The best time to visit a country is always a tough question to answer, as “best” is always relative to the person asking and the travel experience they are looking for.
There are high and low tourist seasons. Times of the year that surfing is better or you can see certain wildlife or times of the year when everything is brown and dusty, or green and lush.
In this post, we will break down the various seasons and share what we think are the best times of year to visit Costa Rica.
Officially, Costa Rica is said to have two seasons – Dry and Wet. However, Wet season should really be broken down into Green Season, when everything is lush and green with some occasional rain, and Wet season, when the heavens really do open.
Dry Season = Dec – Apr
Green Season = May – Aug
Wet Season = Sept – Nov
The Dry Season boasts plenty of sunshine making it an ideal time for exploring, but it’s also the most popular (and expensive) time to visit. That being said, if you visit towards the later part of the dry season, don’t expect to see the lush, green landscapes that you may have seen in pictures. In certain parts of the country, particularly Guanacaste, dry season is a bit more dusty and brown as opposed to lush and green. During the dry season, it is abnormal to see any rain at all.
The Green Season is when it *can* rain. It doesn’t rain every day, but it does rain occasionally. But don’t let that deter you, if you check the forecast you’ll see days or even weeks of predicted rain, but the reality is you’ll only see a couple of hours of rain later in the day (if that).
Why is that? In simple terms, Costa Rica’s forecast grids are very broad, much larger than the US for example. This means they can cover the coast, mountains and rainforest all in one grid – generating varying weather forecasts.
We think the best time to visit Costa Rica is between March and July. You’ll get a more authentic experience with less tourists around, it will be a cheaper trip and you’ll get to experience the beauty of the green season.
Why we love Green Season
Green season is a perfect time to visit Costa Rica. Not only is it less touristy and cheaper, but the natural beauty of the country comes alive.
After the long and dry summer, the introduction of rain produces a blanket of lush green, overtaking the hills and valleys across the country.
If seeing waterfalls is your thing or you want to do white water rafting, you’ll need water for that and the beautiful green landscape around you to enjoy.
Green season also brings with it some of the best opportunities to spot wildlife. Costa Rica has the longest humpback whale season in the world, the true sweet spot is in August and September. Then there is the mass sea turtle nesting which takes place during the months of September, October, and November.
Varying Climates – Why Guanacaste is a safe bet most of the year
The landscapes and climates of Costa Rica vary greatly by region and time of year. Cooler temperatures are prevalent in the highlands with warmer temperatures prevailing near the coasts. But the area known for the least amount of rainfall and lower levels of humidity year-round is Guanacaste.
So if you are looking for the perfect beach town to visit during the green or even the wet season, check out our post about Playa Grande, one of the most beautiful beaches in Guanacaste.