When to Travel to Costa Rica?

When to Visit Costa Rica

Copia de When to Visit Costa Rica (1)

If you are planning a trip to the tropics and wondering when to travel to Costa Rica is, you need to consider a few things.

People often ask this question based on sunshine and rain or temperature; it needs to be taken into deeper consideration at different times of the year.

Here we will breakdown all the essential factors when considering when is the best time to travel to Costa Rica. We will include weather, tourist crowds, adventure scale, surf conditions, scenery, and pricing.  Notice we didn’t put temperature because the temperature difference is so small that it’s not even a factor.

Costa Rica’s temperature is high 60’s to high 80’s all year for the most part.

Here in Costa Rica, we have three main seasons in the tourism industry. The first season we call the high season. The high season runs from late December to August. This season is when most tourists choose to travel, based on US schools’ vacation calendar. Many school trips to Costa Rica happen during the summer.

The second season is the low season, and this runs from late August until mid-December. The third season is what we call our peak-season.  This is late December to early January and mid-March to mid-April.

Before explaining what each season brings, we will first explain each topic you need to consider before traveling: price, weather, surf, crowds, and scenery.

First, we have the price. The price is pretty simple. Costa Rica is more expensive during the peak season because there is a higher demand. Traveling is medium-priced during the high season, and the low season is often a time to find deals from hotels and different adventures. 

Second, we have weather. When thinking of the tropics, you often think of rain or shine. This is true, but many people believe it coincides with the high season being sunny and the low season being rainy. While this is mostly true, it is not entirely 100% correct. For example, the Caribbean side of Costa Rica from late August to early September is blue skies and calm waters. This makes it without question one of the most beautiful spots in Costa Rica.

The funny thing is most people don’t see it because the rest of Costa Rica has heavier rain during these months. This can also be true during the dry months of the rest of the country.

If you decide to travel to the Caribbean in March while the rest of the country is dry, you might experience more rain. Our point is you can not use the same forecast month by month for the entire country.

If you are smart about where you travel, you can easily plan a great trip for any time of the year. Our favorite time of year is September to December, bringing us to our next topic, adventure level.

Adventure level is our third topic, and it is something that is often overlooked. You might be wondering what exactly could affect the adventure level of a trip to Costa Rica. Well, if you have ever been rafting on a shallow river, you will quickly find out.

Our main reason for loving the months of September and October is that the rivers for rafting always have a great water level adding to the adventure. We get the best of both worlds. We get a rainy river filled with water and a sunny beach on the Caribbean coast.  Even mountain biking in the rainy season will have you ripping through more mud puddles, reminding you that you are adventuring through the rainforest.

The fourth item is the crowds. If you travel right, you should never experience anything like Vegas or Disney, but you would be surprised. Some places in Costa Rica can be crowded.

The only real-time we see this become an issue is during the peak season. These are the weeks of Christmas, New Years’, and Spring Break. If you come during these dates, you will want to plan your trip meticulously if you are not a fan of crowds.

The fifth reason to consider when to travel to Costa Rica is if you are a surfer. For the most part, the waves are consistent in Costa Rica, and if you are a hardcore surfer, you probably want to come when the waves are best. Waves are like the weather. They change during different months depending on which coast you are on.

On the flip side, if you are family looking to learn how to SUPSurf, you will want to come when the waves are less gnarly and are forgiving enough to learn. On a side note, once you are  

The final reason people need to consider is for the scenery.

Costa Rica has so many different microclimates, and the popular area of Guanacaste is a tropical dry forest. During certain parts of the month, things look dry and almost dead. If you want a more vibrant feel for your vacation, you need to plan when you travel accordingly or go to a part of the country that receives more rainfall.

I love the end of the rainy season because the rainforest is coming off seven months of just soaking up water, and things are as green as they get.

With this said, do not think your packing list should not include a rain jacket even if you visit during Costa Rica’s dry season.

Now that we know we are dealing with three main seasons and that each season has far more things to consider than just rain or sunshine, we will break it down so you know when to travel to Costa Rica.

High Season – Months – Late December to August

  • Weather – More sun than rain for most of the country. The Caribbean gets more rain during these months.
  • Price – During this season, you will not find many deals.
  • Adventure Level – Around July, water levels will start to rise slightly
  • Crowds – Wouldnt worry too much about crowds unless you fall into the peak season dates.
  • Surf – Great surf on the Pacific and Caribbean coast.
  • Scenery – amazing scenery at the start of the dry season. Some places like Guanacaste can become very dry in March and April.

Peak Season – Months: Late Dec. to Eary April 

  • Weather – More sun than rain for most of the country. The Caribbean gets more rain during these months.
  • Price – During this season, all prices will be higher.
  • Adventure Level – water levels are low. Maybe a big rain or two in late Dec.
  • Crowds – Most crowded time to visit Costa Rica
  • Surf – Great surf on the Pacific and Caribbean coast.
  • Scenery – amazing scenery at the start of the dry season. Some places like Guanacaste can become very dry in March and April.

Low Season – Months: Late August to Mid December

  • Weather – More rain than the sun for most of the country. Mostly afternoon showers. The Caribbean gets more sun during these months.
  • Price – A lot of great deals
  • Adventure Level – water levels are high—best rafting of the year.
  • Crowds – no crowds
  • Surf – Great surf on the Pacific while the Caribbean is flat.
  • Scenery – Most of the country is starting to become green by this time, with moderate showers during June and July. Arenal Volcano often has a grey sky above its peak with all the moisture sucked off the surface, making for the volcano’s best and clearest views.

In closing, we hope you have a better understanding that “when to travel to Costa Rica” has more to do with rain or shine. Hopefully, this helps a bit when trying to decide, and if you are anything like us, you will get excited for the upcoming low season because with our without tourists, we know we plan to enjoy it!

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