The best time to visit Costa Rica is in the dry season from December to April. This time of the year is a safe time to visit. You have a smaller chance of being drenched in the rain and you can enjoy the sunny weather. Another great reason to visit in the dry season is the easement of travel.You can choose when you leave your hotel and not let the weather dictate your comings and goings. The last thing you want is to get stuck in one of Costa Rica’s famous rain storms. However, between May and November is best to visit some of Costa Rica’s famous attractions like the volcanoes. There are far fewer clouds and fog allowing you to see great views of Arenal, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, Irazu, and more. The Green Season isn’t all bad! Read more below.
Costa Rica has many different festivals and events for the locals and visitors to enjoy. There are a lot more but we want to make it easier for you by highlighting the five best ones:
Christmas and New Year’s Eve clearly is not enough for Costa Rican’s, the party must go on! The Fiestas Palmares takes place in the last two weeks of January. The location of the festival is Palmares, close to the city of Alajuela. You can see concerts, stand-up comedy, sporting events, bullfighting and much more.
The Envision Festival takes place close to Uvita, nestled between the ocean and the jungle on the Pacific coast. It is a celebration of the awakening of human potential. The Envision concept encompasses eight pillars: Music, movement, art, bio-construction, health, community, permaculture and spirituality.
Another great attraction is the Limón Carnival, which is similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro. The Limón Carnival is full of dancing, colorful and expressive clothing, and a great spirit that fills the streets. This is a great way for a tourist to experience the Pura Vida of Costa Rica.
One of the most famous festivals is the Fiestas Zapote. This marks the end of the year for Costa Ricans and is a big celebration with bulls running around a stadium. You can also enjoy fun music and lots of partying. Fiestas Zapote starts in the last week of December and ends in the first week of January. Entire streets are blocked off, and the great smell of meat on a stick permeate through the area. The whole thing is broadcasted on television.
The Fiestas de los Diablitos is in the end of December or the beginning of January. This annual event is held by the indigenous Brunca tribe. The Brunca celebrate the victory over the Spanish conquistadores and dress up as diablitos who represent the ancestral spirits. You can see dozens of indigenous Costa Ricans in self-made costumes and masks. In the end, a bull – representing the Spanish – is lit on fire.
List of the best Festivals and when/where to visit.
There are only two seasons in Costa Rica and they are called the dry and the green season. As mentioned before, the dry season usually is the best season to visit. Although, if you don’t mind a little bit of water then why not come down and enjoy the perks of the rainy season? For starters, it is much cheaper to fly between May to November than during the dry season. This is because the demand is way lower during that time. Another good reason to come during this time is the wonderful nature. Everything seems to come to life and turn into a brilliant green, similar to the green you see when spring finally comes after a long winter. Animals, plants, and everyone else but humans seem to enjoy the wetter part of the year.
Because of its location close to the equator, the climate in Costa Rica is tropical. The temperature in Costa Rica is basically the same all year round. The hottest month of the year is usually just about 3 degrees Celsius warmer than the coldest month of the year. The Temperature generally stays above 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) during the days and can reach into the 30s (~90°F) near the coast. This is a great temperature to enjoy the weather and scenery around you.
However, the country has many microclimates. The best weather in the country is in the Central Valley with the capital city San José. Temperatures are between 23°-26°C (73°-79°F) in the day and 15°-17°C (59°-63°F) in the night which feels like eternal spring. Popular beach destinations – such as Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo or Puerto Viejo – have temperatures of over 30°C (~90°F) during the day and around 22°C (71°F) during the night.
On the other side, it is much cooler in the mountain ranges of the country. The cloud forest of Monteverde has an average high of 21°C (70°F) and an average low of 13°C (55°F). It can get even colder if you decide to hike to the top of a mountain. The Irazú, which is the highest volcano in the country, has a temperature of just 5°C (41°F) on some days!
Because of the consistency of the temperature, it probably will not be a major factor in your decision when to visit Costa Rica. You can enjoy the warm weather no matter when you come!
Rainfall is at its high during the green season but that shouldn’t prevent you from coming. In most parts of Costa Rica, the rainy season begins in May and reaches its peak in September and October. However, even in the rainy season, the weather tends to be very nice in the mornings. If it is going to rain, it is usually for a couple of hours in the late afternoon – perfect for a Costa Rican “siesta” or a cup of coffee!
Of course, you also have to consider that the amount of rainfall depends on the region of Costa Rica which you are visiting. As you can see in the graphic on the right side, Manuel Antonio barely gets any rain from December to May. However, compared to other destinations in Costa Rica, there is a lot more precipitation in September and October. Tortuguero and the rest of the Caribbean experience more rainfall throughout the year, but have a dry period in September and October when it is very rainy in the rest of the country.
Above all, the best time to visit Costa Rica is when you feel you want to come. Every time of the year has its advantages. There is no answer better than that it all depends on what weather you like and how much you want to spend!