The weather in Costa Rica is one of the main questions we get asked about from visitors. Many people don’t realize that Costa Rica is a tropical country and lays close to the equator. Therefore, the weather here isn’t like what it is up north or wherever they came from.
Actually, most people are surprised to hear that Costa Rica has just two seasons. In fact, the weather is usually one of the contributing factors for why many snowbirds and retirees move here!
Like the name suggests, dry season is Costa Rica’s summer. Starting around November and ending around April. The dry season is hot and sunny, with little or no rain. Temperatures vary throughout the different regions of the country but is typically around the mid 20’s Celsius in the Central Valley (San Jose/Alajuela/Heredia area). It is usually about 25 to 35 degrees Celsius in Guanacaste and 20 to 30’s for the Caribbean.
One thing to note about Costa Rica is that there are 12 distinct climate zones. There is a great handful of micro climates throughout the country due to the varying geographical features. What the weather is in one town may not be the weather in another, just 60 kilometers away. Due to this fact, dry season may last longer in some parts of the country such as the Pacific coast province of Guanacaste. On the Caribbean side, rain falls even in the dry months.
Dry season is also known as high season as this is the time of year the majority of snowbirds and tourists visit Costa Rica. March through May are typically the hottest months.
May to November is Costa Rica’s rainy season or “green” season. Many people ask this question and Yes, it does rain here! In fact, it rains pretty hard during the green season, especially in September and October. The average rainfall for the country is up to 250cm. Temperatures dip down as low as 10 degrees celsius up in the mountains and 25 degrees celsius on the Pacific Coast. It’s normal to have rain for days during the wettest months. Don’t be surprised if you hear thunderstorms or see lightning, which is also common during rainy season.
As mentioned earlier, the many different micro climates in Costa Rica create variations of these two seasons throughout the country. The Caribbean has a hotter and more humid climate with no real defined dry season. Guanacaste has a shorter rainy season and the Central Valley is known as having the best weather in the country.
One noticeable physical difference between the two seasons is the vegetation. During rainy season the flora flourishes therefore giving this season the nickname “green season.” In the dry season, everything turns yellow, almost looking like a desert.
Most tourists prefer not to visit during green season as they want to enjoy sunny days without worrying about rain during their vacation.
Costa Rica is a small country with many different micro climates. Make sure to research what the weather is like of your destination so you can pack appropriately!