Best Time of Year to Visit Costa Rica

Best Time of the Year to Visit Costa Rica

The best time of the year to visit Costa Rica depends on your preferences. In Costa Rica, you have three choices: sunshine, monsoon, and everything in between. In reality though, no time is a bad time to visit Costa Rica. Somewhere, there is always sunny weather in Costa Rica.

And, if you don’t mind afternoon showers, there is almost always sunshine — at some time during the day — everywhere in Costa Rica. In other words, there aren’t inversions like those that develop in Seattle and back East. There aren’t endless days of overcast in Costa Rica often.

If there are extended days of rain, it’s because it’s raining hard!

It can go for weeks or months without raining in most regions. Even the rainiest region in Costa Rica — La Amistad National Reserve — does not get rain every day, every week, or even every month.

But, to imply it doesn’t rain regularly is misleading. As such, Costa Rica is ideal for the moderate, someone who enjoys both rain and sunshine. The weather in Costa Rica always provides plenty of sunshine. But, there is also enough rain to cool down and keep the rivers up. At different times of the year, every climate has its sweet spot.

One thing to remember, Costa Rica is in the Northern Hemisphere. That means Costa Rica has the same seasons as the U.S. And just like the U.S., each season affect different regions in Costa Rica differently.

Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast Climate

The best time of the year to visit Costa Rica east of the divide is not always a risk during hurricane season. 

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica receives more rain than the Pacific side, much more. There aren’t any semi-arid areas in on the Caribbean side. All of Caribbean Costa Rica is pure tropical. But, that isn’t to say it’s always raining in the Caribbean. In fact, it’s rare that it will rain all day more than one or two day consecutively.

The sun almost always comes out and warms things up in the Caribbean.

best time of the year to visit costa rica Caribbean map
All the Caribbean Coast is Tropical

Tropical Storm Season

The Caribbean coast gets the most rain during the monsoon season. Howerever, Costa Rica doesn’t get hurricanes, only one in recorded history.  But, Costa Rica is affected by hurricanes in the Caribbean. That means during hurricane season, from June to November, Costa Rica — as a whole — is wetter.

On the Caribbean side, it can rain any time of the year. But from mid-November until early june, the Caribbean is often its driest.

Nevertheless — even during monsoon season,  — the days in the Caribbean typically begin with sunshine. 

Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast Climate

The best time of the year to visit Costa Rica depends on which region you visit.

The Pacific side of Costa Rica is divided into two climate regions, north and south. The wet region is the southern. The southern Pacific Coast is similar to the Caribbean. The southerns Pacific Coast experiences long rainy seasons and is tropical. The northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is akin in appearance and climate to the Caribbean’s Virgin Islands. It is semi-arid. The Northern Pacific Coast has sunny weather — at some point during the day — year around. 

Coincidentally, the two regions are in different provinces: Puntarenas and Guanacaste.

best time of the year to visit costa rica Pacific map
Half the Pacific Coast is Tropical, Half is Semi-Arid

Puntarenas is in the southern, wetter climate. Guanacaste is the dry province in the north. The southern part of Puntarenas is the wettest region on the Pacific Coast. The farther north you go in Puntarenas, the drier it gets until you cross into Guanacaste. In Guanacaste, it can go five or six months without raining.

Again, from June until November — during the hurricane season, — the Pacific Coast gets the most rain.

Climate of Mountains in Costa Rica

The mountains of Costa Rica consitute everything from the Braulio Carrillo northeast of San Jose down through the La Amistad National Park to to the Panamanian border. The mountains in Costa Rica get rain every day about four months a year. About six months a year, the Mountains in Costa Rica get rain at least once a week.

There are only about two months a year when the mountains don’t get any rain. The best time of the year to visit Costa Rica if you want to enjoy the mountains without any rain is from November, through the new year, and until June.

But like the coasts, the rain is broken up by days and weeks of sunshine every month of the year. While overcast days in the mountains are not uncommon, a week without a clear day is.

The best time to visit Costa Rica, simply, is anytime. With a little preparation and planning, Costa Rica is wonderful year around!

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