Costa Rica's seasons
An overview of the whole country in terms of the seasons.
December to April
From December to late April/early May Costa Rica gets relatively little rain. Because of this, these months are generally the more popular and busier times to visit – especially Christmas and Easter. April and May are the less busy months within this period.
Consider booking as early as possible to stand more chance of getting your first choice of accommodation.
May, June and November
It begins to rain a little more from May. As a rough rule mornings tend to be sunny and any rain often comes as an afternoon downpour before clearing once again. It’s not all rain, rain, rain.
Also on the plus side, there are now fewer visitors and hotel availability is better. If you’re going off the beaten track and self-driving, we’d recommend a 4x4 as the roads could be muddy.
July to October
While this is the rainy season, it’s really only September and October which tend to be a write-off for most travellers as many hotels close and roads can be quite bad.
July and August are still a good time to visit and you get sunny times on most days. As well as being quieter, the flowers are blooming and it’s a great time for birds and butterflies. Also it’s a perfect time for river rafting.
When to visit different regions
Your guide to temperature and rainfall patterns in different regions of Costa Rica.
You can visit Arenal volcano at any time of year, but as with much of the country, the drier months of December to April are the most popular so expect them to be busier. September and October are often too wet to be much fun.
The dry months of December to April are the most popular times for travellers to this region. If you’re a surfer, July to October are your best months.
Whereas September and October tend to be attract the heaviest rainfall in most of the country, these are two of the less rainy times here, along with February and March.
Being on the Caribbean Coast, September and October are a little drier than most other months (opposite to the weather patterns on the Pacific coast). July tends to be the rainiest time here and April is usually the hottest month.
The most popular time to visit is from December to April when there is less chance of rain. You’ll find temperatures in the high twenties celsius most of the year round.
In common with most of the Pacific coast, December to April are the least rainy months. Keep the price down in this stunning wildlife destination by considering other months.
When to see Costa Rica's wildlife
A wildlife enthusiast’s quick guide to when and where to see some of Costa Rica’s key species.
They can be little hard to find, but they are present all year in many places including Manuel Antonio and Tortuguero . . . and they don’t run away!
The red-eyed frog is an iconic symbol of Costa Rica. You can see frogs all year, but they prefer wetter weather so May to November are the better months for frog lovers.
Humpback whales can be seen off both of Costa Rica’s coasts for about 9 months a year, August to April, though the best months are August to October in the southern Pacific.
TORTUGUERO: Green turtles lay about late July to September. PLAYA GRANDE: Leatherbacks lay here roughly November to February. PLAYA OSTIONAL: Peak time for Olive Ridleys is September to October.
With over 900 bird species, Costa Rica is a brilliant birding destination at any time, with most species being resident all year. Migratory species swell numbers from about October to February.
This stunning bird is best searched for in cloud forests such as Monteverde in the breeding season around March to July.
You will probably see monkeys whatever month you visit, but they’re not keen on rain! Osa Peninsula has all 4 species: squirrel, white-faced capuchin, spider and howler.