Weather for Costa Rica by month should be split into the two main seasons that characterized this tropical country: the dry season and the rainy season.
The dry season generally lasts for 5 months, from December to April, while the rainy season or the green season is from May to November.
Local use to call the dry season Verano or “summer” and the rainy season Invierno or “winter”, things that cause confusions for tourists from the countries where summer generally lasts from June to August and winter is cold and snowy.
Although a small country, Costa Rica has a huge number of microclimates dictated by the volcanoes, mountains and forest spread all over the country.
So it is quite difficult to say that this country follows a very clear weather pattern, no matter in which part of the country you decide to go.
If we discuss the northern part of the Pacific coast, the average annual precipitations are around 1.6 meters, and summer lasts for 6 months, from November to May.
On the other hand, the southern part of the Pacific Coast is the wettest part of the whole country and the dry season generally lasts for 3 months, from January to March.
Located very close to the Equator the temperatures in Costa Rica are constant all over the year, variances being influenced by altitude and location.
The average temperature in Costa Rica lowlands is somewhere between 26- 33 degrees Celsius ( 79- 91 degrees Fahrenheit), while on the high elevations is between 7 to 12 degrees Celsius (44 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit).
But let’s see how is the weather for each month of the year and what you should pack for your Costa Rican holiday.
Weather for Costa Rica by month
Weather for Costa Rica in January
January is the second month of the dry season with plenty of sunny days and little to no rain, ideal for exploring and perfecting your tan.
Tourists from all over the world can spend a whole day on the beaches from North and Central Pacific ( Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Uvita, or Manuel Antonio) or even in Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, or Drake Bay from the South Pacific.
The only place from Costa Rica without lots of sunny days during this time of the year is the northern part of the Caribbean Coast, where January is generally the rainiest month of the year.
Weather for Costa Rica in February
February is the driest month of the year when even the rainy Caribbean Coast ( Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, and Cahuita) has plenty of sunny days.
The weather in Costa Rica in February on the Pacific Coast is great for the beach, with many sunny days and no rain.
Because of the intense heat and the lack of rain, many of the trees drop their leaves and the vegetation is less green than it was a couple of months ago.
The only regions with higher precipitations than Costa Rica’s average are the areas located on high altitudes and the Caribbean coast.
February is the month of the year when children have their summer holiday so prepare for queues at the attractions, crowds roaming around, and difficulties in finding a free table at a restaurant.
Weather for Costa Rica in March
We continue our analysis about the weather for Costa Rica by month with March, the heart of the dry season, the period of the year when almost all areas of the country experience little to no rain.
During this month it is extremely hot and dry with high temperatures, especially on the Pacific Coast and most of the trees drop their leaves.
I know it sounds weird and it is the last thing you expect to see in a tropical forest, but because of the intense heat and the lack of rain, most of the trees are leafless.
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Weather for Costa Rica in April
April is an extremely crowded month for visiting Costa Rica mainly because of the Holy Week or Semana Santa that fall in April, which refers to the week prior to Eastern when Christians from this part of the world celebrate with their extended family.
Add to this the American spring break and you will get the second crowded month of the year after December.
The days are still sunny and rainless, especially on the central valley and the Pacific Coast, ideal parts of the country for visiting in April.
The only exception for weather in Costa Rica by month April is the areas from the northern Pacific side, like Nosara, Nicoya Peninsula, and Tamarindo where the rainy season starts earlier than in the other parts of the country.
Weather for Costa Rica in May
May is the first month of the rainy season, but you should not expect heavy rains and a lack of sun.
May is a really great time of the year to visit Costa Rica as the prices are down, the crowds are gone and there are plenty of days with sun.
Most of the rains come in the afternoon and usually do not last for many hours, so there is nothing to ruin your plans for the holiday.
The rainiest part of the country is the area around Rincon de la Vieja National Park, while the Nicoya Peninsula is characterized by short afternoon showers.
Weather for Costa Rica in June
Weather Costa Rica in June is still great to visit Costa Rica as there are plenty of days with sun and the forest is green again.
The Central Pacific part (Manuel Antonio and Uvita) gets more rain than the northwestern part of the Pacific Coast, while the south Pacific (Corcovado and Drake Bay) is the wettest area of the whole country.
The Caribbean Coast on the other hand stands out with sunny mornings and afternoon showers, so you’d better pack a rain jacket each time you leave your hotel.
Weather Costa Rica in July
The north-western part of Costa Rica experiences the so-called veranillo or the “short summer” which is a short period from the rainy season when the days are sunny and no rainfalls.
This period varies from one year to another but generally occurs in the second part of July or the first part of August.
The exceptions from the veranillo phenomena are the Arenal Volcano area, the south, and Central Pacific.
July is also the nesting season for sea turtles and the best place to head to for seeing this amazing show is Tortuguero National Park.
Weather for Costa Rica in August
Weather Costa Rica by month break continues with August, the last month before the heavy rains cover Costa Rica.
For most areas of the country, august means sunny and clear mornings and short showers in the afternoon.
August is definitely rainier than July, so you’d better pack raincoats and warm clothes especially if you plan to explore the highlands of Costa Rica.
Weather for Costa Rica in September
September and October are the rainiest months of the year for the whole area of Costa Rica, except for Caribbean Coast.
Because of the position and the currents, when the Caribbean Coast is sunny, the Pacific Coast is rainy, and vice-versa.
So if you plan to visit Costa Rica in September and October you definitely have to go on the Caribbean side to avoid the heavy rains and take part in the local parades for Independence day that fall on September 15.
Weather for Costa Rica in October
If you choose to visit Costa Rica in October then you definitely have to go to the Caribbean Coast, as this is the only place in the country with sunny days.
Puerto Viejo and Tortuguero National Park are among the most popular destinations in the country for exploration, while Cahuita National Park and Punta Uva are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.
The highlands and the Pacific Coast are extremely rainy in October, so try to avoid these areas as the strong rains might cause flooding and many roads might be affected.
Weather Costa Rica in November
November is the last month of the rainy season so the number of sunny days increases and the quantity of precipitation decreases significantly.
The north-western part of Costa Rica is among the first areas from the country where the summer comes.
The arrival of the dry season is strongly influenced by the two currents El Nino and La Nina when El Nino causes the rain season to start later and ends earlier and La Nina causes the rain season to start earlier and ends later.
Weather for Costa Rica in December
For the Central and North Pacific zone ( Nicoya Peninsula, Nosara, Tamarindo, Uvita, Manuel Antonio) as well as Central Valley and San Jose, December is the first month of the dry season or high season as it is also called.
During the first part of December scattered showers might occur daily but the number of sunny days increases.
Starting with the second part of December the weather becomes sunny and the tourists start to come, while the days around Christmas and New Year are perfect for sunbathing and exploring.
The main downside of visiting this country around holidays is that the crowds are here, the prices go up and the queues at best attractions are quite long.
What to pack for Costa Rica
Now that you know how is the weather for Costa Rica by month, I drop below a list of the most important items you have to pack for your holiday:
- comfortable tops, shorts, and sandals
- casual dress for ladies and polo shirts for men
- beach suites and flip flops
- comfortable shoes
- sweater and light jacket
- hiking boots and warm clothes for hiking
- insect repellent
- sunglasses and a hat
- water shoes
- beach towel
- dry bag
- money belt
- filming and photographing equipment
Based on the weather for Costa Rica by month analyze we can see that the dry season and the busiest period of the year is from December to May.
During these months the prices are high, the crowds are everywhere but the weather is sunny and perfect for exploring and perfecting your tan.
The first month of the rainy season, as well as the last part of November, is actually quite good for visiting Costa Rica as the weather is perfect and the prices are still low.
So, pack your bags and hit the road as Costa Rica’s attractions are waiting to be discovered and photographed by nature enthusiasts from all over the world as you already know how’s the weather Costa Rica by month.
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.