Costa Rica in May: Rainy Weather and Lush Greenery

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May in Costa Rica is the time when nature comes to life with lush greenery. It is when animals rejoice as the rainy season kicks in. Despite the country making a gradual transition to the wet season during this time of year, you still have plenty of sunny days to explore this tropical paradise. Go whitewater rafting in the thundering San Juan River and explore the coastal areas of Guanacaste. Take part in numerous local festivities and join food fiestas in San Jose. Enjoy a trip to Costa Rica in May and indulge in a soothing getaway like no other.

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Costa Rica weather in May

View of Arenal Volcano in the forest landscape of Monteverde, Costa Rica
Explore the rare landscapes of the Monteverde area, Costa Rica

The average temperature in Costa Rica in May is between 18°C to 29°C. the country’s weather at this time of year is marked with light rainfalls that herald the beginning of the wet season. This is an ideal time to explore the lush landscapes of Palo Verde National Park and Barra Honda National Park. However, the weather can be quite unpredictable with thunderstorms and pouring rain, especially in the wet areas of the country such as the southern Pacific coastline.

Although you will not see relentless downpours during your stay in Costa Rica in May, it is still prudent to keep to the north of the country, where the wet season arrives late. You can expect a warmer climate in this part of the country along with soothing beaches and excellent surfing conditions.

For a seasonal overview, please read our travel article on the best time to visit Costa Rica.

Weather in Costa Rica in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Apr May Jun
Avg Daily (°C) 30 29 28
Avg Nightly (°C) 19 18 18
Avg Daily (°F) 86 85 83
Avg Nightly (°F) 67 65 65
Avg Rainfall (mm) 60 140 170

Why visit Costa Rica in May

Hiking trail in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and hike the nature trail on the 5-day Costa Rica tour
Evening view of the rainforest near Colorado, Costa Rica
Experience beautiful rainforests in Colorado, Costa Rica

Many travelers consider the month of May as the best time to visit Costa Rica as you can take advantage of fewer crowds as well as great discounts. In addition to this, May also marks the celebration of food festivals across the country. Even though the rainy season has started, the climate is not that harsh, especially in the mornings. Besides, the northern regions of the country offer ample dry weather conditions that would guarantee a superb beach holiday.

Below we have listed a few reasons why traveling to Costa Rica in May is a great idea.

  • Lower costs: With May marking the end of the high season in Costa Rica, the prices of hotels and flight tickets are relatively low. This month offers a great chance for those traveling on a budget.
  • Fewer crowds: May marks the beginning of the monsoon in Costa Rica, which means fewer travelers pouring into the country. Expect quiet beaches and tranquil forest trails during your travel to Costa Rica at this time of year.
  • Festivities: Locals are in a celebratory mood in May as they welcome the rainy seasons with food festivals, such as the chocolate festival of San Jose. Also, May Day celebrations are held nationwide with sports fiestas, street parades, and lively parties.
  • Whitewater adventures: May is when the water levels in rivers across the country start rising. This is an ideal month for exhilarating water activities such as whitewater rafting and tubing.
  • Verdant greenery: Nature undergoes a dramatic transformation after the first few showers. May is therefore a great time to explore the national parks of Costa Rica.

Where to go and what to do

Waterfall in La Paz, Costa Rica
One of the jewels within the Costa Rican rainforests are the waterfalls, Costa Rica

The Nicoya Peninsula along with Guanacaste and Puerto Viejo are some of the best places to visit in Costa Rica in May. Explore the national parks of Palo Verde and Barra Honda and relax on the calming beaches of Guanacaste. Visit the Arenal Volcano and unwind in the hot springs located around its base. If you love surfing, then make sure to add Playa Tamarindo and Playa Hermosa to your itinerary. Puerto Viejo, located in the south of the country, offers numerous options for those who enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving.

Head for the Nicoya Peninsula or the Papagayo Peninsula if you want to experience verdant greenery, vibrant sunsets, and swimming in the warm waters of the ocean.

Visit Tenorio National Park and enjoy a tubing trip down the majestic Rio Celeste. Remember to check out exciting water sports options around Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River.

Despite it being the start of the rainy season, you will find myriad things to do in Costa Rica in May. For more insights, browse through our travel guide on how many days to spend in Costa Rica.

What to bring

A family vacationing in Costa Rica's beaches
Costa Rica has many family-friendly beaches such as Manuel Antonio, Nosara, and Cahuita
A beach near Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
If you're visiting Manuel Antonio National Park, be sure to visit the relaxing beach next to it, Costa Rica

Pack a pair of waterproof shoes and trousers, a raincoat, and an umbrella if you are heading for Costa Rica in May. Also, carry breathable clothes and plenty of activewear if you like spending time outdoors.

Tick highlights off your bucket list at your own pace without being interrupted by swarming tourists during your stay. Feel free to browse through our package tours to Costa Rica in May or connect with our travel experts in the country for a customized tour to Costa Rica.

Other articles:
Costa Rica in April
Costa Rica in June

Published by David Lee, updated on June 15, 2023

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