts of the country, but in these places, the roads can sometimes become difficult to use or completely impassable. The humidity also creates perfect conditions for mosquitos, and you can expect to be bitten more than you would during the dry season.
The wet season is bustling with life and one of the perks is seeing our red-eyed friends the tree frogs. In the Rainforest if you walk silently you may here and see them clinging to a leaf or nearby tree.