Best time to Visit Costa Rica
One of the most common phrases you will hear from most nature guides in Costa Rica is: "The only thing certain about the weather in the tropics is that, the weather is uncertain". This is a very true statement and even more so now with the changes in weather that we are experiencing all over the globe. Our personal opinion as a company is that rain or shine a Costa Rica family vacation can still be a lot of fun. It turns out in the heart of the dry season the rivers are low, not as much green (still a lot though), and the animal species you see most are other tourist. We put together a few easy descriptions of the months of visiting Costa Rica to help you try and decide when might be the best time for you to plan your Costa Rica family adventure tour or a relaxing Costa Rica vacation.
January --This is one of the most crowded months of the year as the end of the year holiday crowds usually pour over into the first week of January. It is a nice time to visit though because it is the end of the rainy season and should be dry in most parts. It is important to realize that you might hit the dry season in one area and the rainy season in another. The Costa Rican families are on summer break and January is a time when the locals enjoy visiting some of the same beautiful beaches as the tourist. A Costa Rica whitewater rafting adventure might be at low water level during this time of year which could be good if you don't want it too rough and are looking for a real scenic view of the rivers as most are running clear this time of year.
February -- The local Costa Rican crowd at the beaches has slowed down a bit from the early January days and the dry season is in full swing with a lot of sun and being 9 degrees above the equator a lot of sunburn-looking tourists. Pretty much the entire Pacific Coast is going to be without rain these days where the northern coast is blistering hot and dry down in the Southern Pacific you can still find quite a bit of green and shade. Rivers are low for rafting tours and the famous canyoneering adventures are in full go as many rivers can be rappeled now that they are low and not full of water.
March -- This is a very common time to visit Costa Rica and is what we consider one of our peak seasons that runs for a few weeks during March and April as the country gets many of families and student trips for springs break vacations. The Costa Rica families are back in school these months as their summer break runs from mid-December to late February. The locals are off for "Semana Santa" which is Holy Week and a number of processions take place during this time and no alcohol is served in the country for three days. When booking Costa Rica trips in the months of the March and April you want to make sure you plan ahead at least three months and more if possible.
April -- This is a very nice time to travel to Costa Rica as you will be coming out of the dry season and into the rainy season. It is very refreshing to get some rain after the three core months of the dry season. April is not heavy rains though as they are just starting to arrive and make for some rainforest- feel to your tropical Costa Rica family adventure and the Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours begin to get going. So if you are looking for some warm weather that hasn't arrived yet in the US yet, then a Costa Rica vacation might be the answer.
May -- A very slow month in tourism comes after the peak high season in March in April. If you have the time you can often find good prices and not a lot of touristy traffic in and around where you might be visiting. May is a beautiful month with often some rain and trees and everything is starting to get the green glow going as they begin to gulp up the rain. There is still plenty of dry time to enjoy some sun on the beach and do the zipline without a torrential down pour.
June -- The next two months of June and July are another peak high season as the schedule in North America lends itself to vacation time with kids. Ok, now for something you might not have known. June and July in Costa Rica are actually perfect months for Costa Rica vacation. They have the rains of the rainy season but they are even known to have the dry moments of the dry season. Some have even labeled it "veranillo de San Juan" which is the name for the mini-dry season that is given during this time. Although there are quite a few of tourists in the country the hotels and everyone always seem prepared and it is a matter of where you stay and who you book with that will make all the difference in your Costa Rica family adventure.
July -- This would be the month that is just as busy as June and things are moving about the same pace and the weather is often similar with spurts of rain and spurts of very dry. It is a great time to visit and the local Costa Ricans actually have a two week vacation during this time so you might have the chance to join some of the locals at the beach which is always great fun. June and July are also common times to do immersions in Costa Rica. Many Costa Rica Spanish schools have their high season during this time and it's a great opportunity to try and pick up the language in the beautiful village of Sitio de Mata. There are also a number of options of Costa Rica summer camps.
August -- This is your last chance to get in a Costa Rica family vacation without more rain than you can handle. It is also a popular time for Europeans to visit as of Spain & Italy have their main vacation time during the month of August. August is a great time to travel and you will have plenty of rain and plenty of dry time. If you visit the Northern Pacific beaches you will see a few more extended weeks of sunshine as the Southern Pacific starts to get rain earlier in the year. If you would like to do the Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours this is a great time to take on some high water.
September -- This is a month when not many tourists visit Costa Rica. It is when the heavy rain comes but if you have the time you can always find great deals and still have an amazing Costa Rica adventure tour. There is something magical about being able to experience the heavy intense rains of the tropics that give the rest of our planet life, controlling the water cycle. We often find that tourism is low but many Costa Ricans sign up for the day tour of rafting Pacuare River. They know the river has a great level which makes for some exciting adventure. The hotels and Costa Rica ecolodges all around the country have prices that get down to as low as half price.
October -- Keep the rain coming as October has been known as the hardest rains of the year. Again if you don't mind rain and you can see it for the beauty it really is, it is just beautiful driving in Costa Rica in a Land Rover on a bumpy road and reaching a Costa Rica ecolodge to relax under the heavy downpours of the tropics during your luxurious Costa Rica vacation. This can be the perfect month for a romantic Costa Rica honeymoon. A whitewater rafting tour in October will be an amazing experience and will make you fall in love with rafting for sure.
November -- There is a small rise in tourism this month and there is some peaks of the dry season. November is still heavy on the rain in certain parts of the day and the Northern Pacific Coast of Guanacaste is starting to see longer sunny days. A great time to travel since you are getting the sunshine for moments, the prices of the rainy season still and not many tourists.
December -- The first half of December is everyone getting ready for vacation. The local Costa Rican kids go on summer vacation and most head out to the beach because the dry season has arrived around mid-December. I would like to note that this is never accurate year after year and with climate change it is just too hard to predict. As you can expect December is one of the busiest times of the year for a Costa Rica vacation and unless you plan ahead expect to have limited options of where you can stay. Also you can expect to see large crowds in the Costa Rican airports. This is the perfect time to pick some of the spots that are off the beaten path for a Costa Rica adventure tour. The Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours still have water and are not running very low or very high so a great option for all looking for some adventure.