Costa Rica is a unique and beautiful country. From the inviting tropical beaches to the cool, lush mountaintops, there are countless opportunities to be amazed by the rich biodiversity that attracts tourists year-round. If you’re planning on visiting Costa Rica, you may have noticed that there are 12 distinct climate zones, all with different climates and various elevations. Believe it or not, they also have different rainy seasons! Before you plan your travel dates, be sure you understand when the rainy season is in Costa Rica and where to travel at various times of the year.
Seasons in Costa Rica
Northern & western Costa Rica is home to four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. In tropical Costa Rica (a.k.a. the Caribbean side), there are only two seasons: summer and winter. This can be confusing for many of those planning to visit Costa Rica, because rainy season in the Caribbean is actually the opposite of rainy season in the northern latitudes. In the north, “summer” runs from December – April, and “winter” is from May – November. In the Caribbean, the seasons follow more closely with the seasons in the United States and Canada. A quick glance at a map of annual rainfall in Costa Rica can help you make sense of the differing regions.
The Caribbean region is often a popular tourist destination because of the sparkling blue water and the reliable heat. Although there is no “dry season” (it rains year round in the Caribbean), September and October are the driest months. Funny enough, you’ll find that September and October are the rainiest months throughout the rest of Costa Rica! So, if you’re heading to Costa Rica in the fall, your best bet is to head to the Caribbean. This includes popular destinations like Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Cahuita, Manzanillo and Limon.
Where to Visit During the Rainy Season
There are plenty of ways to keep your feet dry during the rainy season in Costa Rica. If you’re traveling to Costa Rica in May or June, you’re best off heading to northwest Costa Rica – i.e. Santa Teresa, Tamarindo and Nosara. The Central Pacific and South Pacific are likely to be stormy and wet during this time. In July and August, the Northwest Coast is often reliably dry, whereas the Central Pacific and the mountains face heavy afternoon rains. In September, October and November the Caribbean is beautiful, while the South Pacific is so rainy that many hotels and restaurants completely shut down.
If you’re still struggling to determine the best time to book your trip to Costa Rica, our expert guides can help ensure that you’ll be in the right place at the right time. Simply let us know your travel dates and we’ll help you build the vacation of your dreams. With any luck, you’ll see sunshine throughout your time in Costa Rica. Pura vida!