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The weather in Costa Rica in January is sunny with little rainfall, making it one of the best times to visit this country. You can virtually cover every part of Costa Rica during this month, including its incredible rainforest regions. The first week of January in Costa Rica is a peak tourist season, thanks to New Year’s celebrations. But prices drop somewhat after that, although they are higher than at other times of the year.

Barring the fact that you might have to fork out more money, there are a lot of superb things to see and do in Costa Rica in January. Be it scuba diving in Osa’s Cano Island, surfing high waves at Playa Cocles in Puerto Viejo, or exploring the stunning Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, there is no shortage of experiences to be had on a trip to Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica Weather in January

National Theatre of Costa Rica in San Jose
Cities like San Jose see quite pleasant temperatures during the month of Junauary

Costa Rica’s weather in January is mostly sunny, especially along the country’s Pacific coast, since it is a dry season month in the country. This means plenty of sunshine even in the south Pacific belt of the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park, areas where rains linger for a longer time. Perhaps the only exception is Tortuguero National Park and its surrounding areas, which may see lots of downpours.

Costa Rica’s temperature in January ranges from 21°C to 33°C along the Pacific coast. San Jose sees the highs of 23°C, while the lows in the city hover at around 15°C. On the country’s Caribbean coast, on the other hand, the mercury can reach 31°C and the lows can be a pleasant 20°C. The so-called Papagayo winds are common in the northwest Pacific during this time of year, making a trip to Costa Rica in January a must for surfers.

For a seasonal overview, check our travel guide on the best time to visit Costa Rica.

Weather in Costa Rica in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)262629
Avg Nightly (°C)181718
Avg Daily (°F)797985
Avg Nightly (°F)656365
Avg Rainfall (mm)501010

Why Visit Costa Rica in January

Girl walking on hanging bridge in cloud forest Monteverde, Costa Rica
January opens up a lot of destinations like Monteverde Cloud Forest which may not be accessible during other times of the year
Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in the Osa Peninsula
Enjoy the perfect scenery of Costa Rican beaches during the month of January

January is a bright, dry month in most parts of Costa Rica, and no wonder tourists love it. Below are a few reasons why traveling to the country at this time of year is a great idea.

  • Sunny days: The dry season in Costa Rica starts from the third week of December and goes all the way to April. You can make the most of your stay in the country by coinciding with your trip with this period.
  • Accessible destinations: A handful of destinations in Costa Rica, like the Monteverde Cloud Forest, are virtually inaccessible during some months. However, January is one of those months when you can cover every nook and corner of the country. Whether you plan to go trekking in the mountains or explore deep forests, you do not need to think twice before embarking on an adventure of a lifetime.
  • Surfer’s delight: Costa Rica has established itself as one of the best-surfing destinations in the Americas. January brings some strong winds in the northwest Pacific, making the experience much more enjoyable for surfers.
  • Beaches calling: January offers the perfect weather for a beach vacation along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Be it the sandy stretches of Manuel Antonio or the pristine beaches of the remote Nicoya Peninsula, there are countless beaches on which to kick back and relax. 
  • Forest fun: Always dreamt of a trip to a jungle full of exotic beasts and lush green vegetation? This is the time to live that fantasy.
  • Cultural quotient: The Santa Cruz Festival in the Nicoya Peninsula features bullfights, parades, fireworks, and music, while Dia de Santo Cristo de Esquipulas in Alajuelita includes an oxcart parade and a sacred procession to a shrine on a mountain. These are just some of the events that you can enjoy on a trip to Costa Rica in January.

Where to go and what to do

Beautiful happy woman riding a zip line in a lush tropical forest
Costa Rica is one of the perfect destinations for ziplining, even more so in January

Laze all day on a dreamy beach in Tamarindo and Nosara in the North Pacific. The extraordinary Osa Peninsula is home to more than half of all animal species found in Costa Rica, and January is an excellent time to explore this paradise and spot big cats, sloths, tapirs, and macaws. You can also see adorable leatherback sea turtles during their nesting season in Playa Grande in January.

Head to the picturesque village of Playa Avellanas and ride the high waves off its coast. New to surfing? No problem. There are plenty of guided excursions available for beginners. See magical sunsets while lounging on the deck of a catamaran. The Gulf of Papagayo is a diving hotspot and home to white-tip sharks, moray eels, and sea turtles—and January is a really good time to take the plunge.

In recent days, Costa Rica has become a go-to destination for adventure sports like ziplining, and you will be hard-pressed to find a better zip line than in Monteverde. For those that love hiking, there are numerous trails in Arenal Volcano National Park. Hike up a forest to the top of this majestic volcano located in the heart of the park in January and marvel at the huge columns of ash streaming from the crater.

What to bring

Young woman hiker stands in the tropical lush forest and looks at the tree
January is a great month to go on hiking trips so make sure that you are well-equipped with all the hiking gear

Swimwear is a must if your trip to Costa Rica in January includes beach stays. Make sure that you carry a sturdy pair of hiking boots if you plan to explore the country on foot. Given that temperatures in most parts of the country are in their twenties and thirties, you can get away with light clothes.

Costa Rica in January sees travelers pouring in from all over the world, which is not surprising considering that it is a dry season. However, if you can contend with crowds, this is a great time to discover the country’s nature reserves. Check out our travel guides for tips on how many days to spend in Costa Rica. Ideally, we recommend going on 10 days tours or two weeks tours to cover all the must-visit destinations. Reach out to our local travel experts if you are planning a customized, hassle-free trip to Costa Ria in January. 

Look no further to start planning your trip to Costa Rica in January.

Other articles:
Costa Rica in December
Costa Rica in February
Costa Rica private tours
Costa Rica group tours

Published by Lucas Toft, updated on August 30, 2022

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