Best Time to Visit Costa Rica in 2023 – What to Consider

5. Best Time to Visit Costa Rica1
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When the weather is at its driest and brightest, between December and April is the ideal time to visit Costa Rica. Additionally, May to June or November are ideal times to visit because of the country’s green season. You can observe the seasons as they change at this time, and the national parks are less crowded.

While most places have four distinct seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter—Costa Rica only has two: dry and rainy. The best time to travel to Costa Rica is between November and early May because those are the drier months and the rainy season can make it difficult to engage in outdoor activities.

When Should You Go to Costa Rica?

The peak holiday travel season between Christmas and New Year’s is when most people choose to travel to Costa Rica, but the best time to go might be a few weeks later when the crowds have thinned.

Even though the rainy season comes to an end in December, the forests continue to be lush and the beaches are typically blessed with dry, sunny weather. When migratory birds from the north, humpback whales giving birth in the warm waters, and sea turtles building their nests on the shore, tropical species like monkeys and sloths are joined, it’s one of the best times for wildlife.

In addition to the secret dry season on the Caribbean in September and October, our personal favorite times to visit Costa Rica are July and August when there is a little bit more rain, fewer tourists, and a little bit lower cost.

There is never a bad time to travel, in fact. It really depends on your travel priorities and goals.

Select a month from the drop-down menu if you have a specific time of year in mind to access a summary of weather and rainfall, tides, prices, lodging availability, wildlife migrations, bank and school holidays, local fiestas and festivals, along with other seasonal information.

When is the Best Weather?

Where you are and when you are will determine the best weather. In Costa Rica, there are several unique microclimates. One area may experience flooding while another may be extremely dry.

We’ve visited at every time of year and while there are advantages to the high dry season (see suggested itineraries) we often prefer the low rainy season (referred to by the tourism board as the “Green Season”).

By comparing the weather maps, you can see that some locations are not recommended to visit at particular times due to the weather (the Osa/Southern Pacific in October, for example), and other locations have beautiful weather at undiscovered and uncrowded times (the Caribbean in October).

The summaries of each month that are linked in the drop down menu include additional comparisons and suggested substitutes.

While perusing the various weather and climate data, keep in mind that one of the reasons you are visiting Costa Rica is because of its incredible rain forests, and surprise, surprise, it rains in the rain forests.

If all you’re after are sunny days at the beach, Costa Rica has a region and time of year that can provide that as well. Guanacaste (the northwest beach region) is completely dry during the months of January, February, and March.

During the dry season, you can almost count on hot, sunny days if you travel to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. The dry season in Costa Rica lasts from mid-December to early March, at least in the western regions of the nation like the Nicoya Peninsula and the Osa Peninsula. You won’t go wrong scheduling your trip to Costa Rica during these months if it involves outdoor pursuits like hiking, beachgoing, or poolside lounging.

However, the Caribbean region of Costa Rica is less consistent. Although January and February tend to be more consistently dry, it gets unforeseen storms all year. The central valley, which is covered in foggy cloud forests, also has a tendency to be wetter, though the rain usually falls in the afternoons, leaving the mornings sunny and free for activities.

When to Visit Costa Rica for Cheap Prices

The dry season, which runs from December to March, tends to be when Costa Rica experiences its busiest period and consequently its most expensive period. So, if you want to avoid paying exorbitant hotel rates, you might think about going from May through early December, which is considered the low season. You run the risk of seeing fewer sunny skies during these rainy months, but there are also fewer tourists!

You will benefit from lower hotel and tour prices in addition to the lush vegetation that grows during Costa Rica’s green season.

5. Best Time to Visit Costa Rica2

When to Visit Costa Rica for the Best Beach Days

While the dry season tends to be clearly defined along the Pacific Coast, it is less so along the Caribbean Coast, where it rains continuously.

Thankfully, many of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica are in the The northern pacific region of the country experiences significantly reduced humidity and precipitation from mid-December to early-March. As well as becoming calm, clear, and inviting, the ocean.

When to Visit Costa Rica to Avoid Crowds

School breaks, such as spring break, summer vacation, and winter holidays, tend to be peak tourist seasons in Costa Rica because it is a well-liked vacation spot for families. In addition to these times, the high season lasts from the middle of December to the beginning of March, when the weather is typically sunny and warm.

After Semana Santa, the peak travel season ends, crowds thin out, and the weather usually stays dry starting in mid-April.

When to Visit Costa Rica for Good Surf

With 800 miles of coastline and some well-known surf spots like Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica is a surfer’s paradise. Despite the fact that you can surf year-round, the rainy green season (May–December) is the best time to go if you want to experience big swells and reliable surf.

When to Visit Costa Rica to See Sea Turtles

When it comes to sea turtles, Costa Rica is regarded as a top nation! Five of the seven species breed along the coast of Costa Rica. The best times and places to see them are:

  • Tortuguero National Park: Green sea turtles nest from July-September and baby turtles can be seen from August to November
  • Southern Caribbean Coast: Leatherbacks turtles nest from March through June and babies can be seen from May- to July
  • Pacific Coast (Guanacaste region, central, or southern): Olive ridley turtles nest in large numbers from August through November, especially in Playa Ostional where there are mass nesting events called “arribadas”, and Puntarenas’s Hermosa Beach. October through January are prime months for seeing babies.

Costa Rica Rainy/Green Season

Contrary to popular belief, Costa Rica is absolutely stunning when the vegetation is lush and green. Most people tend to believe that it is best to avoid the country during the rainier season. A great time to visit Costa Rica is during this underappreciated season because it allows you to avoid the busiest travel period.

  • Northern West Coast: This region’s “green season” runs from May/June through November, during which time afternoon showers are frequently expected but mornings are typically clear. The tropical dry forests turn from brown to green at this time of year, and there are fewer tourists in the area.
  • Southern West Coast: May through December are also the rainy months here, but the storms are generally bigger and wetter, and the season is typically a little longer than it is in the south. When it rains the most, it’s best to stay away from this area because flooding can make getting around difficult.
  • Caribbean Coast: On the east coast, the rainy season is less predictable, and thunderstorms can occur at any time. Although May, June, and July typically have the most rainfall. If you don’t mind the occasional shower, I suggest visiting this area because it is stunning all year long.
  • Central Regions: However, you can expect showers here all year. From May to December, the central valley and all of the mountainous cloud forests can receive up to 20 inches of rain per month.

Costa Rica Dry Season

The dry season is frequently regarded as the ideal time to visit Costa Rica due to the consistent hot and sunny weather, which is ideal for beach days and outdoor activities. As a result of higher hotel and tour prices as well as larger crowds, these months are also considered to be the busiest for tourists.

  • Northern West Coast: If you want to enjoy some beautiful beaches, the northern pacific coast is a great place to go, and the dry season is great for beach weather. Tropical dry forest, which without rain turns dry and brown, is another feature of the region. March is typically the driest and warmest month, with little to no rain and an average temperature of 80°F.
  • Southern West Coast: The southern Pacific region, including Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, is best visited during the dry season. Despite the fact that the roads are safe and accessible, the tropical rainforest is still lush and green.
  • Caribbean Coast: On the east coast, February and March are the driest months even though they still have an average monthly rainfall of about 10 inches.
  • Central Region: Even in the dry season, the central mountainous region of Costa Rica is the wettest and coolest. Wildlife watching and admiring Costa Rica’s beautiful jungles are both excellent reasons to travel to this area.

Costa Rica Shoulder Season

The transition between the dry and green seasons is known as the shoulder season in Costa Rica. The first rains usually arrive in April, which also triggers the forests’ regrowth by making them green once more. April is the typical transition month. There hasn’t been a price increase because it’s a slower season for tourism.

Just be sure to avoid traveling to Costa Rica during Semana Santa, a holiday that falls during the week before Easter and attracts a lot of tourists, especially to coastal areas.

Tips for Visiting Costa Rica

Always Be Prepared for Rain!

Despite having seasons based on rainfall, storms can strike without warning, so it’s always a good idea to bring a raincoat.

Don’t Underestimate the Costa Rican Sun

Due to Costa Rica’s proximity to the equator, the sun can be very strong and sunstroke can be extremely dangerous. Put on some clothing, a hat, and sunscreen.

Respect Costa Rica’s Wildlife

While seeing some of Costa Rica’s rare wildlife, like the monkeys, sea turtles, and coatis, is incredibly exciting, it’s best to keep a respectful distance for both your safety and the animals’. I’ve witnessed a monkey snatch a person’s entire backpack when they got a little too close!

Bring Bug Repellent

In Costa Rica, especially in the more humid regions and during the rainier months, mosquitoes and sand flies can be a major nuisance. To avoid spending your vacation itching yourself incessantly, be sure to bring some bug repellent, such as Ranger Ready.


The tiny tropical nation of Costa Rica is incredibly diverse and beautiful. Any time of the year is a good time to travel, but hopefully, this guide has helped you determine when to go!

FAQs About Visiting Costa Rica

Is Costa Rica Safe?

In general, Costa Rica is a safe place, especially for travelers. More violent crime is uncommon, though minor crimes like opportunistic theft do happen occasionally. Avoid less-populated areas like deserted beaches after dark if you want to avoid any confrontations. It’s advised to never walk when traveling because the capital, San José, has a higher crime rate than other touristy areas.

When Should You Not Go to Costa Rica?

There are some seasons you should avoid if you only have a week or two to travel. The rainiest months in general are September and October. Several days in a row of heavy rain may occur during this time, making it challenging to venture outside and explore.

When is the Best Time to Visit Costa Rica for Wildlife

The best time to go on a wildlife holiday to Costa Rica is from late December to April. Although the weather is dryer and sunnier now, always bring waterproof clothing just in case.

Is May a Good Time to Visit Costa Rica

May is one of the best months to visit Costa Rica. Early May is not particularly rainy, despite the fact that the seven-month rainy season has begun. The majority of the time, it is sunny, but there are sporadic afternoon showers. May is also a great month for fewer tourists, more hotel options, and low season discounts.

What Type of Tourism is Costa Rica Known For?

Costa Rica is a top travel destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those who value the natural world due to its diverse ecosystems and wildlife. The tiny nation is home to stunning beaches, mountainous cloud forests, tropical dry forests, and rain forests, all of which are habitats for amazing and rare animals. This has made the nation popular for outdoor activities like hiking, visiting beaches, and seeing wildlife.

What’s the Best Month to Visit Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is best visited in late April or early May. It’s when the early rains start to replace the dry season, causing the landscape to start turning greener and more vibrant. The peak travel season is still a few months away, though.

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