Rainy season for Costa Rica lasts from May to November with its peak in the second part of September and the whole month of October, while the dry season lasts from December to April.
But things are not that simple when we talk about the weather in Costa Rica as this tiny country located in Central America has dozens of microclimates where the sun is shining even during the rainy season.
So the rainy season or green season as it is also called is not rainy all over the country, and September and October are actually quite shiny and perfect for a beach holiday if you are heading to the Caribbean Coast.
Now, let me tell you a few words about what causes the rainy season in Costa Rica to get a better understanding of the natural course.
What causes Costa Rica rainy season
There are several factors that influence weather in Costa Rica and here I am talking about temperature variations and wind directors.
Both these factors have quite an easy-to-predict pattern so you can determine in advance when the rainy season Costa Rica starts.
As you probably already know, from May to September the most spoiled with sunlight is the northern hemisphere, while the southern one receives less light from the sun because of Earth’s rotational movement.
This factor determines in the northern hemisphere many sunny days with high temperatures, especially when we are talking about countries located close to the Tropic of Cancer and the equator.
But all this intense heat leads to a lot of humidity in the air, humidity that rises up in the air, cools off, and then condenses.
The condensed water has to come back to the Earth and this happens when outside rains.
So, this is how the rainy season is formed and this is the incredible relationship between, sun, temperature, and rain.
The rainy season for Costa Rica is also influenced by wind and the blowing direction that it has all year round.
The warm air from the Caribbean Coast rises up and because of the wind direction, it flows over the tall mountains from the central valley of Costa Rica where it cools off, condenses, and forms the raindrops not only on the central area of the country but also on the Pacific Coast.
So yes, this is the main reason why the Caribbean Coast is perfect for a holiday even during the heavy rainy months of October and November.
Rainy months in Costa Rica, brief analyze
The wet season in Costa Rica doesn’t start in an aggressive way but it comes with a slight increase in precipitation from one day to another. This is why we have to split the rain season in Costa Rica into three parts:
- Early rain season
- Mid rain season
- Late rain season
Early rain season
The early rain season lasts from May and June, with many sunny and warm days and just a few showers that often occur during the afternoon.
The beginning of the rainy season is perfect for visiting and exploring Costa Rica, not just because of the good weather, but also because prices are lower.
During the months of May and June, you can plan a tour around the country and include in your itinerary places from the Central Pacific Coast like Manuel Antonio, Uvita, or from northwest Costa Rica where you can stay in Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, or Nosara.
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September and October are considered to be mid rainy months in Costa Rica, a time of year when the precipitation increases, and there might be days with rain from morning till evening.
The South and Central Pacific Coast as well as the mountains are still great places to go, but you have to expect daily afternoon rains that sometimes might last for long.
The mornings in these parts of the country in September and October are generally sunny but don’t leave your hotel without a raincoat in your backpack as the weather is quite unpredictable during these months.
There is a very interesting phenomenon that happens during these months in Costa Rica, phenomena known as veranillo or the little summer, and refers to a period of a few days in a row when there is no rain.
This season is not constant from one year to another, sometimes it is in the first weeks of July, while in other years in August. it is quite hard to predict the exact period so it is almost impossible to plan a holiday based on it.
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Late rainy season
September and October as well as November are considered to be the rainiest months of the whole year, with heavy storms and a lot of rain especially in the central part of the country and on the Pacific Coast.
Most of the hotels are closed on the Pacific Coast and from the mountain regions because of the heavy rain and lack of tourists.
But things get better from the second part of November when the precipitation starts to decrease, there are more sunny and warm days.
In extremely rare cases the rainy season might end in the first weeks of December, but this is quite rare and December is considered a good month to visit Costa Rica.
If you insist on going to Costa Rica in these months of the year you should head to the Caribbean coast where the days are sunny and relatively dry.
Places to stay on the Caribbean Coast in September and October
- Tortuguero National Park – Tortuga Lodge Gardens Tortugues Costa Rica built right on the riverbank in the middle of nature
- Cahuita National Park – Hotel El Encanto Costa Rica located just 5 minutes from the park, featuring beautiful bungalows hidden in the dense vegetation
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel Puertoviejo Costa Rica, the perfect beach hotel from the area with outdoor pool and sea view.
The rainy season for Costa Rica – why you should go
You might not like the idea that a short rain might start anytime, but here are a few really notable reasons why you should consider visiting Costa Rica during this time of year as most Costa Ricans do:
- All around you is lush and green and the temperature is perfect for exploring
- The crowds are gone so you have Costa Rica just for yourself
- The prices drop considerably so you will get a really good price-quality ratio for hotels, car rentals and even food
- The rivers and waterfalls have plenty of water so they are more spectacular than during the dry season
- The trails from the national parks are emptier than in high season so you have more chances to spot wildlife
The rainy season in Costa Rica lasts from May to November, with its peak during October and November and transition months May and June and late November and early December.
Most people avoid going to Costa Rica during these months, but during the transition months, there are lots of sunny days and just some scattered rain in the afternoon, nothing to ruin your holiday.
The dry season is not necessarily the best time to visit in Costa Rica as the prices are quite high and tourists are everywhere.
The best time of year to visit Costa Rica is definitely during the early rainy season, which is May and June but also at the beginning of December.
During this time of the year, the prices are still low, you have plenty of hotels to choose from, the vegetation is green and lush and the tourists are not here yet.
No, it is not raining every day or rain all day in Costa Rica especially during the dry season that lasts from December to April.
The rainy season for Costa Rica brings a lot of rain but especially in October and November when the wet season is at its peak.
Most of the days in Costa Rica are sunny and warm, with short showers in the afternoon in the cloud forests, rainforest, and mountains areas of the country.
Actually, the rainy season is not that rainy as you imagined except for the months of September, October, and November.
In fact, the first months of the rainy season (May and June) are perfect for traveling to Costa Rica and exploring this tiny but spectacular country: the prices are low, tourists are gone and the vegetation is lush and green.
If you plan a trip to Costa Rica during the rainy season you should prepare yourself for a few storms and showers and stay flexible to be able to adapt your plans to weather conditions.
And when planning your trip to Costa Rica keep in mind the following: Guanacaste province is the driest part of the country, while the Osa Peninsula and Southern Pacific coast have the highest number of rainy days.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.