Costa Rica is a dream destination, with epic surfing, misty cloud forests, and wilderness and wildlife that will take your breath away. Costa Rica is known for adventure travel, but it is also making strides in sustainable and accessible travel initiatives. This Central American country's small size means that travelers can enjoy a wide variety of experiences in a short trip. So whether you are trying to find the best weather in Costa Rica or when to get away from the crowds, find out the best time to visit. 

Editor's note: during COVID-19, please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government health advice. Events may be subject to change

High Season: December to April 

Best time for outdoor activities

This is the ‘dry’ season, but Costa Rica still sees some rain. Beach towns will fill with domestic tourists on weekends. If you’re heading to Costa Rica at this time, accommodations should be booked well ahead as things will get busy and some places will enforce minimum stays. 

A colorful Red-Eyed Tree Frog sits on a tree in a tropical setting.
Costa Rica is famous for its wildlife, like the red-eyed tree frog © Brandon Alms / Shutterstock

Shoulder Season: May to July 

Best time for budget travelers 

This is the time when the rain picks up and the stream of tourists starts to taper off. Luckily for travelers on a budget, many accommodations offer lower prices. However, exploration can be more difficult at this time as roads are muddy and rivers begin to rise; off-the-beaten-track travel is challenging.

Low Season: August to November 

Best time for surfers 

This is the time when the rainfall is highest, but Pacific swells bring the best surfing conditions. Rural roads can be impassable due to river crossings. Accommodations prices can lower significantly, but check before booking as some places close entirely. 

Surfers at sunset walking on beach, Costa Rica.
The low season brings rain but big waves for surfers © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images


Every year opens with a rush, as North American and domestic tourists flood beach towns to celebrate. January sees dry days and occasional afternoon showers.
Key events: Fiesta de la Santa Cruz; Jungle Jam; Las Fiestas de Palmares 


February is the perfect month, with ideal weather and no holiday surcharges. The skies above Nicoya are particularly clear, and it’s peak season for some species of nesting turtles to do their thing.
Key events: Envision Festival; Fiesta Cívica de Liberia; Festival of the Little Devils; Fiestas Civicas de La Fortuna; Carrera Chirripo

Mother with daughters on hanging bridge in Costa Rica.
Explore Costa Rica on its amazing hanging bridges © Johner Images / Getty Images


Excellent weather continues through the early part of March, though prices shoot up during Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter) and North American spring break, aka Holy Week and Unholy Week.
Key events: Feria de la Mascarada; Día del Boyero; Vuelta al Arenal 


Easter and Semana Santa can fall early in April, which means beaches fill and prices spike. Nicoya and Guanacaste are dry and hot, with little rain.
Key events: Día de Juan Santamaría; Feria del Ganado 


Attention, budget travelers: wetter weather begins to sweep across the country in May, heralding the country’s low season. So, although conditions are pleasant, prices drop.
Key events: Día de San Isidro Labrador 

A baby three-toed sloth in Costa Rica Rainforest.
See a sloth in the Costa Rican rainforest © Mark Kostich / Getty Images


The Pacific Coast gets fairly wet during June, though this makes for good surfing. The beginning of the 'green season,' this time of year has lots of discounted rates.
Key events: Festival de las Artes (FIA); Día de San Pedro & San Pablo; National Surfing Championship 


July is mostly wet, particularly on the Caribbean coast, but the month also occasionally enjoys a brief dry period that Ticos call veranillo (summer). Expect rain, particularly late in the day.
Key events: Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar; Día de Guanacaste; Walter Ferguson Calypso Festival 

Costa Rica for solo travellers


The middle of the rainy season doesn’t mean that mornings aren’t bright and sunny. Travelers who don’t mind some rain will find great hotel and tour deals.
Key events: La Virgen de los Ángeles 


The Península de Osa gets utterly soaked during September, which is the heart of the rainy season and what Ticos refer to as the temporales del Pacífico. It’s the cheapest time to visit the Pacific.
Key events: Costa Rican Independence Day; Whale & Dolphin Festival 


Many roads become impassable as rivers swell and rain continues to fall in one of the wettest months in Costa Rica. Lodges and tour operators are sometimes closed until November.
Key events: Día de la Raza 

Accessible Destination: Costa Rica


The weather can go either way in November. Access to Parque Nacional Corcovado is difficult after several months of rain, though the skies are usually clear by month’s end.
Key events: Día de los Muertos; La Ruta de los Conquistadores 


Although the beginning of the month is a great time to visit – with clearer skies and relatively uncrowded attractions – things ramp up toward Christmas and reservations become crucial.
Key events: Las Fiestas de Zapote; Fiesta de los Diablitos; Festival de la Luz (Festival of Light); Jaco Christmas Festival

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Costa Rica for first-timers: top 10 spots you must visit
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