Costa Rica in December: National Parks at Their Best


December is a great time to discover Costa Rica. The Pacific coast of the country opens back up for tourism after rains and the country’s famous protected areas are at their best. But at the same time, visitor numbers are still lower than during peak travel months and there is also an abundance of cultural activities and festivals to look out for. Wondering what to expect? Check out everything you need to know about Costa Rica in December right here!

Costa Rica Weather in December

The view of Arenal volcano on a cloudy day in Costa Rica
Find adventure in Costa Rica when you're hiking the scenic route of Arenal Volcano

Given the country’s equatorial location, temperatures in Costa Rica in December broadly match those that can be experienced at other times of the year. The capital, San José, sees temperatures of around 24°C, the Caribbean coast at 29°C, and the Pacific’s Osa Peninsula at 31°C. More importantly, almost the entire country is either coming out of its dry season or just entering into it, meaning tours incorporating both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines are a rare possibility. You should also be aware of the humidity during your trip to Costa Rica in December. However, take it slow and it should not be too much of an issue.

For further information, browse through our travel guide on the best time to visit Costa Rica.

Weather in Costa Rica in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)262930302928282828152626
Avg Nightly (°C)171818191818181818181818
Avg Daily (°F)78.884.2868684.282.482.482.482.45978.878.8
Avg Nightly (°F)62.664.464.466.264.464.464.464.464.464.464.464.4
Avg Rainfall (mm)1010106014017018019024022016050

Why Visit Costa Rica in December

Day trips from San Jose Costa Rica Heredia
If you're a coffee fanatic, we recommend taking day trips to see how coffee is harvested in San Jose, Costa Rica
Osa Peninsula is an ideal place to go fishing in Costa Rica
Beaches in the Osa Peninsula are quite remote and ideal if you want long walks on the beach

Costa Rica experiences good weather conditions in December, making the month a prime time to experience life in the jungle, climb an active volcano or spend a couple of lazy days on the beaches. Below are a few more reasons to consider a trip to Costa Rica in December.

  • Better rates: Prices of accommodation and services are on the rise during December, but they are yet to reach their peak, allowing you to tick off activity after activity, from the nightclubs of San José to Latin America’s longest zipline in Monteverde Cloud Forest.
  • Christmas sans cold: While much of the Northern Hemisphere is shivering, temperatures in Costa Rica are perfect for a winter escape. A time of celebration, the Christmas season takes Costa Rica by force too.
  • National parks at their best: The end of the Pacific rainy season means that the nature reserves on this side of the country are looking fresh and animals do not have to travel far for food or water, enhancing your chance of seeing sloths, and monkeys, and hornbills.
  • Head west: Why not be one of the first of the new season to explore Manuel Antonio National Park and the Osa Peninsula as their hiking paths become navigable once more.

Where to go and what to do

Capuchin in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
A family of Capuchin monkeys spotted in the Manuel Antonio National Park

Visit Costa Rica in December and the sky is pretty much the limit! Cast yourself away on a beach on the Nicoya Peninsula for a few days of rest, or plunge into the waters of the Pacuare River on a white-water rafting trip of a lifetime. Challenge yourself with a hike to the top of the perfect cone shape of Arenal before bathing your sore feet in hot natural pools, or keep the adrenaline flowing with zipline experiences through the jungles within the bounds of several national parks. If you wish to surf the waves, stick to the Pacific coast, or spend a day or two soaking up the atmosphere on your tour in San José, made all the more evocative with the arrival of Christmas. Beaches to consider during this month include those on Tortuga Island and Tamarindo. To find out the ideal duration for vacation, find out how many days to spend in Costa Rica.

December is one of the best times to visit Costa Rica because travelers are able to cross from coast to coast without worrying about the weather. In addition, visitors get to experience the excitement of Christmas as a bonus.

Take a look at our December tours in Costa Rica, or contact our travel experts to start arranging your custom trip to Costa Rica today!

Other articles
Costa Rica in November
Costa Rica in January

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