Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

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The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season (verano), which stretches from December to April. This season coincides with the peak tourist season, where December is the most crowded month, followed by the school vacation season that stretches from mid-January to mid-March. The weather in Costa Rica is temperate year-round, but it is best avoided during the wet season (invierno). May to November is classified as the wet season in Costa Rica, when all six rainforests of the country face the heaviest downpours. July and August are the only wet season months that see considerable periods of sunshine and are ideal for travel if you prefer lower prices on accommodations and fewer crowds.

Continue reading to find out the best time to plan a trip to Costa Rica.

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Quick Facts

High season/Best season Dry season–December to April
Low season Wet season–May to November
Good season July and August
All seasons Dry season–December to April, Wet Season–May to November

Seasonal Overview

Unlike most countries, Costa Rica does not have four distinct seasons. Instead, it only has two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is considered summer, while the wet season is considered winter.

1. Dry season in Costa Rica—December to April 

A woman ziplining during the best time to visit Costa Rica for the activity
Go ziplining through the cloud rainforest of Monteverde during the dry season which is the best time to visit Costa Rica for this activity.

Costa Rica draws visitors from around the world during the dry season, which runs from December to April. The country is blessed with abundant sunshine and bright blue skies during this period, making it the best time to visit Costa Rica. The sandy beaches are ideal, as there is little to no rainfall. San Jose feels wonderful, with tourists making up the lively nightlife of the capital city. The Nicoya Peninsula and the culturally rich Guanacaste are also accessible to visitors during this season.

Avg. temperature 25°C (77°F) to 14°C (57°F) (in San Jose)
Avg. rainfall 50 mm
Is the dry season the best time to visit Costa Rica? Yes. Costa Rica has the best weather conditions during the season—ideal for exploring its highlights, including national parks and beaches.


  • Spot the Northern humpback whales off the Pacific Coast in large numbers as they arrive for their mating and birthing season.
  • Take advantage of the peak surfing season on some of the best beaches in Costa Rica.
  • Enjoy festivals such as El Tope Carnival, Santa Cruz Fiestas, and Palmares Fiestas.
  • Hike Costa Rica’s national parks, including the renowned Corcovado National Park, and engage in thrilling activities like zip-lining, rafting, and cave tubing.
  • Hike up to the active volcanoes in Parque Nacional Volcán Poás or Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal.

Travel tips:

  • Join a group tour rather than booking a solo or private trip to take advantage of group pricing and discounts during this peak tourist season.
  • The unpaved roads in Costa Rica, especially in northern areas, are particularly dusty during the dry season. So, carry protective gear such as hats, scarves, and sunglasses at all times.
  • While hiking, respect the country’s “leave no trace principles.”

In-depth month-wise guides:
Costa Rica in December
Costa Rica in January
Costa Rica in February
Costa Rica in March
Costa Rica in April

2. Wet Season in Costa Rica—May to November

Squirrel monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park.
Head to one of the most biodiverse national parks on earth, Manuel Antonio National Park, to spot its native species, including squirrel monkeys, when the area is filled with lush greenery.

The wet or green season in Costa Rica runs from May through November. Although there is heavy rainfall during these months, with intense storms between late August and October, the wet season offers a unique experience. Rain nurtures the lush jungles and forests, making the wet season a beautiful time to visit Monteverde's spectacular cloud forests or schedule rainforest activities in one of Costa Rica's many protected reserves. The transition months of May and November, before the heavy rains set in, can also be ideal for dry season activities like exploring national parks. July and August see a short reprieve from rain, making it a good time to travel to Costa Rica on a budget.

Avg. temperature 23°C (73°F) to 16°C (61°F) (in San Jose)
Avg. rainfall 333 mm
Is the wet season the best time to visit Costa Rica? Depends. July and August are ideal for travel due to slightly better weather, cheaper rates, and fewer crowds. Heavy rains and impassable roads make the rest of the month far from ideal.


  • If you are an expert surfer, head to the best surfing beaches, including Playa Hermosa and Playa Tamarindo, to catch the large and steady monsoon waves.
  • Witness both hawksbill and green sea turtles nesting at Tortuguero National Park between July and October.
  • Explore rainforests, including Cahuita and Corcovado, as they turn verdant green during this wet season.
  • Spot the Southern humpback whales by planning your Costa Rica trip between July and November.
  • Join the annual boat parade called Virgin of the Seas Fiesta during mid-July and witness Independence Day Parades on the 15th of September to delve deeper into the culture and history of the country.

Travel tips:

  • Try your best to avoid wetter regions such as Drake Bay along the southern Pacific Ocean coastline.
    Santa Elena and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve should be avoided during the wet season when visibility is obstructed due to heavy clouds.
  • While exploring the rainforests, make sure to observe the diverse wildlife from a safe distance to prevent any disturbance or alteration to their natural behavior.
  • Early May, July, August, and late November are the only periods during the wet season suitable for planning a proper trip to Costa Rica.

In-depth month-wise guides:
Costa Rica in May
Costa Rica in June
Costa Rica in July
Costa Rica in August
Costa Rica in September
Costa Rica in October
Costa Rica in November

Make sure to check out our travel guide on the things to do while in Costa Rica to get an idea regarding the activities you can take part in during your visit. Also, read our article on how long to stay in Costa Rica.

Still not sure when you should plan your trip or what to do during it? Reach out to our travel experts in Costa Rica to design your personalized trip to the country.

Published by Supriya Rayamajhi, updated on January 10, 2024

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