If you’re putting off traveling to Costa Rica during the “green season,” you’re missing out on the best time to visit this tropical paradise. Not only is the country lush, vibrant and energized, but there are many other benefits to traveling during this time, which many travelers shy away from.
Costa Rica’s “dry” or “high” season runs from mid-December until the end of April, and our “green” or “rainy” season lasts the rest of the year. Many people worry that their trip will be a washout because of rain, but that’s not the case. Different parts of the country have different weather patterns, so it really depends on which regions you visit and which month you’ll be traveling.
Because Costa Rica is a tropical country, there is always a slight chance of rain. However, different regions follow different weather patterns. In the popular rain forest/volcano area of Arenal (the adventure capital of Costa Rica), influenced by both Caribbean and Pacific weather patterns, rain is possible at any time of year, but unlike most of the Pacific coast, May through November tend to be drier.
For the Pacific coast beach regions, rainy season does not mean each day will bring downpours. In fact, some days it won’t rain at all. For the most part, the mornings are bright and sunny, followed by an hour or two of rain in the afternoon. The afternoon showers are a great time to relax in a hammock with a book and enjoy a delicious cup of Costa Rican coffee. There’s nothing more relaxing.
For the Caribbean coast, the green season is the ideal time to visit (July-October) to witness the incredible green sea turtles nesting on the shores of Tortuguero. Down in the Osa Peninsula, humpback whales are migrating and giving birth to their offspring.
Besides the flora and fauna that truly come alive during green season, there are many other reasons to travel here at this time. It’s amazing how the drier landscapes left behind from high season almost immediately change once the afternoon showers arrive.
The Central Valley and Pacific Coast become a vibrant green, the vegetation is lush, and the sweet smell of misty dewdrops fills the air. Even the arid region of Guanacaste springs back to life. Not only is the country beautiful during this time, but there are fewer people clamoring to escape the winter months in the States.
February and March draw families on spring break, making hotel availability challenging. Traveling during green season means there will be fewer tourists, shorter wait times for tours, more choices in accommodations and some great low season specials at hotels.
Since some travelers hesitate to make vacation plans to Costa Rica during the rainy season, many, if not most, hotels offer great specials or significant reductions in nightly rates. Some may offer “two-for-three” specials where you pay for two nights and stay for three. Others offer “four-for-three” — pay for three nights, stay for four. And it’s possible to enjoy a seven-night vacation paying for only five.
Other hotels may offer special perks like room upgrades and spa credits. Not all hotels offer their specials during every month of the rainy season, but below are some hotels worth mentioning for their promotions:
Hotels offering two-for-three specials: Arenal Kioro, Tabacón Grand Spa and Resort, Lost Iguana.
Hotels offering free nights (some are three-for-two, others four-for-three, and some five-for-four): Arenas del Mar, Sí Como No, El Parador, La Mansion Inn.
Hotels offering free nights (most of these are four-for-three): Villa Buena Onda in Playas del Coco, Latitude 10 in Santa Teresa, Punta Islita near Playa Samara.
Hotels offering reduced rates: Cala Luna in Tamarindo, Andaz Papagayo, Westin Playa Conchal (all-inclusive) and El Mangroove in Papagayo.
Hotels offering free nights: Kura Design Villas in Uvita, Lapa Rios in the southern Osa Peninsula, Finca Rosa Blanca in the Central Valley, Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Reserve in San Ramon.
If Costa Rica is on your bucket list, but you don’t want to fight crowds, don’t want to miss out on your first choice in accommodations and don’t want to pay more than you need to, the green season is the perfect time to visit this breathtaking country.
Lisa Cederberg is a travel consultant at Costa Rican Vacations, which provides customized vacations in Costa Rica. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.