If you are wondering what the best time to visit Costa Rica is, you have come to the right place. We will take you on a journey of Costa Rica through its seasons and tell you everything you need to know about the best time to go to Costa Rica.
Being a Central American country, Costa Rica gets classified as a region that receives high rainfall. From gorgeous beaches to over 16 volcanoes, Costa Rica has everything a tourist can ask for. Furthermore, its capital, San Jose, houses various culturally vital structures, such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Its flora & fauna is sure to amaze you and your family. Hence, you should definitely consider visiting this country.
However, we must examine its weather cycle before we ascertain the best time to visit Costa Rica for you. Unlike most places, Costa Rica experiences a two-season cycle. In this, the country only has dry and rainy seasons. Since the rain does not co-operate with outdoor activities, the dry season is the best time to visit Costa Rica.
But don’t make your decision yet, as the dry season is not the absolute best time to go to Costa Rica. Let’s look into this matter in a bit more depth.
What is the Absolute Best Time to Visit Costa Rica?
Many may argue that the dry season is the best time to visit Costa Rica. It is because of the horrendous and heavy storms during the rainy season. In worst situations, the roads get closed, and floods may appear, ruining your trip.
However, the short window between the dry and rainy seasons in Costa Rica is when you should visit it. The early rain showers will lift your mood, and temperatures are best to roam around the country. The greenery is at its peak, meaning you will get a lot of chances to become photogenic.
The short window between the dry and rainy seasons in Costa Rica is when you should visit it.
Hence, if you ever plan a trip to Costa Rica, ensure to visit in May or August. If that’s not possible, take up the alternative dry season. The window of December to March is when many tourists plan their trip to Costa Rica.
Dry Season is the Best Time to Visit Costa Rica
If you don’t want to worry about rain ruining your trip, consider visiting in the dry season. The country does not receive much rainfall between December and April. Furthermore, some places in Costa Rica require sunlight if you want to enjoy them.
For instance, you cannot see the pure beauty of the Paos Volcano in Costa Rica during the rainy season as it gets fogged. Contrarily, Poas Volcano under the clear skies is truly mesmerizing.
You cannot see the pure beauty of the Paos Volcano in Costa Rica during the rainy season as it gets fogged.
In addition, many hiking tours function better between December and April. Let’s take the example of Mt. Chirripo. From here, you can see all of the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the top. However, this is only possible during the dry months because the skies are clear. In the rainy season, you won’t be able to see anything.
Another example is Rio Celeste Waterfall. You can see its pristine blue water only in the dry seasons. Why? Because the rainstorms distort their blue color as the sediments settle. Similarly, Corcovado National Park should be visited between December and April as the mud settles on its path.
From the above scenarios, it is safe to say that the best time to visit Costa Rica is between December and April. This way, one can enjoy the vacation without worrying about the rain wrecking their plans.
Things to Do in Costa Rica During the Dry Season
- Go trekking on Mt. Chirripo
- See the Volcanoes of Costa Rica
- Visit the Corcovado National Park
- Hike to the Rio Celeste Waterfall
- Visit the Manuel Antonio National Park
- See Costa Rica’s wildlife at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Are There Any Potential Drawbacks?
Well, every good thing has to come with some drawbacks. The dry season may get clear skies, but temperatures may reach the upper-90s or 32°C. Hence, you may feel hotter if you are not accustomed to the weather. As you get closer to the coastlines, the situation gets worse due to high humidity.
Since the region does not receive much rain throughout the season, you may not find the lush green vegetation. The rivers and waterfalls dry out, meaning you won’t be able to enjoy your trip. Hence, the dry season may not be the best time to visit Costa Rica.
Another concerning factor for many tourists is the price levels. Since it is the time when tourists are at their peak, the prices are high. If you are a budget traveler, these things may refrain you from visiting Costa Rica between December and April.
Are the Shoulder or Hedge Months Best Time to Visit Costa Rica?
As mentioned, the months bringing the transition between the hot and dry seasons are the best time to visit Costa Rica. These are also known as the shoulder or hedge months. Ideally, the hedge months begin in Late November and last till mid-December. Similarly, the May and August months also get categorized as hedge months.
The primary advantage of visiting Costa Rica in hedge months is the lush greenery of Costa Rica. The rainforests look gorgeous due to the light rainfall, meaning you can do most outdoor activities. Furthermore, it is the best time to visit Costa Rica to avoid crowds and get inexpensive deals.
If you are flexible with traveling, the hedge months are the absolute best time to visit Costa Rica. You can do almost every activity you would do if you came in the dry season. Hence, do not stop yourself due to the meager rainfall and enjoy your itinerary to Costa Rica in the shoulder months.
Things to Do in Costa Rica During the Shoulder Months
- Enroll in a guided river tour like the Palo Verdes Boat Tour.
- See the scenic views of Costa Rica’s Rainforest.
- Visit the gorgeous waterfalls and volcanoes of Costa Rica.
- Bathe in the hot springs.
- Visit the national parks.
- See the Jade Museum.
Should You Avoid Costa Rica During Rainy Season?
The rainy season is one of the things you should try to avoid when traveling to Costa Rica. The country receives the highest precipitation in September and October.
Furthermore, they are the months when the tourist numbers are at their lowest. Why? Because your whole vacation will get carried away with the downpour of Costa Rica. You won’t get the chance to go out and explore the lush greenery of the country.
Hence, it is always better not to plan a trip to Costa Rica during the rainy season. However, if you do schedule an expedition, the Caribbean coast should be your destination. Cahuita and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca remain dry in September and October. Hence, they are one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica during the rainy season.
Things to Do in Costa Rica in Rainy Season
- Admire the beautiful sunsets from the top of the mountain
- Visit San Jose
- Spend time with friends & family at the hotel
- Eat the Costa Rican Delicacies
- Go surfing and kayaking on the Caribbean coast
Wrapping It Up!
Costa Rica is one of the best places to spend your holidays. Its beautiful beaches and volcanoes will make you fall in love with the country. When it comes to the best time to visit Costa Rica, we always recommend the shoulder months.
You can enjoy the green landscapes and rainforests of Costa Rica. Furthermore, shoulder months provide opportunities to relish the country’s outdoor activities. If that’s not possible, dry months are the best time to visit Costa Rica.
When is the hottest in Costa Rica?
The temperatures in Costa Rica reach a whooping 92°F/33°C in March and April. These months are the pinnacle of the dry season, where you won't notice the country's lush vegetation. However, the end of the peak also marks the onset of shoulder months.
What should I not do in Costa Rica?
On your trip to Costa Rica, you will find plenty of activities to enjoy. However, there are some things you should avoid in Costa Rica. These include:
1. Buying drugs
2. Over speeding
3. Swimming in front of a surf break
4. Bathing in the river
5. Disturbing the wildlife
6. Not drinking enough water
How long will it take to stay in Costa Rica?
If you come during the best time to visit Costa Rica, you need at least ten days to cover everything the country offers. Furthermore, a two-week itinerary is also a good option as you can roam in Costa Rica without any time restrictions.
What is the best thing to do in Costa Rica?
One thing that you should not miss in Costa Rica is the Parque Nacional Corcovado. You will find the largest collection of flora & fauna of Costa Rica here. Furthermore, walking through the pacific beaches is delightful for any tourist. Some wildlife you will find here includes the tapirs, the elusive jaguars, scarlet macaws, squirrel monkeys, and many more.