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Step by step guide for when to go to Costa Rica this year

When to go to Costa Rica depends mainly on the type of holiday you are looking for; if you are interested in a beach holiday we strongly recommend the dry season, while tropical forest and wildlife are better to see during the transition months.

I don’t know if you have noticed but Costa Rica is sunny and warm when in the US and Europe it is winter, cold, and lots of snow.

Another interesting thing which I want to tell you about is a large number of microclimates from this tiny country, microclimates of the cloud forest, volcanoes, and mountains.

Costa Rica is quite an interesting place and knowing the best travel time to Costa Rica is important for better planning your holiday.

As a general rule, there are just two seasons in Costa Rica: the dry season and the rain one also known as the green season.

The dry season lasts from December to April, while the green season or the rainy season is from May to November.

If you travel to the mountains or around volcanoes and cloud forests you should expect showers even during the dry season, because as I said earlier, these places have their own microclimates.

Most probably you will have a clear sky and a lot of sun in the first part of the day while the afternoons are cloudy, foggy, and sometimes rainy all year round.

Let me tell you now a few words about each month of the year and when is the cheapest time to go to Costa Rica and enjoy its amazing places.

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Costa Rica best time to go When to go to Costa Rica
Costa Rica best time to go

When to go to Costa Rica

January to April

When is the best time to go to Costa Rica if not from January to April when it is the peak season, the time of the year when it is extremely hot and arid, the dry season at its best.

Scattered showers are quite common if you explore the volcanoes, rainforests, and cloud forests from the country so you’d better take a raincoat with you.

Costa rica weather in January
Costa rica weather in January

As it is high season expect tourists everywhere, to long queues at main Costa Rican attractions, lots of people roaming around the hiking trails of the national parks, high prices and difficulties in finding hotels, cars to rent, and even a free table at the restaurant.

I don’t think I have to tell you that this is the most expensive time of the year when the prices go up and you might end up paying double for your meal or for a drink than in the rest of the year.

So you will have to prepare an increased budget for your trip if you are interested in traveling to Costa Rica during these 4 months.

May and June

These two months of the year are considered to be the beginning of the rainy season with more and more precipitations and moderate temperatures.

Areas like Central Valley, Northern Pacific, or Caribbean Coast are still sunny and warm, perfect for exploring and activities for which this tropical country is famous.

The vegetation begins to rebirth and everything recovers its greenery, the flowers are blooming, so yes, it is a great time to visit Costa Rica.

When to go to Costa Rica weather in May
When to go to Costa Rica weather in May

These months are one of the best for surfing and practicing all kinds of water sports, including scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, and white water rafting.

The good news is that the tourists are gone, spring breaks are over so you will have the opportunity to discover a new face of Costa Rica, one that is quieter and more green.

The prices are lower than in the dry season and you have plenty of options for accommodation, places to eat, and also a wide variety of cars to rent and explore Costa Rica on your own.

July and August

With the quantity of precipitation increasing from one week to another, July and August are not on most travelers’ list interested in visiting Costa Rica.

These months are generally preferred by those with children whose summer holiday is the only time when they can travel.

Costa Rica weather in July
Costa Rica weather in July

Still, these two months are cheaper than the ones from the dry season and it is a great period to go if you want to see the green turtles near Tortuga National Park or the whales around Dominical.

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  • travel delay - up to $100/day

For those of you looking to spend some quality time on the beach we recommend you to head to the northern Pacific Coast, as this area has less precipitation these months.

September and October

These two months are the rainiest months of the entire year and we strongly don’t recommend you to travel to Costa Rica during this period.

Costa Rica weather in October
Costa Rica weather in October

Most of the trails from the national parks are covered with water and mud and it is a tough period even for animals.

November and December

The second part of November and the first part of December mark the end of the wet season, and the number of sunny days increases.

Costa rica weather in December
Costa rica weather in December

The second part of December marks the beginning of the dry season and everybody rushes to Costa Rica to spend their Christmas and New Year holiday in a warm and sunny place.

It is also the beginning of the whale watching season when thousands of humpback whales come to these waters to mate and give birth to a new generation of whales.

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When is the best time to go to Costa Rica

The answer to the question, when to go to Costa Rica is more complex than you’ve imagined, as the time might vary depending on your interests.

Let me give you some examples:

Attraction
Period
Jungle walksDecember to April
Manuel Antonio Marine reserveJanuary and February
Monteverde Cloud ForestSeptember and October
The Osa Peninsulaall year round except for September and October
Tortuguero National ParkJuly, August, and September

Best places for your stay

If you plan to visit Costa Rica here are some of the best accommodation you can find in this country located close to the main attractions:

Manuel Antonio National Park Puntarenas Province Quepos Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park Puntarenas Province Quepos Costa Rica

Monteverde Cloud Forest: Monteverde Lodge And Gardens Costa Rica located 15 minutes drive from the cloud forest

monteverde lodge and gardens aerial drone view
monteverde lodge and gardens aerial drone view

Osa Peninsula: Iguana Lodge Beach Resort And Spa Costa Rica, the perfect place to stay for sea turtles watching tours

Conclusion

Travel time to Costa Rica might be different depending on what you are expecting to see and do on your holiday.

Nevertheless, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, home to about 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

It is a pity to visit this country just for beaches and without taking at least one tour of a protected area like a cloud forest, a rainforest, or a volcano.

Arm with a good camera and prepare yourself for some of the most unique encounters you’ve ever experienced in your life.

And remember: the cheapest time to go to Costa Rica is outside the dry season, in the transition months of May, June, and September and October.

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

We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.

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.