For a general idea of monthly weather conditions, The World Bank Group has a great tool that shows the average monthly rainfall and temperature in Costa Rica over 20-30 year periods. Now for the monthly breakdown…
The beginning of January is a peak travel season in Costa Rica, as crowds from the Christmas and New Year holidays linger. It is also dry season in Costa Rica, when clear skies accommodate travelers. The beginning months of dry season are particularly appealing as the landscape is still verdant from the recent green season, despite reduced rainfall.
February & March
We’re still in dry season, and the weather remains fantastic. There is generally a spike in tourist traffic over Easter and the week leading up to it. Plan ahead for travel over Presidents’ Day weekend, Spring Break, and Easter. Hotel availability is limited over these popular travel dates, and some hotels increase rates over peak travel dates. Book early.
Wildlife watching: Alaska/California humpback whales; leatherback & hawksbill sea turtles on the Caribbean coast in March; hawksbill, leatherback, green, & olive ridley sea turtles on the Pacific coast
Related Article: Costa Rica Spring Break Survival Guide
April marks the last month of the dry season, although it can last a couple weeks longer in the arid northwest region of Guanacaste. Travelers can still enjoy clear skies, although the vegetation, particularly on the North Pacific Coast, has lost some of its vibrant green sparkle after months of little rain. April is also historically one of the hottest months of the year. If Easter falls in April, you can expect a spike in tourist traffic over the holiday. Plus, there may still be spring break travelers, so you’ll want to book your vacation well in advance.
The start of green season in May is a much needed cool off from the intense heat of the dry season. Temperatures begin to drop as the hotel prices and number of tourists do. May is a bit of a transition month, in which the rain picks up, but not quite at the rate of later green season months.
The rain brings out the best in Costa Rica’s flora. In June, you’ll see a small surge in tourists as the kids get let out of school and family vacations start. Everything begins to look much more green as the rain brings the rainforest to life.
Wildlife watching: loggerhead, green, leatherback, & hawksbill sea turtles on the Caribbean coast; hawksbill, green, & olive ridley sea turtles on the Pacific coast
July & August
It’s green season in Costa Rica, but a brief pocket of sunshine breaks up the rain in July in what locals call veranillo, or little summer. Exact veranillo days and duration vary from year to year, and may even continue into the start of August. Afternoons are rainy with typically clear mornings (perfect for morning tours). The weather is generally good, and hotel prices low. July and August are popular travel times due to less rain, family summer vacations, and active green season wildlife. Some hotels increase their prices in these months.
Wildlife watching: Antarctic humpback whales; loggerhead, green, leatherback, & hawksbill sea turtles on the Caribbean coast; hawksbill, green, & olive ridley sea turtles on the Pacific coast
September & October
This is the peak of green season on the Pacific Coast, but don’t let the rain keep you away. Your opportunities for spotting wildlife are best in green season. Surfing and rafting are fantastic. Hotel availability, prices, and service are at their best. Plus, there are no crowds. You may even find you have the beach all to yourself.
Rain typically clears up on the Caribbean Coast in September & October.
On the typically rainy southern Caribbean Coast, the rain lightens up in September and October, making it a great time to visit. Talk with a Costa Rica Expert about the best destinations to visit during this time of year.
Wildlife watching: Antarctic humpback whales; green, & hawksbill sea turtles on the Caribbean coast; hawksbill, green, & olive ridley sea turtles on the Pacific coast
Related Article: 10 Costa Rica Rainy Season Travel Perks
The end of November marks the start of Costa Rica’s busy season, as holidays and cold weather are a great excuse to escape. November is a bit of a bridge month, when the rain has slowed down, and the crowds begin to trickle in.
The beginning of December is less-crowded, with typically clear skies. We enter peak season for travel at the end of December around the holidays. There is less rain, which means more uninterrupted pool time. With that, hotel prices rise. Our advice is to book your holiday vacations well in advance to reserve the best hotel rooms and take advantage of any early bird specials.
Wildlife watching: Alaska/California humpback whales; hawksbill, leatherback, green, & olive ridley sea turtles on the Pacific coast