Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

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Whens the best time to visit Costa Rica? Costa Rica is filled with endless adventure — beautiful beaches, incredible wildlife, volcanoes, tons of fun activities to try, and incredibly friendly people. You might come to Costa Rica to escape the cold, or to chill out, or

Most travelers head to Costa Rica during the winter months to escape cold temperatures further north. This also coincides with Costa Rica’s dry season, which makes it wonderful for weather but very busy on the ground, with high prices and big tourist crowds.

One of the nice things about Costa Rica is that you can enjoy the country year-round. While some times of year (and some regions) are rainier than others, the rain is often brief and intense — but you can have fun even when it rains. I certainly enjoyed exploring the hanging bridges of Monteverde and my night wildlife tour in Arenal in the rain!

The best thing you can do is to aim for the sweet spot in Costa Rica — when the rain is at its minimum, but it’s not totally overwhelmed with tourist crowds. This guide will help you pinpoint what the best time to visit Costa Rica is for you personally.

Palm Trees on a gray beach in Samara, Costa Rica

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

The best time to go to Costa Rica is during the dry months: December, January, February, March, and April. This is when you can count on the best weather of the year, with lots of sun and not as much rain.

The rest of the year has quite a bit of rainfall and could hinder your trip, especially if you’re planning a lot of time on the beach. The dry months are also the busiest months for the country but if you visit at the very beginning of December or the very end of April you may beat some of the heavier crowds. 

There are fewer tourists in the months of May to November and the prices are cheaper so it may be a good time to visit if you want to save money. But, it’s truly a gamble because you can never predict how the weather will be. June and July tend to have lulls during the wet season so if you’re going to take a chance, those would be the best two months to give the wet season a shot. 

When is the best time to visit Costa Rica for good weather?

The best weather in Costa Rica is from December through April. The weather is dry and the average high temperatures are in the mid to high 70s Fahrenheit or the mid-20s Celsius. 

When is the best month to visit Costa Rica?

January is the best month to visit Costa Rica, especially late January. December kicks off the dry season, but there are fewer crowds in January.

When is the best time to visit the rainforest in Costa Rica?

You can enjoy the rainforest year-round, but you might want to consider June or July. There is usually a dip in rain levels at this time and the jungle is lush and green.

When is the best time to visit Costa Rica with kids?

Dry season, from December through April, is a great time to visit Costa Rica with kids, especially if you tailor it to their winter or spring school vacation.

A road in Costa Rica edged with trees, bathed in golden light underneath a blue sky.

Costa Rica Weather

The weather in Costa Rica is warm all year with average highs rarely dipping below 70 Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius. As a result, Costa Rica is a popular destination for escaping colder climes! While there are varied climates in different parts of Costa Rica, you can generally count on warmth year-round.

If you’re looking for a true beach vacation, you should aim for Guanacaste, the peninsula on Costa Rica’s northwest Pacific coast. Home to destinations like Tamarindo, Sámara, and Santa Teresa, Guanacaste is the sunniest and driest part of Costa Rica. From December through April, Guanacaste is bone-dry; if you come during the wet season, storms are brief.

The rainiest part of Costa Rica, however, is the southern Pacific coast, home to wildlife watching destinations like Corcovado National Park. Wet season here rarely sees any sunshine at all. You may want to time your trip to the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica to February, the least rainy month of the year.

San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, is located in the center of the country. The central valley of San Jose is thought to have some of the best weather in the country because it stays pretty consistent and at a very comfortable temperature of mid-70s Fahrenheit or low 20s Celsius, with cooler temperatures in the surrounding highlands.

Costa Rica in Spring

Spring is a great time to visit Costa Rica as it mostly falls within the dry season. March and April are great months to visit because it’s dry and warm but the wet season begins in May so you’ll likely prefer traveling a bit earlier if possible.

The average temperatures in spring are in the low 80s Fahrenheit or high 20s Celsius. At night the average temperature is just below 70 Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius.

Costa Rica in Summer

Summer in Costa Rica is not one of the most popular times to visit — not only is it super warm, it’s also super rainy. Summer falls in the middle of the wet season, which spans from May to November. Since you won’t be able to predict the weather, it’s best to avoid this time period so you can get the most out of your vacation and not be stuck indoors.

There are always exceptions, of course. If you want to see nesting sea turtles in Tortuguero, you’ll want to aim around July, August, or September.

Costa Rica in Fall

Fall is the riskiest time to visit Costa Rica because it falls at the peak of the wet season. It may shower on a daily basis from September through November. If you don’t mind some wet weather it’s a beautiful time to visit in terms of exploring the jungle but if you’re looking for some relaxing beach days it’s not your best bet.

Luckily, Costa Rica is south of the hurricane belt — more on that below — so you don’t need to worry about severe, life-changing storms the way you would need to in other parts of the Caribbean. Just rain. Heavy rain.

Costa Rica in Winter

Winter is the best time to visit Costa Rica weather-wise because it completely falls within the dry months. The weather conditions in the winter are best for tourism because there is little to no precipitation. Visitors can count on relaxing beach days and amazing excursions and activities.

Costa Rica is beautiful and warm in the winter months and the best part is you can get out of the winter weather you may be experiencing at home to enjoy some much-needed sunshine.

Keep in mind though that since winter is the best time to visit, it’s also the busiest and most expensive. You will definitely not have Costa Rica to yourself in the winter months! Most travelers are very happy with the trade-off for good weather, though.

Two people walking on a gray beach underneath a blue sky with pink and gray clouds in Samara, Costa Rica.

High Season and Low Season in Costa Rica

High season in Costa Rica is during the months from December to April. At this time of year you’ll have the most tourists and the highest prices. Costa Ricans refer to this time of year as verano — summer.

The absolute peak of high season is between Christmas and New Year’s, with big crowds and extremely high prices on accommodation. Another busy and pricey time of year is Semana Santa — Holy Week, or the week leading up to Easter — which is a very popular time for Costa Ricans to travel within their country.

If you’re looking to visit Costa Rica during shoulder season, consider visiting during April or November. This is a good balance between decent weather and not-too-bad crowds.

Low season in Costa Rica is during the wet months from May through November. This is rainy season, or “green season,” when there is a lot of precipitation and much less time in the sun.

Prices are lower and there are fewer tourists during rainy season, so those are benefits to keep in mind.

Even so — no matter what time of year you’ll visit Costa Rica, you’ll be able to have a wonderful time. Costa Rica is built to be enjoyed year-round!

Kate Ziplining in a bright pink sweatshirt and black pants in Monteverde, Costa Rica
A little rain never hurt on the zipline!

Best Time of Year to Visit Costa Rica

While you can enjoy Costa Rica during every month of the year, some months are better than others. Here’s a breakdown of the best months to visit Costa Rica.

January in Costa Rica

January is a great month to visit Costa Rica — arguably the best month to visit Costa Rica. The weather is dry so you won’t have to worry about rainfall. The temperature in January averages around 80 Fahrenheit or 27 Celsius but can range between 75 and 88 Fahrenheit or 24 and 31 Celsius.

The beginning of the month is still the absolute peak season due to New Year’s, but the end of January is less busy and a great time to visit.

Some events in Costa Rica in January including the Copa del Cafe tennis tournament, the Palmares Fiesta, Santa Cruz Fiesta, and Diabilitos Fiesta. Visiting during this time can be a lot of fun because you’ll find bullfights, dancing, and live music taking place across the country.

February in Costa Rica

February is a terrific month to visit Costa Rica, thanks to it being dry season. The average temperature for the month is 81 Fahrenheit or 27 Celsius and can range between 75 and 90 Fahrenheit or 24 to 32 Celsius.

The best time to visit Costa Rica in February is early in the month, before spring break begins. Large numbers of tourists begin to arrive in late February and early March for vacation so it’s best to visit before this influx of guests.

March in Costa Rica

The temperature is very warm in Costa Rica in March. The average high is 82 Fahrenheit or 28 Celsius with a low at 76 and a high at 91 Fahrenheit or 24 and 33 Celsius. It’s very dry, especially in Guanacaste.

Costa Rica’s National Orchid Show takes place in March and it’s a beautiful event that displays more than 300 different orchids. 

April in Costa Rica

April is the end of the dry season and the last stretch of heavy tourism before the wet season kicks in. The temperature averages 83 Fahrenheit or 29 Celsius with lows of 78 Fahrenheit or 25 Celsius as well as highs of 91 Fahrenheit and 33 Celsius.

Easter is usually in April and Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is one of the most popular time for Costa Ricans to travel, driving up prices and reducing availability.

The national holiday known as Juan Santamaría Day occurs on April 11th and there are events for days leading up to the holiday including marching bands, parades, concerts, and dances.

May in Costa Rica

May is the start of the wet season in Costa Rica. The temperature begins to drop slightly from that of April but it’s still a very warm month. The average temperature is 81 Fahrenheit and 27 Celsius. The minimum temperature is 78 Fahrenheit or 25 Celsius and the max temperature is 87 Fahrenheit or 31 Celsius.

May 1st is the Costa Rica national holiday known as Workers’ Day or Labor Day. Many businesses might be closed on this day, so it’s something to keep in mind if you’ll be traveling but it’s an exciting day filled with parades, fireworks, and a presidential speech.

Tourism levels begin to drop off in May due to impending weather changes and with them, prices drop too.

June in Costa Rica

June is one of the better months to visit Costa Rica during rainy season because the rain tends to slow down for a bit. The temperature reaches an average of 80 Fahrenheit or 26 Celsius and a minimum of 77 Fahrenheit or 25 Celsius as well as highs of 84 Fahrenheit and 29 Celsius. 

July in Costa Rica

While still rainy season, rain continues to slow down a bit in Costa Rica. In July, the temperature averages 80 Fahrenheit and 26 Celsius with lows of 77 Fahrenheit and 25 Celsius and highs of 85 Fahrenheit and 29 Celsius.

There are also events in July: the Virgin of Seas Fiesta and Annexation of Guanacaste Day.

August in Costa Rica

August has a bit more rain than July.  The temperature averages 80 Fahrenheit and 26 Celsius with lows of 77 Fahrenheit and 25 Celsius and highs of 85 Fahrenheit and 29 Celsius.

August has two major holidays in Costa Rica: Mother’s Day and Virgin of Los Angeles Day.

September in Costa Rica

Visiting Costa Rica in September? Get ready for rain. September is one of the peak rain months of the year. September averages 79 Fahrenheit and 26 Celsius with lows of 76 Fahrenheit and 24 Celsius a well as highs of 83 Fahrenheit and 28 Celsius. 

Costa Rica’s Independence Day takes place this month.

October in Costa Rica

October is similar to September with heavy precipitation and lower tourism levels as a result. The temperature in October averages 78 Fahrenheit and 25 Celsius with lows of 75 Fahrenheit and 24 Celsius a well as highs of 82 Fahrenheit and 28 Celsius.

Major events in Costa Rica in October include National Cultures Day, Maiz Fiesta, and Limon Carnival.

November in Costa Rica

November is the last month of the wet season and one of the slowest months of the year, gearing up before high season begins in December. November is also when the temperature begins to slowly pick back up. November average temperatures are 79 Fahrenheit and 26 Celsius with lows of 75 Fahrenheit and 24 Celsius a well as highs of 83 Fahrenheit and 27 Celsius.

December in Costa Rica

December marks the start of the dry season once again and the beginning of high season. December is a popular month for tourists due to beautiful weather and the holiday season.

December sees an average temperature of 80 Fahrenheit and 27 Celsius with lows of 75 Fahrenheit and 24 Celsius and highs of 86 Fahrenheit and 30 Celsius. 

Some major events in December include El Tope and Carnival and Festejos Populares, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s is Costa Rica’s busiest travel week of the year. 

A black and white shot of a bridge surrounded by lush greenery on a damp, rainy day in Costa Rica.

Rainy Season in Costa Rica

Are there hurricanes in Costa Rica? Occasionally, but it’s rarely anything to worry about. Costa Rica is south of the hurricane belt, so you can avoid the worst storms that hit other parts of Central America and the Caribbean.

That being said, while hurricane season is typically September, October, and November, this is when you’ll see the worst rainstorms of the year in Costa Rica. I recommend not visiting during this time for that reason.

Costa Rica is full of wildlife opportunities! Image via DepositPhotos.

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica with Kids

Costa Rica is a fantastic destination for families! Everywhere is very child-friendly and Ticos love kids. Costa Rica is a wonderful place to introduce your kids to wildlife tourism, especially if they’ve been learning about the rainforest in school. You can even visit a Sloth Sanctuary!

The best time to visit Costa Rica with kids is during the dry season from December to April. This is when there is the least chance of rain so families can enjoy beach days, adventures in the jungle, and many other outdoor activities that will keep their kids busy.

Try to time your trip around their school vacation in February, March, or April. Christmas break may look tempting, but it’s also the busiest and most expensive time of year to visit Costa Rica.

Want to see a baby sea turtle? Aim for July through October. Image via DepositPhotos.

Best Time of Year to See Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Seeing baby turtles hatch and make their way to the sea is one of the most memorable things you can do in Costa Rica, especially with kids. But sea turtle nesting is an extremely seasonal and location-dependent activity.

While sea turtles hatch all over Costa Rica, your best best is to visit Tortuguero National Park on the north Caribbean coast. Four species of sea turtles nest here. Your best bet to witness the action is to visit between July and October, when mother turtles lay their eggs. It’s an experience like no other!

If you’d like to see turtles of all ages, you’ve got year-round options. Swimming with larger turtles — green turtles, leatherbacks, and many other species — can be done all over the coastline. Look into snorkeling tours to see what your options are.

Surfing in Costa Rica brings landscapes like THESE. Image via DepositPhotos.

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Surfing

Costa Rica is a popular surfing location year-round because it has great weather and amazing waves. And the best time of year to surf in Costa Rica might surprise you, because it doesn’t line up with dry season.

If you’re looking to surf the Pacific coast, aim to visit from June through September. Even though this is rainy season, the swells can be insane (in a good way)!

As for the Caribbean Coast, you’ll want to visit between October and April, when waves are at their mightiest.

A string of bright magenta orchid blossoms on a stem at an orchid garden in Costa Rica.

Cheapest Time to Visit Costa Rica

The cheapest time to visit Costa Rica is from May to November. This is when the wet season hits so there are fewer tourists and therefore prices drop. If you’ll be traveling during the wet season to save money, it’s smart to purchase travel insurance so your trip won’t be ruined by bad weather. 

Palm trees lining the beach in Samara

Overall Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a great vacation spot no matter the time of year and you can always find something enjoyable to do but the best time to visit is the end of January or early February. This is when there is a slight dip in tourism during the beautiful dry months of Costa Rica.

The best time to visit Costa Rica overall is anytime between December and April, when the weather is at its driest.

Go plan your beautiful trip to Costa Rica — then come back and tell me all about it!

Planning a trip to Costa Rica? Let me help!

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See all posts about Costa Rica here.

Have you been to Costa Rica? What time of year did you visit? Share away!

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