March in Costa Rica

March weather patterns in Costa Rica
Costa Rica weather map. March is the dry season and the weather is fine across the country.

When to Travel?


or see best time to travel summary

Early March could be the best time for a Costa Rica vacation. The most popular destinations have hot dry weather and many popular hotels and lodges have some rooms available even a couple of weeks ahead. Later in March Spring Break and Costa Rica’s Easter vacations (see calendar below and for April) combine to reduce availability and raise prices.

March Weather

March is the heart of the Costa Rican dry season. The western and central regions of Costa Rica have sunny weather, nearly no rain and surprisingly low humidity.  The tropical dry forests covering the lowlands of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula have dropped their leaves and some are flowering in spectacular displays.

March is also a drier months on the Caribbean coast but this region is covered in lowland rainforest that never experiences the dry dusty conditions that prevail on the Pacific north during the dry season.

Temperatures on the beaches and at low elevations are hot with highs in the upper eighties and lows in the upper seventies. Moving up in elevation things cool down and the Central Valley and San José are a few degrees cooler. Monteverde, Savegre and Los Angeles cloud forests have temperatures 20 or even 30 degrees lower.

Planning Ahead & Reservations

Advance reservations are strongly recommended for mid priced hotels and lodges in March and are essential for all but budget accommodations around Easter. Many popular places (especially in beach areas) have minimum stays of 3-6 nights for the peak season.

Costs & Availability for Travel in March

Easter and the preceding week (Semana Santa or Holy Week) are the busiest time on the Costa Rica travel calendar (exact dates shown below). Cold weather and spring break up north, school and work holidays in Costa Rica, and perfect weather on the beach combine to send demand soaring. Discounts are rare for quality properties and many have peak season surcharges around the holiday.

If you want the flexibility of traveling without reservations early March is better than later in the month and you’ll be much happier if you avoid Easter week. You may not get your first choice, but with a good guidebook you should be able to find something acceptable if you plan on looking in the morning.

Airfare rarely goes on sale for the peak travel months but if it does it’s usually several months in advance. If you plan ahead and set a fare alert on a search site like kayak.com there are occasional bargains – for 2015 peak dates there were tickets available for less than half price to announce Southwest Airlines new service.

Alternatives to March in Costa Rica

Depending on the timing of Easter you may consider shifting into February, or April for similar weather with less crowds.

…Other Bests…best kept secrets, best to do & best places

Notes:

The El Niño Weather pattern will have drying effects on Costa Rica’s Pacific side and will increase rainfall on the Caribbean into mid 2016.  Drought conditions are likely in Guanacaste and Nicoya and water restrictions may be enforced.  Hydroelectric power will be reduced making brownouts and blackouts likely in the central valley.

Calendar of Nature, Holidays & Fiestas – Costa Rica in March

The more you see of a turtle, whale or quetzal symbol the more likely you’ll see one. A detailed explanation and legend is also included at the bottom.

March 2016
approximate exchange rate ¢533 per $U.S.
Rise & Set
Tide Times
Pacific
Caribbean
Costa Rica Moon Phase sunrise and sunset
Costa Rica High and Low Tides
dry season    wave size
rainy season    wave size
Tue 1
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑23:20 ↓11:18 ↑5:53 ↓17:49 ↑1:29
↑13:39
↓7:45
↓20:05
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 2
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑0:09 ↓12:06 ↑5:52 ↓17:49 ↑2:17
↑14:29
↓8:36
↓20:58
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 3
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑1:00 ↓12:57 ↑5:52 ↓17:49 ↑3:14
↑15:29
↓9:38
↓22:01
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Fri 4
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑1:52 ↓13:51 ↑5:51 ↓17:50 ↑4:17
↑16:37
↓10:44
↓23:08
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Festival Imperial – Music festival at Autódromo La Guácima (west of San Jose). Ever two years in even years in March. Offical lineup and dates have not been set but past performers include Sting and Seal
Sat 5
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑2:45 ↓14:46 ↑5:51 ↓17:50 ↑5:22
↑17:44
↓11:48
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sun 6
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑3:37 ↓15:43 ↑5:50 ↓17:50 ↑6:22
↑18:45
↓0:10
↓12:45
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Mon 7
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑4:30 ↓16:41 ↑5:50 ↓17:50 ↑7:15
↑19:38
↓1:05
↓13:35
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Tue 8
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑5:22 ↓17:40 ↑5:49 ↓17:50 ↑8:03
↑20:27
↓1:56
↓14:23
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 9
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑6:14 ↓18:39 ↑5:49 ↓17:50 ↑8:49
↑21:15
↓2:43
↓15:08
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 10
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑7:06 ↓19:38 ↑5:48 ↓17:50 ↑9:35
↑22:01
↓3:30
↓15:53
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Fri 11
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑7:58 ↓20:37 ↑5:48 ↓17:50 ↑10:20
↑22:48
↓4:16
↓16:39
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Jungle Jam – 6th annual reggae and local artist music festival at Jaco Beach. The lineup and exact dates have not been announced
Sat 12
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑8:51 ↓21:36 ↑5:47 ↓17:49 ↑11:06
↑23:36
↓5:03
↓17:26
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sun 13
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑9:45 ↓22:35 ↑5:47 ↓17:49 ↑11:54
↓5:51
↓18:15
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Día de los Boyeros – Oxcart driver’s day takes place on the second Sunday in March. A parade of beautifully handmade and painted oxcarts and driving competitions are surrounded by traditional costumes, food and dancing in San Antonio de Escazú. One of the most colorful celeb
Mon 14
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑10:39 ↓23:32 ↑5:46 ↓17:50 ↑0:26
↑12:45
↓6:42
↓19:07
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Tue 15
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑11:34 ↓23:32 ↑5:46 ↓17:50 ↑1:20
↑13:40
↓7:38
↓20:05
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 16
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑12:28 ↓0:28 ↑5:45 ↓17:50 ↑2:19
↑14:42
↓8:41
↓21:09
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 17
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑13:21 ↓1:20 ↑5:44 ↓17:50 ↑3:26
↑15:55
↓9:51
↓22:20
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Fri 18
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑14:13 ↓2:10 ↑5:44 ↓17:50 ↑4:39
↑17:11
↓11:04
↓23:31
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sat 19
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑15:03 ↓2:58 ↑5:43 ↓17:50 ↑5:49
↑18:20
↓12:10
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Día de San José – Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the capital city San José, and the day is recognized nationwide by Catholics with special masses (especially in the many other towns and communities named San José). It is an official business, bank and school holiday i
Sun 20
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑15:51 ↓3:42 ↑5:43 ↓17:50 ↑6:49
↑19:16
↓0:34
↓13:06
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Palm Sun. –
Mon 21
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑16:38 ↓4:25 ↑5:42 ↓17:50 ↑7:38
↑20:03
↓1:27
↓13:54
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Semana Santa – Holy week is observed with religious processions and masses. Starting on Thursday essentially nothing is open and even public transportation does not run until after Easter Sunday
Tue 22
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑17:24 ↓5:06 ↑5:41 ↓17:50 ↑8:20
↑20:43
↓2:12
↓14:35
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 23
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑18:10 ↓5:46 ↑5:41 ↓17:50 ↑8:57
↑21:19
↓2:52
↓15:12
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 24
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑18:55 ↓6:26 ↑5:40 ↓17:50 ↑9:31
↑21:54
↓3:30
↓15:47
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Maundy Thu. –
Fri 25
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑19:41 ↓7:06 ↑5:40 ↓17:49 ↑10:05
↑22:28
↓4:05
↓16:21
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Good Fri. –
Sat 26
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑20:27 ↓7:47 ↑5:39 ↓17:49 ↑10:38
↑23:02
↓4:41
↓16:55
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sun 27
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑21:15 ↓8:30 ↑5:39 ↓17:49 ↑11:12
↑23:37
↓5:16
↓17:30
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Easter –
Mon 28
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑22:03 ↓9:14 ↑5:38 ↓17:49 ↑11:48
↓5:53
↓18:06
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Tue 29
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑22:52 ↓10:00 ↑5:37 ↓17:49 ↑0:15
↑12:25
↓6:31
↓18:44
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 30
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑23:43 ↓10:49 ↑5:37 ↓17:49 ↑0:55
↑13:07
↓7:13
↓19:28
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 31
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑23:43 ↓11:40 ↑5:36 ↓17:49 ↑1:41
↑13:57
↓8:02
↓20:21
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Costa Rica Moon Phase sunrise and sunset
Costa Rica High and Low Tides
dry season    wave size
rainy season    wave size
Rise & Set
Tide Times
Pacific
Caribbean

Calendar Legend

Averages for the month

  • Approximate exchange rate
  • General weather pattern for each half of the country
    dry season or rainy season average weather pattern
  • Average surf wave height for each coast
    larger or smaller than average wave height

Shown for each day

  • The phase of the moon, and the moon and sun rise and set times for planning turtle viewing or a night hike (best under the dark skies of a new moon when nocturnal animals are most active).
  • Times for each high and low tide along the outer Pacific coast (gulfs and bays vary). Average height 8 feet (2.5 meters).
    Not intended for navigation.
  • Tides on the east coast occur about 2 hours earlier. However, the average height is only 8 inches (0.2 meters) so levels in the Caribbean Sea do not significantly impact most activities.
  • Natural events are shown as shaded icons for quetzals (nesting), turtles (nesting), and humpback whales (calving) on each coast.
    wildlife calendar species
  • The more solid color shown the more likely the event, the more shaded the less likely.
    more or less likely turtle nesting
  • Baby turtles hatch (usually at night) after approximately 50-70 days incubation so look for nesting activity on the calendar two months prior to your visit if you’d like to see the little ones popping out of the sand..
  • HolidaysBold indicates a government & bank holiday when most businesses are closed and buses may run on limited schedules.
  • Fiesta and local festival dates are approximate – most include events spread over a week or two so check the schedule locally for more information.