Although a small country in terms of land area, Costa Rica weather packs a lot of variety between its Pacific and Caribbean shores. Costa Rica has all but two of the Earth’s climates. It doesn’t have the two most inhospitable climates for humans and wildlife, namely snow and frozen tundra and desert, but contains every other type of climate that exists on Earth! Costa Rica’s climate can best be described in distinct climatic zones. Generally Costa Rica is thought to be a tropical country because it is close to the equator about 10 degrees to the north. Thus Costa Rica has no winter season. It enjoys sunshine all year round for about 12 hours per day, from sunrise to sunset. The weather is usually defined as having two seasons: a dry season and a green season.
The main reason for the broad diversity in Costa Rica weather is due to several interrelated factors. The first lies in the fact that Costa Rica has the vast Pacific Ocean on one side and the Atlantic-fed Caribbean Sea on the other and they are relatively close neighbors and share the trade winds. . For example Guanacaste on the Pacific has a dry climate and tropical dry forests, while Tortuguero on the Caribbean is humid and wet weather for a lot of the year, and yet the two regions are only 130 miles apart! Another factor is Costa Rica’s rugged topography that goes from mountainous high elevations to below sea level. Another factor is its active volcanoes that can affect weather patterns when they erupt and spew ash and lava.
The Central Valley has the best climate in the country with mild temperatures all year that average a temperate 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius). The highlands of the Central Valley are cooled by coastal breezes and average about 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degree Celsius in the cloud forests.
Costa Rica enjoy mild temperatures all year ranging usually ranging from 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit although it is hotter on the beaches and temperatures can get up into the mid-90’s. The coolest months are November-January, but it is still balmy and lovely. March through May are the hottest and most tropical. Average rainfall in Costa Rica is 100 inches, but the more mountainous rain forest regions can get up to 25 feet of rainfall annually.
Costa Rica’s green season – the so-called wet season – runs from May through November. The dry season with little to no rain runs from December through April. September and October are the wettest months. EXCEPT on the Caribbean Coast with its own unique micro-climate with strong trade winds keeping it hot and steamy most of the year BUT enjoys a dry spell during September and October!
|Dry Season||Green Season|
|Guanacaste- Rincon de la Vieja||Dec. to Apr.||May to Nov.|
|Nicoya Peninsula||Dec. to Apr.||May to Nov.|
|Central Pacific Coast||Dec. to Apr.||May to Nov.|
|Central Valley||Dec. to Apr.||May to Nov.|
|Arenal Volcano & Northern Lowlands||May to Nov. |
(Sept. & Oct. best to see volcano)
|Dec. to Apr.|
|Monteverde||Jan. to May||Jun. to Sept.; Nov. & Dec. |
can be Windy
|Northern Caribbean – Tortuguero||Feb. & Mar., Sept. & Oct.||Nov. – Jan., Apr. – Aug.|
|Southern Caribbean – Puerto Viejo||Feb. & Mar., Sept. & Oct.||Nov. – Jan., Apr. – Aug.|
|Osa Penisula – Southern Costa Rica||Dec. to Apr.||May to Nov.|
|San Jose||Dec. to Apr.||May to Nov.|