Costa Rica is a lush and vibrant country filled with colorful flora and fauna, friendly locals, and a lifetime of memories awaiting adventurous travelers. Known as the eco-tourism capital of the world, this destination offers tropical rainforests, stunning beaches, and an abundance of culture. But when is the best time to visit Costa Rica? We’ve got the answer here!
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY
While most northern countries are experiencing their coldest weather of the year, Costa Rica is a sunny haven. Because of this, many people flock to Costa Rica to escape the snow. There are plenty of New Year’s celebrations during this time of year. During the first week or so in January, it can be very expensive and crowded. But if you travel after the first week, the prices will drop, the crowds will thin, and you’ll get some of the best weather of the year!
In January, you can take part in the lively Palmares Civic Fiestas, which feature parades, live music, bullfighting, and folk dancing! February is also filled with many amazing festivals and events. Some of the best events not to miss during this month include the following: Fair for San Isidro del General (beginning of the month), Carnival at Puntarenas, and Fiestas de los Diablitos (both at the end of the month). The Fair for San Isidro del General is an agricultural festival, which features exhibitions, livestock, flower exhibitions, and bullfights. Carnival at Puntarenas is a whole week of partying and celebrating Costa Rican style! Don’t miss out on one of the many parades. Lastly, Fiestas de los Diablitos, or festival of the tiny devils, is a celebration featuring colorful masks and costumes, tons of dancing, and amazing fireworks displays! This is also a good month to visit Costa Rica, as it’s the nesting period for quetzals (beautiful tropical birds) high above in the cloud forests. January and February is the perfect time to visit for travelers who want to party and celebrate!
MARCH AND APRIL
During these months, Costa Rica fills up with younger people on spring break vacation. Local Costa Ricans also are out and about during the Easter weekend. During these months, it’s best to stay closer to the southern and central parts of the country, where the forests are still lush and green. Farther north, it gets very hot, and most of the rivers have dried up. Some of the March celebrations include the following: Festival Internacional de las Artes (mid-month), Dia del Boyero Nacional Parade (a gigantic and colorful oxcart parade held on the second Sunday of the month), and the Day of the Patron Saint San Jose (a religious holiday with celebrations in almost every town on March 19). In April, the biggest celebration by far is the Holy Week of Easter (unless, of course, Easter falls during a different month during the year that you’ll be visiting). Keep in mind, this isn’t the weekend to do any shopping, as most of the stores will be closed! These months also occur between the dry and rainy season, so prepare for anything. If you want to experience the true Costa Rican culture, March and April is the best time to travel for you!
MAY AND JUNE
By the time May and June come along, the rainy season is beginning to pick up, and the crowds of tourists begin to thin out. But even though you’ll get some showers, this is a great time to visit Costa Rica. Most memorable of all, the sea turtle nesting period is in full-swing, and you’ll be able to see some of the tiny hatchlings (but please keep your distance for their safety). As far as events, May is filled with religious holidays to participate in, including the following; Dia de San Isidro Labrador (May 15), and Carrera de San Juan (May 17). On May 1, witness Costa Rica’s Labor Day, a national holiday filled with parades to celebrate the beginning of Spring!
Due to the rainy season picking up, June doesn’t have many events. But this is a perfect month for nature-lovers! The forests are back to being a beautiful shade of green, and the rivers are filling up again! May and June have all the fun of Costa Rica, minus the tourist crowds!
JULY AND AUGUST
The months of July and August are said to be the best off-peak times to visit Costa Rica. While it still may be the rainy season, it does tend to let up a bit during these months. If you have a thirst for adventure, this is the time for you! Now that the rivers are full again, it’s a perfect time for whitewater river rafting and water rappelling. Humpback whales have also migrated south and are taking up residence in the Costa Rican waters.
In July, prepare yourself for the celebrations of Dia de le Virgen del Mar (Virgin of the Sea Day). Occurring on the Saturday closest to July 16, locals celebrate their Patron Saint by decorating fishing boats with beautiful colors and designs, as well as hosting sports events, fireworks, concerts, special Masses, and plenty of other events!
In August, you’ll experience sunny mornings and rainy afternoons. On August 30, you’ll want to witness the beautiful procession of 30 saints on Dia de San Ramon. They visit the Patron Saint, and the locals have lively celebrations and parades. For those who want the perfect blend of culture and adventure, visiting Costa Rica in July and August is a must-do!
SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
These months are the rainiest of the whole year on the Pacific side. But the amount of rain means amazing discounts on flights, hotels, and tours! However, if you’re wanting sun, the Caribbean side is experiencing its driest weather of the year. On September 15, witness Central America’s Independence Day. The day before, a Freedom Torch is brought into Cartago, Costa Rica by student relay runners at 6 p.m., followed by the singing of the National Anthem. There’s bands, parties, celebrations, and even a kids’ lantern parade where they can decorate their own lanterns! In October, Columbus Day is celebrated the true Costa Rican way, with a whole week of parties, dances, and live music. If you want to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Costa Rica, and save a few dollars while you’re at it, this is the best time to do so!
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER
Crowds begin to pick up again as the holiday season approaches, but flights and reservations are still pretty easy to get. The weather can be a little hard to predict during these months. On November 2, Costa Ricans celebrate their version of “Day of the Dead” as All Souls Day, in which families visit the graves of their ancestors and bring flowers and other gifts for their family members that have passed on to the afterlife. There is also another International Arts Festival similar to the one that occurs in March. It’s filled with culture, theatre, dancing, street performers, and lots of other activities. The end of December is filled with activities every week! Some of the best to visit include the following: Fiesta de los Negritos (week of December 8), Nicoya (December 12), Zapote Festejos Populares (December 25 to January 3), and Carnival (December 27). Both Zapote Festejos Populares and Carnival occur in the city of San Jose, and are the best way to ring in the New Year in style! Good food, bullfighting, giant balloons, fireworks, and plenty more! If you visit Costa Rica during November and December, you’ll never run out of things to do!
FIND YOUR OWN TRAVEL STYLE
Costa Rica is a beautiful destination at any time of the year. But depending on your traveler type, the best time to visit Costa Rica could vary! While researching when is the best time to visit any destination, the key is to understand what kind of traveler you are, and what you hope to get out of your trip! This will make the decision-making process much easier for you, and you’ll get an enjoyable experience!
Do you know when you want to visit Costa Rica? Acanela Expeditions offers trips to this stunning country year-round! You could be spending your Costa Rican days relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, exploring wildlife, ziplining, or participating in a cultural activity (cocktail mixing, painting, or keychain-making to name a few)! Don’t wait — book your trip today.
Post by Demitria Rounis