May in Costa Rica

Map of costa Rica weather and rainfall patterns in May
Costa Rica May rainfall patterns. This map may be wetter than actual conditions. The latter part of May is the beginning of the rainy season in Costa Rica.

When to Travel?


or see when to go summary

May can be fantastic.  The low season is kicking in, there are no crowds, prices are down and although the rains start in May they usually aren’t set in until June and the really rainy months are September and October.

May Weather

May marks the transition from the dry season to the rainy season in Costa Rica and the weather is a bit of a gamble. We’ve marked the whole country as rainier on the map to the right, but just barely.

Typically the weather starts out dry but by late May rainy season weather patterns are once again prevailing. Of course it’s the weather so there’s no way to predict precisely from one day to the next let alone one year to the next. The good thing about the beginning of the rainy season is that it tends to come on slowly. A few rainy days in May, a few more in June and so on until sometime in October or November it’s pouring all the time, the roads start washing out and then suddenly it’s over.

The rains begin earlier on the Caribbean side of the central mountains and it’s generally wetter. Afternoon and overnight showers are common in May, it’s not the continuous days of rain possible with the temporales del Atlantico in November through January.

The beaches and lowlands experience high temperatures in the high-seventies to high-eighties and  low temperatures in the high-sixties to mid seventies.  Mid elevations (e.g. around San José) are 5-10 degrees cooler and temperatures at high elevations (Monteverde and Chirripo) can be 20 or even 30 degrees lower.

Planning Ahead & Reservations

May is gaining popularity for Costa Rica travelers, but it’s the beginning of the low season.  Advanced reservations may still be necessary for some of the more popular hotels, but if you want the flexibility of traveling without an itinerary set months ahead May is a good choice.

Costs & Availability for Travel in May

As the rains start, the number of travelers decrease and so do the prices – lodging discounts of 20-30% are available in May although most transportation and tour costs are relatively constant.

Alternatives to May in Costa Rica

November is the opposite transition month when rainy season ends and the dry season begins, but we’ve found that it’s more of a gamble. Really wet weather is not uncommon in November and because the ground is saturated with months of moisture landslides that close down roads for weeks or even months are not uncommon.

Alternatives with low season prices and intermediate rainfall include June and August.

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

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

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.

May 2016
approximate exchange rate ¢535 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
Sun 1
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑0:57 ↓13:07 ↑5:21 ↓17:50 ↑3:02
↑15:38
↓9:32
↓21:59
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
    Día de los Trabajadores – Labor Day. Parades, marches and the Presidential “state of the union” address to Congress and the people. Cricket matches are a highlight in Puerto Limón.
Mon 2
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑1:47 ↓14:03 ↑5:21 ↓17:51 ↑4:05
↑16:44
↓10:35
↓23:04
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
    Fiesta Pattronale Desamparados – Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)
Tue 3
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑2:36 ↓15:00 ↑5:21 ↓17:51 ↑5:07
↑17:47
↓11:35
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 4
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑3:27 ↓15:58 ↑5:20 ↓17:51 ↑6:07
↑18:45
↓0:05
↓12:32
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 5
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑4:19 ↓16:58 ↑5:20 ↓17:51 ↑7:03
↑19:39
↓1:02
↓13:25
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Fri 6
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑5:14 ↓18:00 ↑5:20 ↓17:51 ↑7:56
↑20:30
↓1:55
↓14:16
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sat 7
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑6:10 ↓19:02 ↑5:20 ↓17:51 ↑8:47
↑21:19
↓2:46
↓15:06
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sun 8
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑7:08 ↓20:03 ↑5:19 ↓17:52 ↑9:37
↑22:09
↓3:36
↓15:55
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Mon 9
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑8:07 ↓21:02 ↑5:19 ↓17:52 ↑10:27
↑22:58
↓4:26
↓16:45
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Tue 10
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑9:04 ↓21:58 ↑5:19 ↓17:52 ↑11:18
↑23:48
↓5:17
↓17:35
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 11
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑10:00 ↓22:50 ↑5:19 ↓17:52 ↑12:11
↓6:09
↓18:28
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 12
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑10:54 ↓23:38 ↑5:18 ↓17:52 ↑0:41
↑13:07
↓7:04
↓19:24
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Fri 13
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑11:45 ↓23:38 ↑5:18 ↓17:52 ↑1:36
↑14:07
↓8:02
↓20:24
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sat 14
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑12:33 ↓0:23 ↑5:18 ↓17:53 ↑2:34
↑15:12
↓9:04
↓21:28
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sun 15
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑13:20 ↓1:05 ↑5:18 ↓17:53 ↑3:36
↑16:19
↓10:06
↓22:32
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
    Día de San Isidro Labrador – Escazú and San Isidros all over Costa Rica hold street fairs and parades with music, dancing, traditional food, honoring the patron saint of farmers with blessings of animals and crops.
Mon 16
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑14:05 ↓1:45 ↑5:18 ↓17:53 ↑4:38
↑17:21
↓11:05
↓23:32
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
    Fiestas Pattronales San Marcos de Tarrazu, and Coronado – Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)
Tue 17
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑14:50 ↓2:25 ↑5:17 ↓17:53 ↑5:35
↑18:15
↓11:58
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 18
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑15:36 ↓3:05 ↑5:17 ↓17:54 ↑6:25
↑19:02
↓0:25
↓12:45
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 19
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑16:21 ↓3:45 ↑5:17 ↓17:54 ↑7:10
↑19:43
↓1:12
↓13:28
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Fri 20
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑17:08 ↓4:26 ↑5:17 ↓17:54 ↑7:50
↑20:21
↓1:55
↓14:07
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sat 21
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑17:57 ↓5:10 ↑5:17 ↓17:54 ↑8:28
↑20:58
↓2:35
↓14:45
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sun 22
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑18:46 ↓5:55 ↑5:17 ↓17:54 ↑9:06
↑21:34
↓3:13
↓15:22
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Mon 23
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑19:36 ↓6:43 ↑5:17 ↓17:55 ↑9:43
↑22:11
↓3:51
↓15:59
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Tue 24
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑20:26 ↓7:32 ↑5:17 ↓17:55 ↑10:21
↑22:48
↓4:29
↓16:37
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Wed 25
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑21:16 ↓8:23 ↑5:17 ↓17:55 ↑11:01
↑23:26
↓5:07
↓17:16
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Thu 26
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑22:05 ↓9:15 ↑5:17 ↓17:56 ↑11:42
↓5:47
↓17:57
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Fri 27
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑22:54 ↓10:08 ↑5:17 ↓17:56 ↑0:07
↑12:27
↓6:30
↓18:42
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sat 28
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑23:42 ↓11:01 ↑5:17 ↓17:56 ↑0:51
↑13:17
↓7:16
↓19:32
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Sun 29
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑23:42 ↓11:55 ↑5:17 ↓17:56 ↑1:40
↑14:13
↓8:07
↓20:29
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Mon 30
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑0:30 ↓12:49 ↑5:17 ↓17:57 ↑2:34
↑15:13
↓9:04
↓21:31
olive ridley turtle  green turtle  leather back turtlehumpback whale  quetzal nesting
green turtle  leather back turtle  humpback whale
Tue 31
Costa Rica Moon Phase ↑1:18 ↓13:45 ↑5:17 ↓17:57 ↑3:33
↑16:17
↓10:04
↓22:35
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
rainy 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.