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10 Things to Do in Costa Rica During the Rainy Season

So, you are in Costa Rica and it is raining. Well, first it shouldn’t be a surprise since the rainy season typically extends from May into November. You are bound to come across some rainy days. And secondly no need to fear, there are still countless activities you can do to fill your days.

Not every day needs to be an afternoon at the beach, if so, you are missing out on so much more. The rain brings back all the beauty to Costa Rica. The jungles and forests come alive bursting with all the colors of green, it is lush and magnificent. It’s one of the most beautiful times to visit the country.

Maybe the rain can turn out to be a good thing, having you try out some activities you may otherwise not have considered. Here are 10 things to do in Costa Rica during the rainy season that will have you out into the country making the memories that you came here for.

1. Visit La Fortuna Hot Springs 

Rain or shine you can soak in the hot springs of La Fortuna. Sitting within the thermal waters as the rains come down on you feels freeing and rejuvenating.

After a long day of exploring and hiking it can be refreshing and just what you need. There is something that feels a bit magical, relaxing surrounded by paradise as the skies open up upon you. Not a care or worry in the world.

2. San Jose Market

A visit to Costa Rica isn’t complete without seeing the historic San Jose Market. Making its mark since 1880, it gives you a glimpse into what Costa Rica is all about and made of.

Take advantage of the rains and use the time to be indoors saving the sunny days for outdoor adventures. Strolling through the San Jose Market acquaints you with the country, its traditional foods and flavors, handicrafts, energy, and the heart of its people. Just be sure to go on an empty stomach so you have plenty of room to eat and drink.

3. Caribbean Coast

If you really must have a day at the water then pack up for the Caribbean Coast. You can satisfy your craving for sand and sunshine without the likelihood of a washed-up day.

The rain pattern doesn’t follow suit with the rest of Costa Rica and can rain at any time throughout the year. However, most days will bring you sunshine and dry hot days during August, September, and October. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is seeing some downpours and drizzly overcast days.

4. Head to the Local Soda or Bar

Make your way to the local soda and bar on your next rainy day. Get to know where you are staying and come to appreciate what is right next door.

Try out one of the daily specials instead of something you would typically eat or something new. Warm up with some rainy day soups of sopa de marisco and olla de carne. Get to know the flavors of the country and experiment, you may even find a new favorite.

Get comfortable, pull up a seat at the bar, and try out your Spanish. Most often than not locals are quite friendly and usually want to try out some of the English they know. It is a fun way to connect with the country and not just be an outsider looking in.

If you are lucky there is a fútbol match on that day. Catching a game and being a part of the energy in the room will become one of your best memories.

5. Outdoor Adventures

Whitewater rafting is one activity that will make you grateful for the rains. The onset of the rainy season builds up the water levels so that the rapids have a great flow making for some really good fun.

Not quite that adventurous then try water tubing. You can have a good time bouncing and riding through the rolling water compared to that of the dry season. The dry season doesn’t bring as much excitement with the lower levels and calmer rides.

ATV tours through the muddy grounds and off roads surrounded by mountains and jungles are one Costa Rican adventure you are sure not to forget. Get dirty, have fun and get outside. If the waterfalls along your route aren’t overflowing then it’s a great place to stop, clean off and give your adrenaline a rest.

6. Wildlife Watching

The rainy season is the peak season for some of Costa Rica’s loved wildlife. If visiting in August, then head to the South Pacific coast for a festival in honor of whales and dolphins in Uvita. It’s one of the best months to have a chance to see these magnificent mammals.

Whale-watching tours from July to November fall within Costa Rica’s rainy season with August and September being prime months for sightings.

It is also turtle nesting season.  For the most spectacular experience then the arribadas of Ostional Wildlife Refuge are where you want to be. Especially if you can make your way there from September to November.

The Caribbean Coast’s Tortuguero is another amazing destination if visiting during the wet season.  July to November are sure to fascinate you with their nesting turtles.

7. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Here’s your chance to see five breathtaking waterfalls all in one place without having to hike through muddy and even risky slippery terrain. Put on your poncho, bring your umbrella, and stroll through the stable and safe paths.

Indoor exhibits to dry off in with the free range frog exhibit, butterfly observatory, and animal sanctuary.  A reproduction casita of a typical Costa Rican farmhouse is on-site to have a glance into what rural life was like.

Complete with an ox-cart ride if you time it right, animals, and delicious traditional samples on site. You can see and learn about much of Costa Rica, its wildlife, nature, and life all in just one destination.

8. Visit Museums

There are several museums to choose from if in San Jose on a rainy day. Some of the most visited favorites are the Jade Museum and Gold Museum. The Museum of National History is another great option and was once a fortress. However, it is closed on Mondays.

If searching for a choice to take children the Children’s Museum has interactive rooms, activities and presentations to keep them engaged and where they can play. The design is unique in the fact that it was previously a jail. The National Theater of Costa Rica is another place to get out and see with its remarkable architecture. It offers self and guided tours and children under 12 are free.

9. Head Out for a Rainforest Tour

Well, if you came to Costa Rica, I imagine the rainforest was one of your top priorities and dreams. The rainy season has the rainforests and jungles bursting with trees full and fresh, renewed from the rains.

Feel the heart of it and the ominous serenity it brings as the skies open up upon you. Whether it’s pouring or just drizzling with the mist rolling around, simply put on your boots, rain gear and get out there. This is the rainforest and what you came to finally see and explore.

10.Sit Back and Enjoy Every Last Drop of It

Curl up in your hammock with a good book, some music, or simply nothing, and revel in a mid-afternoon siesta. Now that is pura vida. Not letting anything phase you, just kicking back and going with the flow.

Coming to Costa Rica puts you back in touch with nature and if you allow it even yourself. Swaying in your hammock, rocking in your chair, or sprawling out watching the rain through the window. There is something hypnotizingly captivating about it all and it seems to reset you inside.

Yes, the rains are pouring down around you but take it all in. It’s glorious. With the jungle around you, the sounds of wildlife and the crashing of thunder so powerful you can feel it in your bones. Now that is what a good rainstorm is all about in Costa Rica. And somehow, it is all so relaxing, peaceful, and somewhat therapeutic. The rain is simply beautiful.

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