Best time to visit PDF Print E-mail
If you have ever wondered when is the best time to come to Costa Rica, you are not the first one. It is not a difficult task to find out, but you must take into consideration what sort of activities you are interested in before chosing the season.

Remember Costa Rica has two seasons: rainy season (or winter) and dry season (or summer). The rainy season runs from late May through November. What it means is that there will be more cloudy and rainy days. Weather usually cools down, since humidity is higher and there is less sunlight. Sometimes it will rain 24 hours non-stop, but sunny days will usually follow. Rainfall averages vary throughout the country. For example, Guanacaste has proven to be drier than the Atlantic Coast, even during winter, and it is easier to find sunny days on the Pacific Coast than on the Caribbean. But there are no rules; storms may happen on both coasts.

Drive in Costa RicaRoads and trails go thorough many changes during this season, and they are not as comfortable as they may be during summer. A 4Wheel Drive vehicle will be required if you are planning to visit the country side. Some towns and beach areas are impossible to reach during this season. But the rainy season brings also good news to visitors. The scenery, specially in National Parks, Reserves and Refuges, turns greener and fresher, providing tourists with a wonderful experience.

Life rejoices during Costa Rica's wet season, everything is growing and changing: even birds sing louder after a storm. Even prices on most services will drop. This is our off-season, and everything from car rentals, travel agencies, tours and lodging facilities offer lower rates, providing tourists a chance to lower the cost of their trip. It also becomes easier to make travel arrangements during this season: it is not as crowded as summer, and hotels are not as busy.

Dry season or summer runs from December through April. Lately, it has become harder to predict when summer will end. The year 1997, for example, doesn't seem to call for winter yet, and serious droughts have damaged rice and other crops. But if you really want to avoid rain, or if you are in search for the perfect tan, amazing social life and noisy crowds, our dry season is the best time to come to Costa Rica. At sea level, temperatures may vary from 26º C to 30º C; sunny days will prevail but tropical storms may occur eventually. The Central Valley and highland regions are usually sunny as well, but from December through February temperatures will drop considerably due to cold winds from North America. As we have mentioned, be prepared for crowds, specially during Christmas and Easter Week. You will have to make arrangements in advance and confirm all your reservations with a deposit or a credit card slip.

Most Costa Ricans take holidays during Christmas and Easter. National fiestas, such as Festejos Populares and religious activities, take place during these holidays. Nightlife seems to glow when stars are out and the weather is more predictable. Theaters show their best plays, and national and international dance companies, music groups and orchestras climb on stage to perform what they had been preparing during the year.

Seasons may help you decide what sort of activity you want to enroll, what coast or park to visit, what hotel to stay at. But they will not stop you from doing things. If small crowds suit you best, bring your umbrella and a rain coat, that will do, and you will have a great time as well. Don't forget that no matter what time of the year you come, nights will be cool and a light jacket or a sweat shirt will be needed while touring around Central Valley.

We have prepared a short list of the best time to do what sorts of things while visiting Costa Rica. Take our suggestions only as guidelines and not as rules; we have taken seasonal changes into consideration, as well as rates and crowds.

Activities
Best time
Camping
Dry season
Whitewater sports
Rainy season
Sightseeing
Dry season
National Parks
Both seasons
Birdwatching
January through August
Turtle nestling
All year round different spots
Hiking
dry season
Surfing
Atlantic Coast: December through April
June and July

Pacific Coast:
November through December

Atlantic Coast:
Late November through April
June, July and August

Pacific Coast:April through November
Central and Northern sectors are also good from December to March
Fishing
Pacific coast:
North: January-August
South: January-April

Caribbean:
Tarpon:January through October
Snook: August through November

Others:
November through January
Golf
Dry season
Golf
Dry season
Scuba Diving
Both seasons
Nightlife
December-January
July-August
Weekends
Lodging
Rainy season (lower rates, less crowded)
Roads
Dry season
Buses
Dry season
Car rentals
May through November (lower rates)
Pacific Coast
Both seasons
Atlantic Coast
September-October: great weather, no crowds
Crowds
Dry season, specially during:
1. Christmas Holidays.
2. Easter.
3. Weekends during high season.
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