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Costa Rica>>trip planning>>when to travel to Costa Rica

also see rainfall map | temperatures & sunshine

The best time to travel to Costa Rica?

Even though Costa Rica is in the northern hemisphere, the names of the seasons are reversed and 'summer' starts late in November. This is not because of a large temperature difference but because it tends to be drier from December through April. Note—drier, not dry. If you visit the rainforest, you should plan on getting wet. (see the weather maps)

The high season

The high season in Costa Rica runs from Decenber through April.

The main attraction of traveling in the high season is the weather. It is less likely that it will rain on you, and in some areas (notably Guanacaste) the wildlife is concentrated near shrinking water sources and easier to spot. Obviously, another motivation for North American and European travelers is escaping the snow and cold at home. Not only is Costa Rica warm, but travelers from the north will be rewarded with an extra few hours of sunshine every day—at this latitude the days are longer.

The main problem with traveling to Costa Rica during the northern hemisphere winter is that it is the high season. It is harder to get reservations, everything is relatively crowded and the prices are higher.

From Christmas until the end of the first week in January, and Easter week are double jeopardy periods with lots of international travelers, and many Ticos traveling (the beaches are especially crowded).

The green season

The rainy season, or winter in Costa Rica (May through November) has been dubbed the 'green season' by the tourism industry.

Our first green season traveling in Costa Rica we expected the worst. At least a couple of hours of rain every day, and a few weeks of solid rain. We were pleasantly surprised that over half the days it didn't rain at all and the rest of the time it was a couple of hours in the afternoon bracketed by brilliant sunshine. In more than three months there were only two stretches of three days when it rained most of the time. During these drizzly days, it was clear and sunny on the opposite side of the country, so we could have avoided the rain had we thought it was a real annoyance.

If you are thinking about a trip to Costa Rica during the green season, don't let the weather stop you.



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