Costa Rica May Print e-mail this info
Costa Rica May Rainfall Patterns
Costa Rica May rainfall patterns.  The latter part of May is the beginning of the rainy season in Costa Rica. (©Toucan Guides)

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 continous 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 April 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.

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

Costa Rica May Calendar

This calendar shows natural events, turtle nesting, festivals and more for the upcoming May to help you to plan ahead. The symbols and how to use them to choose the best time to travel are explained at the bottom.

 May 2015

Exchange Rate 505 ¢ per $U.S.
Sunrise ↑ 5:22, Sunset ↓ 17:50








Día de los Trabajadores


Fiesta Pattronale Desamparados














Día de San Isidro Labrador


Fiestas Pattronales San Marcos de Tarrazu, and Coronado


















May Holidays & Festival Notes
indicates an official government and bank holiday when most businesses are closed

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.

Fiesta Pattronale Desamparados-Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)

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.

Fiestas Pattronales San Marcos de Tarrazu, and Coronado-Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)

Costa Rica Calendar Symbol Legend
Price SymbolsSeasonal pricing is indicated by dollars signs. A single $ indicates low season pricing. Two $$ are shown for dates when some properties still have low season prices but others have switched to high season. Three $$$ indicates high season and four $$$$ are shown for dates when the more popular hotels add a holiday surcharge on top of the high season prices. In general the higher the cost at the time you are traveling the more adviseable it is to make reservations and the farther in advance you need to make them. 

Tide SymbolsHigh and low tides are shown for the Pacific coast (Caribbean tides about 15 minutes earlier) and are appropriate for timing surf outings where the break is better on a particular tide or planning a beach walk, but not intended for navigation. Please check locally for precise times for tides when trekking beach routes that require low tide to complete (e.g. in Corcovado). 

Full moonMoon phases and rise and set times are helpful when choosing a date for a moonlight canopy tour (best under a full moon), turtle viewing (see below), or a night hike (best under the dark skies of a new moon when nocturnal animals are most active). Sunrise (5:22) and sunset (17:50) times are for the first of the month and vary by less than ten minutes over the course of the month.

turtle symbols The turtle symbols indicate the best nights to observe mass nesting of Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles at Playas Nancite and Ostional when up to 40,000 turtles come ashore in events locally refered to as arribadas (arrivals).  A large symbol means more turtles are nesting at that time of year (a big symbol means the peak of nesting season) and the solid symbols indicates the nights when the moon is in its last quarter and the chances are almost five times greater for an arribada than the other moon phases. A big solid turtle symbol represents the best bet for a good viewing night.

Do you have a community event you would like to add, a festival we overlooked or a change in a date? Please contact us and let us know about it.


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