As soon as someone mentions Costa Rica’s wet season, potential visitors tend to recoil. They are not about to sign up for a tropical beach vacation if it’s going to rain the entire time. But before you run off to sign up for a Mediterranean cruise, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that the wet season affects different parts of the country at different times. If it’s rainy on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, it’s probably drier on the Pacific side and vice versa. Also, just because it is the “wet season” does not necessarily mean that it will rain all day. The Costa Rica seasons manifest themselves in different ways. In some places you won’t see the sun for two weeks at a time during the wet season, while others only experience a few hours of rain a day. And finally, Costa Rica can be just as fun and just as beautiful in the rain as it is in the sun. You may not get as good a tan during the wet season, but you can still explore the country’s rain and cloud forests or go whitewater rafting or surfing. No matter when you plan your Costa Rica vacation, you’re going to have a good time. Just be sure to plan your activities with the weather in mind.
Costa Rica’s Dry Season
So even though you recognize that the wet season is not a terrible time to visit Costa Rica, you still want your ultimate sunny beach vacation. That means planning your trip for the dry season. If you are heading to the Pacific Coast, which includes the Nicoya and Osa Peninsulas, the driest time of year to visit is between December and April. This is also when the Central Valley, which includes San Jose and Cartago, are the driest.
Be aware, however, that the busiest and most expensive months to travel in these regions is January and December due to school holidays. Easter week is also a rather crowded time on the beaches. You will be most likely to experience sunny skies and deserted beaches if you plan a trip for February or March.
If the Caribbean Coast is calling you, be prepared for rain at any time. This is the wetter coast, though it is also less touristy and built up than the Pacific side for those wanting to veer off the beaten track a bit. The driest months are February, March, September, and October.
Costa Rica is not just known for its beaches, however, and those interested in checking out the country’s volcanoes will want to head inland. The best time to catch a glimpse of the top of the famous Arenal Volcano’s perfect cone is in September and October. The best time to visit Montevarde’s exhilarating zipline and enchanting cloud forest is from January to May. Although it is always wet in a cloud forest, the already questionable road to Monteverde becomes a mud slick during the wet season.
Costa Rica’s Wet Season
For the intrepid Costa Rica travelers who visit during the wet season, the country still holds quite a bit of magic. Perhaps the best things about traveling during the wet season are the lack of tourists and the lowered prices. You can still have a fabulous time in Costa Rica when it’s raining; you just have to go to the right places. Santa Teresa’s surfing is great all year round, and who cares about a little rain when you’re already wet. Costa Rica’s rivers swell and flow faster by the end of the wet season, so head to Turriable for some killer whitewater rafting. If you get to Monteverde in the beginning of the wet season, the road won’t be too bad and you’ll get to hike through its famous cloud forest without the usual crowds. This and more awaits those who visit Costa Rica during its wet season.