Why You Should Visit Costa Rica in the Rainy Season

Most people traveling to Costa Rica come during the dry season. When we visited as tourists, we did the exact same thing. All we wanted was sun and clear blue skies, the opposite of the cold weather back in Boston. Now that we live here, though, we’ve seen how amazing Costa Rica becomes with a little sprinkling of rain. Below are our top reasons why you should consider traveling to Costa Rica during the rainy season and some tips for planning during those off-season months.


Traveling in Costa Rica's Rainy Season | Two Weeks in Costa Rica

Advantages of Traveling to Costa Rica in the Rainy Season 

1.     The Jungle Is Green and Lush and It’s Slightly Cooler

During the dry season (December to April), it seldom rains in much of the country. For stretches of weeks, or even months, it might not rain a single drop. In fact, in some regions like northern Guanacaste Province, forests turn brown towards the end of the dry season, many of the trees lose their leaves, and there are even fires in the hills.


Costa Rica in Dry Season | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Leafless trees at Playa Grande in March


With the arrival of the rainy season in May, it’s as if a switch has been flipped. Suddenly everything transforms to beautiful, verdant green. The jungle becomes lush, flowers bloom, and there is less dust. Temperatures feel slightly cooler due to the moisture too, which is a nice break especially at the beach where temps can climb into the 90s°F (32°C).


Playa Nosara, Costa Rica | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Nosara looking gorgeous after the first rainstorms of the season in late April


2.     It’s Less Busy

During the high season when tourism picks up, many towns can feel congested. Trails become crowded, traffic increases, and finding space on the beach can be tough.


Manuel Antonio Beach | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
The main beach in Manuel Antonio in busy January


In the rainy season, there just aren’t as many people around so you’re more likely to have parks, beaches, and other sights all to yourself. It’s also a nice way to get to know the culture, as many locals are out and about, taking vacation time and enjoying their country.


Manuel Antonio Beach | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Same beach but in the low season (October). What a difference!


3.     It’s Cheaper to Travel

Costa Rica has a few different travel seasons: the high season (December to April), the peak season (the weeks around Christmas, New Years, and Easter), and the low season (generally May to November, but sometimes hotels consider July and August to be high season too).

During the low season, just about every hotel has reduced rates, car rentals tend to be cheaper, and it’s much easier to negotiate prices on things like tours. Some restaurants offer 2-for-1 specials and other deals, and sometimes you can even name your own price on a room.

See more money-saving tips for your next trip to Costa Rica.


Visiting Costa Rica During the Rainy Season | Two Weeks in Costa Rica


4.    Waterfalls Are Gushing and Gorgeous

In the dry season, river levels tend to get lower, which makes some of the country’s amazing waterfalls less than spectacular. You may notice that some waterfalls are called “seasonal.” If someone tells you this, don’t even bother visiting during the dry season because you will likely see just a sad trickle. During the rainy season, these same waterfalls are gushing and glorious.


Waterfall at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve | Two Weeks in Costa Rica
Waterfall at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve in mid-October


Those are some of the big reasons that you should consider visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season. If you plan your visit right, you can enjoy paradise (almost) all to yourself, for less, and still not get rained on all day. Here are some more tips to help you plan.

Tips for Visiting Costa Rica During the Rainy Season


  • When Exactly Is the Rainy Season? The rainy season is from May to November and the dry season from December to April.
  • Is the Entire Country Rainy? Climate differs regionally in Costa Rica because of its extremely varied topography, so in some places, the seasons are slightly different. Guanacaste Province is the driest part of the country and has the shortest rainy season. If you visit Guanacaste in May, it still might not have had its first rain of the season. Rainforest zones like the Southern Pacific Coast and the Osa Peninsula have the longest rainy season and get the most rain. The Caribbean Coast has its own microclimate and completely different weather patterns that are difficult to predict.
  • Best Times to Visit: Visit at the beginning of the rainy season or beginning of the dry season (May to July or early November to December). Of course, the weather varies year to year, but during these months, mornings are generally sunny and it rains for an hour or two in the afternoon and maybe at night, but not all day. September and October are the rainiest months in most parts of the country and not recommended for all but the most adventurous travelers. If you are traveling in September and October, head to the Caribbean Coast, which is the driest during these months. A couple of great towns to visit are Tortuguero, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
  • Disadvantages of Traveling During the Rainy Season
    • Road Conditions: If you travel during the rainy season, be prepared for the unexpected and build in extra travel time. With the increased rain, road conditions worsen. Dirt roads can become pothole ridden, and washouts and landslides occasionally occur. Rivers also swell, making access to some areas more difficult.
    • Cancelled Plans: You might have a day where it rains non-stop, ruining your plans for a beach day or other excursion. Be flexible when travel planning so that if you can’t do an activity one day, you have time built in to do it another.
    • Mosquitos: Mosquitos are the worst during the rainy season so be sure to bring some bug repellant. A couple of more natural repellants we like are DoTERRA Tetra Shield and Repel’s Lemon Eucalyptus Spray
  • Packing: Traveling during the rainy season has its own special considerations. Be sure to check out our Packing Post so that you’re completely prepared. [/box]

Would you ever travel during an off-peak season? Why or why not?


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  1. I visited Quepos/Manuel Antonio in Early May last year and it was amazing. I felt like the only Gringo around, I had the entire place to myself, the beaches, the National Park. I think it rained twice for about an hour the week I was there. And even the rain was fine,I mean , come on, you are in paradise!!

    1. May is a great time to visit! Best of both worlds- not too rainy and so much less crowded. It’s amazing how different a place can feel in the busy vs. low season. We love Manuel Antonio during those lesser traveled months. Thanks for reading!

  2. While I’ve done cruises to the Caribbean during hurricane season as well as a trip to Cancun, I do this as I know the odds of a hurricane striking right where I’ll be when I’m there are very slim. But living in Pittsburgh where the skies are constantly gray and we get a ton of rain (rivaling Seattle even!), I’d be more apt to visit during the winter months (to escape the cold too!). But you presented some very valid reasons with tons of merit too to visit in the green season.

  3. Hi – What is the weather like in early August? Is there much rain? Are there a lot of mosquitos? Where is most dry in early August?

    1. Hi Susan,
      In early August, we get a lot of sunny mornings and afternoon showers. Most days aren’t a total washout, but you could have a day or two where it rains most of the day. In general, the region that is the driest is Guanacaste….beach towns like Tamarindo, Playa Hermosa, and Playas del Coco are your best bet. That said, we’ve visited Tamarindo in early Aug. and it rained quite a bit most days so you never know. But remember, even with the rain, it’s still a beautiful time of year to visit with everything lush and green. As for mosquitoes, they’re around for all of the rainy season so be sure to bring some repellent.

      1. Hello Jenn and Matt, I am looking to go to Sardinal Costa Rica on June 20th for a week.

        Do you recommend or we should look for another destination?

        Rina &Mark

        1. Hi Mark, If you mean the Sardinal in Guanacaste near Playas del Coco, that should be fine in late June. Northern Guanacaste had an extremely dry dry season this year, and is just starting to get its rain for the season now. A little rain is good because otherwise the landscape there is really brown and dead looking. We visited this area at the end of April and many communities were even rationing water. But in June, it should be greening up nicely and also not too rainy.

          1. Hello,

            I am planning to visit Arenal volcano and Manuel Antonio on June 25- July 2. Is this a good time to visit? Or what do you recommend?

          2. Hi Victor, Late June/early July is thunderstorm season in Arenal so there will probably be on and off rain and clouds covering the volcano. Manuel Antonio’s weather is more typical for what the Pacific Coast is like in rainy season. Usually mornings are nice and rain rolls in during the afternoon. It’s still really nice though as long as you’re okay with a little rain. If your plans are flexible, Sept and October is the best time to see Arenal Volcano but this is the rainiest time on the Pacific Coast. We have a separate blog post that might be helpful too- Best Times to Visit Costa Rica

          3. Hello I am planning a honeymoon for Sept 5 thru Sept 10. Any recommendations, I don’t mind rain. We were thinking monteverde for 3 or 4 nights and coast for 2 or 3

          4. Hi Justin, You should check out our Honeymoon Itinerary. It has a one week itinerary that you could modify for 5 days and includes a lot of romantic spots that will be perfect for you and your fiance. We suggest in there going to La Fortuna for the hot springs, but you could easily swap that out for Monteverde if you’d rather see the cloud forest. Good luck with the planning! The good thing is CR won’t be very busy that time of year, so you’ll have a lot of places all to yourselves.

          5. Hi
            I have found a great deal from the UK to the Westin late June early July
            Is one month better than the other I can do 2 weeks between 24/6 and 18/7
            Will it be cloudy ?

          6. Hi Julia, There’s no guarantee since the weather varies year to year, but the Pacific Coast often experiences a “mini-summer” in early to mid July where we get a break from the rain. Keep in mind, though, that this is also when the locals get summer break so it will be much busier, especially at the beach.

  4. We went to Costa Rica this past June because of an amazing online deal we found through United Vacations. It included hotel, food and airfare. All we paid for in addition were our trips outside the resort. Costa Rica is an amazing gem of a place! We had two days where it rained for an hour or two and one of those days, it rained at night! It was so green, quiet, almost deserted everywhere we went! We are seriously considering moving to CR in the next four years! We loved Guancaste the best.

    1. Glad you had a great trip, Sunny, and great weather too! It is very easy to fall in love with Costa Rica- just look what happened to us. Guanacaste is a nice area, with so many gorgeous beaches. Just be sure to visit during the dry season before deciding to settle there because the climate is quite different that time of year (much more arid and a lot less green). Pura vida!

  5. My Fiance & I are going to the Guanacaste/Sardinal/Matapalo area this October 19-25 for our honeymoon. We are prepared for rain but want to do a number of sight-seeing and excursions (volcano, waterfalls, hotsprings, white water rafting, animal life) . How is the typical weather this time? Will it interfere with any sight-seeing? Do you have any recommendations? Are we headed for a week in a non-stop storm lol? Just looking for an honest, well informed opinion 🙂

    1. Hi Shannon, the weather is very hard to predict but you are right to be prepared for rain. The good thing is that since tourism is pretty slow at that time of year, you can be a little more flexible with your plans. If it’s a nice day spend it at the beach and if it is looking gloomy, maybe take a hike to a waterfall or go rafting (you’ll probably want to jump in and get wet anyway). Typically it doesn’t rain every day or all day long but you never know. Also, that area of the country has been getting below normal rainfall for several years now, so that may benefit you too. Have a great honeymoon!!

  6. I’m thinking of a last minute Labor Day trip to Quepos and stumbled across your very helpful blog. I was so encouraged until I read your warning about September on the Pacific. Am I silly to go anyway? I chose Quepos because there’s a gay-owned hotel there and, traveling alone, I thought it might be a good way to meet fellow travelers. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Michael,
      If you have the right attitude, you’ll have a great time. In general, September and October are the rainiest months so we always give that warning about travel this time of year because some people don’t want to deal with any rain. That said, if don’t mind, it’s still a nice time of year to visit (it’s a warm rain, after all!). Just get your activities in during the morning because rain is much more likely in the afternoon. Not sure if it will hold, but we’ve actually been having great weather the last couple of weeks where we live near Dominical (not far from Quepos/Manuel Antonio)- right now it’s sunny and 90 degrees. The only other thing to consider is that because Sept. is the low season, it won’t be as busy around. Some restaurants will probably be closed for renovations and vacations, but Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations so there should be some other travelers around to hang out with. Hope that helps.

  7. i was wondering if i should change my plans because we are coming next week and i dont want to be stuck in the room the whole time in guanacaste .

    1. Don’t do that, Denise! First of all, it won’t rain the whole time you’re there (Guanacaste is the driest region of the country), and secondly, it’s still nice there even in the rain. We went to Tamarindo in Guanacaste last August and had some rain, especially at night, but it was still nice and warm and very tropical feeling. The only downside for us was that we didn’t have a car so got wet walking around so you might want to think about that if you aren’t planning on a rental already. Check out our rental car page for a discount if you’re interested: https://www.twoweeksincostarica.com/costa-rica-rental-car-discount/

  8. I have booked our 9 th anniversary to the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort from 25 Sept to Oct 1….very nervous, my wife is not adventurous, does not like mosquitos and walking in the mud would not be an option. I know Only God can truly know how much sun we will get, but in your experience living there, should I go wiht a back up and pass on this trip?
    intermittent rain is fine–Aruba is a great example, but she will definintely want beach time. And do we need to worry about mosquitoes while on the beach?

    1. Hi Willis,
      We would say go for it! It sounds like an awesome anniversary trip. That area of the country is one of the driest and has been experiencing a lot less rain than normal so if that trend continues, and it looks like it will, you definitely wont be completely rained out. The resort is out on a peninsula and really spectacular so it would be hard not to enjoy your time there. If it does rain it will likely be intermittent and not spoil your whole day. The mosquitoes shouldn’t be bad either, especially during the day or on the beach. If anything, they would come out in the evening when it is a bit cooler. The resort grounds are nicely kept though so hopefully you shouldn’t have any trouble at all.

      1. This is splendid news Jenn & Matt; You have affirmed what I have heard twice now for the hotel and someone who just came back froma month’s trip. I guess it’s just time for us to be aventurous then! I will let you know how it goes, and thanks for such a down to earth forum to read…and I am not big on them…and to post on. All the comments, queries, and your responses have been very helpful!

        All the best!


  9. Hi There, I’ve subscribed to your post several months ago when we decided to take a Costa Rica vacation. Living in Key west, FL. sounds similar to your hot & dry time. With August & September being the HOTTEST. September is our best time to vacation as we have a fishing charter boat business & September is also our slow time. With mid September being our vacation time. Reading your blog has helped quite a bit. We new we would be there during the rainy season & you confirmed our thoughts & more. Especially the bug spray. This year we spoiled our selves and are staying at Los Suenos Resort & Marina. As much as we are looking to be out & about regarding Rain Forest, Zip Lining, Waterfalls, etc. We also figured it would be good to stay at a place that has it all in case weather really gets too much. We are 2 people in our mid 50’s who like to laugh, have fun & relax with cocktails in hand. You can only plan so much, then just go do it! Please let us know if you think there’s something that sticks out to you that we should, must add to our journey. Thanks! Maggie & Mike

    1. Hi Maggie, your plan to hide out at the resort if the weather is bad is great but don’t worry you should have plenty of opportunity to get out and do things too, especially in the morning. Not sure if you have read our post on Jaco (click here) but it is very close to Playa Herradura and Los Suenos Resort. In that post we give some activities and beaches in the area you should definitely check out. Sunset at Villa Caletas is one of them. You would have to pick the right evening, since often it rains in the afternoon this time of year, but if you are flexible it is really a great spot. Another one is a river boat tour to see crocodiles at the nearby Tarcoles River. That is really fun too. Enjoy!

  10. Hello, I am planning on coming in July and I want to see waterfalls and exotic wildlife. What part of the country would you recommend? Thank you, David

    1. Hi David, For waterfalls and wildlife, we recommend the Southern Pacific Coast, specifically Uvita, Dominical, and Ojochal. There are some beautiful waterfalls in this area like the Nauyaca Waterfall and several smaller ones as well as tons of wildlife. Here’s a blog post with more info on the area: the Costa Ballena. You might also want to look at Manuel Antonio– this town is more developed and touristy but has lots of wildlife- or the Osa Peninsula/Drake Bay, which is more remote but has amazing wildlife.

  11. I think these four reasons are enough to make a trip of Costa Rica in next monsoon because all you reasons are really great and inspiring to me. And i have done the mistake as you said in beginning. I have visited Costa Rica more than three times but every time i choose the dry season but never experienced of exploring Costa Rica in monsoon season.
    But your post has encouraged me to visit Costa Rica in Monsoon season and that is why i have putted it on the top most of my next holiday destinations.
    Thanks for such an informative post!!!

  12. Hello
    I will be coming to CR on the 20th of August until the 11 September,
    we know to expect rain and that’s fine with us , but Is it going to be really bad ?
    Ive started to have second thoughts now if we have made the right decision.
    our plans are Tortuguero, la fortuna/arenal, monteverde, manuel antonio dominical en drake bay

    1. Hi Denise, September is one of the rainier months but as long as you’re okay with some rain, you’ll still have a great time. This past September really wasn’t that rainy at all so you just never know. One thing you might want to do is reconsider some of your destinations to avoid the wettest areas. Drake Bay, for example, is on the Osa Peninsula and is typically very rainy in September so maybe think about swapping that out for another stop on the Caribbean Coast, like Cahuita or Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. The Caribbean Coast has different weather patterns from the rest of the country and tends to be dry that time of year. There’s lots more info on the weather in Costa Rica to help you plan in our post Weather in Costa Rica: What You Need to Know.

  13. Hi guys,

    This site is really helpful, especially regarding rainy season. We are a family of 5 thinking of visiting in August. We have 2 weeks and were thinking about the Pacific coast but were a bit worried about wether the kids would be OK with the weather.

    We don’t mind a bit of rain (we are from England after all) but also love lounging on beaches and we’re hoping that August has better weather than sept & October?

    Any advice you can give would be great.


    Joe & amy

    1. Hi Joe, You should be fine visiting in August. The Pacific Coast usually isn’t too rainy until September, especially the northern part of the country (Guanacaste Province), and even areas farther south like Manuel Antonio that get more rain in general usually aren’t that bad either. You should have mostly sunny days and then some rain in the afternoon and evening so you can fit in activities early on in the day. We have a post dedicated to the weather in Costa Rica if you want more info to plan. Here’s the link: https://www.twoweeksincostarica.com/weather-costa-rica/

  14. We are heading to Guanacaste in June. Will it be green and lush yet during that month? I’m not bothered by the rain. We live in Florida and we are used to it, especially in the afternoons! I’m looking forward to seeing green landscapes, waterfalls and wildlife. We are wanting to view volcanoes and are thinking of visiting Rincon De La Vieja instead of Arenal. We hear it’s a shorter trip but still a great experience. I’m told it’s still a great spot for hot springs and waterfalls as well.

    1. Hi Diana, Guanacaste in general should be greening up by June but depending on where you are it might not be really “lush” since a lot of the beach towns, especially the ones to the north, have more shrubby type trees and not a lot of thick forest. Visiting Rincon is a good idea though because that is were the transition starts to happen into thicker jungle. We have heard that there is some construction going on right now on the main trails (could continue into June) but there is a waterfall trail that is longer that will also give you a more jungle feel. Another waterfall you could check out that isn’t too far away is the Llanos de Cortez. It’s a really cool one. Enjoy your trip!

  15. Are landslides common during end of May?….we will be renting a car to travel between SanJose,Arenal Volcano, Fortuna Waterfalls, Monteverde, Marvel Antonio and back to SanJose. Will it be safe to go by car between these places and are they accessible during this time?

    1. Hi Ashok, May is the rainy season in Costa Rica but it is still early on so the roads usually aren’t too bad. We wouldn’t worry about landslides that time of year. Also, the routes you’ll be traveling are all popular and well traveled. Just be sure to get 4×4 for the ride to Monteverde. There is a way to check road conditions in advance if you want. Here’s a link to the government website that deals with this. They are pretty good about posting road closures, etc. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to check out our rental car discount to see if you can save some money on your rental car.

  16. Hi! What if we are planning to go end of August into September? Would we be OK going to Arenal and Guanacaste?

    1. Hi Jamie, Yes, those are good choices for late August/early Sept. The weather in Arenal is actually pretty good that time of year, and while it will be rainy season in Guanacaste, that region tends to be the driest so it’s your best bet for a dry beach destination on the Pacific Coast.

  17. My family and I are planning to a visit to Playa Grande in Guanacasta. The age range of our family is from 5 months to 65 y/o. We are all aware of the rainy season but I wanted to ask what kind of activities you would recommend during that time and for us (I know that the baby will be excluded from most of the activities ;))

    Would we still be able to see wildlife, for example monkeys in trees, during that time? Also, would the waters still be in swimable condition?

    Thanks so much for your advice 🙂

    1. Hi Joyce, You can do almost the same activities in the rainy season as in the dry season. Maybe just not snorkeling because the water tends to be murkier. The big thing is to plan on doing things in the morning rather than the afternoon when it is more likely to rain. Rainy season is a great time to see wildlife in Guanacaste (and the howler monkeys in Playa Grande) because the trees are getting their leaves back. The ocean is nice for swimming – you might notice some silt from river runoff after a storm but that’s pretty much it. As for other activities good for all ages, there’s Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Llanos de Cortes Waterfall, and Las Pumas Rescue Center (more info by clicking the links). Also, we’re coming out with some posts on traveling to Costa Rica with a baby in the coming weeks that you might be interested in. Check back at our site or sign up for our mailing list to get them by email.

  18. We will be staying at a resort in Quepos/Manuel Antionio at the end of this month. I am concerned about the Zika virus and was wondering if you knew how bad the mosquitoes are in that area right now?

    Any resources you could recommend that could provide recent data/info about this?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Carrie, You should read our post Costa Rica and Mosquitoes: Tips to Prevent Zika, Dengue, and More, for general info and what we have found to work the best for repellents here. Specifically for Quepos/Manuel Antonio, we haven’t heard of any cases of Zika there yet. There have been a total of 44 cases in the country so far and 31 cases were in Jaco, about 1.5 hours to the north of Quepos. In our article about mosquitoes, we also have links to where you can find more info and statistics, including one for the Costa Rican Ministry of Health (this is the best info we’ve found so far). The links are at the bottom of the post. They organize the info by canton (Quepos/MA is in Aguirre).

  19. Hi guys, me , my wife and our 13 yr old son are going to Dreams Las Mareas resort in Guanacaste from June 18th to the 25th. We wanted to know if this was a good decision weather wise?

    1. Hi RJ, We answered a very similar question the other day. Check out our response to Mark on June 3, 2016 above (it’s a little far up- look for Susan’s original comment on June 18, 2015). Dreams is close to Sardinal so the weather will be very similar.

  20. I feel like collectively I have my answer on this from reading above. I’m a travel agent and I have an amazing deal going to guanacaste/papagayo (split stay) sep 24-oct 1. I love the idea of rainy season because of how lush it will be and i don’t mind some rain especially because the’res only so long I can deal with sitting on the beach anyway but, i do love some rays! However- my usual advice to a client is don’t go during this time.. however.. I travel often and don’t mind a mix of weather.. however- i don’t want it to be a complete wash out and my boyfriend be totally bummed… Maybe you’ll be able to reassure me and help me make a peaceful decision?

    1. Hi Amanda, You will likely have a mix of weather in late September. Some days will be okay with a good amount of sun and some days will be pretty rainy. If you’re okay with a mix, we say go for it if it’s a good deal. The beaches on the Papagayo will still be beautiful even if it’s cloudy and the forest will be lush. Hope that helps you make a decision.

  21. HI, I just came across your site and it is very helpful. I’m glad you have it. We are trying to plan a trip to Costa Rica. We hear so many good things about it. We can use a Time Share that my Aunt has, but we have no idea what area to stay in. If we don’t use the time share, then we will just stay in hotels. Any suggestions on what area to stay in. Should we stay there the entire time or move to a different location 1/2 way through the trip. What is it like in February. Might come during my kids break from school. Also, how about December. My kids are 10 and 15. Thank you.

    1. Hi Donna, December or February are both great times to visit. It’s the dry season then so most of the country doesn’t see much rain. One time you might want to avoid is Christmas, when it gets very busy, so maybe go for Feb. if you were thinking of coming when your kids are on break. There are many choices for places to visit. For a first time traveler to CR, we recommend our 1 Week Itinerary or 2 Week Itinerary. Those itineraries have a nice mix of activities, including volcanoes, hot springs, wildlife viewing, and rainforest, that will give you a good sampling of the country.

      If you would like customized help, we could also design you an itinerary based on you and your kids’ specific interests. This would help you pick destinations and hotels (if you don’t go the timeshare route), and figure out how much time to spend in each place and how to get around. There’s more info about this service on our Itinerary Help page. Good luck planning!

    1. Hi Valentina, Rainfally typically goes down in Guanacaste in July so the weather should be pretty nice. (Look at the charts in our Weather post for trends on rainfall in July- use Liberia for Guanacaste). It will still be rainy season so you will have some rain but there should be plenty of sun too. They try not to cancel tours because of the weather unless it is a safety issue (no water tours during a thunderstorm) so don’t worry about that too much. Hope you and your fiancé have an amazing honeymoon!

  22. Hello! We will be flying into Liberia from August 18-22 and renting a car ourselves and driving 2.5 hrs to La Fortuna/Arenal area. After a couple of nights, we were also thinking about driving 3.5 hrs or so to the pacific coast to catch turtle nesting tours. I remember reading you mentioning mudslides in the comments, and was wondering if you think it’d be okay for us to drive ourselves? Also, do you have any recommendations in seeing lots of wildlife, jungle tours, whales, or turtle nesting? We are very adventurous and are okay with hiking! Thank you!

    1. Hi TL, Occasionally the road around the lake between Liberia and La Fortuna has a washout, but this is a major route and they usually have it repaired quickly. Odds are it will be fine, but if you’re worried about it, you could ask your hotel in Fortuna right before you leave. The route from Fortuna to Ostional (I assume that’s where you are going for turtles) should be fine as long as you go Route 150 through Nicoya and not the coastal route. Just be sure to get a 4×4 because the road turns to rough dirt shortly after Nicoya. (Here’s a link to our car rental discount page.) For tours, read our La Fortuna post and Nosara post. Playa Ostional near Nosara is your best bet for seeing turtles… They generally come about once a month in the rainy season. We loved Samara Trails for hiking and also Diria National Park. Horseback riding in Nosara is also awesome for the beautiful scenery and wildlife viewing.

  23. Hello,

    I just booked a trip to Papagayo/Guanacaste from Nov 5-12…I know the weather is tough to predict but in your experience what should I expect from a rain fall perspective etc. thanks!

    1. Hi Kenneth, It shouldn’t be too bad up in the Papagayo that time of year. Usually the rain starts to taper in November, and Guanacaste is the driest region in general. Click here to read our Weather post, which has more specific info.

  24. Greetings,
    My husband and I are planning on flying to Liberia either 7/29-8/6 or 8/12-8/20. We would stay in the Arenal region for the first half and in Tamarindo the second half. We are worried that rain will affect our trip, especially the hiking. Is this something we should be concerned about enough to postpone our trip? Or is there another area that you might recommend during this time instead?

    1. Hi AG, We wouldn’t postpone your trip unless you are set on having absolutely no rain. Arenal’s weather is different from the rest of the country. September and October is actually the best time to see the volcano, and August is usually pretty good too. Tamarindo will be wetter, but overall gets less rain than other parts of the country so would have a mix of sun and rain. Most people just plan their activities for the morning when rain is less likely, but if you’re worried about it, you’re better off coming during the dry season (December to April).

  25. Hi! Thanks for a useful blog post. We are from Los Angeles and are considering going beginning of August to explore beaches. Which airport and city would you recommend staying in. I would love to also see the volcano, but understand that it may be too far especially in the rainy weather.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Irina, You might like Guanacaste if you’re interested in beaches. Guanacaste is the northern Pacific coastal region and it has some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and coves. We actually have a chapter in our book, Top 10 Costa Rica Itineraries, that covers Guanacaste beaches. This would be a good starting point to figuring out where to fly into, which towns to stay in, how to get around, etc. You can find the book on Amazon. Guanacaste is also good for the rainy season because it is generally the driest part of the country.

      Arenal Volcano has different weather from the rest of Costa Rica and usually isn’t that bad in August so don’t rule it out. You could easily combine it with some time in Guanacaste. We do offer itinerary planning if you want help piecing it all together. Here’s the page in our site with more info. Hope that helps!

  26. Hello! ☺ Love your post! My fiancé and I are planning our honeymoon to Guanacaste, Costa Rica from Oct. 24 to the ending of the first week in November. Wanting to see a more green Costa Rica, we know there is a chance of rain because of the season but we just want to know exactly for what circumstances should we be ready for. Your insight from your experiences would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

    1. Hi Briana, In late October/early November, the Pacific coast is coming out of the rainy season. You can expect some rain but it shouldn’t rain all the time. Like we always say, get your beach time in in the morning when it’s more likely to be sunny. Also, be flexible with your plans in case one day is really wet. It won’t be very busy that time of year so you will be fine waiting to book tours. Finally, make sure you’re prepared for the weather with rain gear. We have a list of what to bring for rainy season in our Packing List post. Congrats on your marriage. Hope you have a wonderful honeymoon!

  27. Hi
    My best friend’s family and mine will be in CR Aug 12th – 24th. We are staying in La Fortuna for 3 days and then Playa Grande for a week. I am looking at the forecast and unfortunately it looks like rain every day. 🙁 Can you suggest things to do that can be done during the rain? Do you think there will be any chance we will be able to go snorkling and zip lining in La Fortuna? the kids are ages 15-23 so no small children.

    1. Hi Monica, The forecast is not reliable in Costa Rica so don’t rely on that. Check out our Weather post where we explain how they do forecasting for Costa Rica and you’ll understand why. That post also has info on what you can expect for weather. Keep in mind that La Fortuna doesn’t have the same weather during the rainy season as the rest of the country. September is actually one of the best months to see the volcano and the weather gets better the closer you get to then, so mid August shouldn’t be bad at all. Playa Grande will be more typical rainy season weather but shouldn’t be a total washout either. You will likely have a mix of sun and rain. Rain tends to happen in the afternoon so plan activities for morning. You can do almost all activities in the rain and should be able to fit in zip lining during your three days in Fortuna. The tour companies continue to book tours through the rainy season and might just recommend an a.m. instead of p.m. tour. Just ask. Ideas for things to do in the rain with older kids around La Fortuna: hot springs, La Fortuna Waterfall, chocolate tour, and around Grande, a river tubing tour near Rincon de la Vieja. Snorkeling around Playa Grande isn’t great, but there is a new SNUBA tour that is sort of a cross between snorkeling and diving. The kids might be into that. Hope that helps.

  28. Hi there!
    We (a couple) are planning to visit Costa Rica from Sep 30 for 1 week. However, I am reading on the internet about the weather and a little conflicted as to which side we should visit, and this is our first time. I’ve read in October, the Carribbean side (ie. Cahuita) would be drier and sunnier…? Is this correct? Any info would help to help me decide which side – The Pacific (Tamarindo) or Carribbean (Cahuita) – would be best to visit (in regards to weather)? Thank you!

    1. Hi Christy, The Caribbean side is definitely better. It has different weather patterns from the Pacific coast, and September and October are the driest months there. Tamarindo is usually rainier then. You can look at the charts in our Weather post to get a better idea (use Liberia for Tamarindo and Limon for the Caribbean). By the way, Cahuita is an awesome little town! Here’s a link to a fun article we wrote about it for an online magazine a while back.

  29. Hello,
    we were planning to head to Costa Rica just for 2-3 days since the kids have holidays in mid October. It seems like there’s a lot of rain. What would you suggest? coming into San Jose on Friday evening and heading out Monday morning. Can we see the turtles / volcano/ rainforest? How do we arrange to see the turtles?

    1. Hi Meghana, Bummer that you don’t have a little more time. It’s hard to get a feel for the country in only a few nights. You do have at least one good option though. The weather in Tortuguero will be decent in October since it’s on the Caribbean coast (the weather there is best Sept./Oct.). Tortuguero also has turtle watching and lush rainforest. It will be the end of green turtle season so you could have luck seeing a nester or even a baby hatchling. Tortuguero also has a lot of other awesome wildlife (monkeys, crocodiles, caiman, freshwater turtles, water birds, etc.), which makes it worth a visit anyway. This town isn’t too far from San Jose and you can easily book a two night tour, which would work well with your schedule (these packages are really common for Tortuguero and include transportation from San Jose, hotel, tours, etc.). Everything can be arranged separately too if you prefer. Here’s a link to our post on Tortuguero with lots more info, including hotel recommendations.

      Seeing a volcano in that amount of time will be tough, but if you can squeeze in one more day, you might be able to see Poas, which isn’t far from San Jose. Hope that gives you some ideas. Good luck with the planning!

  30. Hi Traveling to San Jose September 22-25th how is the rain around this time ? I’ll be so bummed if it rains the whole time I had no idea about raining season until after my trip was booked !

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Tresha, It depends on where exactly you’re going in the country since the weather really varies. In general, it’s the height of rainy season on the Pacific coast, but that doesn’t mean it rains all the time. A lot of days it is nice and dry in the morning then rains for a couple of hours in the afternoon or evening. The Caribbean coast has opposite weather and is drier. It’s also a good time to go see Arenal Volcano. If you mean you’re visiting the city of San Jose, we were just there and had sunny mornings with rain in the late afternoon every day. It can change but that’s what it’s like in general.

  31. HI. I’m visiting with my two 14 year olds the first week in October and staying at Almonds & Corals south of Limon. Would we be nuts to try to drive to Arenal and Monteverde?

    Thanks for any hints.

    1. Hi Sue, You definitely wouldn’t be nuts to drive to La Fortuna in October. You would want to go up through Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui to get there, which is a good, paved road that is well traveled. I wouldn’t expect too many problems with washouts/landslides (sometimes there are some along route 32, but October is a drier time on the Caribbean slope so it should be ok). Getting to Monteverde could be more of a problem. We have never gone in October but I would imagine the dirt portion gets very rough because of the rain. Again, though, it’s a well traveled route so it could be totally fine as long as you have the right car (a 4×4). Keep in mind that people do visit Monteverde in October so it is possible, it depends more on your comfort level. I know that’s not a direct answer but hope it helps.

      We recently came out with a post about all the major driving routes that will give you an idea of what you will be getting into. Here’s the link. It also links to another post we wrote about driving to Monteverde, which has some videos of what it’s like.

  32. Hi Jenn & Matt! thanks so much for making available such great site. I can’t believe all the help full tips I’m finding thanks to you guys.
    My husband, my 7 year old daughter and I are heading to Costa Rica from Oct 26 to Nov 5. I know it’s rainy season but, can you give us an idea of how much water to expect. We’re quite adventurous for the most part and we don’t mind rain.
    We’re planning to stay in Manuel Antonio area for a few nights and then head to Tamarindo, stoping for a night or 2 along the way. Any suggestion of what to visit or where to stay in between these Manuel Antonio and Tamarindo?
    I appreciate a great deal your time.

    1. Hi Paola,

      That’s great to hear that our site has been so helpful. For weather, at the end of October, the Pacific slope is starting to transition to the dry season. If you look at the charts in this post, you can see that the number of days with rain and total rain start to drop dramatically. You will still have rain but not non-stop. More like a couple of hours every day. You should still have plenty of time to do things, but sometimes you might get rained out so be flexible with your schedule.

      There aren’t very many options for convenient places to stop between those destinations, unfortunately. There are towns like Puntarenas but they’re either not very scenic or don’t have much to choose from for hotels. One idea is to make the stop a two night stay and check out either Montezuma or Samara, two really cool beach towns that are good for young families (follow the links for more info). Samara is 45 min out of the way and Montezuma is a little more, but part of the trip is a ferry ride across a beautiful bay. Hope that helps to give you some ideas!

  33. Love your website! I leave Saturday for a 2-week trip to CR and Panama and your tips and reviews have been super helpful! I plan to travel to Arenal after flying in to San Jose to see the volcano, hot springs and waterfall before heading to the Pacific coast for a couple days. I’m having a hard time deciding on which Pacific beach town to visit. I’m traveling solo and am not so much into touristy beach towns, but I do want somewhere where I could maybe take some beginner surf lessons, socialize with 20-30 somethings like myself and see some beautiful sunsets. From there I will be heading to the Caribbean side, starting with Tortuguero and making my way south eventually to Bocas del Toro. I’m curious as to which Pacific town would provide me with the best route via bus to get to the Caribbean side. Do I need to go back through San Jose?

    1. Hi Patrick, Most of the beaches on the Pacific coast will be 3+ hrs from La Fortuna and make for a long bus ride to the Caribbean side so it’s a tough call. For what you’re interested in, Tamarindo would be good if you don’t mind making the trip out there. It’s touristy but won’t be bad this time of year and has surfing and draws a younger crowd. Your other option is Jaco. Again, touristy but it’s off season. Jaco would be a lot closer for the ride to the Caribbean side because it’s only 1.5 hrs from San Jose (slightly more by bus). Either way, you will have to connect in San Jose to a different bus to get to Tortuguero. The leg from SJ to La Pavona isn’t that bad though and the boat ride is really fun. Hope you have an awesome time!

  34. Hi. I’m so glad I found this site, it has been very interesting. I’m sending the link to myself so I can read at my leisure when I get home. I’m planning a trip next May (2nd week – to celebrate my birthday). It is with a tour group so I’ll be in San Jose, Fortuna, Guanacaste/ Pacific Beach and Manuel Antonio. I thought that would be a good chance to see the country (which has been on my bucket list for a long time). I debated between going in April and being gone for my birthday and 2nd week of May won out. I’m hoping it will be before the rainy season really gets started. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Lisa, That will be a really nice way to spend your birthday and it shouldn’t be too rainy yet so don’t worry. May is the very beginning of the rainy season and some areas, like Guanacaste, are just starting to get their first rains then.
      Most other areas aren’t very rainy yet either. Thanks for reading our site. Hope you have a great visit!

  35. Hello, we will be in the Quepos area beginning November 19 for a week including Thanksgiving. We are a three generational family of 12 staying in a beautiful house overlooking the ocean. We have already set up a guided tour of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, a deep sea fishing morning experience, a morning catamaran trip, white water rafting and zip line. Any thoughts for the four active 70 somethings who are not doing the latter two activities? Thanks

    1. Hi George, There’s a great spice farm tour in that area or you might like a kayak or boat tour through the mangroves at Isla Damas. Isla Damas has a lot of wildlife like monkeys, birds, etc. and it’s a very different experience from the catamaran tour. We have some more ideas in our Off-the-Beaten-Path Things to Do Near Manuel Antonio post. Wish your trip wasn’t coming up so soon and we could help with the bookings (we are traveling this week).Hope your family has a great trip!

  36. Hey Guys!

    First off, your blog (and life) is awesome!

    Secondly, we are headed to Samara this Friday and a bit worried about the rain. The forecast is calling for rain the entire week we are there.

    We read your blog about the forecasts. We don’t mind a couple hours of rain in the afternoon, but it’s forecasting rain all day everyday. Do you think this is an overestimate?

    Really hoping to surf and soak up sun on the beach. Should we be worried?


    Miguel y Jen

    1. Hi Jen and Miguel, Hope you woke to sunshine this morning in Samara! Like our weather post says, the forecast is usually wrong so don’t rely on that. The Pacific Coast is coming out of the rainy season now, so hopefully you will have typical early dry season weather of sunny mornings and some rain late in the afternoon and at night. I know where we live in the Southern Zone we had almost nonstop rain for about a week because of a low front and then about three days it cleared up and we’ve only had a little rain at night. Have a great trip!

  37. Hello! I’ll be staying in Uvita the first week in January. I’ve been keeping track of the weather online and getting nervous that it will be rainy the whole time I’m there because I don’t want to be stuck inside the whole time, not excited about the idea of rain. I’d planned it during this time because we thought the rain would be over by now! Thoughts?

    1. Hi Tiffany, Don’t worry, it will not rain all the time during your trip. The forecast in CR is always wrong, especially the extended forecast (you can read why here). January is dry season and usually it rains very little or not at all in Uvita. If it does rain, it’s usually at night or in the late afternoon once and a while. We have lived near Uvita for the month of January for the last three years and that is how it has been. So don’t worry, it’ll be great!

  38. Going to Monteverde at the end of January to beginning of February. We will hike and bike and see the cloud forest. Do you have any tips on clothing to bring; locations to visit; restaurants, etc?

  39. don’t get nervous of thee rain in Costa Rica! Hot water is falling on your head, and it refresh the day. It is not like in Canada or Europe. When it starts raining there, well the first two weeks you will not see the sun anymore. Here in Costa Rica it rains for one two or four hours in the afternoon or early night, and after that stars and moon come back and you have a wonderful cool evening.
    The nicest area of Costa Rica is now Costa Ballena, that is in between Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal. Dominical is more for the young ones, Uvita is the economic center and Ojochal is the gourmet place. No big concrete towers, huge hotels or crowded beaches.

  40. I would like to see the arribadas but understand this will probably be in the rainy season. Can a three week vacation be done and still enjoy some sunshine and vantage points like Poas volcano, or should I just give up on the idea and push my travel time into Nov?

    I’ve enjoyed reading your articles, haven’t gotten to them all, Thanks for being a wonderful informative source.

    1. Hi Betty, Yes, you can definitely get some sun and see the attractions if you come during the rainy season. You just have to be strategic with your timing. If you haven’t seen it yet, our Best Times to Visit Costa Rica post talks about the hedge months of the rainy season when there is typically less rain. November is technically part of the rainy season too so you would need to push the trip out to December if you wanted more assurance. A lot of times November isn’t too rainy so we usually recommend it, but this year, at least where we live, it was the rainiest month of the year.

  41. Hi there! Your site has been very helpful, I’m enjoying all of the comments. As with everyone else, I’m concerned about choosing the most opportune time to avoid heavy rain. I’m trying to decide between the week of April 26th – April 30th 2017 or May 3rd – May 7th. I know it’s only a one week difference, but the April dates fall right at the end of the Dry Season while May dates are right at beginning of Rainy Season. I’ll be staying at the Riu Palace in Guanacaste. Can you advise which would be better? Or, does it really not matter too much in this case? I don’t mind short, light showers – but I want to get the most out of my trip.

    1. Hi Erica, It probably doesn’t matter because of course the weather varies year to year, but I would go with the earlier dates for better odds. The rainy season doesn’t usually start in northern Guanacaste until later in May (or even June) anyway so it still might not have rained much at all since the end of the last rainy season. When we were in Playa Hermosa Guanacaste mid April last year, everything was really dry and they were just getting their first light showers. Keep in mind too that lot of people actually like to visit this area at the beginning of rainy season because the forest is nice and green. Guanacaste gets really dry, almost desert-like, at the end of the dry season.

  42. Hi love your site full of useful information , please could you give me advice for what type of weather to be prepared for in late august and early September in Playa Matapalo, we have been offered deal back in U.K for this date would love to visit costa rico but we have to children that love beech and sea , but also very keen on wildlife so would love to make the best of all thats available but worried we will be rain off from doing activities . any advice would be very appreciated .
    many thanks adam

    1. Hi Adam, We have a lot of information on rainfall in Costa Rica in our Weather post so be sure to read that. If you’re talking about the Playa Matapalo near Quepos on the Central Pacific Coast, in general, it is starting to get fairly rainy in late August/early September. Conditions vary a lot year to year (last year wasn’t bad at all), but typically there is rain for at least part of the afternoon and some days in the morning too. It is still a nice time to visit, though, if you are flexible with your plans. Hope that gives you an idea of what to expect. Again, you can look at our weather post for more detailed data.

  43. Hello, I just came across your site and find it very helpful. We are looking into visiting Costa Rica during the last two weeks of June; have 2 teens that will want to sleep in, so I am wondering what activities are there to do while it is raining, as the kids would realistically be getting out and about after 11am while on vacation? I saw you mentioned rafting. Any other suggestions please? Or would it be better to try to come during the dry season? Thank you for your time and for your ideas!

    1. Hi Eliza, It doesn’t rain all day at the end of June so you should have plenty of nice days to go out and do something even if your kids sleep in. For times when it is rainy, it really depends on where you’re going, but generally, there’s coffee or chocolate tours, waterfalls, wildlife-exhibit type places like butterfly gardens, etc. (Monteverde), and even hiking. When it rains that time of year, you will most likely already be out doing something (it usually rains in the afternoon) so it’s more about being prepared with rain gear and waiting for the shower to pass over. We have tips on what to wear/bring in our Packing post.

  44. Great site. Family trip to Nosara late June/early July. We will expect rain, but can we plan on beach time as well?


  45. Hi my friend and I are coming to CR last two weeks in Oct . We’re volunteering at CR animal rescue centre but plan to have 4-5 nights after that in a nice hotel in San Hose. Realise it’s going to rain but we’re from England so that’s no problem. Any idea of things to do when we’ve finished volunteering would be great.

  46. Hi!
    Loving your blog. I’m thinking of teaching yoga around Tamarindo in August, however I am someone who tends to get targeted by mosquitoes..
    I was just wondering HOW bad are the mosquitoes? I’m reaaally keen to come and can take the necessary precautions but I just don’t want to get eaten alive.

    1. Hi Louise, As you probably know, August is rainy season in Tamarindo, when mosquitoes are more prevalent. I am very prone to bites too so I hear where you’re coming from. Not to muck up your plans, but the mosquitoes are usually pretty bad that time of year. Wearing repellent definitely helps, though. Our Mosquitoes post has more info about all the precautions you can take.

  47. Hi!

    Let me start off by saying your site has put some of my fears/worries at ease (thank you). A group of will be traveling to Manuel Antonio the last weekend in June 2017. Since I booked my flight, I have been following the weather in Quepos like a stalker in the night…LOL. Maybe I am panicking but it looks like you guys have already started to get rain. I guess I am wondering if this weather pattern will have any bearing on June’s weather?

    Also, I believe you mentioned something about the visibility during raining season may be low so touring the Arenal Volcanoes might not be a good idea. I don’t have to see the actual volcano but I still would love to visit the hotsprings. Do you have suggestions for hotsprings/mud bath closer to the Manuel Antonio area?

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hi Ola, Don’t worry about what the forecast says. It is almost always wrong for Costa Rica. You should read our Weather post, which explains why. We live not far from Manuel Antonio and it has lierally only rained a few times since January so basically not at all. Late June is usually really nice in Manuel Antonio because it isn’t dry and dusty (like it is now) and the forest is nice and green. Usually it rains in the afternoon or at night and in big spurts so you should have plenty of nice weather.

      La Fortuna/Arenal has slightly different weather so its rainy season is a little different. It gets a lot of rain year-round and June is part of thunderstorm season so the volcano is sometimes visible and sometimes isn’t. If you would rather stick with only MA, there are some very rustic hot springs south of Quepos. We visited recently and really enjoyed it, but the experience is a lot different than the more luxurious hot springs resorts in Arenal. The pools are simple and there are only a few of them, but they’re nice and hot and you’re surrounded by lush rainforest. It’s a bit far out (kind of an adventure to get there along rough dirt roads), but the local family who runs it makes an awesome lunch so you can make a day of it. Here’s a link to their Facebook page.

  48. Hi — Have really been enjoying your blog — thanks for providing so much practical, helpful info! We are planning a visit to Ojochal & Uvita. I know the rainy season is longer in the south Pacific region — and am sure that with climate change, predictions are harder than ever to make! That said, wondering whether you could suggest the best months to visit the south Pacific? And in particular, how does early-mid December tend to be in your region? We’ll be driving in from San Jose, and condition of roads in the Ojochal area are one of our concerns — along with general weather, of course. Thanks for any insights you can provide!

    1. Hi Liz, Normally the weather really dries out when December starts. Last year, we had some strange cold fronts and it was very rainy until about the second week of the month. Every other year we have lived here, though, it has been fairly dry this time of year. By mid December, you should be fine even in an off year. I wouldn’t worry too much about the roads. Now that the highway is paved (Route 34), that road is in good shape year-round. Some local roads are dirt and can be steep so you will want 4×4 but should be totally fine with that. Make sure to check out our rental car discount if you are renting a car (recommended for Uvita and Ojochal since the area is spread out).

      1. Thanks for your quick reply! And thanks again for your blog. I’ve done lots of reading on Costa Rica (plus visited the country twice so far), and I’ve learned more from TWinCR than most other sources. And yes, we’ll definitely utilize your rental car discount!

  49. Hi guys,
    Thank you for this lovely blog post! In another post you had mentioned that you live close to Manuel Antonio and I am planning to visit Manuel Antonio in about a week from today. In this current post you had indicated that the rainy season starts in May, but I heard from a friend that it has already begun to rain! Could you let me know what the rainfall is like right now? Specifically, at what time of day, on average, does the rainfall begin and how long does it typically last. I would really love to have a solid idea of how the present rainfall will affect my ability to simply lie on the beach rain-free (as well as to go on tours and do outdoor activities). Thank you very much in advance for kind reply!

    1. Hi Jay, We have had a little rain in the last few weeks in the Dominical area, but not anything to worry about. When we say the rainy season starts in May, we mean that’s when you can expect rain more regularly (an hour or so every day or every couple of days). As we get closer to May, it could start getting into this pattern, but the important thing to keep in mind is that if it rains (which it might not), it almost always happens late in the afternoon or at night so it doesn’t usually affect people’s plans this time of year. Right now it is so dry and hot that a little rain is welcomed. So don’t worry, you will be absolutely fine for your trip.

  50. Hi Jenn and Matt.

    Thank you for the very informative and inspiring blog. We are going to Costa Rica in july and would like to hike/climb some mountain tops. Will that be possible in july and are some tops and areas better than others in july?


    Morten, Denmark

    1. Hi Morten, There are still some really nice days in July so you will be able to get some hiking in. The Pacific slope usually experiences a “mini-summer” at some point in July too, when the rains lessen. In most areas of the country, you should be able to find dry days to hike. The Southern Pacific Coast and Osa Peninsula get the most rain, but I would still go to these areas if you really want to. Don’t worry about washouts too much this time of year, but come prepared with good hiking boots in case of mud and slippery conditions and rain jackets or ponchos.

      If you’re looking for recommendations on hikes, we love hiking ourselves and have a whole chapter in our Itineraries book about our favorite ones. It’s the Eco-Trekking chapter. You can find the book on Amazon here.

  51. Hello!

    We booked a trip to Arenal and Tamarindo for next month (mid-May). We have lots of excursions planned but I’ve been checking the weather religiously and it seems to be non-stop rain right now. My question is, is it typically continuous rainfall this time of year, or fits and bursts? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Kaitlyn, Please read our Weather post, which explains why you can’t rely on the extended forecast for Costa Rica. This time of year, the rain is more in short bursts of an hour or so, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Arenal’s weather is harder to predict but you might see no rain in Tamarindo. Generally the only months with continuous rain are September and October, but even then there are breaks.

  52. I’m coming to Costa Rica in early June was thinking tamarindo. I know this is the rainy season or start of. However is tamarindo a good place to visit during these seasons to experience the beach? Or can you recommend some places

    1. Hi Ursula, Guanacaste is usually the last region to get rain at the start of rainy season so Tamarindo is a good choice for early June. You can read our Weather post for more information on what to expect.

  53. Hi! Let ne just say thank you so much for the real time info on what’s going on in CR. It’s is so helpful!!!!

    My fiancé and I are planning a trip for our honeymoon from sept 27 to Oct 8th. For the first four days we were going to be staying at the Tabacon resort as suggested by some friends then head to the pacific coast to use our Marriott point at the JW in geranada area. I am a little worried about the weather as we love the pool and just relaxing in the sun some days but my fiancé also wants to see monkeys… Do you have any am suggestions on places to do this? Will it be possible in the Rainey weather? Also he wanted to go deep sea fishing… Are the waters too rough? Who would you suggest and lastly we are looking for a driver as we are not the best drivers in the states so figured a driver would be better. Do you have any suggestions on that!?! Sorry so many questions but I look forward to hearing from you!


    1. Hi Tara, The weather in late September can be pretty rainy. This is generally the rainiest time of year on the Pacific coast. You might want to look at the Caribbean coast if your travel dates aren’t flexible (Puerto Viejo or Cahuita). September and October are the driest times of year on this coast. It’s also a very good place to see monkeys. Deep sea fishing can be tough in the height of rainy season, mostly because it’s not much fun being out on a boat in the rain. But it is possible. Once you have your itinerary finalized, we have some great contacts at shuttle companies and would be happy to help you make the arrangements for a private driver. Hope that helps with your questions and congrats on your upcoming marriage!

  54. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    My family and I are thinking of traveling to Montezuma in the middle of July. Will the restaurants and shops be open that time of year? I’ve heard everything shuts down in the rainy season. Love your Blog!

    1. Hi Laura, Sometimes businesses close during the rainiest months (September and October), but July is fine. July is actually one of the busiest months of the rainy season as locals get time off so restaurants and everything will be open to take advantage.

  55. Jenn and Matt, This is a great blog!!! We are planning a honeymoon trip to CR in late Sep-Oct (approx. 8-10 days). We do not mind a bit of rain as we are quite flexible. We would like to experience a bit of adventure and relax/beach. We consider to go either 27th September to 7th October. Would late October be a better month to travel? What places would you recommend to to experience zip lining, green forest, volcanos and beaches in that time? I appreciate your help.

    1. Hi Maria, Late September and late October are similar in terms of rain so either would work. For volcanoes and adventure activities like zip lining, La Fortuna/Arenal usually has decent weather that time of year. It has different weather patterns than the Pacific coast and many people say that Sept./Oct. is the best time to see the volcano (it’s often clouded over otherwise). For beach and green rainforest, the Caribbean side has the best weather that time of year, with Sept./Oct. usually being their driest months. The two main beach towns in that zone are Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Cahuita.

  56. Hi Jenn and Matt
    Your blog is very informative. Thank you very much.
    We are planning to visit Costa Rica in July (13th July-22July) with our children who are in their 20s. I spoke to travel agent earlier today and she frightened me saying that it is not the right time to go because of rains. After reading your blog it seems that it rains mostly in late afternoon and July, after all is not a bad time to visit.
    What would you recommend to visit to see the wild life in these 8 days, considering it is in July?
    We are thinking about going to Manual Antonio, Monteverde.
    Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Shikohe, July especially is not a bad time at all to travel to Costa Rica. The country experiences what’s called a mini-summer when the rains typically lessen and usually most rain is in the afternoon or evening. Of course, it’s the weather so you never know but that is normally how it is.

      Manuel Antonio and Monteverde would both be good for wildlife, so good picks. Monteverde might be a little more rainy but doable. You could also look at
      Drake Bay, which is excellent for wildlife. We talk about this more in our Drake Bay article, but flying in and out would be the fastest to save you time.

  57. Love the blog. Great info! We’ve never been to Costa Rica and were thinking of doing so during the second week of Oct. After a lot of research we had targeted the Manuel Antonio area. It would be my wife & two boys (8 & 10 yrs), and we’re not afraid of a little rain, but I’m still kind of wary. Don’t want to be repeatedly forced indoors for hours during the day. When I asked the resort we’re considering how much rain to expect, here’s what I got —
    “The normal weather during winter time is sunny in the mornings, and rain is expected after 3pm or at night. It usually rains from 20 minutes to 2 hours. A very few times a year, it rains in the morning, but usually is sunny in the afternoon when this happens. But then again, weather is impossible to predict here in Costa Rica. Sometimes is sunny here at Tulemar, and 5 minutes away is raining.”

    You agree with that assessment, or is that overly optimistic?


    1. Hi Jeff, We would say that that is slightly optimistic. October is one of the two rainiest months in Costa Rica. While it’s true that some years, most of the rain is in the morning with an hour or two in the afternoon or at night, it is also not uncommon for it to rain earlier in the day and for longer stretches. It’s just tough since you will be visiting for only one week, in case you happen to come during a particularly rainy one. But, it sounds like your family has a good attitude about it, which is the most important thing. I’m not sure if that is helpful but it’s hard to give advice on travel in September and October. You could also look at our Weather post, which has charts with data on rainfall year-round.

  58. Hello! We have booked a trip to Guancaste the last week in June this year. Is that a good time to visit? We are hoping we are not stuck in the hotel in rain!

    1. Hi Kristen, Guanacaste is one of the driest regions of the country. Plus if you’re coming end of June, you might get some of the “mini-summer” weather that much of the country experiences in July. This is when the rains lessen and it feels a bit like dry season. Check out our Weather post for more detailed information.

  59. We are thinking to visit Guancaste area either at the end of Aug, Sept or Oct. Weatherwise which time would be best to miss the rain? We can only stay 6 days.

    1. Hi Cori, Statistically, August is the driest in terms of number of days with rainfall and amount of rain. You can read our Weather post for more info (also look at the charts- Liberia is the closest location to Guanacaste).

  60. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    Thanks for the blog! I think I read it all. But as everyone else I would like to ask about our specific plans 🙂
    Our plan is to arrive October 28th and leave November 10th. We thought about going to Tamarindo Nov 3-6th and do the other sites before or after that: Arenal, La Fortuna, Monteverde Ostional Turtle nesting and some djungle hiking with canopy tour-walking. In otherwWords, its not a “beach trip”.

    Two adults and three kids 7-9-11 years old. Is the best time or shall we aim for December, May?

    Henrik Olsson

    1. Hi Henrik, Those are a lot of destinations for two weeks. We would aim for four max so that you’re not rushing around too much. As for the best time to go, end of October/early November is usually quite rainy so another time would be better. Early December before it gets busy around the holidays would be good or May would work. You can read our Best Times to Visit Costa Rica post for more information.

  61. Hi Jenn and Matt!

    My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica in late August/early September and we really wanted to go somewhere where there are TONS of wildlife adventures (I was thinking about Osa Peninsula but read that going during that time in that particular area that we will be wet the whole time.
    We love love a thrill and outdoor actives such as rafting/tubing in rough waters, zip lines, horse back riding, natural springs and a good night life crowd!

    Please let me know if you have any recommendations!

    1. Hi Garance, La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio might work for you. The Arenal area has slightly different weather from the rest of the country so is generally drier that time of year. Plus it has a lot of adventure activities like rafting and zipling, hot springs, etc. Manuel Antonio has a ton to do too, a lot of wildlife, and should have decent weather. Either way, we would recommend going to one of the bigger destinations in the country if you’re looking for nightlife. Tourism starts to slow down during this time so the smaller places will feel more sleepy. One more thought- it won’t have nightlife at all, but it might be worth spending a couple of nights in Tortuguero for wildlife. It will be green sea turtle nesting season when you visit, plus Tortuguero has a ton of other wildlife.

  62. Hello! thanks for the great info! We’re coming for just a couple days in early October for a quick getaway. Will be staying near San Jose, and are interested in hot springs and a beach day. Any advice on which to think about given the time of year? Thanks a ton!

    1. Hi Tim, Day trips for those activities are a bit far from San Jose, but doable if you leave early in the morning. La Fortuna/Arenal is best for hot springs. For beach, you could check out Jaco or we love Playa Blanca. As for rain, it is usually rainy everywhere in the country that time of year except the Caribbean coast, so we would plan more based on distance/drive time from SJ.

  63. Hello friends! Greetings from Boston! My husband, parents and I are planning a much needed dream trip to Guancaste in August. (We have never been). The idea of rain in the afternoons did not bother us. However, the remembrance of the issues with mosquitoes down there does. We are curious as to the reality of this issue. My father is a transplant recipient. Also my husband and I are hoping to try to get pregnant this fall. We lost our first son in the NICU and are nervous of the risks of Zika but would like to know the reality of it. Researching is challenging. We also don’t want to not live our lives due to fear. All advice appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi SJ, If you haven’t already, you should read our post Costa Rica and Mosquitoes: Tips to Prevent Zika, Dengue, and More. The best source of information about Zika are the government publications that give current stats. You can find the link to that information at the bottom of our mosquitoes post, which I referenced above. The government has been doing a really good job whenever there is a case reported ever since this started happening so the numbers are down overall compared to when this made international news a while back. You can see from the bulletins that right now that the situation isn’t bad (the number of cases is actually very low compared to last year), but keep in mind that mosquitoes are more plentiful as the rainy season goes on. Overall, your odds of getting something while here for a only short trip are slim, but this is something that you have decide for yourself based on your comfort level. Hope that is helpful!

  64. I am getting married in Costa Rica next month, and the unknown weather has me a bit anxious since many of my guests are traveling so far to be there. I picked July because I wanted it to be lush and green and because we are from Florida and are pretty used to the humidity and mid-afternoon showers.

    We are getting married the week of July 17th at the Dreams Las Mareas resort. Any suggestions on what to expect? I heard something about a “little summer”?

    1. Hi Sam, Yes, Costa Rica usually experiences a veranito or little summer in July. It varies year to year, but generally there is a break from the rain and there’s more sun. July is still fairly early in the rainy season anyway, and Dreams is located in one of the driest areas of the country, so the weather should be pretty nice for your wedding. And it will be lush and green so beautiful for photos. Try not to worry!

  65. Hi Jenn and Matt!

    My wife and I appreciate your blog. Its been a great help as we plan a trip to visit Costa Rica this coming August with our family. We will fly into San Jose and are thinking of visiting La Fortuna, then Monteverde, and then the Gaunacaste area before returning to San Jose for our flight out. We will have 4 children with us, ages 14-24.

    We are scheduled to arrive on a red-eye at 7:30 am on Tuesday, Aug 8. Our thought is to spend the first day in San Jose, get some rest and visit with some local friends. Drive to La Fortuna on the 9th and stay there until the 12th. Drive to Monteverde and stay until the 14th. Drive to a place near Guanacaste and stay until the 18th. Drive back to San Jose on the 18th.

    While in La Fortuna, we’d like to see Arenal, zip line, and also hike Rio Celeste. Visit the Cloud Forest in Monteverde, and then relax at the beach the last few days. Maybe do some snorkeling or kayaking. Does our schedule seem about right to you to accomplish this? Any specific sites we may want to consider or take in along with this or adjustments you would recommend? Will any of these locations be best avoided during this time of year? Finally, how would you advise traveling with our size group – rent one large 4×4 SUV, arrange private shuttles between locations, or something else?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jeff, This type of detailed review is what we provide for our itinerary clients, but I can give you some high level thoughts. That plan sounds fine but the beginning of the trip may feel a little rushed with only 2.5 days in La Fortuna and 1.5 days in Monteverde, because of drive times. You do have older kids so that might be okay; just something to think about.

      All of those places should be decent in August for weather. You will have some rain but usually it will be in the afternoon or evening. Monteverde could be rainier and cooler so be sure to bring rain gear and clothes for layering (more tips for rainy season travel in our Packing List here).

      If you’re comfortable driving, that will give you the most flexibility to explore since some of your destinations are more spread out. Be sure to check out our rental car discount for that. Private shuttles are another option for getting between destinations, then you could rely on tour companies to provide transportation as part of excursions and taxis for everything else. This is less convenient and likely more expensive but doable if you don’t want to drive. Hope that helps with your questions and that your family has a great trip!

  66. Hey there, would you say San Jose, Puntarenas, La Fortuna, Arenal, and MonteVerde would be ok the last week of September? We wanted to zip line, ride ATVs, and white water raft…I just noticed the weather and am second guessing now

    1. Hi Katie, September is typically one of the rainiest months so it depends on your expectations. You can still do most of those activities in the rain, and as long as you’re prepared with the right gear, it could work (read our Packing tips for the rainy season here). You could also look at visiting the Caribbean side (Cahuita, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca), which is in its dry season in September. The weather in La Fortuna also usually isn’t too bad that time of year as well.

      1. Hi Jenn and Matt,
        your blog is wonderfully helpful and informative.
        I am considering visiting and staying in Drake Bay in November, and possibly December, as my May trip has been cancelled due to the Covid situation.
        My questions would be if a 1- or 2 months stay there would be feasible?
        I have a few questions about that: You mentioned that Drake Bay does not have ATM’s? For a possible 2-months stay that would mean much cash to bring with me, as I would be staying in Drake and not plan on venturing out.
        I have been to Costa Rica twice and loved it. Mostly north and central regions. I am looking forward to exploring this rich, southern Gem.
        How is the situation with travelling right now due to Covid? I am planning on taking a bus from San Jose, if possible, not having a car.
        I am really looking forward to this journey, if it all works out.
        Thank you for your help.

        1. Hi Gabriele, Glad our site has been helpful!

          If you need cash, you would need to go back to the mainland (e.g. Palmar) for an ATM. This is what the locals in Drake Bay have to do as well. You will see them coming to and from Drake on the boat taxis to run errands like that.

          Costa Rica is experiencing an increase in Covid cases and hospitalizations right now. You can read our full post for more details – Costa Rica and the Coronavirus. Masks are required on buses, but if you can avoid traveling by bus to limit exposure, that would be better since it is such a long trip with many connections. There are shuttles that can take you from San Jose.

          Hope you are able to come! If you haven’t seen it yet, we also have a detailed post on entering Costa Rica during Covid, which covers the required Covid test, insurance, etc.

  67. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    Thanks so much for all the useful info in your blog, I’ve read a ton of them so far, and they are super useful.

    My daughter will be doing a quarter abroad in Costa Rica this fall through her university. I decided to travel down with her the week before she starts, which puts us smack in the rainy season. Our week together will be Sep 27 – Oct 4, and I’d love to see Arenal Volcano, but would hate to go there if it’s shrouded in fog the whole time. Can you recommend the best areas for us to visit that week? We are both fit and active, and would love to see things we don’t have in the States: wildlife, volcanos, waterfalls, jungle. I don’t want to burn her out before her quarter, so I’m fine taking it somewhat easy — I intend to come back and do a proper visit one day! Thanks!

    1. Hi Anita, La Fortuna doesn’t follow the same weather patterns and September is actually supposed to be one of the best times to see the volcano. No guarantees of course since it’s the weather, but generally that’s a good time to go. You could split that with beach time somewhere like Manuel Antonio, which is excellent for wildlife, or a town in Guanacaste like Samara. Both of these are decent options for beach in late September. Hope that helps!

      1. Hi,

        We were planning on visiting Manual Antonio, Monteverde cloud forest and Arenal in mid August with our kids age 7-10. Would be washed out most days? I expect rain, but don’t want to risk having young kid with me and be washed out completely.



          1. Thanks for the reply. I guess it’s hard to decide whether to risk spending the money and potentially being rained out half the time in those areas.

  68. Thanks for such a great blog! Are you able to advise about weather near Atenas in January/February? We want some winter sun and I’m “worried” it will be cloudy because a lot of photos I have seen have grey skies! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sue, January/February is the middle of dry season in the Atenas area so you should have sun and blue skies for sure. Be sure to read our Atenas post before you go too for tips and recommendations for activities and restaurants.

  69. Hi,

    I am planning a trip on the end of November. We’ll stay in Quepos on 11/23 for 5 nights and then we’ll go to Nuevo Arenal for 3 nights. What weather can we expect in both regions?
    I am taking 4 seniors with me so I a’m concerned about driving and excursions…:)
    I would appreciate any input.

    1. Hi Anna, Usually the end of November is a good time to visit and it isn’t too rainy (see our Weather post). It is the weather, though, so it is hard to predict. Last November was very rainy in most of the country because of a low front that wouldn’t push through. Normally it’s fine though, with some rain, usually in the afternoon and at night. Some tips would be to avoid driving at night (get your longer drives in during the morning/early afternoon when rain is less likely) and plan excursions in the morning for the same reason.

  70. Hi Jenn & Matt,

    My husband and I are planning to visit for our 2nd anniversary from Dec. 9 – 16. We were planning to spend a few days in Arenal (hopefully doing some difficult hikes, waterfall rappelling and zip-lining). But I’ve read different reviews on the weather, some saying it’s a heavy rain time and others saying it’s a great time to go and not that rainy. I know the weather can be unpredictable, but is that time of year a bad idea to go to Arenal? We are adventure seekers, but also are not necessarily “experienced”…so I wouldn’t want to rappel as a novice during the most dangerous time of year, etc. Any light you can shed on traveling this time of year would be appreciated. We do not “have” to do Arenal…it was just a thought.

    Then we were thinking of spending our last few days on the beach near Playa Conchal. If there are other places you’d recommend over Arenal or Playa Conchal, please let us know!

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Keri, La Fortuna receives a decent amount of rain year-round. It has somewhat of a reverse rainy season. The best time to see the volcano is supposed to be the height of the rainy season on the Pacific slope, in September/October. December can be rainy, it just depends on the year. It isn’t a dangerous time of year to go, though, by any means. The reputable tour companies in Fortuna that offer rappelling will make sure you are safe no matter what (let us know if you need a recommendation and we can book the tour for you). As for hiking, Cerro Chato and other hikes are best done when it isn’t raining so that it isn’t as muddy and you can enjoy the views. Compared to your other options for destinations, La Fortuna is probably your best option for what you want to do and is somewhat close to Playa Conchal, which is a really beautiful beach. Another area with good hiking is the Southern Zone (Uvita/Dominical area), but you would have to go up to Manuel Antonio for rappelling. This area doesn’t have as many of the typical tours.

  71. Hi , This is a great site – thanks. My question is: what is the daily rainfall pattern like in late October? We are booked to go to San Jose and the Pacific Coast for 2 weeks. It is obviously the rainy season, so when it rains is it more a sharp shower or steady rain most of the day. Please let me know. thanks Matt

    1. Hi Matt, Usually in October, we have heavy rain for an hour or two in the afternoon or at night, rather than steady rain all day. Some days in October, it will rain more, as this is typically one of the rainiest months of the year. You can learn more in our Weather post.

  72. Hi Jenn & Matt! Thanks for the great post!

    My husband and I are planning a trip to CR the first week of October. We have heard that this is the best time to see the Arenal Volcano, and we had a lot of things that we wanted to do on the Pacific side. But from what I’ve read, it seems like the Pacific side kind of shuts down during this time of the year.

    We were thinking of just going from San Jose to Arenal, spending 2 nights there, and then spending the rest of the time on the Caribbean side. We love wildlife and we still want to see the rainforest though.

    Do you have any recommendations? Is it rainy on the Pacific side, but still fun? Or is there something comparable on the Caribbean side that we can do? We’ve been considering Guanacaste…is that similar?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Heather, The smaller destinations on the Pacific coast are a lot less busy this time of year and some businesses do close for vacations and renovations. If you want to go somewhere with a little going on, stick to larger towns like Jaco or Manuel Antonio, or Tamarindo on the northern coast. Manuel Antonio is the best option out of those for wildlife/rainforest. The Caribbean side is another good option. The weather is usually good there in October and it has awesome beaches and wildlife. It will be slower than usual but many places should be open still – Puerto Viejo will have more open (Cahuita is a very small town).

      1. Hi, we are going to Crocodile Bay Resort next year and would like your excellent advice what month is best.

        1. Hi Richard, The Southern Pacific Coast can be quite rainy during parts of rainy season. We’d recommend coming during dry season (mid December through end of April) or early in rainy season (June or July would be best). Hope that helps!

  73. Hi! My boyfriend and I are planning our first trip together and decided on Costa Rica. We are going Oct. 18 – Oct. 23 to a resort in Guanacaste. How is the weather during this time? We are really excited to go but after reading we may have the chosen the rainy season to visit, I am getting kind of bum.

    1. Hi Shawnda, The rain usually starts to taper off in late October so don’t worry too much. Take a look at the information in our Weatherpost- you can see in the charts that the rain starts going down in Guanacaste in late October/early November. Rainy season is actually a really nice time to visit Guanacaste because it isn’t as crowded and the vegetation is lush and green.

  74. Hi Guys: Between the dates of September 28 and October 13 (almost 2 weeks) is there any part of Costa Rica not afflicted by heavy rainfall. Our gig is photography and as you well know rain makes it tough for serious shooters like us. Any ideas, tips for locations are appreciated. We love your web and plan to buy your book soon. Thnks

  75. Hi guys,

    Looking to visit the Arenal region in October. Is that an exceptionally rainy time there? Thank you!

    1. Hi Bryan, Arenal actually experiences slightly different weather patterns than the rest of the Pacific slope so October is usually a good time for less rain and to see the volcano.

  76. What a great website!

    Fiance and I are spending 1 week in Costa Rica for our honeymoon the second week in November. I am trying decide between Manuel Antonio area vs Guanacaste area after a visit to Arenal. We love being in the ocean (fiance is a surfer) and definitely don’t mind a little rain…but hoping we will get at least a little sun! From pictures–it appears that MA has more of the tropical rainforest vibe we are looking for. Any advice for first time Costa Rica visitors?

    1. Hi Eliza, The weather in Manuel Antonio and Guanacaste will be similar the second week of November. You should have some days that have good weather. Manuel Antonio does have more of a tropical rainforest feel. Guanacaste will be nice and green that time of year too, though, but it is tropical dry forest so doesn’t feel as lush. Manuel Antonio has some surfing at the northern end of the beach (better for beginners). For bigger waves, you have to go a little south to places here like Matapalo or Dominical. The Tamarindo area has good surfing- lots of choices up and down the coast. Hope that helps you decide!

  77. Hello guys!
    My husband and I are planning to go to Costa rica from July 20th to August 5th. Can you advise us some places where there should not be much rain? Is the Carabeean coast better than the Pacific one? Or the reverse? (In terms of weather)
    Also what’s the weather like during that period? Does it rain all day?
    Sorry for all these questions.
    I ve been looking everywhere to have some answers.
    Nb: great website, thanks!

    1. Hi Del, Northern Guanacaste Province/Northern Pacific Coast is generally the driest during end of July/early August – see our Weather post for detailed information. You can use our Map to find some good options for towns up there. No, it usually does not rain all day. Most days have sun in the morning and then an hour or two of rain in the afternoon or at night. It’s a great time to visit because the rainforest is nice and green and it isn’t too rainy yet (during other times of year, Guanacaste is super dry and brown).

  78. Hi Jenn and Matt, im looking at an adventure week May 4-11 time line give or take a week. we have been looking at a package deal with Adrenaline in Costa Rica with Ziplining, rafting, Hanging Bridges, Arenal NP with some beach time (Jaco) and hot springs/rivers, they have a packed week of activities. First have you heard of them and 2nd would it be best to go in Mid-May or wait till Oct time, as everyone dont want to be in the rain or have to cancel some activities due to weather. thanks in advance for the information for a first timer to the area

    1. Hi Cheryl, We have not heard of Adrenaline in Costa Rica before. For the best time to go, we’d do mid-May as it’s typically less rainy than October. If you are spending a good chunk of time in La Fortuna/Arenal, that region has slightly different weather and October is usually a very good time to see the volcano so that would work in that scenario.

  79. Hi There – thank you so much for this wonderful website. My wife and 2 girls are planning a 1-week trip in late December/early January. We feel like we landed on an itinerary of Tortugero and the south Caribbean, but now I’m realizing that those months are really rainy there. We are planning to be outdoors as much as possible, so I’m wondering if you can shed any light on a typical day weather-wise. If it’s a sunny morning-rainy late afternoon situation that doesn’t seem problematic, but if we could get rain most days every day I might rethink our plans. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Cary, Statistically, Puerto Viejo does receive a lot of rain in late December/early January, but it is still a great time of year to visit. Usually it will rain for an hour or two a day (a heavy rain) and not for the whole day. Temperatures are still nice too; it’s hot. We lived in PV during this same time of year a few years ago and the weather was very nice overall, so if these areas interest you most, we’d stick with this itinerary.

  80. Hi Jenn and Matt! Wonderful blog – this post has been SO helpful!

    My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon in Costa Rica from Sep 24-Oct 8, peak of the rain, I know. We want to start out in Guanacaste to unwind from the wedding at a nicer resort. We’d also like to explore the Arenal region. And your post has convinced us to check out the Caribbean coast for a chance of sunshine!

    Here’s my question… how do you GET to Puerto Viejo from the northwest coast?? Do shuttles run in the low season? Are the roads safe or washed out? What about domestic flights? Would Tortueguero be an easier Caribbean coast destination?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Heather, Yes, the Caribbean coast is a great option for Sept./Oct.! Shuttles do run in the low season. For shared, usually there is a 2 person minimum so you would be fine there. Private is another option, though this would be more expensive. The most economical would probably be to rent a car and drive yourselves since it’s a long distance (see our Rental Car Discount). There may be some slow downs due to construction because of landslides and washouts but it should be okay. Route 32 to the Caribbean coast, in particular, can have problems in the rainy season. You can check for road closures using this link to a government website (click Listado). Tortuguero would have similar issues so go to Puerto Viejo is that appeals to you more. You may want to break up the drive with an overnight on the way, maybe in Atenas/Grecia or San Jose.

  81. Hey! My husband and I are about to head out to Fortuna and Manuel Antonio in a couple of weeks. (May 6th-16th) We are finalizing all our trips for our itinerary, would you recommend waiting till be get down there or go ahead and book them in advance through the travel agency? We are going through Pacific Trade Winds and staying at the Arenal Springs Resort, and then the Shana Hotel. The absolute must is deep sea fishing! Any recommendations would be so helpful. 🙂

    1. Hi Christina, We usually recommend booking at least some of your tours in advance. That way, you’re not having to figure out everything when you get here and can enjoy yourselves. We are a travel agency too and would be happy to give you the inside scoop on the best tour operators. We know the options in La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio well, and actually live not far from Manuel Antonio. We have a contact with one of the most respected captains in Quepos if you still need help with the offshore fishing. Just send us an email at bookings(at)twoweeksincostarica(dot)com if you would like any help. Booking through us costs the same as if you went directly through the tour operators. Hope you and your husband have a great visit!

      1. I am thinking of visiting Costa Rica in June/July of 2019. Is one month better than another? We were thinking of going to Arenal, Cano Negro, and Guanacaste.

        1. Hi Lisa, In early July, the country usually experiences a couple of weeks where the rain tapers so this would be the ideal time, if it is possible. June usually isn’t bad either since it’s still early in the rainy season. You can read our Weather post for more detailed information.

  82. Hi Guys, what a great website you offer a wealth of info for a newbie. I am planning on coming there in June. Do you think I should wait to get a hotel since it’s considered off season? Also, can you tell me the driest area to stay and offer some suggestions?
    Any input is greatly appreciated,
    thank you for your help,

    1. Hi Lisa, You could wait to book a hotel if you want the flexibility but many of the best options will be reserved in advance. If you’re flexible, then it’s fine to wait, though.

      Generally, the driest area of the country is Guanacaste on the Northern Pacific Coast, places like Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Playas del Cocol, and Playa Hermosa. We have destination guides for a couple of those towns so you could follow the links for specific hotel recommendations.

  83. Hi,
    My husband and I booked a trip to Costa Rica from May 23-28th. We were originally planning on spending a few days in Guanacaste and then going to Arenal or Monteverde. However, we are very much considering cancelling our trip all together since we have seen that the forecast for these dates is 95% thunderstorms in the Liberia area. We are very active and the last thing we’d like is to be stuck in a Hotel because of the rain.
    We booked these dates in advance thinking that since it was still the beginning of the rainiy, we would likely get some decent wether. I was wondering what your take on this is. How severly would this forcast affect our plans? Is Monteverde or Arenal even an option with this weather? How safe would it be to drive with this weather?

    1. Hi Sofia, Try not to worry about what the forecast says. It is completely unreliable in Costa Rica- see our Weather post for more details. In late May, typically it rains mostly in the afternoon and evening. Usually there’s still quite a bit of sun. Guanacaste is the driest region so you should be fine there. Arenal has different weather patterns and usually in May has some sun and clear days where you can see the volcano with some rain too but not an overwhelming amount. Monteverde is cooler and rainier year-round but shouldn’t be horrible in late May. So we wouldn’t cancel your trip. Remember too that even if it is rainy, temperatures are still nice and warm. Hope that helps!

  84. Hi, my partner and I have booked a trip to Papagayo Bay for the beginning of July. I am getting a little worried about Zika virus transmission and cases of dengue/the chikungunya virus from mosquitoes! What do you recommend to avoid this? Will it be rainy/stormy/hot during this period of time? Also, I am completely in love with animals, sloths in particular, and was wondering where the best place in this area is to go! Kind regards

    1. Hi Meg, Zika numbers have been low for the last couple of years so try not to worry too much about that. For protection against dengue and chikungunya, we recommend a good repellent and long pants if you’re hiking. You should read our Costa Rica and Mosquitoes post for information on which repellents work best. We also just came out with a post about clothing to protect yourself from mosquitoes so read that as well.

      At the beginning of July, the Pacific coast experiences a “mini summer” where it usually rains less so that is actually a very good time to visit.

      For sloths, they don’t live in the Papagayo region because they like rainforest (Northern Guanacaste has tropical dry forest). The closest area to see them would be Bijagua, which is possible as a day trip (a full day).

  85. Hi there! I have enjoyed reading through your websight and it has offered a lot of help 🙂 though I wish I had come across it sooner… We will be staying at Playa Mato Palo June 30-July 7. We have already booked trips to Arenal and hot springs one day, Monteverde and hanging bridges another day, and Rio Celeste and Tenorio Rain Forest, Finca verde nature preserve and Llanos de Cortés Waterfall a 3rd day. The other days will be spent at the hotel and ocean. Seeing that you suggest waiting to book these type of trips I’m a little nervous now. 2 of them can be rescheduled with no penalty but may be filled up already, the trip to Arenal cannot. Did we make a huge mistake? Thank you so much for your time and help 🙂

    1. Hi Susie, We recommend booking anything you know you want to do in advance so that you can go out with the best tour operator and also because tours are somewhat difficult to organize once you get here (it depends on how helpful your hotel/vacation rental owner is). So it’s good that you have some things planned. In early July, the country usually experiences a “mini summer” where it rains less so hopefully that will happen this year as well.

  86. We arte looking at coming to Costa Rica the end of June and beginning of July but having a difficult time deciding where to go. My wife and daughter like Manuel Antonio for the activities and my son and I like Nosara for surfing. We will be in the country for 8 days and is it worth making the 6 hour drive to spend time in each location.

    1. Hi Robert, You might want to do some research into hotel availability and include that in your decision-making. From helping some itinerary clients recently, Manuel Antonio was really filled up for end of June/beginning of July. Booking.com is a good way to get a sense of how full a destination is. Nosara is more spread out, so you may have better luck there. If you’re able to make it work, doing both destinations in 8 days so that everyone is happy wouldn’t be too bad. You could also look at going to the Dominical area for surfing, and then just doing that and Manuel Antonio (less driving).

  87. Hi there! My husband and I are planning a trip to the Nicoya Peninsula/Samara for the last week in October into the first week in November. I read through all of these q &a. Looks like we should plan for rain, but it doesn’t rain all day, and you say it starts to dry out at that time. Is that what we should expect??

    1. Hi Kristen, Yes, late October/early November is the more intense part of rainy season typically so you should expect some rain. Mornings should be okay most days so plan to get activities in then. You may have some days where there is more consistent rain. It’s hard to say and varies by year and region.

  88. Hi, we are looking at coming the last week of May, I have read so many things about Costa Rica I have no idea where to start, I have two teenagers that I need to entertain while there one who loves to stay active and one who wants to see the wildlife and relax so I don’t know where to stay or what to do!!! We will only be there a week. Any suggestions??

  89. Hi Jenn and Matt!
    My friends and I are meeting in Costa Rica in the end of September/beginning of October (them for 2 weeks, me for 1 week) for vacations. We heard about the rainy season, but we didn’t let that affect us 🙂
    We want to combine amazing beaches, wildlife and culture. What do you guys recommend? More to the Caribbean coast?


  90. Hi! My husband and I are looking to visit the W Hotel on Conchal Beach on August 20th thru August 30th. Should we expect a lot of rain

    1. Hi Tee, It really depends but typically in Guanacaste in late August, it is sunny in the morning with rain in the afternoon or evening. Some days might be grayer with more rain. But you should still have some nice days. Have a great trip!

  91. Hello! We are looking to travel Costa Rica for 1 month from October 20 – November 20. We weren´t aware until late in the game that this is the rainy season, now we are debating changing countries – perhaps Mexico. We don´t mind a few hours of rain per day, but would definitely also like some sunny and warm days. Do you think we have a chance? Since we have a month time, is there a direction to follow, i.e. which area to start in early October and which area to finish in towards end of November? Thanks for the advice!!

    1. Hi Tina, It is peak rainy season which means there’s a good amount of rainfall throughout the country. Most days it’s just some rain in the afternoon or evening but sometimes there is all day rain. The Northern Pacific Coast tends to be the driest and it get wetter as you head down the coast, so the S Pacific receives the most rain. Inland around the mountains tends to be rainier than right at the coast. The Caribbean side is fairly dry in October so it might be good to start the trip there. Hope that helps!

  92. Hello, I will be travelling to Costa Rica next year from end of march – begin june. I will volunteer for a month in a rescue center in Puerto Viejo but was wondering when I should plan this? is it better to volunteer end of march untill end of april and then travel or first travel and volunteer during the month of may? If it is better to start travelling end of march should i start in montezuma and end in puerto jimenez or should i do it the other way around for the best weather? If it is better to travel the month of may I have the same question start montezuma end in PJ or the other way around? My biggest concern with weather are in dos brazos, drake bay, uvita & dominical. Is there much difference in being there end march/begin april or beginning may in terms of rain?

    Thanks in advance!!

    1. Hi Thomas, It would be better to visit the southern Pacific coast (Uvita, Drake Bay, Dos Brazos) end of March/April during dry season since that is a rainy area of the country. Then you can do the volunteering in Puerto Viedo, which has completely different weather patterns, at the end.

  93. Hello:) Really informative and well written post and comments! My friend and I are looking to go to Costa Rica in late August for about 10 days. We are two blokes from Luxembourg and we are wondering which places should be worth a visit, yet we are looking for having a great experience, including some adventure (which it will probably be during the rainy season haha), beach time and rainforest/wildlife. Being in our early 20s, flexible and interested, we were wondering which places/areas would be worth a visit for a first time, or popular routes to take or even some less touristy places all during the rainy season?
    Thank you very much in advance! I hope this isn’t too much to ask:)

  94. Hello, we are thinking of going to CR the week of June 8-12. My daughter is turning 16 and this is what she wants to do. She wants tropical she says so beaches, waterfalls and wildlife is on her list. What area would you recommend? And how do you think the weather would be on that week? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Michelle, June is rainy season but it is early on so usually it is mostly sunny with an hour or two of rain in the afternoon or evening. There are lots of places in Costa Rica for beaches, waterfalls, and wildlife, each with a different feel. We’d recommend taking a look at our Destinations Summary Guide to find a beach town that appeals to you/her. You could start with Uvita/Dominical and Samara.

  95. Hello,

    Thank you so much for your post. Great info!! We are considering traveling to the Manuel Antonio Area, with a vacation rental in Parrita. We are chosing between mid April and early June. I know one is dry season and one is wet, but would June in that area still have enough sunny days. We don’t mind rain and want to experience the lushness of the rainforest, but want to enjoy there beaches too. We appreciate your insight. Thank you, Nancy

    1. Hi Nancy, We’d come in June. That’s early enough in the rainy season that it won’t be too rainy and a lot nicer than in April. April is really hot and dry. You’ll get to experience the lushness of the rainforest in June.

  96. Hi Jack, Costa Rica typically experiences what’s called a mini-summer in early July when the rain lessens. Guanacaste, especially, is more dry in general so should be fine. Definitely not a washout. Arenal has slightly different weather but July is usually decent. Arenal is actually rainier in Dec-March usually, unlike much of the rest of the country. Here’s a link to our post, Costa Rica’s Rainy Season: How Wet Is It?, in case you haven’t seen it. We break it down month by month.

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