What's the best time to visit Costa Rica? The answer's in the question – What kind of vacation do you want?
In just a few years, the land of pura vida has become a traveler’s dream destination. As a result, many people are wondering when is the best time to visit Costa Rica? This beautiful island has something for absolutely everyone. As a hotspot for nature enthusiasts and surf lovers, this is the place to be for beach scenes, great food, and epic rainforest hiking.
So what is drawing you here? Is it sun and surf? How about the wildlife trails? You should know that there ideal and not so ideal times to book your vacation. But don’t sweat it. We’ll break it all down for you. Whether you’re seeking to snag a steal on flights or craving warm waters and cloudless skies, we’ve broken down the best time to visit Costa Rica for every type of vacation.
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica: Types of Seasons
Costa Rica has two seasons. There’s the wet and the dry. The months are also broken down by category. There’s the high season, low, and green months. These tell you about the level of tourist activity. Are you looking to skip the crowds? Do you mind getting caught in a little rain? When you’re deciding what the best time to visit Costa Rica for you looks like, these are some of the questions you should consider. Here’s what you need to know.
The Dry Season and the High Season
It’s a given. Crowds are drawn to warm weather and sunshine. After all, who doesn’t want to lie on a beach and fall asleep under an azure blue sky? But the good weather probably isn’t on the calendar months you would expect it to be. After all, you have to remember that Costa Rica has many microclimates.
If you want to visit during the peak season, November through mid April offer the most sunshine. During the dry season, there is virtually no rainfall. Think pure blue skies, cool mornings and evenings, and plenty of beaming sun throughout the day. This picturesque climate is every tropical vacation seeker’s paradise. Here’s another perk. There are far fewer mosquitoes during the summer months.
As odd as it may be to have a tropical Christmas, this holiday season could be the best time to visit Costa Rica. Christmas, New Years, and Easter Week are all big deals here. Due to the ideal weather conditions, the dry season is more busy and expensive than the wet season. This means that if you plan on visiting during this time, you should book your transportation and accommodations as far in advance as you can.
As a general rule of thumb, this is a good way to save money when you are traveling. Here’s another heads up. Are you looking to stay in Playa Guiones, Langosta, or Santa Teresa? You should know that it can be very dry and dusty during these months. So prepare yourself for a bit of wind before you pack your travel essentials.
The Green Season
What is the green season? From the end of April through May, Costa Rica brings the rain. After the end of six wonderful albeit dry months, the locals are more than ready for these showers. Hot, mountain forest fires are quenched. Wildlife can shorten their routes in search of water and the dry, barren hills spring forth into a lush green climate again. If you want a tip from us, avoid visiting Costa Rica during the end of April altogether. When the first rain falls and touches the arid soil, the land dances with new life.
The green season stretches from May all the way to the very end of August. While some travelers avoid visiting during these months, for us, it is the best time to visit Costa Rica. Not only are tourists far and few between, but you get stretches of beach all to yourself. Who doesn’t want to go swimming in the rain?
As if that doesn’t sound dreamy enough, you can snag better deals too. Green season means substantially lower prices. You will get cheaper rates on car rentals, flights, hotels, restaurants – you name it. This is a great time for adventurous travelers who want to see the green side of Costa Rica without putting too much of a dent in their pocketbook. When visiting during the green season, it is important to bring bug spray. The downside is that there are pesky mosquitoes and lots of them.
The Rainy Season and the Low Season
Here’s something you should know when considering the best time to visit Costa Rica. September and October get the most rainfall out of the entire year. This is no joke. To put this in perspective, there are times when it pours for the entire day. If you visit during these months, trying to plan activities will be a gamble.
For those coming for some R&R, you can find solace inside some dreamy eco-lodges. Are you seeking some five-star accommodation? Think incredible rainforest views, delightful spa services, and delicious food. But that’s not all. Did we mention we found some hotels with hot tubs in your rooms and hot springs outside?
Picture being tucked away in a private suite high above the jungle floor and a cloud forest. You’re drinking a glass of champagne on the open balcony, the cool breeze blowing on your face. As the clouds roll by, you get the front seat show to the refreshing rain beating a soft rhythm on the leaves and trees below. Who knows? Maybe the wet season is just the vacation you’ve been needing.
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica: Vacation Goals
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Activities
When you are considering the best time to visit Costa Rica, consider what activities you would like to do. This beautiful island has no shortage when it comes to fun. Surfing, hiking, camping, zip lining, and jungle tours are just a few of the activities here. Nature lovers might want to go bird watching and wildlife spotting. What about visiting the Caribbean coast and cloud forests? Read on.
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Wildlife Viewing
Costa Rica is home to some of the most diverse species on the planet. With the exceptional amount of national parks and wildlife refuges in the country, nature lovers have everything they need at their fingertips. What are the best times to visit Costa Rica for wildlife viewing? Common species like the Capuchin monkey can be seen and heard all year around.
However, more elusive species like the sea turtle can be found on the Caribbean coast. The best time to see them is between February and October. To view leatherback turtles, you should visit between April and May (yes, late April is the driest time). A good tip is to get up before the sunrise.
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Bird Watching
Most of the native birds can be spotted year-long. With this said, the best time to watch birds is during the dry season from November through April. During this time, the birds come out more often and the singing can be heard everywhere. If you’re looking to spot some migratory birds, you have a good window from September through November. The famous quetzal can often be found eating avocados in the cloud forests in the dry season.
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Surfing
All over the world, surfers come to seek out Costa Rica’s prime waves. The Nicoya Peninsula is the top spot on the island. If you’re a beginner, the best time to go for the crests is March and April. For those seeking the big waves, the rainier months of September and October are prime times to visit.
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica to Enjoy the Caribbean Coast
Have you heard of Limon Province? Even from photos, you can see that it is vastly different than the Pacific edge. Here, travelers can experience the influence of Afro-Caribbean culture along with a mellow pace of life. While this isn’t a popular tourist spot, that’s part of its allure. Who doesn’t want a little more of the beach to themselves?
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica’s Cloud Forests
Have you ever heard of Monteverde? As Costa Rica’s most popular rainforest, you’ll find picturesque trails winding up to mountaintops. As you ascend, the fog gets so thick, you feel like you’re walking in the clouds. While this is a beautiful experience, it’s much more enjoyable during the dry season than the wet.
The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica to Snag Good Deals
We get it. Traveling can be hard on your pocketbook. But the good news is it doesn’t have to be. As we previously mentioned, the cost fluctuation comes with the high and low seasons. During the high season, visitors flock to the beaches to escape the coldness of winter. Hotel prices, airfare, restaurants, tours, and other travel packages are all inflated during this time.
All in all, Costa Rica is a pretty affordable travel destination. But if you’re looking to save money, the green season and wet season are much cheaper. There’s less demand from tourists in the United States and Europe.
What to Bring with You During Your Visit
Alright. It’s time to get down to the packing list. What should you bring with you on your trip? During the dry season, the temperature can be a bit harsh. Make sure to wear eco-friendly sunscreen. It’s also good practice to bring a hat, some long-sleeve cool lightweight shirts, good sunglasses, hiking sandals, and a reusable water bottle so you can stay hydrated on the go. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are common among unprepared travelers. And while the mosquitoes are less prevalent during the summer months, you should still bring some good bug repellent.
Book Your Costa Rican Dream Vacation
We hope you enjoyed reading our article on the best time to visit Costa Rica. As you can see, this country is filled with natural beauty, rich culture, and so many amazing opportunities for adventure. Plus, it's such a budget-friendly destination!
Now that you know all about the best time to visit Costa Rica, it’s time to book your dream trip. What kind of vacation are you seeking? Whether you are coming for nature observation, adventure, surf, sun, or sand, this country has it all and more. Let us know your plans to visit the land of pura vida.
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