Weather in Costa Rica: What You Need to Know

So your favorite weather app is telling you that in Costa Rica, it is pouring buckets and shooting lightning bolts every single day. Of course you’re stressed. You’ve already spent a lot on plane tickets, hotels, and everything else, and you don’t want your trip to be a washout. Before you start canceling plans or stocking up on ponchos, there are a few things you need to know about the weather in Costa Rica. In this post, we’ll take a look at how the weather is predicted, discuss the different seasons, and let you know as best as we can what to expect for your trip.

 

Weather in Costa Rica: What You Need to Know

Is the Forecast Reliable?

The short answer is no. Forecasting the weather in Costa Rica is a complicated job. This tiny country is located very close to the equator, is nestled between two churning oceans, and has several steep mountain ranges down the center. All of these factors make forecasting difficult.

There is also very limited weather infrastructure in Costa Rica. Unlike other countries where radar towers pick up every drop of precipitation, meteorologists here analyze satellite images of cloud cover instead. The problem is that those clouds change quickly, especially over ocean and mountain, so forecasting their direction more than a day in advance is a real challenge. This is one reason why your weather app often gives you an extended forecast that shows a chance of thunderstorms and rain for several days in a row.

Costa Rica’s Seasons

Costa Rica has two seasons: the dry season and the rainy or “green” season. During the months of December to April, the dry season, much of the country experiences little if any rain.

To really get a sense of the seasonality of rainfall, check out this chart we made with data from Costa Rica’s National Meteorological Institute. Each line represents a different area of the country and its corresponding days of rainfall per month.

 

Weather in Costa Rica: What You Need to Know

 

What Does the Chart Mean?

Basically, for about five months of the year, most locations see less than five or so days with rain. That means it is virtually dry in most areas of the country from December to April. One exception is the Caribbean coast (in yellow), which has its own unique weather patterns with more consistent year-round rain.

Location, Location, Location

Another thing the chart shows is that location makes a big difference with rainfall. While it might be raining in one area of Costa Rica, other areas could be bone dry. But this is also true on a much smaller scale. An air current crossing the mountains or a sea breeze might bring rain to one town or neighborhood while another one nearby stays dry. This happens constantly to us. We’ll be getting drenched at home with rain coming over the mountain, while just 20 minutes away, our friends near the beach are enjoying the sunset or vice-versa. If you are used to scattered showers where you live, it’s the same idea.

How Much Rain?

If your visit coincides with the rainier months of May to November, chances are you are going to get a little wet. But how much rain can you expect? We get this question all the time. People know it is going to rain but want to know if their whole day or week will be wasted. The truth is that when it rains in Costa Rica, it can come down very hard but it usually doesn’t last for too long. A typical day in the rainy season starts off beautiful and sunny, with clouds starting to build around mid-day, and then heavy rain or thunderstorms come in the late afternoon or evening. A storm might last only an hour or two, but it could dump a couple of inches in that time. Other times it can be cloudy and trying to rain all day but never really amount to a storm.

Here’s another chart with more detail on what you can expect for rainfall each month.

 

Weather in Costa Rica: What You Need to Know

 

What Does the Chart Mean?

Similar to previous chart, this one shows December to April seeing very little rain. The rain then really picks up in May, drops slightly in July, and then intensifies in September and October. Keep in mind, though, that like we said, rain often comes all at once in a short burst of time. Eight to 10 inches spread out over the course of a month isn’t really that much, especially when you consider that one storm event can drop an inch or two.

Takeaways

We’ve given you a lot of detail about the weather in Costa Rica, but here’s what you really need to know.

  • The weather forecast isn’t that reliable so don’t worry too much about what your weather app says.
  • If you travel during the dry season of December to April, you’ll see little if any rain unless you’re visiting the Caribbean coast where rain is much harder to predict.
  • If you travel during the rainy season of May to November, it’s likely you’ll encounter some rain. But that doesn’t mean it will rain all day every day of your vacation. More likely, you’ll have dry, sunny mornings and rain in the afternoon or evening.
  • The only time of year where you are likely to see more rain than that is September and October. These are the rainiest months on the Pacific Coast and in the mountains so it is best to avoid them if you can. If you have no choice but to take vacation in September and October, the good news is that this is the driest time of year on the Caribbean coast so places like Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and Cahuita are perfect.

Tips for Traveling During the Rainy Season

First off, if you’re traveling during the rainy season, especially the hedge months of May to August, know that in our opinion, this is one of the best times of year to visit. The rainforest is nice and green, there are fewer crowds, and you can get better deals. You can read more of our reasons for why we love the rainy season here.

 

Weather in Costa Rica: What You Need to Know
Waterfall in the mountains near Dominical looking green and gorgeous in the rainy season

 

There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting Costa Rica in the greener months to ensure you have a fantastic trip:

  • Be flexible with your plans. Don’t schedule all your activities in advance if they are weather dependent. That way, if it’s pouring rain, you can swap out a day at the beach for a visit to a waterfall, which is just as nice in the rain.
  • Get in your activities in the morning when it is far less likely to rain.
  • Be prepared for the rain and you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more. There are certain things you’ll want to pack for waterproofing like a raincoat or poncho and dry bags. Be sure to read our packing tips here.

We hope that this post puts your mind at ease with Costa Rica’s seemingly erratic weather. When you see the data, it is easier to see the trends and plan your travel to avoid the rainiest times of year.

Want to learn more to get ready for your trip? Check out these posts:

 

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133 Comments

  1. Hi,
    We’re visiting the Quepos & Manuel Antonio area in Feb. We’re from California and are used to sun, but the UV index in CR is often much much higher (1 in California vs 8-10 in San Jose). Have you found that you burn more quickly there? Will standard sunscreen (SPF 30) be enough or is the 50+ called for?

    1. Hi Karen, The sun is definitely stronger here and you will probably burn more quickly, but we’ve always found that SPF 30 works fine for everyday use. If we know we’re going to be out in it for a long time though, say for a long hike or beach day, then we’ll use something higher. Neutrogena Dry Touch has always worked really well for us- it doesn’t sweat off that easily and feels lightweight.

    2. Hello,
      My husband and I- Both surfers and very adventurous are planning a trip with Miles, in September. Because the price is so low that month! We have a 2 year old, who we will be leaving at home this time for a quick 5 day trip. We are planning on visiting Nosara/Playa Guiones for the entire time and renting a vehicle. In your opinion of this area, Nosara, will there be issues with driving on the roads due the rainy season? We aren’t afraid of a the rain- but don’t want to get stuck anywhere. So I guess my question is about roads in Nosara during September?

      1. Hi Sydney, The roads around Nosara are all dirt and many are low lying near rivers so they do get affected by heavy rains. September is the height of rainy season, and some years, roads have flooded, temporarily cutting off access to certain areas. Places like Ostional to the north are often inaccessible. As long as you stay in the main area of Playa Guiones or Playa Pelada and you have a solid rental car (4×4 SUV), though, you should be fine. Of course, you will have to avoid areas that require river crossings, but most major roads have bridges that you can take instead.

  2. Hi. I’m a 40 year old woman traveling to Costa Rica solo with my 4.5 year old from March 23-30. This trip had been planned with a seasoned Costa Rica traveler who has not pulled out. I am pretty nervous, mostly about Mosquitoes. My son is a magnet for them and with the Dengue and Zika out there, it’s got me a bit freaked out. We are staying in the Arenal at Baldi Hot Springs Resort and the Parador in Manuel Antonio. I have asked and looked up information but can’t find any real information as to how big of a problem these two areas have with Mosquitoes. (it does look like there has been unusual rainfall in Manuel Antonio also). Could you give any guidance? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Teresa, Our apologies for not getting back to you sooner. We have been visiting family in the US for the last few weeks. Hope that you found the information you need for your trip. For everyone else interested in this topic, we have a post dedicated to the issue of mosquitoes in Costa Rica. You can find it here. We don’t cover specific destinations, but do talk about the status of Zika and Dengue in CR in general and provide links where you can get the most up-to-date info. We also give some easy ways to prevent getting bites in the first place.

  3. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    You have a great blog here! Its super useful as I am planning a trip to CR for mid-November. Based on this blog entry I’m totally convinced this is a great time to go. I’m traveling with a group of 4 and we want the whole adventure experience but would still like to squeeze in relaxing beach time. We only have 5-7days. Do you recommend Guanacaste beaches or the Carribean side? We’re also really interested in Monteverde’s cloud forest and the Arenal volcano / La Fortuna.

    1. Hi Liz,
      Mid-November should be great. If you only have 5-7 days we would suggest picking just two destinations. Otherwise you will be spending more time in the car than actually enjoying the places. Monteverde is too much driving for a short trip. Arenal would give you your adventure activities and either a Guanacaste Beach or somewhere on the Central Pacific Coast (Jaco, Manuel Antonio, etc) would be manageable in a week or less. Hope that helps.

  4. Hi,

    My partner and I are going to Guancaste El Jobo in Liberia next sunday 1st may.

    Will it be raining in the day at all? Whats the weather like first two weeks of May?

    Worried its going to be raining all the time.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Katy,
      We are near El Jobo now (end of April) and they are still waiting for the rains to arrive. It has been very dry, without rain for about 4 months so a rainstorm would certainly be welcome to help with the drought. I wouldn’t count on much rain in the beginning of May but you might see a passing shower or storm. A total rain out would be really rare given the patterns lately.

  5. Hi!
    We bought a cabina in Esterillos Oeste and are coming down June 25th thru July 10 to do some landscaping. Is it still fairly dry down there? I’m dreading spending all that money on plane tickets and having day after day of rain. Last year we came in mid July and as I recall it rained pretty constantly. Just wondering what the trend I now. Btw plane fare from NY to San Jose cost us 800 each so I don’t know where the deals are but we couldn’t find them! Maybe if we fly via California ! Lol

    1. Hi Jane, We’re an hour south of Esterillos so it’s usually a little more rainy here but it has been pretty typical rainy season weather or maybe slightly more rainy in terms of quantity. Lots of afternoon downpours lately. Still lots of clear days good for planting though. You should check out Southwest for flights- we find that they usually have the best prices.

  6. Our family of 2 adults and 4 young children ages from 5 to 12 will be in Cost Rica for the last two weeks of August. It’s the low season and rainy season. We will have a mini van rental. What are the cost for a basic government insurance and the full liability insurance? We would like to explore Arenal, Monteverde, Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Jaco and Pennisula de Osa. Would this be possible since we will be driving during rainy season? Should we consider be in Cahuita? Any tips you may have are appreciated. Where is the best place to get an exchange? Thank you, NTP

    1. Hi Nhutrang, The insurance costs vary by car. The best way to figure it out is to go through our rental car discount page and put in your search parameters (they do have vans). Loss Damage Waiver is the government-required basic liability insurance and you can add the Super Protection Plan. Adobe Rent a Car, the company we work with, includes the cost of the basic insurance in their quotes. If you have already booked through a different company, you should contact them to find out the cost.

      Going to all those destinations during rainy season is possible if the van has 4×4. But you should consider cutting out some places of you only have two weeks. Places might seem close on the map, but take a long time to get to (especially in rainy season) due to rough terrain. If you want help figuring out the best route based on what you want to do, we do offer itinerary services. More info here.

      For info on where to exchange money, read our post Money Matters: Currency, Exchanging Money, and Tipping in Costa Rica.

  7. Hi, we’re leaving tomorrow for 2 weeks in August starting in San Jose, and spending a week in Nicoya Peninsula on a turtle project, then a week with booked tours to Arenal, Monteverde and La Fortuna. We are a family of 4 and I’m a bit concerned about weather affecting safety on the beach and travel to and fro (although all our journeys are with a driver). Your blog about forecasts is excellent, but I still wonder about lightning on the beach and heavy rain affecting rural roads. Thank you.

    1. Hi Martin, The rain doesn’t get too intense to the point where you have to worry about safety until later on in the rainy season. Where you are traveling are all well-traveled routes too (with the exception of we’re not sure exactly where you’re going for the turtle project). If a road washes out, crews usually have it back up pretty quickly. Also your driver will know how to handle the roads as he or she will be very experienced with driving in Costa Rica. As for lightning on the beach, this isn’t too common. The best thing to do is go back to your room if you see a storm coming. Try not to worry. You’ll have a great trip!

      1. Thanks a lot for your reply. We’re back in San Jose after a week in San Miguel helping the turtles. The weather has been nothing like the forecast really – some rain, one huge thunderstorm, but generally sunny and hot. Something we weren’t prepared for is the humidity; at times it was stifling. One more question: we now have 9 days left and are visiting Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio National Park (visiting the volcano, rain forest, cloud forest and beach with a boat trip across the lake between Arenal and Monteverde) and I’d like to be as prepared as possible for mosquitoes. We had a few bites this week while at Playa San Miguel and didn’t see many. We are covering exposed skin with 50% deet; what’s the best advice for those areas at this time of year and do you know the actual chances of getting Dengue (or anything else) in 2 weeks? I usually avoid online health advice but any tips very welcome. Thanks again for the great blog.

        1. Hi Martin, Glad you had good weather during your time in San Miguel. And yes, the beach can be very humid. You’ll cool off a bit for the rest of your trip, but Manuel Antonio will be hot and humid at times too.

          Using repellent and covering exposed skin by wearing long pants, etc. is the best way to prevent bites. We have a lot of tips on which repellents to use in our Mosquitoes post, but for your purposes since it will be harder for you to get products at this point, DEET is on the list and should be pretty effective. Make sure to apply it all the time and reapply when doing something outdoors like hiking. Since the mosquitoes that transmit Dengue and Zika are only out in the day time, you can also try to avoid prime biting times like early in the morning and around sunset. Something you can get easily here are mosquito coils to use if you’re sitting outside at your hotel or vacation rental. They’re almost like incense and are supposed to deter mosquitoes. We burn them at home all the time during rainy season. You mentioned not seeing many mosquitoes but getting bites. Costa Rica also has biting insects called no seums that leave a nasty bite but are very small. They have been bad, at least at our house near Dominical, this year. As for odds, of course getting sick could happen but it is unlikely during a short stay, especially if you are taking preventative measures. The government does have bulletins with detailed info on the number of cases in different areas, though, if you’d like to take a look at some data: https://www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/index.php/centro-de-informacion/material-publicado/articulos?id=859.

  8. Hello! This is really helpful information. I am planning on going to costa rica in about a week but I’m a bit hesitant because I’m afraid the rain will ruin the vacation for my family. We are from Oregon so when it rains it basically rains all day and hard. Not sure if Costa rica is a bit different when it rains?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Marisela, The weather is a lot different all around the country so it really depends on where you’re going. Like we said in the post though, it seldom rains all day in any location so it should be a lot better than your weather back home. A lot of mornings and afternoons in August are nice and sunny and then it’ll rain (sometimes hard, sometimes just a little) later in the afternoon or night. Where we live near Dominical, we just had several days with very little rain, mostly at night, and then finally had a good downpour yesterday afternoon. Typically it doesn’t get too intense until Sept/Oct so try not to worry 🙂

  9. Hi Jenn + Matt,
    I hope you can answer my question as well. Like you said, I am getting anxious about the weather in Costa Rica, sped icily San Jose. So far the forecast, phone app and online, is rainy-90% to be exact. This does not tell me however the actual physical weather. Does it really rain the entire day in San Jose? Does the sun show up at all right now or it’s all cloudy? We will be renting a car so we are flexible but San Jose is what we sort of came for; we will b arriving mid September. Your answer will be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Francis, We just got back from two days in San Jose and had pretty good weather. It was bright and sunny in the mornings and then rained early afternoon one day for our walk back from the museums but didn’t rain until nighttime the next day. The forecast was showing near constant rain for us too so try not to worry. It is a mix this time of year but as long as you have a decent chunk of time, you should be able to do everything you want.

  10. Hello Jenn & Matt,

    Thank you for your website, its amazing!!

    My husband and I are flying to CR this Saturday for 2 weeks and will currently be staying 1 night in San Jose then heading to La Fortuna for 3 nights. We are not sure then whether to go to Tamarindo for a couple of days then to Manuel Antonio NP, or go to MAntonio NP straight after La Fortuna!! We would have liked to have gone to Drake Bay but we don’t have a 4×4, just a small hired car, and we think the weather is not suitable for Drake Bay?
    We would like to scuba dive at some point too. Your advice would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

    1. Hi Emma, Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio will have similar weather and you can dive out of both, but MA would be much easier for getting back to San Jose after. MA is only 2.5 hrs away and Tamarindo is several hours. They both have a lot to do, good restaurants, etc. Tamarindo has diving nearby at the Catalina Islands, Bat Islands, etc., and in Manuel Antonio you can dive in the protected marine area of the national park. A little farther south of MA is Cano Island. This is often accessed out of Drake Bay (which, yes, will be fairly rainy this time of year), but tour companies out of Dominical (about 45 min south) do tours too. We don’t dive but have heard that it’s some of the best in Costa Rica so it might be worth it. Hope that helps you decide. Have a great trip!

      1. That’s great info, thank you!
        We are currently enjoying our time in La Fortuna and the weather has been great, just some rain showers in the afternoon but the mornings have been nice and sunny (with clear views of the volcano)!
        We go to Monteverde in the morning for two nights then prob down to MA.
        The mozzies have been good here, only seen one so far and no bites.
        We bought repellant you recommended and so far so good ?
        The evenings have been cool and even during the night has been quite cold which is nice. Prob the temp will change when we get to MA.
        Thanks for the advice again, will keep reading your blogs ?

  11. Hi Jenn & Matt ! I am so glad to have found your website ! I am flying into San Jose this Saturday for a week and plan on visiting La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio . Are there any safari river tours in any of these locations and if so , is it a good idea during rainy season ? I would also like to zip line and was wondering which location would be best . Thank you so much !

    1. Hi Kat, I wish your trip wasn’t coming up so soon and we could help you with the bookings. We’re traveling right now. Anyway, booking shouldn’t be too bad since it’s the low season; you can even wait to do it when you arrive. There are fun safari river tours out of La Fortuna. Take a look at Canoa Aventuras’ website- they have a few good ones to choose from where you’ll get to see a lot of wildlife. This is a tour you wouldn’t want to do in the rain probably, but just work with the tour operator to try and schedule it for when it’s likely to be dry (they will probably say in the morning). The weather around Fortuna is usually pretty good this time of year.

      Zip lining out of either Fortuna or Manuel Antonio is really good. In Fortuna, you’ll have views of the volcano (as long as it’s not hiding behind the clouds), and in MA, most of the companies take you into the mountains in a rainforest setting. Can’t go wrong really so maybe pick based on where you have more time. Have fun!

  12. Hi there, we are headed to Playa Hermosa the week Oct 22 – 29. Your website has really helped calm our fears of torrential rain 24 hours a day. That being said we would appreciate any ideas for rainy day activities, we have a 4×4 and are from Seattle so used to enjoying the outdoors in “Seattle Sunshine”
    Thanks much

    1. Hi Duncan and Marla, Hopefully you will have good weather, but you have the right attitude if not. The good thing is that you can still do a lot of things when it’s raining here as long as it’s not pouring. It’s a warm rain! Some ideas: visiting Llanos de Cortes Waterfall (waterfalls are fun even in the rain); hot springs/mud baths around Rincon de la Vieja; if you’re into history, checking out La Casona/the museum at Santa Rosa National Park; doing a chocolate-making workshop at Beach Chocolate Factory; seeing a movie at the theater in Hermosa. Hope that gives you some ideas! Be sure to check out our recent post on Playa Hermosa if you haven’t already.

  13. I leave for Costa Rica in a few days with my fiance as a graduation present to myself. We are scheduled a visit in La Fortuna and Puerto Viejo. I know the Caribbean side is more likely to have rain all year around so I was prepared for that. But I have seen that it is supposed to rain constantly while we are in La Fortuna. We planned on hiking a lot there will we still be able to do that and do you have suggestions for beating the rain? Also, I would really like to visit Rio Celeste but I know that the water isn’t blue unless the sun is out. Any suggestions for increasing my chances of seeing the turquoise waters?

    1. Hi Sarah Kate, As we said the in the post, the weather forecast is usually wrong in CR so don’t rely on that. In December, though, La Fortuna can be rainy. The weather there isn’t the same as everywhere else on the Pacific slope; it almost has reverse dry and rainy seasons. It shouldn’t rain all the time though and you could have great weather. Your best bet for avoiding the rain is to try to get your activities like hiking in during the morning when rain is less likely. The Rio Celeste has the gorgeous blue hue as long as it hasn’t rained lately…rain interferes with the chemical reaction that causes the blue color. So if it rained a lot the night before, don’t go, but otherwise it should be fine. If you have any flexibility in your plans that is the best way to increase your odds of seeing it. That way if it’s rainy one day, you can just wait and go the next. I know that’s tough since you probably have hotels already arranged. Hope you and your fiancé have great weather, and remember, that area of the country is still beautiful even in the rain!

      1. Hi Jean and Matt,
        I got a really good price going to Costa Rica on Sept 22, heard this is rainym season although our trip comes with tour. Does it really rain a lot or should I just chance it .. Also is it humid during this time?

        1. Hi Annabelle, Yes, as we explain in this post, September is one of the rainiest months of the year everywhere except on the Caribbean coast so that is why prices for tours are lower. It is also quite humid.

  14. We leave for CR in 4 days! We plan to stay in the La Fortuna area for 5 nights and then down to Uvita for 3 nights. I read the post and your response about weather in La Fortuna in December which was helpful. What about Uvita area? The weather.com forecast is exactly as you describe–80% chance of thunderstorms for the next 10-15 days. Should we not be too concerned? Or, is there some sort of weather pattern occurring right now that is causing more rain than usual this time of year? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelly, We live near Dominical about 35 min from Uvita and the weather has been great lately. Early December was still rainy this year but a couple of weeks ago it started raining a lot less. We have had hot and sunny days for about a week with just a little rain, usually at night. So nothing to worry about, dry season is here!

  15. Hi Matt and Jen!

    Are there any beaches in Costa Rica with calm waters, and no rip tides, safest for swimming? I am not a surfer, just like to swim and snorkel. Thanks. Susan

      1. Hi Jenn & Matt! I just booked a last minute trip to Uvita for Sept 7-12. I know I’m hitting it in the middle of rainy season, so I’m curious: Do you think its worth purchasing snorkling gear? I’ve already purchased water-resistant pants, jacket, and hat per your suggestions and will bring an umbrella, headlamp and insect repellent. Thanks for your advice, you’re website has been a HUGE help while I quickly try to plan for my surprise Costa Rican adventure!

  16. I am planning a trip with me and my boyfriend for the first week of July.
    I’ve been to costa rica once before and fell in love with the Caribbean side. We are looking for some sites that are not overly touristy (although communities with ex pats are not out of the question, since we are also considering Costa Rica as a future homestead). Long story short, my boyfriend has never been to Costa Rica before. Will the Caribbean side be overly rainy during July? If so, any other recommendations?
    P.S. Ordered the book. Can’t wait to read.

    1. Hi Christina, July is usually fairly rainy on the Caribbean side. Thanks for getting our book! If you got the Itineraries one, that should give you some ideas for where to go on the Pacific Coast. If you like the Caribbean, you might like the vibe in Montezuma or Dominical. It will be rainy season then but the weather should still be pretty nice in both of those places that early on. Good luck with the planning!

  17. Hi Jenn and Matt,

    I just found your site. It is great that you moved to Costa Rica from the states. We have never visited but I became intrigued when I noticed how many Americans move to Costa Rica. We will be staying at the Riu in the Guanacaste are February 18th through the 25th. My daughter has her heart set on seeing an Ocelot but I imagine that might be difficult. Any chance you can recommend some fun family type excursions not too far away? Would love to go to Arenal but sounds like that is an all day trip. Someone mentioned Rincon De le Vieja but that sounds like an awful lot of hiking. My daughters are 11 and 14. It would be cooler by Rincon than in Guanacaste, right? We are from Minnesota. I see it is in the 90’s in Guanacaste. Is that beach safe for kids? Thanks for any information you can provide. I am going to look for your book!

    1. Hi Robyn, You won’t be able to see an ocelot in the wild, but you could go to Las Pumas Rescue Center to see one (I think they have a resident one but double check if this is your whole reason for going). Las Pumas can be paired with a beautiful waterfall nearby called Llanos de Cortes. You might like Las Hornillas near Miravalles Volcano too. It’s similar to Rincon with the steam vents, mud pots, hot springs, etc. but you don’t have to hike to enjoy the attractions. All of Guanacaste is warm during the day so you won’t get much relief from the heat. We have never been to the beach at the Riu but most of the surrounding beaches are decent for swimming so it likely is too. Hope you and your daughters have a great visit!

  18. We are so excited about our upcoming trip to Quepos on Sunday! The weather sites seem to be predicting A LOT of rain/storms (more than I’m guessing you’re discussing above) Will this be a total bust? What can we do if it’s actually storming? Thanks!

    1. Hi Hillary, Like we say in this post, you can’t rely on the forecast in Costa Rica. It is almost always wrong. Hope you are finding that the weather is good now that you’re here. It’s dry season right now, when the Quepos area sees little, if any, rain. There might be a random downpour here and there because it’s the rainforest, but overall it’s usually very very dry. Hope you have a great trip!

  19. Hi! I am open to when I can go to Costa Rica. Was thinking either May or end of November. I am going with a tour and we will be visiting Sarapiqui, the Poas volcano, La Fortuna, Guanacaste and the Pacific Coast. Which time of year do you think would be better. I definitely want it to be green, but don’t want to be rained out every day.

    1. Hi Dawn, Either May or end of November are usually fine, though last year parts of the Pacific coast had an unusually wet November, but I think that was an anomaly. Guanacaste will probably still be really dry and not as green in May, since they are the last to start receiving their first rains. Parts of the Pacific coast can be similarly dry in May depending on which specific area you will be visiting. In November the whole country will be lush and green so personally I would go with that. Either would be fine, though, if May works better with your schedule.

  20. Hi Jenn & Matt! Love your blog – it’s been very useful in planning our trip. I’m happy I stumbled upon this article because we booked a trip from April 25-May 2 and every day is saying thunderstorms. It sounds like we’ll be okay? Thanks!

  21. Hi Jenn & Matt, Your website has offered great insight to many of my CR questions. Recently a travel agent suggested that rain is not a big issue if we visited La Fortuna/Arenal in early October, saying that Arenal follows the weather pattern of the Caribbean. Any thoughts on this region during the first weeks of October?

    1. Hi Nick, We have never personally visited the La Fortuna area in October but have heard from people who live there that, yes, that is a good time to travel there. The area experiences quite a bit of rain year-round, but September and October are supposed to be the best times to see the volcano, which surprises a lot of people.

  22. Hi Jenn and Matt, thank you very much for this blog – I think it is extremely helpful. I just booked a trip to CR from 2-21. of November. We are a family travelling with a five year-old girl. Which area/destinations would you recommend? Would you recommend to book in advance or rather be flexible because of the unpredictable weather? I was thinking about the southern carribean part first, but we would also be interested in exploring other parts of the country. We would go for a 4×4 anyway.. Thank you very much for your help! Sonja

    1. Hi Sonja, The S. Caribbean is a great spot for young families. Puerto Viejo and Cahuita are both really nice. Puerto Viejo has a little bit better options for calm water for swimming so we would probably say to go with that. There are some awesome shallow tidepool-type areas there (near Playa Chiquita) that our 1.5 yr old loved on our visit to PV a couple of months ago.

      You could use the Family chapter of our Top 10 Costa Rica Itineraries book for ideas for where to go after. You will probably want to check out a beach town on the Pacific coast and then somewhere inland like Monteverde or the Arenal Volcano area. Lots of good choices. Costa Rica is great for traveling with kids.

      We would recommend booking hotels in advance so that you have the best choices.

  23. Hey guys, great blog! Thinking about traveling to MA at the end of August. Do you think I should be expecting much rain that time of year? If so, could you suggest a drier region during that time?

    1. Hi Matt, You would probably see a decent amount of rain in late August, but most of the time, it happens later in the afternoon or at night so doesn’t interfere with things too much. It’s still a really nice time to travel to MA because it isn’t crowded like it is during other times of year and temps are still really warm.

  24. Jenn and Matt – Greetings,

    Thanks for the blog. A group of 7 is headed to Dominical Nov 4-11 this year. We came down 2 years ago and fell in love with the area (Dominical/Uvita). Last time we did the ziplining in Hacienda Baru, hung out at the Whales Tail and did an afternoon at the waterfall in Uvita…in your opinion what are some other can’t misses for us to hit up this time (seems like we spent half our time driving around trying to find places last time so we decided to come back here with a new group of friends since we somewhat have a lay of the land now).

    Also I realize November is the end of the rainy season though based off your post with the various charts it seems like the amount of rain in November significantly tapers off. Also looks like the weather folks are predicting El Nino to roll in starting this summer which supposedly calls for a drier season. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Frank, We have two posts with some ideas: 7 Things to Do Near Dominical (lots of good stuff in the comments too) and the activities section of our Costa Ballena post. You should definitely do the Nauyaca Waterfalls!

      We have lived in this area for a few Novembers now and usually they aren’t bad, but you never know. Last year we had a fluke front come through and it rained for almost two weeks straight end of November into December. I think that was an anomaly, though, and El Niño may help.

  25. Hi guys,

    So I am flying into Liberia June 10th-18th, and we were planning on travelling the pacific coast(playa coco are) for the week. I am just wondering if it is going to be raining the whole time I am down there. I am honestly debating cancelling my trip, cause it I’ve been reading, and getting completely stressed from the forecast. How is the weather in mid June usually? Helllp!!!

    Thanks for your time!!

    1. Hi Melissa, You shouldn’t have rain all the time in Playas del Coco so don’t worry. June is still early in the rainy season. Typically it will be dry in the morning with showers in the afternoon or at night. June is a great time to visit Guanacaste because everything is nice and green (other times of year it is desert-like) and the rains usually aren’t too intense.

  26. Hi guys, fantastic blog. This is really a special find. Was wondering if you could help me witht following: I have flight tix to CR for my wife and I for July 3-10. I plan to do Arenal and my wife will require some beach time, ideally with little rain. I’m really hoping there’s a way to do the cloud forest as well. We’ll be arriving in CR at 4pm on the 3rd, so I plan to stay in the San Jose region that night, which leaves 6 more nights to divvy up before driving back to SJ the morning of July 10 for a 2pm flight. So my general question is: is there an efficient way to fit excellent beaches, cloud forest and arenal and reduce likelihood of rain? My tentative schedule would be 3 nights between arenal (2nights?) and monteverde (1night?) and then 3 nights at a dry-ish Pacific beach with nearby activities, including jungle hikes. I’m inclined to go to MA, but would you recommend Tamarindo and nearby beaches? Which will be busier in the first weeks of July? Thanks for any suggestions you can provide. Oh, and I would plan to rent a car while there – advisable?

    1. Hi Marcos, With 6 nights, we recommend a maximum of two destinations so skipping the overnight in the cloud forest would make the most sense. If you really want to include it, it is possible; just know that you will be driving a lot since the roads between La Fortuna and Monteverde are slow (read our Driving to Monteverde post here).

      You are in luck in terms of weather. This can’t be guaranteed of course because it’s the weather, but normally Costa Rica experiences a “mini summer” at the beginning of July when it rain less everywhere except the Caribbean coast. This does coincide with summer break for the locals but it will still be low season. So Manuel Antonio or Tamarindo should be fine for beach time. Manuel Antonio might have more of the feel you’re looking for if you want jungle, as Tamarindo is tropical dry forest.

      Renting a car is what we recommend if you’re confortable driving because it gives you the most flexibility. You can read our Driving post for more on that. And be sure to check out our rental car discount.

  27. Thank you so very much for all of your great information and packing tips! This has also helped immensely in setting my mind at ease with regard to weather. My husband and two daughters and I will be travelling to Playa Hermosa in the Guanacaste region next week and I have been fearful that we won’t be able to enjoy the outdoor activities we’d like due to the rain. The little lightning bolts you mentioned are truly scary when you’ve been planning a trip for quite some time!

    With that being said, do you have any recommendations on ‘don’t miss’ activities in the region that would be enjoyable for a family of four? We’re planning on zip lining, touring the local towns and spending as much time on the beach as possible – we’re not renting a car so we will likely take day trips using a guide.

    Thank you again!

    1. Hi Kristin, Glad our weather information made you feel better!

      For activities, you should read our Playa Hermosa post if you haven’t already. It has a lot of ideas, including area beaches to explore, tours, and day trips to national parks and other attractions. One awesome beach in the area that you won’t want to miss is Playa Conchal– it has sand made of tiny crushed shells and is gorgeous! Hope your family has a great trip.

  28. Hello,
    I’m loving your site here and all of the info. I’ve made a packing list with your advice for the rainy season. This is our first trip to CR. To make it easy we’re doing all-inclusive. I’m planning to just get info from the hotel for off-site activities, excursions, etc. nearby. Not planning ahead because of the weather. Is there anything specific near where we’ll be that you recommend? We’ll be in Guanacaste from June 26 to July 3. We don’t have transportation set up from airport to hotel (Riu Guanacaste). Should I set that up ahead of time? If so, suggestions? Your information here is fantastic. Thank you so much!

    Gina

    1. Hi Gina, Glad our site has been helpful! Yes, you should definitely set up transportation from the airport in advance so that someone is waiting for you. It would be much more expensive to wait and take a taxi. We work with a very reliable company that makes the trip from LIR to the Riu for $75 each way for up to 5 people. It would be private shuttle service directly to the resort. If you’re interested, just respond to this and we can help you with the booking for no extra charge.

  29. Hi,
    my husband and I will be staying at Dreams in El Jobo. We’re worried about the weather. We are coming Friday, June 23-Tuesday, June 27th. Please help ease our minds and that it won’t be raining nonstop. We would like to get some sun and possibly do an excursion. Thanks.

    1. Hi April, It shouldn’t be raining non-stop so don’t worry. In June, it typically rains some in the afternoon or evening, not all the time. Try to get in your sun and activities in the morning when rain is less likely. Guanacaste will also be really lush and green- it’s a beautiful time of year!

  30. My husband and I spent May 20-28 in Costa Rica and loved it. We drove from San Jose to Lake Arenal and stayed at Villa Decary, a wonderful bed and breakfast, for 3 days and then on to Manuel Antonio staying at Falls Resort outside Quepos. We had a wonderful time but managed to take a hike or two. It rained but always at and not every night. We plan to visit again and are hoping to retire there at least part of the year.

  31. Hi there! I’ve been scouring your blog looking for answers to this but not too many people seem to be planning October trips. My friend and I are planning on going Oct 2-17 for the first time and have a couple days in San Jose to start, Uvita planned for the next 5 days, then La Fortuna for the remaining bit. We’re more than fine with a bit of rain, but are the roads unreliable enough during this time that it warrants a shuttle instead of the public bus to get from San Jose to Uvita/up to La Fortuna? I’m just concerned about how quickly a 6 hour bus trip can turn into a 12 hour one.
    Would you recommend a change in itinerary or is this worth the risk?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. The buses run year-round because the locals rely on them so you shouldn’t have a problem. If there is heavy rain or washouts, that could slow you down some, but the roads to those particular destinations are all in good condition/paved. There is a direct bus from San Jose to Uvita, which is great. The trip to La Fortuna will be long from Uvita so one piece of advice would be to consider stopping over for a night somewhere on the way to break up the trip. Traveling in October will be an adventure but it sounds like you have the right attitude. Have fun!

  32. Hi thank you so much for your site it has lots of great info! We are considering a trip to Costa Rica from 28th October – 11th November and have no set ideas on where to visit. Where do you think would be good to visit at this time of year considering the weather? We don’t mind a little rain but would like to avoid somewhere where there is a higher chance of it raining all day.
    We’d be interested in a some beach time and some exploring!
    Karen

    1. Hi Jenn and Matt, Looking to visit San Buenas in late October. Would appreciate ur comments on area and weather at that time. Thanks. Jeff and Brenda

      1. Hi Brenda, If you’re talking about the San Buenas golf course south of Uvita, this is one of the rainier areas of the country as it’s part of the South Pacific Coast. September and October are typically the rainiest months. But a lot of times, most of the rain is in the afternoon or at night. You should still expect a decent amount of rain, though.

  33. Hello,

    I just found your site and glad that I did. Wish I had discovered it sooner! My buddy and I have planned a fishing trip to Crocodile Bay on the Osa Peninsula from 9/6-9/10. After reading through your site I’m now very worried about the rain. Should we expect a wash-out? Any and all recommendations are welcomed. Thanks!

    1. Hi Marc, The Osa is one of the rainiest areas of the country so there will be some rain. It shouldn’t be a total washout, though, hopefully. Usually it rains in the afternoon and at night so get your fishing in during the morning and you should have some good days.

  34. Hello,

    I am starting to plan our wedding and my fiance and I both agreed Costa Rica is the spot. We are working with a travel agent and we have picked the all inclusive Dreams Las Mareas resort in Guanacaste. Now we are stuck trying to pick the best time of year to go. We both want greeny beachy pictures and we want the surrounding area around the resort to be full and green. So we are thinking maybe the end of rainy season, hoping that our beach wedding won’t get rained out. What do you recommend? We were maybe thinking November before thanksgiving? Any suggestions would help!!

    1. Hi Leti, The end of November would be a good time. That or the beginning of rainy season, like in mid-June, so that Guanacaste has received some rain and has started to become lush again (it usually receives its first rains last). The first two weeks of July are usually a good bet too because of “veranito,” a weather phenomenon that usually happens in July and makes the weather more summer-like. If you haven’t seen our Best Time to Visit Costa Rica post, that might help too.

  35. Thank you very much for your response. I feel a lot better about the trip now.

    You’ve built an extraordinary website. So informative and helpful. Congrats on your success!

  36. Hi Jenn, I’m leaving to Puntarenas Costa Rica on September 22 im supper nervous it will be raining all day anything you can tell me about the weather. I looked the weather on line and it looks like its storming all last week of September.

    1. Hi Cynthia, Don’t worry about what the forecast says for that far out. It is not accurate and does not take into account that the rain here is not a constant thing, but usually happens in short bursts. We live in Puntarenas Province and have been having fairly good weather for the past few weeks. Typically, we get downpours in the afternoon or at night for an hour or two. It all depends, of course, and some days it rains at a different time of day or for a longer time, but typically, it doesn’t rain all the time in September.

    1. Hi Mike, Yes, definitely pack for rain if you’re visiting the Pacific slope (Caribbean slope is drier right now). Temperatures are still warm throughout the country but it does get a little cooler at night so some lightweight pants would be good too. If you’re going to higher elevations like the cloud forest, always bring a few clothes for layering.

  37. Thank you for all your information, what are your thoughts on visiting the Sloth Sanctuary mid-November. Will be on a cruise, so have limited time, the excursion is supposed to go there and then a ride down the river. Recommend DEET and raincoat and sunglasses?

    1. Hi Marian, November can be rainy on the Caribbean coast but there should be plenty of sun too. Wear lightweight clothes and bring a light rain jacket or poncho, sunglasses or a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Deet is effective or take a look at some of the other options we like in our Mosquitoes post. You might also find our Packing post helpful.

  38. Hi guys
    We are heading down to dominical next Friday until New Years. How’s the weather been? What about the mosquitos? We were there a couple of years ago in March and experienced only sun and no mosquitos. Also how’s the driving up to escalaras? Any other tips you can suggest?

    1. Hi Dawn, About a week ago, it was like a switch turned and the rain stopped and it got very sunny, hot, and dry. Summer is definitely here. We still have some mosquitoes up at our house but a lot less than a few weeks ago. The roads up to Escalaras are steep and rough dirt so make sure you have a good 4×4.

  39. Hi Jenn! We were planning to visit Manuel Antonio the last week of May 2018 but just found out that we are pregnant. Out of an abundance of caution (zika), we are seeking to reschedule our trip to 2019, though the hotel operator is only offering September’19 as a replacement. We have visited in November before and don’t mind the rainy season. I’ve read your article and know Sept/Oct are the rainiest months in this part of the country, though. Can you generalize and let me know just how much worse early September might be than late May, in terms of the amount/duration of rain? I would hate to lose the $ we paid in full, but don’t necessarily want to visit during a time that it might rain all day long either. Thank you so so much!

    1. Hi Mandy, It varies from year to year, but in general, September is a lot rainier than May. You would probably have days where it would rain heavily for several hours and not see much sun. In May, the rain is typically in the afternoon or at night for a lot less time. If you look at the charts above (Manuel Antonio is in Puntarenas Province), you can see the difference in the amount of rainfall.

  40. Traveling to Costa Rica in March, for the first time with our four kids (ages 14-19), staying in south Guanacaste. The hotel has several in house activities, hikes, zip-line, cooking classes, etc… I’m worried that because it’s local and all included, it may not be as “adventurous” as we hope. Any suggestions in that area? All of my research is pointing north, which is about 2-4 drive.

    1. Hi Julee, Are you staying at Hotel Punta Islita? If so, that is a great spot! It’s located in a more rural area of the country so you can still do some really authentic, adventurous things. Be sure to check out the Ara Project, a Scarlet Macaw Parrot breeding and release center in the same town. Turtle watching is really popular down in that area. March doesn’t usually have much happening for turtles but it would be worth asking the hotel if they have heard about anything. There are some turtle volunteer projects in that area. Another day trip could be the Diria Coffee tour near Hojancha. And we would definitely drive up the coast and check out Samara. Samara is a small beach town. It’s a nice spot to just go and have lunch, as it has many restaurants on the sand and a fun vibe. There’s a cool waterfall near there that would be fun with kids your age. I hope that we have guessed your hotel right, but let me know if that is not the case!

  41. Hello,

    We are planning to visit El Jobo (Guanacaste) Nov 29 – Dec 4. From reading your site (which is awesome by the way), it appears that this should be a fine time to travel with not much anticipated rain, correct? How was last late November – early December (2017)? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Devonya, Normally late November/early December is drying up with little rain. But for the past couple of years, it has been quite wet. In 2017, we had a hurricane come through in October and still a lot of rain until about December 10th or so. The year before, a large cold front came through and it was rainy the last week of November into early December as well. Normally this is not the case, though, so who knows what will happen this year.

  42. Jenn and Matt,
    I need some pre-vacation reassurance! My husband and I will be spending our honeymoon in Drake Bay next week (April 29-May 7). The forecast says cloudy and thunderstorms every day. I don’t necessarily mind periods of rain, but how reliable is the cloudy part? I’d like some beautiful Costa Rica sun while we are there!

    Trying hard to be Pura Vida about all this 😉

    Allison

    1. Hi Allison, We just got back from spending a few days in Drake Bay and the weather was very nice. It only rained once during the day, for an hour or so, and we had another day with some clouds, but also had a lot of sun and heat. So don’t worry. You really can’t rely on the forecast here. You should still be prepared for rain just in case (see the rainy season section of our Packing post). Hope you have an amazing honeymoon! Drake Bay is an awesome place to spend it.

  43. Thank you so much for this information! I am having a group of family head to Manuel Antonio Dec 8-15th 2018 for my destination wedding. Hoping for good weather? Should I recommend people pack layers, definitely a rain jacket but long sleeves at night or is that overkill? What would you recommend for clothing options to be prepared for weather in early to mid-Dec in Manuel Antonio?
    Thanks!!

    1. Hi Lauren, Early December is a transition time from rainy to dry season. Usually it is nice by December 8th, but in the last 2 years, we’ve still been getting some rain in the Manuel Antonio area. So, yes, definitely a rain jacket and umbrella. You shouldn’t need long sleeves at night, though. Tee shirts and shorts should be fine most of the time. For activities, clothing that dries quickly is best. See our Packing post for more information.

  44. Hi!

    My wife and I are looking to plan a trip during the first two weeks of August. We are looking to stay at the Finca Bellavista ( a tree house community in the rainforest). Considering it is on the south pacific side of the country (read they experience high amounts of rainfall) would you have any worries about staying here during August? I read your post about the weather but I still have minor concerns about the rain washing out our trip or making the trip limited by rainfall.

    Also, is there anything we should consider when traveling to this part of the country?

    P.S Your site was very informative and one of the best sites I have visited!

    1. Hi Sean, We’ve been to Finca Bellavista in the rainy season. It is very far south and will likely be quite rainy in August so you may want to reconsider. I wouldn’t worry about washouts, just the amount of rain that is likely…when it rains there, everything feels really wet because they are treehouses and you’re set deep in the jungle. Even coming up a little farther north to the Costa Ballena (Uvita/Dominical) area would be better.

  45. Dear Jenn and Matt,

    Thank you for this great blog. My boyfriend and I are going to CR from 20 Aug to 10 Sep. We will mainly visit the East coast, but are still hesitating whether we should visit Montezuma or Manual Antonio at the end of August. We did not buy flight tickets yet, so we can still fly to either Liberia or San Jose. Which place will most likely have the best weather at the end of August and which place do you personally like the best?

    Thanks in advance!

    Esther

    1. Hi Esther, The weather in those two towns will be fairly similar in late August. Montezuma is really small and probably won’t have much going on that time of year so we would go for Manuel Antonio. Some businesses even close up in September. Manuel Antonio will have a little more of a vibe, but there still won’t be many people so you’ll have lots of places almost all to yourself that are normally very busy at other times of year (e.g. the national park, beach).

  46. Hi…. I just came upon this blog and am hoping you can give me some advice.
    I would like to come to CR for some dental work….bone graft, implants, etc.
    I am from Alberta, Canada and the costs in Canada and the United States for this is just way too much.
    Any suggestions on a real good place to get this done. I am wanting to come as soon as possible.
    Thank you,
    Denise

    1. Hi Denise, We just got a recommendation from a reader for a Dr. Marco Munoz Cavallini in San Jose. We don’t personally know anything about him but the reader said he has gone to him several times. We go to a dentist closer to home in San Isidro de El General. She’s fantastic and bilingual. Here’s a link to her website.

  47. Dear Jenn and Matt, my family and I are visiting Dominical/Uvita area from July 1st- July 8th. I’ve read that July is rainy season, so I’m just wondering if that week will have a lot of rainfall? We want to able to explore and have fun during our trip- as this is our very first time in Costa Rica. We will also be in San Jose from June 27th- July 1st. Could you maybe tell me more about the weather in both cities and maybe things to do in both as well? Thanks,
    Emily

    1. Hi Emily, In early July, Costa Rica typically experiences a “mini summer” when the rains lessen so that will be good for you. San Jose receives more rain than Dominical/Uvita so be sure to have a good umbrella and some shoes that can get wet for walking around the downtown. Our post How to Spend 1 or 2 Days in San Jose will give you some ideas for what to do. For things to do in Dominical/Uvita, check our destination guide to the Costa Ballena. We also have a guide on activities near Dominical. If you need any help booking activities, we’d be happy to help choose tour operators and make the arrangements. Check out our Tour Booking Service page for more information.

      1. Thanks so much for replying! Do you have any advice about exchanging US dollars? Where to do it and such. Thanks

  48. Hi! Thank you for the amazing tips! I rented a car through your link and the person I spoke to finalize the reservation was just lovely.
    My question is- my family of four leaves for Costa Rica on June 18th, next Monday. We’ll be visiting Arenal, Rincon dela Vieja and ending with 4 nights at the Hyatt Papagayo. However I have a friend who just got back from El Salvador and she said there were thunderstorms day and night. As I look at the weather map- I see thunderstorms forecast for just about everyday. You say not to trust the weather forecast but I obviously don’t want to head out to pure thunderstorms. Can you give me a better idea of the upcoming weather from a local’s point of view? The entire trip is still cancelable.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Erica, Sorry we are just getting to your comment. I hope you did not cancel your trip! Usually it rains in the afternoon or at night, and this time of year, for only a couple of hours or so. Some days, it will rain more, but most of the time, the weather is pretty nice. You’ll be going to Rincon and the Papagayo too, which are generally drier. Not sure why there would be a difference between here and El Salvador but late June in Costa Rica is usually nice. Hope that helps. Thanks for renting a car through our site!

  49. I am going to Rancho Pacifico in June and I am terrified it will rain the whole time!?!? Please advise! Thank you guys, love the blog.

    1. Hi Jordan, We live near Uvita and the weather has been good for the last two weeks or so with little rain except at night. We have had some big storms but they have been mostly in the late afternoon or evening. We’re approaching “mini-summer,” which usually starts in July so hopefully it stays nice.

  50. Dear Jenn and Matt,

    My family of four are going to Costa Rica for one week in end of September to early October. I am so torn between going to Tortuguero or Samara Beach/Ostional Beach. We would like to see turtle nesting/hatching. I know I want to go to Arenal. Not sure if it is better to go to the more rustic, hot and farther Tortuguero, or the cooler, closer, and lower cost Samara. I am concerned about the weather in Samara. If it rains usually in the evening, it would be harder to see the turtles at night. As for the rainforest for wildlife viewing, is it better to go to Cana Negro or Tortuguero around that time? What is your advice? Thanks ahead of time!

    1. Hi Karen, We would recommend Tortuguero over Playa Ostional. It can be hard to time your visit so that you catch an arribada at Ostional, since they usually only happen once per month. It’s a little easier to see nesting green sea turtles in Tortuguero. Also, Samara isn’t all that close to Ostional, so it would be tough getting there at night (rough dirt roads). Ostional is a bit of north of Nosara. If you did Tortuguero, you’d get the wildlife in too and could skip Cano Negro. Cano Negro is good for birding and the best time to go is in the dry season because all the birds are there for the water. Hope that helps!

  51. Hello
    Love the blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences and wisdom. Our family of 5 (dad, mom, three 20ish sons) have rented a home November 23 for 1 week on the beach near Parrita. I appreciate any advice regarding daily activities. We are all always “up for the next adventure”. We usually let each family member schedule a day so if possible we’d love your suggestions. Weather information too please!
    Thanks much Lori

    1. Hi Lori, Parrita isn’t too far from Manuel Antonio so you’ll be able to go there for a lot of activities. Maybe Jaco too. Some ideas are zip lining, an adventure park with canyoning/waterfall rappelling, whitewater rafting, a spice farm tour, a boat or kayak tour at Isla Damas to see monkeys and other wildlife, and a catamaran cruise. We’d be happy to help guide you more on the best things to do. Check out our Tour Booking Service for more information.

      For weather, usually it is starting to dry up in late November on the Central Pacific Coast. You never know, of course, but you should have some decent beach weather.

  52. Hello,
    We will be traveling to Costa Rica October 15-22. We are bringing a larger extended family of 12 people. We know this is the rainy season but want to make it a good vacation. We are flying in to San Jose. We are trying to decide if staying closer near Jaco/Manuel Antonio will be better or if we should make the drive to Tamarindo in hopes for less rain. Also ideas of good activities this time of year? We are happy at the beach but love ATV’s, zip-lines, and other outdoor activities. Thank You!

    1. Hi Shelly, There won’t be significantly less rain in Guanacaste so it’s probably not worth driving all that way. Jaco or Manuel Antonio will have some rain but you should have some decent weather too. Aim to get your activities in during the morning hours when it’s usually not raining. Lots of tours can be fun in the rain anyway- whitewater rafting, canyoning/waterfall rappelling, and even zip lining. Let us know if you need any help booking some tours.

  53. My husband and I are traveling to Puerto Viejo the first of November go 8 days. I am concerned that it will be a wash out but your article helps ease my mind. Do you have any must see places in the area? Are there waterfalls? We are not renting a car so relying on bikes and general transportation. We would like beach time, snorkeling, etc so I hope the weather is great. We are also looking for property so if you have any suggestions concerning this area, we would love to hear. Thanks

    1. Hi Twyla, The Caribbean coast has different weather than the rest of the country so try not to worry. The driest time of year in Puerto Viejo is actually September and October so hopefully some of that arid air will still be around. For a detailed article about the town, including our picks for what to do, read our Puerto Viejo destination guide.

  54. Hey,, i really like the blog its very informative. Me an dmy fiancé are getting married in June and planning to go on our honeymoon begining of July. We were thinking of the pacific coast but dont know where would be better to experience less rain? Should we go south or north? Would we be able to take like a boat tour, fishing trips or so in the weather? And how hot does it get there?

    Thank you very much 🙂

    1. Hi Seif, Early July typically experiences a “mini summer” when the rains lessen so that will be great for you. In terms of regions with less rainfall, statistically, the Northern Pacific Coast (Guanacaste) receives less in July but the Central Pacific Coast is usually fine too. You should aim to do activities in the morning when rain is less likely. Temperatures stay consistently in the 80s year-round. Hope you have a great honeymoon!

  55. Thanks for keeping this Blog! We are in the early stages of planning a trip to Tamarindo. The second week of July is as early as we can get down there this summer. Is it a little drier in this area than others? We want to do some surfing, rafting, diving and maybe a zipline. We will be there for 7 nights. Any advice is appreciated!

    1. Hi Matt, Early July does typically experience a “mini summer” where the rains lessen so you may be in luck! If this year follows typical patterns, most of the country, including Tamarindo, will receive less rain during that time. Hope you have a great trip!

  56. What a fabulously informative blog! I’m travelling to Guanacaste in August. We’re staying at the Dreams Las Mareas Costa. It’ll be our first time in Costa Rica and are very excited. Would you be able to answer a few questions for me please? 1) We’re travelling last two weeks of August – should we be concerned about the weather? 2) Is there any must-do activities close to where we’re staying? 3) Half of our party is keen to do a zip wire canopy tour – do you have any experience of whether the other half of our party to go on the tour but travel on foot – they have a fear of heights. 4) If there were 3 things to do whilst there what would you recommend? thanks in advance! Jason

    1. Hi Jason, The weather can be a bit unpredictable in late August. We have seen a lot of rain and not much rain, it varies by year. Aim to get your activities in during the morning hours when rain is less likely. We know it has been some time since you commented so let us know if you’d still like some suggestions for tours and we can send ideas over via email. Thanks!

  57. Good afternoon from London!

    Interesting post and a lot more clearer than some of the material out their.

    You are probably tired of repeating yourself, though i am pretty sure you can help us.

    I have done extensive research regarding the “typical” weather patterns/seasons across the island. However like the weather, the more research i do, the more i change my mind & i am on the verge of rescheduling the trip or even cancelling it.

    I am well travelled, though i have never experienced south or north america. I am well aware that we have planned to travel during “Rainy/Green season” in the middle of September and is guaranteed to rain throughout most parts of the island. However what is unclear/inconsistent and something that almost never gets answered confidently is “how bad generally is the weather in September” and is it case of “depends where you are”. Because some sites suggest that September is great for the East side of the island (Caribbean). Yet some sources will suggest that the weather on the east side can be just as bad as everywhere else. So is it a case of sites putting extra emphasis on the fact that Sept is brilliant for the Caribbean side to make sure people still travel to the country?

    We have made the booking on the basis that we could relax for a period of time on the east coast towards Panama then head north east (to witness the turtle phenomenon), gradually making our way more central to explore forests. I understand that there are loads to do whilst it is wet (its a rain-forest at the end of the day). But is it actually worth travelling middle of Sept if the odds/likelihood of the island soaking/miserably wet with the odds high that the east coast can still be rainy too? Or would you suggests to actually re schedule to go during the dry season to actually enjoy the full experience.

    Thank you, would really appreciate any comments

    1. Hi Jack, The Caribbean coast is a great place to visit in September. It has completely different weather patterns from the Pacific slope and receives the least amount of rain all year in September and October. So the sites that say that visiting during these months are not a scam to get visitors here 🙂 Visiting other regions outside the Caribbean slope will be much rainier. In general, the farther south you go on the Pacific coast, the more rain you will see. Inland locations in the mountains tend to be quite rainy too that time of year. Also keep in mind that CR is not an island (this is probably the most common misconception about Costa Rica).

  58. Hi there, this is a great site with lots of tips. We have scheduled trip from Oct 27 th to Nov 2 nd. We are thinking about rescheduling it due to rain. Would it rain every day?

    1. Hi Pearl, That is peak rainy season but it still shouldn’t rain every day. The only time we get rain like that is when there’s a big weather system coming through like a tropical wave and then we can get a lot of rain for a day or two. Those don’t happen that often typically so we wouldn’t cancel your trip. You should still have some dry sunny days. The North Pacific Coast tends to be driest so you could try that.

  59. Hello! Thank you so much for all of the information you share. My husband and I are kind of freaking out, like the people you talk about in your post! We have a vacation scheduled from 10/30 to 11/6 split between an Airbnb in the Osa Peninsula/Puntarenas and a hotel in Costa Ballena. We saw the 10-day forecast and read that Corcovado is usually closed in October and we are feeling a little panic. Please let me know if we should still plan to keep our plans the same or change. Will we see sunshine? We want to hike and enjoy the beach. Will beach time be possible? Thanks so much!

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