Costa RicaCosta Rica

Dry season vs. wet season

Like waiting for the perfect moment to eat a ripe piece of fruit, every destination in Costa Rica has its own perfect season. Most often characterized as the dry season, it's the time of year when the rain disappears and the crisp rays of the sun fold through the foliage of the rainforest; prime weather for sun bathing, sunset watching, surfing, fishing, zip lining, hiking and just about every other thing you can think to do outside.

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But the proverbial "dry season" is not the same throughout the entire country. This is almost entirely thanks to the five mountain ranges running from north to south splitting the country into different climates. So while Guanacaste, in the Pacific, retains the title as the driest part of the country, the Caribbean gets doused with daily tropical rains for most of the year. 

Dry season in the Pacific (Dec.-April)

While the dry season begins early and ends later some years, in general, visitors can expect the best weather from the beginning of December to the middle of April with temperatures ranging between 80 and 100 degrees and an average of 82 degrees. Visitors can expect the driest weather in the northern Pacific region known as Guanacaste. As you move south down the Pacific coast into the central Pacific around Jaco and Manuel Antonio, you can expect more temperate weather: a little milder with a little bit more rain. Down in the Osa Peninsula, near Costa Rica's border with Panama, it rains more frequently and the weather is more similar to the Caribbean region, though the dry season remains the same as the rest of the Pacific.

Dry season in the Central Valley (Dec.-April)

The Central Valley encompasses the area around San Jose and its outlying cities including Alajuela (where you'll find the Juan Santamaria International Airport), Heredia, Grecia, Escazu, Cartago, Naranjo and others. The weather in the central valley is the mildest of the whole country, with average temperatures between 72 and 75 degrees, a high of 84 degrees and a low of 64 degrees.

Dry season in the northern highlands and lowlands (Dec.-April)

Spanning Arenal, Monteverde and Ciudad Quesada, the Northern highlands and lowlands weather is determined by elevation. Average temperatures hover around 86 degrees in the lowlands and 70 degrees in the highlands. Winds increase with elevation making Monteverde particularly windy. The best times to visit depend upon what you want to see. Visit Arenal in the dry season for you best chance of seeing the Arenal Volcano free from cloud cover.

Dry season in the Caribbean (March/April; Sept./Oct.)

The Caribbean receives 141 inches of rain annually with a similar climate stretching from Tortuguero in the north all the way down to Manzanillo at Costa Rica's southern tip. Though the Caribbean has no definable dry season, but that doesn't mean there isn't any sun. The best times to visit are between March and April and September and October when the Caribbean sees the least amount of rain. Temperatures range between 77 and 90 degrees and remain fairly consistent year-round with an average of 81 degrees. Because of the volume of rain, there's also a lot of humidity with daily average hovering around 86 percent.

Wet season in the Pacific (May- Nov.)

Just because there's a little bit of rain, doesn't mean it's not worth visiting the Pacific during the wet season. Not only are the hotel prices more affordable, the countryside flourishes with an entire color wheel of green and that's not to mention the flowers. Wet season in the Pacific has the additional benefit of being fairly consistent. In general, the rain falls mostly during the early afternoon and evening, with a couple-hour window to grab dinner before it starts falling again overnight. The predictable pattern makes it easy to plan activities and meals so that you get the most out of the sunshine and the rain.

Wet season in the Central Valley (May-Nov.)

Similar to the Pacific, the rain falls rather consistently at the same times every day. Get out and enjoy the sunshine in the morning and brace for the rain to start falling in the early afternoon. From mid-day on, expect scattered showers for the rest of the day and into the night.

Wet season in the northern highlands and lowlands (May-Nov.)

Monteverde, located in the highlands, sees significantly more rainfall, winds and cooler weather than towns in the northern lowlands. The average rainfall in highlands areas like Monteverde during the wet season can be as much as 16 inches per month. However, if you're interested in seeing Monteverde in its full glory, visit during the wet season when the clouds rolls through the rainforest. Expect daily showers, though typically the rain falls during the afternoon and evenings.

Wet season in the Caribbean (Nov.-Jan; May-Aug.)

Really, it almost never stops raining in the Caribbean, but you can expect to see the sun for a spell here and there (especially if you visit during those drier months). Unlike the Pacific, the Caribbean rain doesn't fall in a predictable pattern and you can expect it to drop in at any time of the day… so do yourself a favor and bring an umbrella.

A note on hotel prices in the Caribbean: Most hotels plan their high season (read: high prices) in accordance with what's considered the dry season (Dec.-April). This includes hotels in the Caribbean, even though it's actually still the wet season there. So our advice is, visit the Caribbean in either September or October when the weather is drier and the prices are lower.

Regional Weather Summaries

Annual Temperatures & Rainfall per Town

Alajuela

 

MonthAverage HighsAverage LowsAverage RainfallHumidity
 FCFCin.mm%
Jan. 81 27 62 17 0.28 7 69
Feb. 83 28 62 17 0.47 12 69
Mar. 85 29 63 17 0.55 14 67
Apr. 85 29 63 17 3.23 82 70
May 82 28 64 18 10.67 271 82
Jun. 81 27 64 18 10.63 270 82
Jul. 81 27 64 18 7.09 180 84
Aug. 81 27 63 17 10.16 258 79
Sep. 80 27 63 17 13.7 348 82
Oct. 80 27 63 17 13.39 340 87
Nov. 80 27 63 17 19.57 497 86
Dec. 81 27 63 17 20.87 530 80

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Arenal

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 83 28 68 20 7.48 192 n/a
Feb. 84 29 67 20 5.14 132 n/a
Mar. 86 30 69 20 3.58 92 n/a
Apr. 87 31 69 21 3.7 95 n/a
May 88 31 70 21 10.23 262 n/a
Jun. 86 30 71 22 16.15 414 n/a
Jul. 85 30 71 22 19.87 509 n/a
Aug. 85 30 72 22 17.05 437 n/a
Sep. 86 30 70 21 16.07 412 n/a
Oct. 85 30 70 21 16.98 435 n/a
Nov. 83 29 71 22 12 308 n/a
Dec. 82 28 70 21 10.1 259 n/a

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 83 28 68 20 7.48 192 n/a
Feb. 84 29 67 20 5.14 132 n/a
Mar. 86 30 69 20 3.58 92 n/a
Apr. 87 31 69 21 3.7 95 n/a
May 88 31 70 21 10.23 262 n/a
Jun. 86 30 71 22 16.15 414 n/a
Jul. 85 30 71 22 19.87 509 n/a
Aug. 85 30 72 22 17.05 437 n/a
Sep. 86 30 70 21 16.07 412 n/a
Oct. 85 30 70 21 16.98 435 n/a
Nov. 83 29 71 22 12 308 n/a
Dec. 82 28 70 21 10.1 259 n/a

  Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Cartago

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 73 23 55 13 1.2 31 78
Feb. 74 23 54 12 0.73 19 79
Mar. 77 25 55 13 0.6 16 77
Apr. 78 26 56 13 1.85 48 79
May 79 26 58 14 7.27 187 83
Jun. 77 25 57 14 7.87 202 83
Jul. 77 25 58 14 5.06 130 83
Aug. 77 25 57 14 6.06 156 84
Sep. 77 25 56 14 9.71 249 84
Oct. 78 25 57 14 9.78 251 85
Nov. 75 24 57 14 4.31 110 84
Dec. 73 23 56 14 2.28 58 82

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Ciudad Quesada

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 77 25 63 17 7 179 85
Feb. 76 25 62 17 6.36 163 83
Mar. 79 26 63 17 4.77 122 83
Apr. 80 27 63 17 3.33 85 84
May 80 27 66 19 13.3 341 90
Jun. 78 26 65 19 16.45 422 90
Jul. 77 25 66 19 18.71 480 92
Aug. 78 25 66 19 21.3 546 93
Sep. 78 25 66 19 19.68 505 93
Oct. 77 25 65 19 21.93 562 92
Nov. 75 24 65 18 14.93 383 91
Dec. 76 24 64 18 16.7 428 90

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Corcovado

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 91 33 72 22 6.26 159 n/a
Feb. 92 33 71 22 5.75 146 n/a
Mar. 92 33 73 23 8.07 205 n/a
Apr. 91 33 73 23 11.02 280 n/a
May 90 32 73 23 18.9 480 n/a
Jun. 89 32 72 22 17.48 444 n/a
Jul. 89 32 71 22 18.9 480 n/a
Aug. 89 32 71 22 20.91 531 n/a
Sep. 90 32 71 22 21.97 558 n/a
Oct. 89 32 71 22 27.68 703 n/a
Nov. 89 32 71 22 22.28 566 n/a
Dec. 90 32 71 22 11.57 294 n/a

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Golfito

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 91 33 72 22 6.26 159 83
Feb. 92 33 71 22 5.75 146 73
Mar. 92 33 73 23 8.07 205 80
Apr. 91 33 73 23 11.02 280 83
May 90 32 73 23 18.9 480 86
Jun. 89 32 72 22 17.48 444 88
Jul. 89 32 71 22 18.9 480 88
Aug. 89 32 71 22 20.91 531 87
Sep. 90 32 71 22 21.97 558 88
Oct. 89 32 71 22 27.68 703 88
Nov. 89 32 71 22 22.28 566 88
Dec. 90 32 71 22 11.57 294 85

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Grecia

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 84 29 63 17 0.29 7 70
Feb. 86 30 64 18 0.48 12 69
Mar. 87 31 65 18 0.58 15 68
Apr. 87 31 65 18 2.7 69 71
May 84 29 65 19 10.07 258 83
Jun. 82 28 65 18 10.83 278 87
Jul. 82 28 65 18 7.56 194 83
Aug. 82 28 64 18 10.49 269 85
Sep. 81 27 64 18 13.12 336 89
Oct. 81 27 64 18 12.79 328 89
Nov. 82 28 64 18 5.69 146 84
Dec. 83 28 64 18 1.23 32 74

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Guapiles

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 82 28 65 19 10.77 276 85
Feb. 82 28 66 19 9.3 238 85
Mar. 83 29 67 19 8.4 215 85
Apr. 84 29 68 20 9.42 242 86
May 85 30 70 21 16.79 430 88
Jun. 85 29 70 21 17.3 444 89
Jul. 83 29 70 21 19.88 510 90
Aug. 84 29 69 21 18.51 475 89
Sep. 85 29 69 21 14.66 376 88
Oct. 84 29 69 21 17.47 448 89
Nov. 83 28 69 20 18.37 471 89
Dec. 82 28 67 20 17.62 452 87

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Heredia

MonthAverage HighsAverage LowsAverage RainfallHumidity
 FCFCin.mm%
Jan. 76 24 59 15 0.78 20 73
Feb. 75 24 57 14 0.96 25 72
Mar. 79 26 58 15 1.91 49 71
Apr. 79 26 59 15 4.86 125 74
May 78 26 61 16 12.49 320 83
Jun. 76 25 59 15 12.88 330 85
Jul. 76 25 60 16 8.03 205 82
Aug. 76 25 60 16 9.73 249 84
Sep. 76 24 59 15 15.55 399 87
Oct. 76 25 59 15 16.42 421 87
Nov. 75 24 60 15 7.02 180 82
Dec. 75 24 60 16 2.14 55 76

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Irazu Volcano

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 52 11 39 4 1.34 34 80
Feb. 52 11 39 4 2.36 60 76
Mar. 64 18 40 4 1.1 28 74
Apr. 54 12 40 4 3.86 98 81
May 53 12 41 5 8.27 210 87
Jun. 51 11 42 6 8.9 226 91
Jul. 50 10 41 5 6.77 172 90
Aug. 51 11 39 4 8.27 210 90
Sep. 51 11 41 5 8.94 227 90
Oct. 51 11 41 5 10.63 270 90
Nov. 61 16 41 5 11.42 290 89
Dec. 51 11 39 4 6.38 162 83

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Jaco Beach

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 88 31 72 22 0.59 16 n/a
Feb. 89 31 71 22 1.42 37 n/a
Mar. 90 32 73 23 0.39 10 n/a
Apr. 90 32 74 23 2.01 52 n/a
May 88 31 74 23 8.06 207 n/a
Jun. 87 31 73 23 17.47 448 n/a
Jul. 87 31 73 23 13.56 348 n/a
Aug. 87 31 73 23 10.12 260 n/a
Sep. 86 30 73 23 22.64 580 n/a
Oct. 86 30 73 23 21.84 560 n/a
Nov. 85 30 73 23 11.53 296 n/a
Dec. 87 31 72 22 7.18 184 n/a

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Liberia

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 91 33 69 21 0.04 1 66
Feb. 95 35 69 21 0.04 1 64
Mar. 95 35 71 22 0.35 9 61
Apr. 96 36 73 23 0.87 22 63
May 93 34 79 26 9.25 235 74
Jun. 89 32 73 23 12.28 312 84
Jul. 89 32 73 23 5.28 134 80
Aug. 89 32 73 23 8.11 206 82
Sep. 87 31 71 22 12.8 325 86
Oct. 87 31 71 22 11.22 285 87
Nov. 87 31 89 32 4.09 104 81
Dec. 88 31 89 32 0.51 13 72

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Limon

MonthAverage HighsAverage LowsAverage RainfallHumidity
 FCFCin.mm%
Jan. 88 31 68 20 12.48 317 87
Feb. 88 31 68 20 8.31 211 87
Mar. 87 31 69 21 9.21 234 85
Apr. 87 31 71 22 10.87 276 85
May 87 31 71 22 11.1 282 87
Jun. 87 31 71 22 11.65 296 88
Jul. 88 31 71 22 16.81 427 89
Aug. 68 20 71 22 12.28 312 88
Sep. 87 31 71 22 5.71 145 87
Oct. 87 31 71 22 8.11 206 87
Nov. 85 29 69 21 15.39 391 89
Dec. 88 31 69 21 17.52 445 88

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 87 31 69 21 2.83 72 83
Feb. 87 31 69 21 1.42 36 81
Mar. 89 32 71 22 2.36 60 80
Apr. 89 32 71 22 6.57 167 84
May 89 32 71 22 15.43 392 87
Jun. 87 31 71 22 17.05 433 88
Jul. 87 31 69 21 18.15 461 88
Aug. 86 30 69 21 18.82 478 89
Sep. 86 30 71 22 20.79 528 90
Oct. 86 30 71 22 25.35 644 89
Nov. 86 30 71 22 15.28 388 89
Dec. 86 30 69 21 6.65 169 86



Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Monteverde

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 68 20 53 12 6.3 160 n/a
Feb. 89 32 53 12 3.82 97 n/a
Mar. 71 22 53 12 1.65 42 n/a
Apr. 71 22 55 13 4.8 122 n/a
May 71 22 57 14 13.7 348 n/a
Jun. 71 22 57 14 16.54 420 n/a
Jul. 69 21 57 14 14.13 359 n/a
Aug. 69 21 57 14 18.03 458 n/a
Sep. 71 22 55 13 19.41 493 n/a
Oct. 69 21 57 14 16.77 426 n/a
Nov. 68 20 57 14 16.89 429 n/a
Dec. 69 21 57 14 12.99 330 n/a

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Montezuma

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 79 26 70 21 2.69 69 n/a
Feb. 81 27 69 20 1.39 36 n/a
Mar. 83 28 69 21 1.16 30 n/a
Apr. 84 29 71 21 1.88 48 n/a
May 84 29 71 22 6.33 162 n/a
Jun. 82 28 71 21 9.28 238 n/a
Jul. 80 27 71 22 12.83 329 n/a
Aug. 82 28 70 21 11.97 307 n/a
Sep. 82 28 70 21 15.13 388 n/a
Oct. 81 27 70 21 15.02 385 n/a
Nov. 80 26 71 22 10.62 272 n/a
Dec. 78 26 69 21 7.49 192 n/a

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Nicoya

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 91 33 69 21 0.2 5 68
Feb. 93 34 71 22 0.43 11 63
Mar. 96 36 71 22 0.94 24 62
Apr. 96 36 73 23 2.72 69 64
May 91 33 73 23 10.79 274 78
Jun. 89 32 71 22 12.8 325 85
Jul. 89 32 71 22 9.61 244 81
Aug. 89 32 71 22 12.01 305 82
Sep. 87 31 71 22 15.71 399 87
Oct. 87 31 71 22 16.02 407 87
Nov. 87 31 69 21 12.44 316 81
Dec. 89 32 69 21 0.98 25 74

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Palmar Sur

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 91 33 69 21 1.97 50 84
Feb. 91 33 59 15 2.09 53 83
Mar. 93 34 71 22 3.82 97 83
Apr. 91 33 71 22 8.86 225 86
May 89 32 71 22 16.61 422 89
Jun. 89 32 71 22 16.06 408 89
Jul. 89 32 71 22 14.57 370 89
Aug. 87 31 89 32 16.3 414 89
Sep. 87 31 71 22 19.49 495 90
Oct. 87 31 71 22 23.5 597 91
Nov. 87 31 71 22 13.78 350 90
Dec. 89 32 71 22 4.17 106 87

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Poas Volcano

 

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 69 21 53 12 5.91 150 82
Feb. 89 32 53 12 3.82 97 81
Mar. 71 22 53 12 1.65 42 82
Apr. 71 22 55 13 4.8 122 83
May 71 22 57 14 13.7 348 90
Jun. 71 22 57 14 16.54 420 91
Jul. 69 21 57 14 14.13 359 89
Aug. 69 21 57 14 18.03 458 89
Sep. 71 22 55 13 19.41 493 91
Oct. 59 15 57 14 16.77 426 91
Nov. 58 14 57 14 16.89 429 89
Dec. 59 15 57 14 12.99 330 85


Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Puntarenas

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 96 36 71 22 0.28 7 74
Feb. 96 36 71 22 0.24 6 72
Mar. 95 35 73 23 0.2 5 72
Apr. 95 35 73 23 1.22 31 75
May 91 33 76 24 7.56 192 83
Jun. 89 32 73 23 8.98 228 86
Jul. 91 33 73 23 6.26 159 86
Aug. 91 33 73 23 9.02 229 86
Sep. 89 32 73 23 11.73 298 87
Oct. 89 32 73 23 10.75 273 87
Nov. 89 32 73 23 4.72 120 86
Dec. 91 33 71 22 1.18 30 80

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

San Jose

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 73 23 59 15 0.39 10 82
Feb. 75 24 59 15 0.24 6 80
Mar. 77 25 60 16 0.47 12 78
Apr. 78 26 60 16 1.73 44 79
May 78 26 62 17 8.86 225 84
Jun. 78 26 62 17 11.3 287 85
Jul. 77 25 62 17 8.46 215 84
Aug. 77 25 62 17 9.8 249 85
Sep. 76 24 60 16 13.07 332 86
Oct. 77 25 60 16 13.07 332 86
Nov. 75 24 60 16 5.59 142 84
Dec. 73 23 59 15 1.61 41 83

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Santa Cruz

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 92 33 72 22 0.23 6 65
Feb. 93 34 73 23 0.13 3.3 62
Mar. 95 35 74 23 0.28 7.3 62
Apr. 97 36 75 24 1.2 30.7 66
May 94 34 74 23 9.36 240 74
Jun. 90 32 73 23 11.44 293.4 81
Jul. 90 32 73 23 7.31 187.5 81
Aug. 90 32 73 23 9.54 244.5 83
Sep. 90 32 72 22 13.37 342.8 83
Oct. 89 32 72 22 13.65 350.1 83
Nov. 90 32 71 22 3.83 98.2 78
Dec. 90 32 71 22 0.64 16.4 68

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Sixaola

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall Humidity
  F C F C in. mm %
Jan. 87 31 69 21 7.06 180.9 n/a
Feb. 84 29 68 20 5.97 153.1 n/a
Mar. 86 30 70 21 7 179.4 n/a
Apr. 87 30 70 21 9.66 247.6 n/a
May 88 31 73 23 10.04 257.4 n/a
Jun. 86 30 71 22 7.6 194.9 n/a
Jul. 87 31 72 22 10.65 273.1 n/a
Aug. 88 31 73 23 10.1 258.9 n/a
Sep. 89 31 72 22 5.78 148.1 n/a
Oct. 88 31 71 22 6.5 166.7 n/a
Nov. 87 30 71 22 8.24 211.2 n/a
Dec. 85 30 70 21 12.88 330.2 n/a

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

Tortuguero

Month Average Highs Average Lows Average Rainfall
  F C F C in. mm
January 88 31 68 20 12.48 317
February 88 31 68 20 8.31 211
March 87 31 69 21 8.03 204
April 87 31 71 22 10.87 276
May 87 31 71 22 11.10 282
June 87 31 71 22 11.65 296
July 88 31 71 22 16.81 427
August 86 30 71 22 12.28 312
September 87 31 71 22 5.71 145
October 87 31 71 22 8.19 208
Novemner 85 29 69 21 15.39 391
December 88 31 69 21 17.56 446

Source: National Weather Services of Costa Rica

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