Should I Visit Costa Rica in the Rainy Season? :

If you haven’t visited Costa Rica during the rainy season, you may be apprehensive about traveling at this time of year. Thoughts of being inside all day, missing out on exploring its world-famous beaches and national parks. But don’t throw out all hope just yet. There are still plenty of reasons to come see this wonderful country during its wet days.  

Costa Rica’s rainy season extends from the months of May until November generally. The weather begins to transition slowly during April and November but still brings many warm sunny days perfect for the outdoors. September and October are known to be the months of the rainiest days and nights. It’s considered to be winter to the locals.  

Costa Rica is Green Again

The rainy season can be one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit Costa Rica. Life is restored to the country’s landscapes, forests, and jungles. Gone are the days of the burnt grass and some of those crispy looking trees. Fires are no longer burning through the forests or sides of the roads and the dust settles down.

The rains bring Costa Rica back to life, what so many of us envision it to be. Bright and lush with vibrant greens, it is breathtaking. You can feel the energy of the earth being renewed and fed. It’s no wonder that it is known as the green season because literally, everything becomes green again.

Visiting during the rainy season gives you the opportunity to see Costa Rica for what it really is. Temperatures can even feel a bit cooler in some places and especially in the evenings. You will find yourself reaching for a blanket some nights and there is no need for air conditioning most nights. 

Opportunities for Discounts and Saving Money

One of the best reasons to visit Costa Rica during the rainy season is the discount on prices that you can likely find. It is considered to be low season which in turn comes with reduced rates in some places.

Restaurants in tourist destinations may have an increase in deals and promotions. You can find places with percentages off their menus or 2-for-1 meals to entice people in to keep revenue flowing.

Even hotels will have a bit of discount on their typical nightly stay with the low season. Some hotels choose to entirely shut down. Those that are open try to make their prices appealing to potential customers.

Just do a bit of research online and on social media and you may come across amazing accommodations that have reduced prices. Rainy season prices can have you staying at places that maybe you wouldn’t consider before that were out of your price range.  Even driving around, you can find signs out front advertising discounts.

Car rentals can become extremely pricey in Costa Rica. Renting in the low season can bring a bit of a deal for what is typically a huge portion of your expense on your trip.

Less Crowded

High season tourists haven’t arrived yet along with the soaring prices that accompany their presence. A calmer vibe takes over the parks and beaches. Many of the people that are here are here because of their love of the country. The true chill and pura vida, for the good and the bad of it all, the rain and the shine.

Beaches will be much less crowded and may even find you have it all to yourself. Your personal paradise without a soul to bother you. It is more of the locals that take holidays during this time. As well as the peak seasons of Semana Santa their Easter Week and the Christmas and New Year’s days. Your experience will be much more different out exploring the sights than when it is prime tourist season.

Sunshine on the Caribbean Coast

Summer weather fills many of the days on the Caribbean Coast, it doesn’t follow much of the weather patterns as the rest of the country during September and October.

While the Pacific Coast is being hit with rainy days the other side is seeing the opposite. Actually, these months are their driest months of the year. So, it’s a great time to take advantage of the Caribbean side of the country and its sunny dry days.

The Water is Flowing

The high season correlates with the dry season when there is minimal rainfall and sunny days. As a result, you can come across rivers that have dried up and waterfalls not flowing at full capacity. Depending on the time of the year, may even be just small streams flowing over if they are small waterfalls.

But during the green season, the skies bless the earth with an abundance of rain and the waters are flowing and full. The waterfalls are much more powerful and spectacular pushing out excessive amounts of water. It is the ultimate time to go rafting when the rapids are at their peak with high water levels.

With that being said especially into the peak months of the rainy season do exercise caution. Some waterfalls are best not to be entered with the power of the rains coming down and becoming quite dangerous.

Make note if it has recently rained before visiting as this can alter the color. The colors of the cascading waters transform into shades of greys and browns from all the runoffs.   If the color isn’t what’s important to you like the turquoise shades of Rio Celeste, then no need to worry. Be cognizant of swelling riverbanks and remember to use common sense and not be clouded in judgment from vacation mode.

It is Peak Season for Some Wildlife Experiences

The green season is turtle season. When the turtles make their way up onto the shores to nest. If you took the risk to visit during the peak rainy season of September and October, then even better, it paid off. It’s the height of arribadas. The wonderous phenomenon of Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

Costa Rica does have a lengthy humpback whale season throughout the year but the key months fall within their winter months. August and September are prime months for viewings and one of the benefits of being in Costa Rica during the rainy season.

The Sun Still Shines

Don’t be fooled by the term rainy or green season. It doesn’t rain all day every day for the entirety of the period. Just like the winter months in other countries, every day isn’t a blizzard or snowstorm. The sun can still shine.

Just expect it to decrease as the months progress through the season, by September and October you can experience a lot of rainier days with heavier periods. The mountainous areas especially and with windier days.

The secret to still getting out and enjoying your time in Costa Rica is to head out early. During the first half of the green season, the sun is still out throughout the morning into mid-afternoon typically. A plentiful amount of time to be out at the beaches, exploring national parks, and sightseeing.

One important note if planning to travel throughout the low season is to be aware of your travel. This is what can become most affected. Having awareness of the weather systems, your route, and proper transportation is extremely important. Especially renting a 4×4 if doing any cross-country adventures.

During the high precipitation months, the excess rain can wash out roads and those off the beaten path. Plan your trips around roads that are much more accessible especially if it is your first time visiting. Unfortunate landslides can occur so avoiding travel on heavy rainfall days can help to alleviate any fears and concerns when on the roads.

Try visiting places that are close to your accommodations to avoid any lengthy travel if the weather becomes unpleasant. Being at your destination before the sun sets can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and situations. Just remember that it becomes dark by 6 pm in Costa Rica, throughout the year. Driving in the dark during the rain is something not even the locals enjoy doing.

Final Thoughts

Having experienced the downpours, hearing the shaking power of the thunder, and sitting through the temporary outages is all part of being in Costa Rica. Can you really even say you know Costa Rica if you haven’t visited in the rainy season?  This is the real Costa Rica and sometimes some of the best off-the-cuff moments that you will forever cherish and tell stories about long after.

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By Samy

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