Best Time of the Year to Visit Costa Rica

The Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is beautiful no matter the season
The Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is beautiful no matter the season | © Rob Crandall / Alamy Stock Photo
Jenn Parker

Costa Rica has two seasons: dry season and rainy season. Months are also categorized into either high, low or green seasons, reflecting the levels of tourist activity. There isn’t a ‘best time’ to visit the country, as such – it’s dependent on multiple factors, including when you’re planning a visit. Here’s what you need to know.

And if you’re looking to stay and enjoy the cloud forests and surf towns, why not book yourself a place on Culture Trip’s epic eight-day adventure in Costa Rica.

Dry season, high season

Playa Santa Teresa is a great place to go surfing, but it can be dusty during the dry season

Typically, the rain has stopped by the middle of November, marking the beginning of the dry season. Lasting until at least April, this season is considered summer by Costa Ricans. During the dry season, there is practically zero rainfall, and the first few months feel like the same day played over and over again – cloudless blue skies, beaming sunlight, dry winds, and cool, crisp mornings and evenings. The climate is perfect for endless beach days. There are also far fewer mosquitos during the summer months.

Green season

A lush rainforest with every shade of green surrounds La Fortuna Waterfall in Costa Rica

The very end of April or the beginning of May usually brings about the first rains – celebrated by those living in Costa Rica. By the end of five or so very dry months, the rain couldn’t be more welcomed. The end of April is bone dry, and aside from the magnificent flowering trees, such as the malinche, frangipani and cortez amarillo, everything else takes on a singular golden hue. Also, the animals all appear dehydrated and hot, and there are forest fires on the mountainsides. In short, the heat can be unbearable – so maybe avoid the end of April altogether here. Naturally, when the first rain falls, the plants, animals and humans dance in it.

The green season goes from May until the end of August. The landscape quickly transforms, and every shade of green becomes present. It’ll typically rain just once a day, with the remainder of the day usually quite pleasant. Green season rates for flights, accommodations, car rentals and activities are cheaper than during the high season, making it a great time to visit if you want to see the green side of Costa Rica and spend a little less money. As the country continually becomes more popular, though, so does this season. When visiting during these months, it’s crucial that you always wear bug spray to ward off those pesky mosquitos.

Rainy season, low season

Even the birds welcome the rain after several dry months

September and October are the two rainiest months in Costa Rica. There’ll likely be times when it rains for the entire day. However, there are also days when not a drop falls, and the sun is shining. It’s a bit of a gamble to visit during these months if you want to participate in a lot of outdoor activities.

For those coming to Costa Rica to relax, rejuvenate and spend time surrounded by nature, the rainy season can actually be a perfect time to visit. There are quite a few luxury ecolodges offering five-star accommodation, incredible views, spa services, exquisite food, hot tubs in the rooms and hot springs outside. Imagine being nestled high up in the cloud forest, drinking a glass of champagne in your hot tub with the windows open and clouds rolling by so closely that you can touch them as intermittent rain showers dance on your roof and the surrounding dense canopy. Rainy reason just might be the escape you have been craving.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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