When to Travel to Costa Rica
The three most important thing you should keep in mind about the weather in Costa Rica are:
There is very little difference in temperature between the coldest months, January and February and the hottest months, April and May.
Don't pay attention to what you've read about dry and rainy seasons. The weather in Costa Rica is too complicated to be divided into 2 seasons. The rainiest months in some regions are the driest months in other regions. Use our Rain Fall & Temperature Chart By Region to inform your decisions.
Normally the pattern during the wet months is clear mornings and an hour or two of torrential rain any time from noon. Very occasionally a large low pressure system can cause a week of solid rain. This most likely to happen August through October in most of the country and least likely to happen these same months in the Caribbean. Of course El Niño years, like 2014 and 2015 have been, can change all of that and lead to unpredictable weather patterns
Costa Rica is never crowded compared to mass tourism destinations. Nevertheless during the most crowded times many facilities are at peak capacity, which means longer waits and less personalized service.
Most Crowded times:
- December 15-the Monday After New Years.
By far the most crowded time.
- U.S. Presidents Week. The least crowded of the most crowded times.
- Spring break in U.S. schools and Easter Week.
- June-July to Mid August – Summer break for U.S. schools
Least Crowded Times
- Mid April to Mid June
- Mid August to Mid November.
Here are a few tips about the best months and places for various activities presented in alphabetical order. If the activity is really important to you, avoid the beginning and end of the period just in case the weather or whatever else makes for ideal conditions starts late or ends early. If you have a specific interest please contact us for more information.
Costa Rica has great birding all over the country year around. Here are some highlights. Contact us for more details.
- Spring Bird Migration: March –April. Northern migratory birds that have been wintering in South America travel north to their breeding grounds.
- Fall Bird Migration: July - October. Northern migratory birds travel south, some stay here and others pass through heading further south to their wintering grounds.
- Raptor Migration. September and October.
Diving and Snorkeling:
- Caño Island and South and Central Pacific. Mid December through April because the are the least rain months and the visibility is not effected by river run off.
- Bat and Catalina Islands in the North Pacific. September and October because the are the least windy months.
- Puerto Viejo and Cahuita on the Caribbean. September and October because the are the least rain months and the visibility is least effected by river run off.
- Best months:
→ Last month
- North Atlantic: Tarpon and Snook
→ Best months: September & October.
- Central and South Pacific: Blue Marlin, Sail & Rooster Fish
→ Best months: June & July
- North Pacific: Sailfish
→ Best months: January-May
- Lake Arenal: Rainbow Bass
→ Best months: January-May
Best months: Whenever your game is on.
→ Best place: Tortuguero, Corcovado, Manuel Antonio
→ Best place: Tortuguero, Corcovado
→ Best place: Manuel Antonio, Corcovado
→ Best place: Tortuguero, Manuel Antonio, Corcovado
Best Place: Cloud Forest. Monteverde and Cerro de la Muerte.
Best Place: Tortuguero
- Atlantic Greens
- Best Place: Tortuguero
- Breeding: May-August. There is a good chance you will not get to see breeding because the sea is too rough to get out in the ocean.
- Nesting: June-October. During the peak months, July and August you have about an 85% chance of observing nesting
- Hatching: August-November. Best to be on the beach before dawn.
- Nesting and hatching: August.
- Atlantic Leatherbacks.
- Best Place: Matina
- Nesting: February-July
- Hatching: April-September
- Nesting and hatching: April-July.
- Pacific Leatherbacks
- Best Place: Playa Grande
- Nesting late October to mid February
- Hatching late December to mid March
- Pacific Ridleys
- Best Place: Ostional
- Nesting: May-November
- Hatching: July-January
- Nesting and hatching: July-November
- Best place: Tortuguero
- Humpback Migration from North America. December - April.
- Humpback Migration from South America. June - October
- The only months were there are no Humpback whales in Costa Rica are May and November.
White Water Rafting
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- Best Months for high water, for the intrepid, are June through November. There is also a possibility of cancelation because of dangerously high water.
- Best Months for medium water levels are December, January, and May.
- Best Months for low water levels are February through April. There is a possibility of cancelation because the river is too low to run.