Costa Rica has a tropical climate since it lies so near the equator. In fact, the country is famous for having one of the best year-round climates in the world. National Geographic once stated, “That the town of Atenas has the best climate in the world.” This is partially true since temperature in Costa Rica are determined by altitude.
However, any place in the country that is at the same altitude as Atenas should have a similar climate.
In Costa Rica you dress in lightweight clothing year-round; a jacket may be necessary for higher elevations and cool nights. For the rainy season U.S.-style rain gear is just too warm and cumbersome — an umbrella will do just fine. I always carry a fold-up version in my backpack.
Temperatures vary little from season to season and fluctuate with altitude. The higher you go, the colder it gets, and the lower you go the warmer it gets. In the Central Valley, spring-like daytime temperatures hover around 72 degrees all year, while lower elevations enjoy temperatures ranging from the upper 70s to the high 80s.
Temperatures at sea level range between the high 80s and low 90s in summer with slightly more humidity than at higher elevations.
Costa Rica only officially has two seasons.
- The summer, or verano, is generally from late December to April with March and April being the warmest months of the year.
- The green season or invierno, runs from May to November.
January is usually the coolest month. At times, there is an unseasonably dry spell or Indian summer either in July, August or September. The Costa Ricans call this pause in the rainy weather, veranillo, or “little summer.”
As the title suggest Costa Rica has an unofficial third season which I call “The Windy Season.” From about mid-December until the end of January the wind is really strong in most parts of the country. At times in the Central Valley winds make it feel like it is really cooler that it actually is (wind chill factor or factor de la sensación térmica in Spanish).
It is amusing to see Costa Ricans with scarfs and snow parkas on windy days and nights when temperature are in the 60s. This bundling up is muy exagerado (overkill or excessive) as we say in Spanish.
Sometimes the wind is really strong. I remember walking on Samara Beach one January and the wind was so strong that I actually felt like I was getting sandblasted.
So, if you visit Costa Rica in December or January be sure to batten down the hatches, figuratively speaking.