Costa Rica in May

The month of May is typically a transition month between dry season and green season. In our experience, the weather tends to still be rather nice, but just a little more unpredictable. The good news is that May ushers in low season pricing, which means that travelers might be able to get more competitive deals on their accommodations and activities in this month. Read on to learn more about planning a trip to Costa Rica in May.

VIDEO: What it’s Like Visiting Costa Rica in May

What is the Weather Like in Costa Rica in May?

Early May is still considered the dry season in Costa Rica, but as the month advances, the weather may begin to change to reflect the incoming “green season.” The green season is a relatively new nickname for the transition-to-rainy season in Costa Rica where higher precipitation results in greener landscapes. Typically precipitation patterns do peak in May, but that can be on a country-wide average. For example, beaches in Guanacaste may go on to be very dry during this period, with isolated afternoon showers.

Costa Rica in May (family picnic under tree)

Photo Gallery “Glimpse” of Costa Rica in May

What national events/festivities are taking place?

Labor Day: May 1

Costa Rica adopted this universal tradition of honoring its country’s workers in 1913. It’s a national holiday and banks and schools close for the day. Some companies celebrate their workers with a party or an activity and the President of Costa Rica gives an inspiring speech. Tourism activities generally continue normally.

What to Pack for a May Trip

A quick check to a weather website before your trip may clue you into whether May in Costa Rica will be unseasonably wet or unseasonably dry. However, nothing is completely certain. For a trip to Costa Rica in May, make sure you have some high-grade sunscreen and a small, retractable Our detailed Costa Rica Packing List article will give you more information on what exactly to bring.

Pros to Visiting Costa Rica in May

  • As a transition month, visitors will likely get the best of both worlds – warm rainstorms and sunny breezes
  • Low season pricing begins meaning that travelers can get great discounts
  • There’s a lull in the travelers visiting Costa Rica between spring break and summer vacation meaning less crowded beaches and national parks

Cons to Visiting Costa Rica in May

  • The weather is unpredictable (more so than usual)
  • Some hotels may continue to charge high season pricing for part of the month
  • There typically isn’t enough rain yet to replenish the arid hillsides of Guanacaste meaning water shortages and brown, dusty landscapes are still common

Top 5 Things to Plan for a Trip to Costa Rica in May

  1. Visit a Volcano – There’s nothing quite as impressive as peering down into a volcanic crater! Visiting a volcano with a naturalist guide in May before the rainy season begins may just be the highlight to your trip!
  2. Horseback Riding – Horses can take you where vehicles can’t. Let your vaquero guide show you the real, back-country Costa Rica.
  3. Canyoning & Waterfall Rappeling – On a pre-certified canyoning tour, you’ll get the opportunity to rappel down a canyon wall with the rushing waterfall next to you.
  4. Adventure Transfer via Crocodile River – On your way to the beach, a guide will take you past the infamous crocodile river where dozens of these prehistoric creatures lay lazily about.
  5. Guided Visit to Rural Farm – Visiting a rural farm is an ideal way for families with children to see how the typical Costa Rican lives. Help plant a tree, visit the local watering hole, and enjoy a meal together.

The Bottom Line on May in Costa Rica

Though typically considered the beginning of “green season” in Costa Rica, May tends to still have its fair share of pleasant, sunny days. Additionally, with fewer tourists creating demand on the resources, prices and hotel availability are generally much more accessible.

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