Travel Journal

When is the Best Time to Travel to Costa Rica?

There are basically only two seasons in Costa Rica: the dry and the rainy, and it can be confusing to know when it’s the best time to travel there. Most travellers to Costa Rica plan itineraries to coincide with the dry season, which runs from December to April. This is understandable, as Costa Rica is a tropical country and it does get a lot of rain. Naturally, this rain is good for the rain forests, biodiversity, and coffee plantations! But travel during the rainy season, also known as the “green season” has its advantages, too.

What to Expect During Costa Rica’s Dry Season (December – April)

Since there is little to no rain, it’s the perfect time to travel here. And many northerners tired of the snow do just that. As a result, during the dry season, popular destinations are often crowded. It is recommended that you reserve in advance, when possible, some of the more popular hotels and activities. Additionally, expect to pay a bit more as well.

However, that being said, tourist destinations come to life during this time and many places have extended hours as a result. You’ll meet travelers from all over the world, soaking up the abundant sunshine on the lovely beaches. The high season is particularly attractive to surfers because of ocean currents during these months, which produce above average swells perfect for catching a wave.

What to Expect During Costa Rica’s Rainy Season (May – November)

First of all, it doesn’t rain all day, every day. This is a common misperception. There are still sunny periods, mostly during the daytime, with showers rolling in during the afternoon. In fact, one of the best months to visit is during July, when there is often a period of a few weeks of drier weather. Months that receive the most rain are September and October, which coincides with Atlantic Hurricane Season.

If you want the best value for your money and if you want to avoid the crowds, the green season is for you. Prices are generally a bit lower–which means you can stay longer! Also, temperatures are a bit cooler. For those who are not used to the heat and humidity, rainy season may be a better time to travel to Costa Rica. The dry season is also the “hot” season–and with rising humidity levels, the heat packs an even stronger punch.

Ultimately, How do You Choose the Best Time to Travel to Costa Rica?

  1. Start first with your budget. Decide if you want to stay for a shorter period of time in drier weather, or a longer period of time during the rainy season (and thus capitalize on the value of your dollar).
  2. Determine your tolerance for heat and crowds. If you want a cooler time, try the green season. If you don’t mind crowds but don’t want to deal with rain most days, choose the dry season.
  3. Evaluate your purpose for the trip: do you want to escape the cold of a northern winter? Or is it more important to you to have a fun family vacation in July? Do you want to get married on the beach? Etc. The kinds of activities you’ll want to do will help determine which season is better for you based on overall weather and heat conditions and the cost of goods and services.

Final thoughts on Choosing the Best Time to Travel to Costa Rica

Your vacation is as special as you are. Each person’s needs are unique. One of the most important things to remember is that no matter what time of year you go, Costa Rica will delight you with its pura vida lifestyle. The relaxed vibe, friendly faces, and gorgeous atmosphere are a pleasure travelers experience year-round.

 Now that you’ve decided when to travel to Costa Rica, check out our post on How to Pack for a Costa Rica Vacation.

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