Costa Rica in August

August, once considered the low season due to its position in the middle of the rainy season, has now emerged as a popular time for Costa Rica travelers. The increase in demand from family travelers, backpackers, surfers, and couples has transformed August into part of the country’s high season. Join the trend and plan your trip to Costa Rica in this increasingly popular month.

While August is still considered the rainy season, the daily rains are a welcome reprieve from the heat, and each day still sees plenty of sunshine. For Ticos (Costa Ricans), August is a very special month due to the events surrounding Mother’s Day (August 15) and the nationally honored pilgrimage to La Virgen (August 2). Read on to learn more about planning a trip to Costa Rica in August.

Family on hanging bridge in Costa Rica in July

What the Weather is like in Costa Rica in August

Like the rest of the year, the weather in Costa Rica in August is very difficult to predict. August falls in the “shoulder season,” where the dryer days of the first half of the year transition to the wetter days of the second half of the year. Depending on the prevailing weather patterns that year, such as the El Niño weather phenomenon, it is quite possible that August could have its fair share of sunny days as well as its rainy days. Temperatures continue to be mild throughout the country. Typically, in the Caribbean, August sees a transition to less rain and more sunshine.

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Where to Go in Costa Rica in August

August in Costa Rica is marked by vibrant landscapes thanks to the season’s tropical rains. Despite the increased rainfall, this month offers unique opportunities to experience the country’s rich biodiversity with fewer crowds. The southern and Caribbean regions are particularly inviting, as the rainforests thrive and wildlife sightings are abundant. The northern regions see dryer weather and offer tourists a mix of inland adventures and coastal destinations.

Our Favorite August Destinations

  • Drake Bay: The remote Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula is perfect for an adventurous August getaway. Explore Corcovado National Park’s rich biodiversity, take a boat tour to Cano Island for snorkeling and diving, and enjoy the secluded beaches.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: Monteverde is known for its enchanting cloud forests. Walk along the suspension bridges, go birdwatching, and explore the dense, misty forests rich with exotic flora and fauna.
  • La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano: La Fortuna and awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano offer travelers hot springs, waterfall hikes, and a variety of adventure activities like white-water rafting and canyoning.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park: Manuel Antonio offers visitors a combination of lush rainforests and pristine beaches. Hike the park’s trails, spot sloths and monkeys, and relax on white-sand beaches.
  • Northern Pacific Coast (Guanacaste): Enjoy the relatively dry weather in Guanacaste, known for its sunny beaches, vibrant marine life, and world-class surf. It’s an excellent time for surfing, snorkeling, and exploring charming coastal towns.

Couple rafting in Costa Rica on honeymoon

Things to Do in Costa Rica in August

  1. Museums & City Tours – Historical museums and cultural tours in the capital city of San Jose or the colonial capital city of Cartago have only improved over the past decade, and they have a lot to offer visitors to Costa Rica on a rainy day. Bonus: Plan a trip to Cartago on the day of the national pilgrimage for a unique cultural experience!
  2. Sea Turtle “Voluntourism” or Observation – Summer visitors can join a tour or volunteer project to witness the magnificent green sea turtles hatch.
  3. White-Water Rafting – Heavy rains make Costa Rica’s rivers especially fast and thrilling. If you’re interested in an adrenaline rush, join a guided rafting trip to experience the Costa Rican wilderness by river!
  4. Hanging Bridges Guided Hike – A peaceful walk along the canopy is a wonderful family activity any time of the year.
  5. Tour of Churches – Join a bilingual guide on a customized tour of colonial churches throughout the country.

Holidays, Festivals & Events

Pilgrimage to Virgin de Los Angeles / La Romeria (August 2nd)

Every summer, Costa Rica hosts a national pilgrimage around August 2nd, the Day of the Virgin de Los Angeles. Catholics from all over the country pack a sandwich and a lunch and start their journey on foot from their homes to the Basílica Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles in Cartago. The journey pays homage and offers prayers to the patron saint of the country, La Negrita (the Black Virgin).

Basílica Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles in Cartago

Once the pilgrims reach the basilica, many of them fall to their knees and travel the final 100 meters on their knees. They do this to ask for prayers from the Virgin or to thank her for any miracles they’ve experienced. However, due to the high number of pilgrims, there can be significant traffic delays around Cartago each August 2nd. However, most people don’t mind since the spectacle is breathtaking. The pilgrims arrive at the basilica, and many fall to their knees and travel the final 100 meters on their knees, asking for prayers from the Virgin or thanking her for a miracle they’ve experienced.

Mother’s Day / Día de la Madre (August 15th)

August 15 is perhaps the most important day of the year in this peaceful, matriarchal country. Mother’s Day is not only universally celebrated in Costa Rica but also a significant national holiday, with banks and schools closing. For weeks, even months, leading up to August 15, stores advertise sweet-smelling perfumes and decorative gift ideas for mothers, and schools prepare elaborate child-made picture crafts for the mothers of Costa Rica. Families celebrate the day by sharing a meal of arroz con pollo and a dessert of tres leches. It is hardly ever an actual “day off” for moms; it is often an opportunity for them to assemble an enormous feast for their family.

St. Ramon Day / Día de San Ramón (August 30th)

Each county in Costa Rica finds the opportunity to celebrate its heritage. On August 30, the lovely town of San Ramon — located between San Jose and Arenal — holds a huge parade where statues of 30 saints are processed through the streets. Carnival food and other festive activities accompany the event.

What to Pack

Since rain is likely in August, you will want to bring quality rain gear, such as a lightweight raincoat and a compact travel umbrella. Strap-on sandals that can get wet are an excellent item because they will give you more support than a typical pair of sandals, but they can dry easier than a pair of tennis shoes. See our detailed Costa Rica Packing List article for more information on what to pack to visit Costa Rica.

Pros to Visiting Costa Rica in August

  • Possible discounts with rainy season pricing
  • The Caribbean side of the country tends to be dryer
  • Experience the unique pilgrimage to see La Virgen de Los Angeles

Cons to Visiting Costa Rica in August

  • High-season pricing may be in effect depending on where you travel
  • Beaches can get washed out due to heavy rains in the mountains
  • There is a lot of uncertainty around the weather in August

The Bottom Line on August in Costa Rica

While the weather in Costa Rica in August can fluctuate significantly, it’s a fantastic time of year to visit the country. The landscape is green and lush and the cultural events are many. Contact us below if we can help you plan a trip.

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