Costa Rica November Print e-mail this info
Costa Rica November Rainfall Patterns
Costa Rica November weather and rainfall patterns. (©Toucan Guides)

November Weather

Weather in Costa Rica in November is a gamble. On average it's a rainy season month on the Pacific and in the central mountains but sometimes (especially with El Niño) the dry season comes early. 2011 is a La Niña year which typically has the opposite effect - intensifying and lengthening the rainy season.

That said, the last few years have been anything but typical.

Early in 2007 El Niño moderated the first half of the rainy season but by November it was one of the wettest years on record. Corcovado shut down because tourist we're endangering themselves trying to rescue animals from trees in flood areas and the rangers could not patrol the park effectively. Again in 2010, November was wetter than ever before as Tropical storm Tomas dumped record rains that closed every major highway (including the PanAmerican) due to bridge collapses and mudslides.

In an average year, the northern and central beaches and mountains get significant rain some days, but typically enjoy a pattern of sunny mornings and days with most of the showers in the afternoon or evening. Early in the month the southern Pacific and Osa peninsula are still quite wet as the temporales del Pacífico continue. Lodges and tour operators that have shut down during the exceptionally wet months of September and October resume operations as the weather begins to dry towards the end of the month. 

The southern Caribbean side (Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo) is still slightly drier, but as you move north towards Tortuguero the rains intensify.

In November high temperatures in the lowlands and and near the beaches are in the low to mid-eighties (low to mid nineties are possible) and lows in the low seventies.  As you move up to the Central Valley around San José both the highs and lows are 5-10 degrees cooler. By the time you reach the high elevations around cloud forest destinations like Monteverde and Chirripo the high temperatures are in the mid sixties to low seventies and it can be downright chilly at night.

Planning Ahead & Reservations

If you're thinking about spending a holiday in Costa Rica Thanksgiving might be a good choice. It's not a Costa Rican holiday so the kids are in school and their parents at work instead of heading to the beaches as is the case on Christmas, New Years and Easter/Spring Break. Few Ticos vacationing means less competition for the accommodation inventory and generally better availability and prices than at the other holidays.

You should be able to wing it pretty easily in November, especially if you're planning on staying in budget and mid-priced hotels that rely on walk-in clientele. All but the most popular resorts and lodges typically have same day availability in November and some even offer last minute discounts.

Costs & Availability for Travel in November

The "green season" is winding down in November but low season prices and availability are in effect. Costa Rica's meteoric rise in popularity means that the days of 50% off for low season are mostly a thing of the past, but you can still expect to save around 20% to 30% and it's a great time to snag a reservation at some of the small boutique hotels that are booked solid months or even years in advance for the peak travel times.

Airfare bargains are harder to find than you might expect for "low season." Most airlines cut back on the number of flights and some suspend service altogether. Even though the demand is down, so is the supply of seats so prices tend to stay fairly stable.

Alternatives to November

November is a good choice for low season prices, but if the possibility of record rainfall seems like too much of a gamble you might consider pushing your vacation back to the first two weeks of December. Low season prices are still mostly available and the odds of dry weather are better.

Another alternative is August, smack in the middle of the rainy season but more predictable than November. Instead of even odds of surprisingly wet or surprisingly dry like November, August is nearly always middle of the road with some rain especially in the afternoon and overnight but rarely a washout.


Costa Rica November Calendar

This calendar shows natural events, turtle nesting, festivals and more for the upcoming November 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.

 November 2015

Exchange Rate 0 ¢ per $U.S.
Sunrise ↑ 5:29, Sunset ↓ 17:15




















Coffee Picking Contests









El Desfile de Carretas










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

Coffee Picking Contests-Local communities throughout the Meseta Central and mountains sponsor coffee picking contests in November.

El Desfile de Carretas-One of the largest parades of ox-carts (the other is the Día de los Boyeros the second week in March) takes place in San José the last week in November.

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 (5:29) and sunset (17:15) 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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