Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

Whether you dream of trekking through its lush rainforests or enjoying the sunshine along the Caribbean Coast, it’s key to know the best time to visit Costa Rica to ensure your holiday is as memorable as can be.

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Best time to visit

The best time to travel to Costa Rica is during the dry season between December and April on the Pacific Coast, and between March and September on the Caribbean Coast. There are perks to travelling either side of the rainy season – between May and June, and in November – too though. You’ll avoid the large crowds of the peak months, and the country is at its most beautiful, lush, and green. So green that the rainy season is also known as the green season. As Costa Rica is a tropical country, the temperature is always warm, but you should be prepared for some rain and humidity all year round. Read on to find out more about Costa Rica’s weather.

Our Experts Say...

"Costa Rica has a tropical climate, so you should be prepared for rain at any time of year! The 'green season' and wetter months run from May until November, with a little respite in July and August. The Caribbean side including Tortuguero and Puerto Viejo has the opposite climate, and is best visited in February - April or September/October. Travelling during the shoulder months of May/June and November can offer an opportunity to take advantage of cheaper rates and fewer tourists, and you may be lucky with the weather. If you are keen to see turtles in Tortuguero, then make sure you travel between July and October, and depending on where you travel, whales can be seen at different times of year on the Pacific coast (best from August to October). School holidays are especially popular, with Costa Rica being an amazing family destination; Christmas and Easter breaks should be booked well ahead of time."

Eli Hardcastle, Latin America Specialist

Monthly Climate Guide for Costa Rica

, Costa Rica

Average temperatures (Celsius) and rainfall (mm)

Jan
28°C 36mm
Feb
29°C 27mm
Mar
30°C 16mm
Apr
32°C 32mm
May
31°C 37mm
Jun
29°C 31mm
Jul
28°C 34mm
Aug
29°C 23mm
Sep
29°C 27mm
Oct
28°C 29mm
Nov
28°C 46mm
Dec
28°C 51mm
Jan
33°C 0mm
Feb
34°C 0mm
Mar
35°C 0mm
Apr
36°C 0mm
May
34°C 70mm
Jun
32°C 95mm
Jul
32°C 43mm
Aug
32°C 89mm
Sep
31°C 144mm
Oct
31°C 132mm
Nov
32°C 23mm
Dec
33°C 1mm
Jan
26°C 0mm
Feb
26°C 0mm
Mar
27°C 1mm
Apr
28°C 11mm
May
27°C 84mm
Jun
27°C 91mm
Jul
27°C 65mm
Aug
27°C 103mm
Sep
27°C 165mm
Oct
26°C 151mm
Nov
26°C 55mm
Dec
26°C 3mm
Jan
26°C 0mm
Feb
26°C 0mm
Mar
27°C 1mm
Apr
28°C 11mm
May
27°C 85mm
Jun
27°C 91mm
Jul
27°C 66mm
Aug
27°C 104mm
Sep
27°C 166mm
Oct
26°C 152mm
Nov
26°C 55mm
Dec
26°C 4mm
Jan
26°C 0mm
Feb
26°C 0mm
Mar
27°C 1mm
Apr
28°C 11mm
May
27°C 85mm
Jun
27°C 91mm
Jul
27°C 66mm
Aug
27°C 104mm
Sep
27°C 166mm
Oct
26°C 152mm
Nov
26°C 55mm
Dec
26°C 4mm
Jan
26°C 0mm
Feb
26°C 0mm
Mar
27°C 1mm
Apr
28°C 10mm
May
27°C 84mm
Jun
27°C 91mm
Jul
27°C 65mm
Aug
27°C 103mm
Sep
27°C 165mm
Oct
26°C 151mm
Nov
26°C 55mm
Dec
26°C 3mm

Costa Rica’s temperature doesn’t change hugely month on month, with it being, on average, between 20˚ C and 30˚ C throughout the year.

Its peak season is from December to March, with Easter and Christmas holidays the best times of year to travel to Costa Rica but also when you’ll find the country most crowded. If you can avoid the school holidays, opt for the shoulder months of April and November, when it is still hot but there is not too much rainfall.

September and October are the wettest months on the Pacific side of the country; however, the Caribbean coast is dry at that time of year. Its dry season runs from March to November, but you will get some rainfall most of the year, usually in the afternoons and evenings, allowing you to make the most of the stunning, sun-soaked beaches before it arrives.

While most people will travel to Costa Rica during the dry season, the rainier months of June, July and August bring with them lush greenery, transforming Costa Rica into a vibrant, verdant paradise. Temperatures then are around 30˚ C, and you’ll often have sunny mornings to enjoy the adventure activities. A bonus of travelling at this time of year is also fewer crowds.

Understanding Costa Rica's Seasons

Rather than having traditional seasons like the northern hemisphere, Costa Rica’s seasons are split into dry and wet (or green). Below we go through the best months to visit Costa Rica, and which activities or experiences to enjoy while you’re there.

Best Times to Go to Costa Rica for…

There’s so much to see and do in Costa Rica, from surfing in Guanacaste to the famous Manuel Antonio National Park. The best time to go to Costa Rica depends completely on what kind of experiences you’re interested in and what parts of the country you’d like to visit. Our travel experts are on hand to create a bespoke itinerary for your trip based on when you’d like to travel, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy your time away.

Wildlife Viewing

From fantastically colourful birds to sloths, sea turtles and whales, Costa Rica is a paradise for animal lovers and with 27 national parks, 13 forest reserves, eight biological reserves and countless sanctuaries to choose from, it’s a country that takes looking after its wildlife seriously. Sightings of most of the animals will happen all year round, these are just a few seasonal experiences to look out for.

The first is the nesting period of the exquisite sea turtles. The best time to go to Costa Rica for this is between July and August. Five species of turtles head to Tortuguero National Park between March and October to lay their eggs, with July and August being the peak months. Overall, the area will see about 22,500 female turtles and approximately 100,000 nests distributed unevenly on 25km of beach. Tortuguero is a highlight for wildlife fans, who can join kayaking adventures, boat tours and twilight excursions to take in the likes of spider monkeys, sloths, and many weird and wonderful amphibians.

The second phenomenon to look out for is when the humpback whales grace the waters around the Osa Peninsula between July and October. They unusually migrate from both the northern and southern hemispheres to breed, making whale-watching here some of the best in the world. You can also see dolphins in this region all year round.

Visiting the Beaches

The best time to visit Costa Rica for beach life is in its dry season between December and March when both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts see hot, sunny days, with temperatures between about 26˚ C and 32˚ C. However, the Caribbean beaches have their dry season in July and October too, when the Pacific Coast is rainy.

If you’re a keen surfer, you should travel to Costa Rica between May and November. While this is the wetter season, it is when swells roll in from the southwest, bringing waves up to 10 feet high in places like Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula. Strong winds this time of year also add to the quality of the surfing. Beginners, instead, should aim for the gentler sea conditions between December and April, when there aren’t so many pro-surfers in the water and the waves are softer.

Snorkelling in Costa Rica is best between January and March on the Pacific side and September and October on the Caribbean side. Costa Rica’s dry season is when the sea is calmest and visibility for seeing all the colourful marine life at its best.

When choosing which beach to visit in Costa Rica, it depends on what you’re looking for. The Caribbean’s Puerto Viejo is a classic tropical paradise, with palm trees, clear water and a laid-back beach town. The best time to visit Puerto Viejo is between February and April, or August to October. For wildlife, the Osa Peninsula is best. The area is also home to the beautiful Golfo Dulce coast and its calm swimming waters, visit between January and March to soak up the beach life on the Pacific Coast.

Outdoor Adventure Activities

Costa Rica is all about outdoor adventures, so if you’re heading there for an adrenaline rush you need to pick the right time of year.

Each season creates a very different experience when it comes to white water rafting. If you’re looking for gentle rapids or travelling with children, then opt for the dry season between December and March. However, the rain brings faster-flowing rivers, so those wanting a bit more excitement should go between May and November. Places like Arenal and around San Jose are adventure hubs and fantastic locations to take to the waters for a fun-filled adventure.

Hiking amongst the waterfalls and volcanoes in Costa Rica is another highlight for those wanting an active holiday. Trails can become flooded and wet in the rainy months, but the weather in Costa Rica in November is ideal for trekking. This is when the country has turned its fluorescent shade of green after the rains but it's dry enough to enjoy hikes, without getting drenched. You will still get some rainfall, particularly in the rainforest.

If you’d like to dabble in all the adventurous activities that the country has to offer, the dry season is the best time to visit Costa Rica. With vast zip lines, canopy walks, hiking, waterfalls to explore and water sports aplenty, you don’t want to be interrupted or have your experience cancelled by downpours.

Meet Our Costa Rica Experts

Our team of specialists are waiting to help you book your next adventure. Contact us today to start planning your tailor-made trip.

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica FAQs

  • How far in advance should I book my Costa Rica holiday?

    If you want to travel at peak times – over Christmas and Easter holidays – you need to book a year in advance. Even if you’re travelling to Costa Rica outside of the most popular months, it’s a good idea to do it at least 12 months before you travel, so we can make sure you get your first-choice hotels and experiences.

  • When is the best time to visit Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast?

    While many people choose to experience Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast during the dry season from December to March, we'd also recommend an adventure in May or June, during the 'green season'. As well as avoiding the crowds, you'll be able to witness the true magic of Costa Rica as the seasons transition. Visiting at this enchanting time of year means you'll encounter the luscious national parks at their best.

  • When is the best time to visit Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast?

    The best time to visit Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast is between March and September. When the Pacific side is rainy in July and August, the Caribbean is dry. If you’d like to see both sides of the country, travelling between March and April is the best time to go to Costa Rica.

  • When is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama?

    Panama’s rainy season is between May and December, peaking in September and October. This reflects Costa Rica’s weather patterns too, so the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama together is between December/January and March.

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