Complete Guide to Spending September in Costa Rica

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If you’re looking for the best time to visit Costa Rica for low-season prices, fewer tourists, and ample opportunities for wildlife spotting — you’ll love spending September in Costa Rica!

September falls during the rainy season in Costa Rica, which means that generally, the country receives more rainfall and cloud cover as a whole. However, there are still fabulous places to visit in Costa Rica (listed below) that receive a reprieve from the rainy September weather — and you’ll love exploring these lush rainforests and coastal areas with fewer crowds.

Costa Rica Weather in September

September falls during the rainy season (green season) in Costa Rica. The average temperatures in Costa Rica in September are generally warm — daytime temperatures reach 83°F on average, and low temperatures dip to 59°F at night. September is the rainiest month of the rainy season in Costa Rica, with an average of 12–16 inches of rain. Most of the rainfall in September and October occurs on the Pacific Coast.

September is one of the few months of the year when the Pacific Coast is rainier than the Caribbean Coast. September is actually the start of a short “dry season” on the Caribbean Coast, so it’s an ideal time to visit famous attractions on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, like Puerto Viejo. September also brings drier conditions to specific locations in the Central Valley, so it’s a great month to visit Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Several palm trees on the beach in Costa Rica in September.
Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast enjoys less rain than the Pacific Coast in September.

Events & Celebrations in September in Costa Rica

If you visit Costa Rica in September, you’ll be around for two of the most exciting events for Costa Ricans — Costa Rican Independence Day and the Parade of Lanterns.


Costa Rican Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia)

Costa Rica’s Independence Day falls on September 15th and marks the day when Costa Rica gained its independence from Spain in 1821. On September 15th, all businesses, schools, banks, and offices close to celebrate with parades, live music, street parties, and dancing. Though Independence Day is a massive holiday for Costa Ricans, if you’re visiting during this important day, you can still expect grocery stores and other tourist attractions to stay open — so it won’t interrupt your vacation.

A woman standing in a traditional red, white, and blue dress and a straw hat during a parade during Costa Rican Independence Day.
Celebrate Costa Rican Independence Day by partaking in the parades, street parties, and live music that occur around the city.


Parade of Lanterns

The Parade of Lanterns, also known as the Lantern Parade, takes place the evening before Independence Day on September 14th. During this event, schoolchildren and their families carry ornately decorated lanterns to the town center to reenact the announcement of Costa Rica’s independence in 1821 by lighting up the town. This event is also celebrated in neighboring countries in Central America, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

Three young children in white t-shirts carrying a lantern through the city in Costa Rica.
The Parade of Lanterns is a fun, family-friendly event celebrated throughout Central America the day before Costa Rican Independence Day.

Best Things to Do When Visiting Costa Rica in September

There are several great places to visit in Costa Rica in September that will either allow you to escape the wet season or embrace the benefits of the September weather — like lush vegetation and active wildlife.


Sea Turtle Nesting Season on the Caribbean Coast

September is one of the few months of the sea turtle nesting season on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, which lasts from July to October. Tortuguero National Park is one of the best places to see these nesting turtles lay their eggs and the mad dash of baby green sea turtles toward the ocean.

A close-up of a green sea turtle swimming in the turquoise water in Costa Rica.
Head to Tortuguero National Park in September to catch the end of sea turtle nesting season on the Caribbean Coast.


Whale-Watching Season on the Pacific Coast

September in Costa Rica is one of the best months for whale watching along the Pacific side of the country. You can join whale-watching tours from the Manuel Antonio Coast, or you can see humpback whales breed, nurse their young, and teach them how to dive, feed, and play at Marino Ballena National Park. Even though both of these destinations are on the rainy Pacific Coast — it’s worth braving the rain to see these majestic creatures in action!

A humpback whale jumping out of the ocean in front of a green mountain with a boat of people a few feet away in Costa Rica.
There are many cool opportunities for whale-watching along the Pacific Coast during September — just remember to bring a rain jacket!


Arenal Volcano National Park

The Talamanca Mountains — which hold Arenal Volcano — are among the best places to visit in Costa Rica in September. The clouds that usually obscure most of this magnificent volcano often break in September, giving you a gorgeous view of the peak. You can also take advantage of the clear weather to enjoy activities like hiking to the La Fortuna Waterfall and relaxing in the bubbling hot springs.

A volcano covered with clouds and surrounded by lush greenery, with an eagle flying in front of the volcano.
Head to Arenal Volcano National Park in September to see this spectacular landmark without as much cloud cover as in other months.

Plan Your September Trip to Costa Rica with Special Places of Costa Rica

Take advantage of the lower prices and smaller crowds before the high season kicks in by visiting Costa Rica in September. While you might have a few more rainy days than during the dry season, you’ll also be able to enjoy ample opportunities for wildlife watching, the beautiful beaches on the Caribbean Coast, and the fun festivities of Independence Day.

A yellow-bellied bird with black markings sitting on a branch in a tree in Costa Rica.
September is a great time to visit Costa Rica if you want to see the wildlife on the land, in the air, and beneath the sea, come out to play!

If you plan to visit Costa Rica in September, we hope you’ll stay in one of our beachfront homes, condos, villas, or luxury properties in the Guanacaste Province. Book your vacation rental for September to snag some of our best deals of the year — and contact us with any questions about your reservation in the meantime

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