Weather in Costa Rica

When planning a Costa Rica Escape itinerary for clients and travelers, the first topic that needs to be addressed is the weather in Costa Rica coupled with the time of the year the travelers want to visit Costa Rica. The time of year combined with the destinations in the trip itinerary will indicate the season that the traveler(s) will be in Costa Rica. The weather seasons give a good idea of what to expect from the weather in Costa Rica. Generally, there are two weather seasons in Costa Rica. The air temperatures do not define these two seasons; rather they are identified by the amount of rainfall that typically exists.

Costa Rica Weather
Costa Rica’s weather can turn quickly (photo: NASA)

Costa Rica’s Rainy & Dry Seasons

The Rainy or “Green” season in Costa Rica goes from April/May through November/December while the Dry or “High” Season goes from December through April. Both seasons have great things to offer to visitors, depending on what you want to do and where you want to go. Therefore, it is hard to say when is the best time to visit Costa Rica.

The Dry season is also known as the High season because the lack of rain makes the country much more appealing to international visitors as well as national tourism. Consequently, there is a direct impact on lodging availability and pricing, turning it into the high season because of prices and amount of people.

The Green season relates to the color of the landscape. It is the time of year where it rains a lot in Costa Rica, and in some areas, it could be extreme, which makes everything very green and lush. During the rainy season, there is less visitation, but that doesn’t mean visiting Costa Rica is not as fun and adventurous as during the dry season.

Tropical Climates: Hot & Dry to Rainy & Less Hot

Costa Rica is a tropical country located close to the equator. It is a small country, comparable in size to the state of West Virginia or the country of Denmark, and it borders (west and east) with two big bodies of water (the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea), which have a big impact in the climate of this small piece of land. That is why it has a relatively large number of climatic zones that are distinct, each with their own unique weather patterns. The patterns of each zone are quite diverse and mostly defined by their geographical information and statistics mainly, the elevation at which they sit and their proximity to one of the two oceans that border the country.

Temperature in Costa Rica

The average annual temperature throughout Costa Rica is about 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The colder months of the year are November, December, and January. March through May are the warmer months when one can expect to receive a lot of sunshine. All of those months are very dry. On average, it can rain only five days per month.

December and January are colder because the country gets the influence of the winter in the northern hemisphere. It is common to see Costa Ricans wearing winter hats and gloves on the street, but the real temperatures in the central valley will not be lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

April and May are traditionally known as the driest and hottest months of the year, especially in the Pacific coast, where you can fully experience the meaning of dry forest! The highest temperatures you will experience in Guanacaste this time of year are close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rain in Costa Rica

The average rainfall in Costa Rica is about 95-100 inches. Some mountainous areas can get as much as 25 feet of rainfall in a year.

The northern plains of Costa Rica and the Caribbean Coast are areas that get more rain all year round. On the Pacific coast, during September and October, it rains a significant amount every single day. The central part of Costa Rica has the same kind of rain patterns as the Pacific Coast.

Costa Rica Climate Zones: Volcanoes, Rainforests & Jungles

Costa Rica’s microclimate zones are a big attraction for vacationers planning to do rainforest tours, and they encompass active volcanoes, high-elevation cloud forests, lush jungle rainforests, lowland, tropical dry forests and golden beaches. 

Mild is a great term to use to generally describe Costa Rica’s weather; however, in many cases the weather, especially the rain, can be rather extreme. The temperatures during the dry season remain pleasantly in the highs while during the wet season the mornings may be sunny and showers are expected in the afternoons. Costa Rica sits very close to the equator and the hours of sunshine only slightly change throughout the year. The sun will rise around 5:00 am and set around 6:00 pm each day.

Pacific Coast vs Caribbean Coast: There is always perfect weather somewhere in Costa Rica

The exciting thing about the weather in Costa Rica is that you will always have sun and heat, no matter the time of the year you visit, as long as you choose the right destination. That’s why planning a trip with an expert travel agency like Costa Rica Escapes is so important!

Between November and May, the best regions to visit are the Pacific coast and the central region, but if you decide to go to the northern plains or the Caribbean coast just be aware that you will very likely experience some rain.

During June and July, you can expect more or less the same temperatures and rain patterns everywhere in Costa Rica, with warmer temperatures and afternoon showers.

From August to October, it rains a lot in the Pacific coast and the central region, but the Caribbean coast experiences drier weather, making it the perfect destination for enjoying very green and lush wildlife, warmer temperatures and sunny days.

Discovering the Beauty in Costa Rica Weather

The beautiful weather in Costa Rica is a large draw for visitors to Costa Rica who are on family vacations, honeymoons, remote adventures or even planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica. The variety in weather and geography provides for a unique set of weather circumstances that gives the country of Costa Rica the label of “One of the most biologically intense places on earth.” As described by National Geographic.

Costa Rica Rainy & Dry Season Calendar by Region

In this section, we will break apart the different general areas that you can visit in Costa Rica, that we suggest you consider, and that we include in our itineraries. But we also would like you to visit our What to do in Costa Rica: Attractions and Things to do (by region) page where we go a bit more in-depth on what you can include in your plans for your Costa Rica visit.

Weather in the Guanacaste Region of Costa Rica:

  • North Pacific Coast
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November
  • Nicoya Peninsula
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November

Weather in the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica:

  • Central Pacific Coast
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest
    • High Season (Dry Season) – January to May
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – June to September (November and December can be windy)

Weather in the South Pacific Region of Costa Rica:

  • Osa Pennisula – Puerto Jimenez & Drake Bay
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November
  • Southern Costa Rica – Pavones & Golfito
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November

Weather in the Central Region Region of Costa Rica:

  • Central Valley
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November
  • San Jose Highlands
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November

Weather in the Northern Plains Region of Costa Rica:

  • Arenal Volcano & Northern Lowland
    • High Season (Dry Season) – May to November (September/October best to see volcano)
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – December to April
  • Rincon de la Vieja
    • High Season (Dry Season) – December to April
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – May to November

Weather in the Caribbean Region of Costa Rica:

  • Caribbean North –Tortuguero
    • High Season (Dry Season) – February, March, September & October
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – November–January, April–August
  • Caribbean South – Puerto Viejo & Cahutia
    • High Season (Dry Season) – February, March, September & October
    • Green Season (Rainy Season) – November–January, April–August