When to Travel to Costa Rica

The Main Season for Travel to Costa Rica

Though travel to a tropical paradise is pleasant year round, with flowers blooming in all seasons, brilliant endemic birds, butterflies, and lizards enlivening the scene, and warm temperatures beckoning to the traveler, some parts of the year are still more popular than others for ecotourism in Costa Rica. The tropical climate still has seasons – only two, wet and dry – even though there is no autumn or winter in these equatorial climes.

Most ecotourists prefer to come in the dry season, when sunshine lasts for the entire day and rain is usually either totally absent or is confined to the occasional warm sprinkle glittering jewel-like in the sun – the “liquid sunshine” of Hawaiian fame. Though there is some individual variation between the climates of the provinces, the dry season typically extends from November through April or May in Costa Rica. January and February usually have the finest weather of all the months.

This is certainly the time of year when your plans for boating, beachcombing, hiking, surfing, yoga, and so forth are least likely to be interrupted by a rainstorm or thunderstorms, and when the dry tropical forest on the Pacific side of the mountains is dotted with spectacular flowers. However, you should also bear in mind that this is the time of year when most other people are also visiting, and many of the popular destinations are likely to be crowded – or overcrowded.

As luck would have it, Costa Rica’s main tourist season coincides with the cold, wet, dark northern winter, so if you can make getaway plans at this time of year, travel to Costa Rica can be an excellent cure for winter glumness.

The “Lesser Dry Season” in July

Though the main dry season is in the period from November through April (and extends into May in some areas), July is a brief “secondary dry season” in Costa Rica. This month witnesses lesser rainfall amounts and larger amounts of sunlight practically everywhere in the neotropical country, compared to the rest of the rainy season. Therefore, it is also a viable choice for when to travel to Costa Rica, especially if your only vacation time away from work is in the northern summer!

The July “dry spell” allows you to enjoy the vibrant lushness that the annual rains bring to the Costa Rican landscape without being rained on as much, and with less chance of finding roads and trails transformed into deep, sticky mud. There are less people at this time than in the main dry season, though more than during the rainy season proper, so you will need to contend with far less crowding.

Naturally, you can also come in the rainy season if desired. There is still plenty of sun – an average of six hours per day rather than the dry season’s ten – and the country’s plant life experiences explosive, verdant growth thanks to the water. However, certain areas of road or hiking trail may be impassible at times, and there is a high chance you will get wet. September and October are the very wettest months and probably the ones to avoid unless you enjoy constant (though warm) rain.