Known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and incredible biodiversity, Costa Rica is a top destination for travelers seeking a tropical escape. Its location near the equator and Central American coastlines shape two distinct seasons – dry and wet. Understanding Costa Rica’s weather will help you pack properly and plan activities to match the weather during your stay.
Costa Rica’s tropical climate means warm weather year-round. Even in the coolest months, temperatures average in the 70s Fahrenheit across most of the country. Along the scenic coastlines, daily highs reach the 80s and 90s nearly every day. Higher inland elevations see slightly cooler weather, especially at night. But sweater weather is rare even at Costa Rica’s peak elevations.
The distinct dry and wet seasons divide the year in half. December to April brings the dry season, known locally as verano. With little rain, humidity levels drop while sunshine increases. Visitors will enjoy rain-free beach days and plentiful sun during these months. Some inland areas may experience occasional light showers, but overall precipitation is minimal.
Contrastingly, the wet season or invierno runs May through November. Tropical downpours become frequent and the landscape transforms into a vibrant green. Plan for rains daily, either brief or prolonged. But mornings typically start rain-free, with precipitation increasing in the afternoon and evening. The rains nourish Costa Rica’s teeming jungles and cascading waterfalls.
Along with increased rainfall, humidity levels rise during the wet season. Temperatures don’t fluctuate much but may feel hotter. Lightweight clothing and breathability are key. Don’t let the rain deter you though – locals embrace the rains as a fact of life and tourist activity continues year-round.
One key regional difference is that Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast stays drier than the Pacific side. The Caribbean sees less rain in the ‘wet season’ and retains blue bird skies even when other areas get soaked. Keep this in mind when planning your ideal weather experience.
Now let’s look at average monthly temperatures and rainfall across Costa Rica:
- January-March: High 80s, lows mid 60s. Little rain.
- April: Highs low 90s, lows upper 60s. Increasing rain chances.
- May-June: Highs low 90s, lows 70s. Frequent rain.
- July-August: Highs upper 80s, lows low 70s. Peak rainfall months.
- September-October: Highs mid 80s, lows low 70s. Heavy rains continue.
- November: Highs low 80s, lows upper 60s. Rain subsides.
- December: Highs low 80s, lows low 60s. Return of drier weather.
Rain or shine, temperatures remain mild across Costa Rica all year. Pack an array of outfits from swimsuits to lightweight pants and breathable shirts. Bring layers for both the cooler mountain towns and damp rainforest hikes. And don’t forget the rainjacket – you’ll want outer layers that dry quickly after getting caught in sudden downpours.
Costa Rica’s weather adds to its tropical allure. With fine-tuned preparation for the expected climate, first-time visitors can make the most of their time enjoying dazzling beaches, lush jungles, and exotic wildlife in a destination with perpetual summertime.