Costa Rica Weather by Month (January to December)

The best months to visit Costa Rica are December to April, which is usually the dry season in most regions. From May to November, most regions experience rainfall. However, the dry season for the Northern Lowland region and Arenal Volcano is between December and April.

My first time visiting Costa Rica was in September, and unfortunately, we didn’t get to do a lot of activities. There was a lot of rain and we had to stay indoors most of the time. That is why I have written a climate guide for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s Climate Guide

Weather by month in Costa Rica

Generally, Costa Rica experiences a humid climate most of the year. Because Costa Rica lies north of the equator, it doesn’t have snowy winter months. However, each region differs, as Costa Rica has mountainous areas, forest land, the coast, and volcanic areas with different weather patterns.

January

It is one of the best months to visit costa rica, especially if you don’t like holiday crowds. The weather is relatively warm and sunny. The temperature rises to 80°F (27°C) during the day and drops to 70°F (21°C) at night.

However, temperatures in the mountainous region tend to be lower than 72°F (22°C). It is the best temperature for most wild animals, and a trip to the national parks should be on your to-do list.

Precipitation is higher near the volcanoes, which results in almost 13.2 inches of rainfall. However, precipitation in some areas, such as San Jose, will be as low as 8.9 inches.

Therefore, if you plan to visit Costa Rica in January, bring warm clothes, especially in the highland regions. Lighter clothes are needed when visiting the lowland and coastal areas. But remember to carry light, warm clothes, as temperatures can drop in the evening and early mornings.

Due to unexpected showers, carry a raincoat, waterproof jacket, poncho, boots, and umbrella.

February

Though February falls under the drier months in Costa Rica, some areas will experience sun in the morning and light showers in the afternoon. The coastal region of Costa Rica will experience more sunny hours than the highlands and the Caribbean.

Some areas might even experience thunderstorms, but only on rare occasions.

Fortunately, the weather changes quickly, and you might still experience warm temperatures in the late evening. Average temperatures in most areas range between 77 and 84°F (25 and 29 °C).

February is the best month to visit wildlife areas. Many animals leave their hiding places as the December and January visitor crowds are gone.

The most exciting weather feature in February is the “Papagayo winds.” These are winds caused by cool, dry air moving from the north. The cool air displaces warm, moist air. Surfers love these winds, as they cause the best waves.

March

The weather in March is sunny and hot, with minimal rainfall. Temperatures range between 77-86°F (25–30°C). Precipitation is around 30–50 mm (1-2 inches). March is the hottest time in most regions of Costa Rica, especially in the Pacific region.

Due to scorching hot weather, March is the best time to view animals visiting the waterholes. The birds begin migrating back from their wintering grounds, and those that wintered in Costa Rica are leaving. Raptors, Toucans, swallows, Eastern kingbirds, and warblers are some of the birds you can spot.

Because my husband loves birding, we discovered some incredible places in Costa Rica. They include.

  • Carara National Park is on the Pacific coast near San Jose.
  • Palo Verde National Park: The park offers 15 bird habitats with over 250 species.
  • Rancho Naturalista, which is near Turrialba, has over 450 bird species.
  • Corcovado National Park has some of the rarest birds, including the Scarlet Macaw.
  • Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is home to the endangered jabiru stork and another 400 bird species.

March is the best time to experience the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. I visited the Botanical Orchid Garden near La Garita, a must-visit for nature lovers! The trees flower and shed very fast, covering the ground with different beautiful colors.

April

The weather in April is a mix of rainy and sunny days—temperatures in Costa Rica range between 70 and 80°F (24 and 29 °C). The dry season in Costa Rica ends in April, and the rainy season begins. Precipitation in April is around 50–100 mm (2-4 inches) across the country.

It’s common to see turtlebacks nesting on beaches. The most common tourist activities are visiting national parks, volcanoes, and tropical beaches.

May

Depending on where you are in Costa Rica, you’ll likely experience sunny and rainy weather. It’s the beginning of the rainy season in most parts. There is more rain in the Pacific area than in the Caribbean.

Temperatures range between 70 and 80°F (24 and 29 °C), with sunny mornings. Many showers and cloud cover in the late afternoons often mean you might have to take shelter indoors.

Visiting national parks such as Manuel-Antonio is ideal as the animals are more active.

June

Climate in Costa Rica

Temperatures in June range between 73 and 88°F (23 and 31 °C). The days are warm and not overly hot, while the nights are more relaxed. Rainfall and high humidity are typical in most areas. You might even experience some thunderstorms.

The Caribbean coast areas tend to receive more rainfall than the Pacific Coast. With a precipitation of 280 mm (11 inches), June is the wettest month in Costa Rica. The Caribbean region can receive up to 420mm (18 inches) of rainfall.

Because the weather is not hot, it’s the best month for hikers. You will also see unusual wildlife in natural reserves, like sloths, toucans, and parrots. Birds passing through Costa Rica on their way southward are also splendid sights.

Lush green vegetation covers most areas in Costa Rica in June. It’s the best month for hiking or nature walks. Many animals are more active, and you’ll likely see more wildlife than in the other months. Rain makes whitewater rafting more interesting.

July

It’s a reasonably hot month, with temperatures between 77 and 82°F (25 and 28 °C). The average rainfall is 150–200 mm (6–8) inches. However, the Pacific Coast receives less rainfall than the Caribbean Coast.

One of the best activities this month is visiting the beach. We took the kids to the beaches of Tortuguero National Park during the first week of July, where they saw some sea turtles nesting. Birdwatching is an everyday activity in Costa Rica in July.

August

There are plenty of heavy showers during August. However, some regions still have plenty of sunshine, with average temperatures of 70–90°F (21–32°C). Coastal Costa Rican regions experience hot and humid temperatures.

Endangered marine turtles usually lay their eggs in August. Powerful waves along the Pacific Coast in August attract most surfers.

September

It’s another month with heavy rainfall and a lot of clouds. September has the most rain in Costa Rica and may not be ideal for outdoor activities. Precipitation is about 300–400 mm (12–16 inches) of rainfall for the whole month. Temperatures range between 75 and 84°F (24 and 29 °C).

However, it’s not all doom, as some regions experience a bit of sunshine on some days. Tamarindo is one of the coastal towns that experiences hot weather during September.

I was in Costa Rica in September during one of my vacations. A local told me to visit Playa Nancite and witness olive turtle nesting. The best time to visit was at night, with full moonlight for clear visibility.

October

Unfortunately, October is another stormy month. The rainfall is heavy and frequent, and there might even be thunderstorms. The Caribbean region experiences more consistent rain than the Pacific coast. However, depending on the area you’re visiting, there are days when the sun shines.

Temperatures range between 75 and 85°F (24 and 29 °C). Precipitation varies between 280 and 360mm (11 and 14 inches) in the Caribbean region and 130 and 200mm (5-8 inches) on the Pacific coast.

Most people fear venturing out during October due to unexpected rainfall.

November

Though the rain starts to lessen, you can still expect some areas to have unexpected rainfall. However, as the month progresses, there are more periods of sunshine. Temperatures range between 75 and 82°F (24 and 28 °C). Precipitation varies depending on the season.

When visiting with my extended family, I prefer November, just before the start of the tourist season. Accommodation is cheaper, and most outdoor areas are not crowded. It’s the best time to visit national parks for the beautiful greenery and wildlife.

One of the areas that most people frequent is the Venado Caves near North La Fortuna, which reopened in November. Its bat-filled caverns are quite a sight.

December

The end of the dry season begins in December. Though the weather is typically warm and dry, occasionally there will be some light showers towards the end of the month. You’ll experience little or no rainfall in the Pacific region but more rain on the Caribbean coast.

The coastal areas are likely to be warmer than the mountainous areas. The temperature around the coastal regions will range around 86°F (30°C). The temperatures will be around 72°F (28°C) in the mountains.

When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

It depends on several factors, such as which activities you want to partake in. However, the weather is drier from April to December, and you can do a lot of outdoor activities. However, May to November are ideal if you prefer less crowded areas and cheaper accommodation.

The table below highlights the best months to visit Costa Rica, depending on which activities interest you.

Activity Best Month
Humpback whale watching January, February, August, September, and November.
Hiking December, June, and July.
Birdwatching December, January, and March.
Surfing December, January, February, March, May, July, and August.
Wildlife spotting January, February, March, April, May, July, August, and November.
Beach visits January, February, April, and November.
River rafting (canyoning) February.
Volcano visiting February, August.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does Costa Rica get snow?

The only place you will likely get snow is in the mountain ranges. Chirripó Peak is the highest point in Costa Rica. Considering Costa Rica has a tropical climate, snow in all regions, apart from the mountains, is rare.

  1. Do hurricanes ever hit Costa Rica?

It’s rare for a hurricane to hit Costa Rica. However, the area can experience severe storms from hurricanes near the country.

Conclusion

What I love about Costa Rica is that you can still enjoy your vacation no matter which month you visit. During the rainy months of September and October, you can visit the national parks, see the flora and fauna, or see turtles nesting along the beaches.

Please share with us your favorite months to visit Costa Rica. Let us know which activities you will participate in if you visit Costa Rica during the rainy season.

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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