What is the weather like in Costa Rica?

So, will it rain during my vacation in Costa Rica?

One of the pleasures of visiting Costa Rica is that you will likely have pleasant weather most of the year.  Essentially, there are two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season (or green season). Of course, you are most likely to experience more rain in the higher elevations, say La Fortuna-Arenal Volcano or Monteverde, the former a rain forest, the latter a cloud forest. That’s because the higher you go, the more condensation there is likely to be. And, in the dry forest area of Guanacaste province, where Tamarindo is located, rain is scarcer, especially the last couple of years with the El Niño conditions affectively reducing precipitation significantly. So, what is the weather like in Costa Rica? While its impossible to be 100% accurate, it’s possible to make a general assessment of the weather in Costa Rica.  Here is a month by month breakdown of what to expect with the climate in this country.

Weather In November

Typically, November is the beginning of the dry season, but in reality this month is very unpredictable. Last year, while El Niño pushed back the rain in the previous two months, November got very wet, with unexpected downpours. On the other hand, November is more characteristically a sunny month, and even if you do have rain early in the month, it will end just like that (snapping my fingers) and the beautiful sunshine appears on a daily basis from here on out. Temperatures range in the mid-80s, with a slightly more chilly feel in the Central Valley.

Weather In December

While it’s still around mid-80s, and you can expect the occasional drizzle of rain, towards the end of December the Papagayo Winds start blowing, making everything very pleasant this time of year.  Just what are the Papagayo Winds? These strong winds come from the Caribbean ocean (Atlantic), gain momentum over the lakes of Nicaragua, and go over the Gulf of Papagayo to the Pacific coast. The combination of good weather in Costa Rica, the holidays, and the cold in the north brings a lot of people down this time of year. It’s our High Season. Surfers are particularly fond of these strong breezes because they blow offshore, the ultimate direction for catching waves. So, thats what the weather like in Costa Rica in December.

Weather In January

In January, you can be assured of sunshine every day, as it’s the first official month when there is not likely to be any rain at all. The Papagayo Winds continue, and while the temperatures remain the same around mid-80s, the blowing gusts cool off the ocean. Visitors may not notice the drop in water temperature, but the locals sure do, donning light wetsuits and rashguards to surf.  Also, that wind kicks up the sand, so be prepared when laying out on the beach to catch the sun.

Weather In February

Having high temperatures, dry weather like in Costa Rica, and cooling winds everyday doesn’t get boring. There’s plenty to do around the country to keep busy as we near the end of High Season. As a matter of fact, this is a great month to see the wildlife that abounds in the various parts of the country. The Papagayos are still blowing most of the month, but by the end of February, they tend to cease and the beaches are just perfect.  If you are on the Caribbean side, expect rain this time of year.

Weather In March

You’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere in Costa Rica not experiencing beautiful weather in March.  That’s both coasts of the country and in the middle. Temperatures begin to rise a bit now, but honestly, this is a great time to hit the ocean or pool.  The water is comfortably warm, thanks to all the sunshine all the time.  There’s no humidity in the air either, something to enjoy before the transition towards rainy season in the coming months.

What is the Weather Like in Costa Rica In April

Most of the time, Easter falls in April (yet occassionaly as early as March) and Costa Rica celebrates with Semana Santa, or Holy Week. Seems like everyone is at the beach at this time enjoying the last of the guaranteed dry, sunny days. It is very hot, however, in April, and Guanacaste can be very arid. Expect at least 90 degrees, and with global warming,  don’t be surprised if you experience a number of 100 degree days at the beach this year.  Locals start taking bets as to when the rains will begin.

Weather In May

May is the official start of the rainy season but just how much precipitation we get can vary widely.  Costa Rica rainfall can come down very hard and yet be over very fast. Or it can be a light sprinkling that lasts a lot longer, like a mist.  Typically, it rains in the late afternoon or in the night. The biggest misconception is that rainy season means no sunshine. Uh uh.  Even if it rains, the sun still makes its way out each day.  Temperatures begin to return to the 80s, cooler again away from the beach areas. So, thats what the weather like in Costa Rica in May.

Weather In June

This is the beginning of more consistent days of rain in the afternoon or night (unless, as I said, El Niňo keeps it dry), but, once again, there’s plenty of sunshine to get a tan. June kicks off of the new, second tourist season featuring traveling students, families and brides and grooms looking to tie the knot on the beach. It’s still in the 80s, but the afternoon rains offer cooling relief.

Weather In July

And then, all of a sudden, the rains disappear. This is Little Summer, where the weather breaks from the wet, and it becomes sunny again for a couple of weeks. Lots of Costa Rican’s take advantage of this and head for the beach, but it’s not too crowded to enjoy the perks of the sand and surf. The Caribbean side, however, is experiencing full on, heavy rains.

Weather In August

Beginning dry, and ending wet, that’s what to expect in August.  This month is one of the most-traveled months for U.S. tourists going for the last bit of their summer vacations (here’s its winter)! With the rain so far, there are plenty of green trees and plants to explore, even in the dry forest of Guanacaste.  While still hot round 80 degrees in the day, the temperature does drop at night to a chilly 70, LOL.

Weather In September

So, what is the weather like in Costa Rica in September? Well, you can expect one of two of the wettest months in Costa Rica, with October being the second one. Expect sunny mornings with heavy rainstorms in the afternoon or in the night, and bring rain gear.  Occasionally, it will rain all day. Keep in mind its dry enough during the mornings to participate in the Tamarindo Marathon, a 5k, 10k, 21k, 42k race that draws thousands of people from all around the world.  Warning: stay away from the Southern Pacific or Osa Peninsula, they have continues days of downpours. You can, however, escape the rain by going to the Caribbean side, which is in its dry season.

What is the Weather Like in Costa Rica In October

Although we’ve experienced a lack of rain these past couple of years during the month of October, that is unusual and honestly, not good for the country’s water supply, particularly in Guanacaste. If you are planning to visit Costa Rica this month, plan for the rain and its inherent activities. Take advantage of eco-tourist attractions particularly those involving watching the various turtles in the country.  Drive to Playa Ostional, where thousands of Olive Ridley turtles crawl up on the beach and lay their eggs.  Be conscientious of the turtles, respect their space and let them do as they are going to do.  Also, whitewater rafting is fun in the high water with lots of rapids.