Many people often travel to Costa Rica for the weather, but they don’t understand that just like many parts of the world, even tropical Costa Rica has it’s own seasons! On this page we’ll talk about the Costa Rica climate as it pertains to various parts of the country, as well as talk about how there is a distinguished “wet season” and “dry season.”
If you are planning to travel to Costa Rica, you may be interested in knowing about the climate in Costa Rica. Unlike temperant climates, such as in much of the United States, Costa Rica does not experience traditional seasons like winter, spring, summer and fall. Instead, it experiences a rainy and a dry season, which can be a little different in Costa Rica depending on where in the country you are.
Explaining The Climate in Costa Rica
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So, when is the rainy season in Costa Rica and when is the dry season in Costa Rica? Let’s find out.
When Is the Rainy Season in Costa Rica?
In general, the rainy season in Costa Rica is from May till November, with the wettest months being in September and October. On both the Caribbean Coast and on the southern part of Pacific Coast, if you visit during this time, you should expect it to rain just about every day. But that does not mean that it rains all the time. Usually, the country experiences short but heavy rainfalls only in the afternoon, with the mornings often beautiful.
The rainy season does not affect temperatures in the country, which are typically warm throughout the year. You should expect afternoon temperatures from around 85F – 100F (30C – 40C) no matter when you visit. Though, in general, it is slightly colder in Costa Rica between the months of November and January.
When Is the Dry Season in Costa Rica?
As a general rule, the dry season in Costa Rica is between December and April, with January being the driest month of the year. If you visit the country between these months, you can be fairly certain that you will not have to worry too much about rain.
Exceptions to the Climate in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a mountain range that effectively cuts the country in two. If you visit these mountains and their valleys, you will experience quite a variation in climate, with the higher you are, the more likely the weather will be cold and damp. At very high altitudes, the temperature can even fall below freezing, and some mountain areas experience mist throughout the year.
On the western side of the mountains, is the province of Guanacaste. Because of how the mountains trap the moisture there, this region gets far less rain than other parts of the country.
The capital of Costa Rica is San Jose, which is located in the country’s central valley. Because of the city’s elevation and proximity to the mountains, there you will find temperatures a little cooler than on the coasts, from about 60F to 85F (15C to 30C). The weather is so beautiful there that some people say that it experiences an “external spring.”
While the climate on the Caribbean Coast and on the southern part of the Pacific coast is tropical, the climate on the northern part of the Pacific Coast (which includes some of Guanacaste) is drier. If you visit there, you may even get the sense that it is almost a different country, as the differences in climate affect vegetation throughout the region.
Should you have specific travel questions about visiting Costa Rica any time of the year, please ask in the comments section below.