Savvy travelers know that the rainy season is the best time to visit Costa Rica because of lower rates, fewer travelers, and the beautiful green landscape. Besides, you can’t expect to go to the rainforest and not have a little bit of rain fall during your vacation. So, how can you make the most of a Costa Rican vacation during the rainy season?
- Get up early. Early rising is a must anytime you are in Costa Rica because the sun comes up around 5:30 am and sets around 5:30 pm year round, but it is especially important if you want to enjoy the opportunity for dry weather in the rainy season. The rain generally rolls in around mid-afternoon, and could fall all night, so morning is the best time for outdoor activities without rain.
- Choose your location carefully. Not all places are created equal in terms of rain in Costa Rica. Guanacaste is notoriously dry, but gets a boost of green in the rainy season while still having plenty of dry time during the day. Likewise, the pacific city of Jaco, although in a rainy area, is protected from a good part of the rain by location. In general, the Caribbean side gets less rain than the Pacific.
- Choose your timing carefully. The rainy season runs from mid-May to November, but there is a little gift from the weather gods smack in the middle of July known as “veranillo.” For three or four weeks from mid-July to the beginning of August, the rainfall decreases significantly, especially in the northern Pacific. If you want to take advantage of school holidays, and still get some sunny days on the beach, a late July timing is perfect for Costa Rica.
- Plan your day accordingly. Call ahead to your activities or tour operators and find out their rain policy. Many activities will run rain or shine. Tour operators are definitely used to working around the rain. Anything that can be done in the rain can be safely planned for the afternoon, but activities that need dry weather should be scheduled for the morning.
- Prepare for delays. Most of Costa Rica, particularly in the high tourist areas, will just keep running during the rainy weather, but the roads are a different story. Traveling through the country when the roads are rain soaked can slow things down, but if you have hired a tour company or driver, you can be assured that they will be prepared for the conditions. For your own peace of mind, just don’t pack your schedule so full that a travel delay will mess up the entire day.
- Don’t let the weather report scare you. During our October trip, the weather report showed all-day rain for our entire trip. We were prepared for the rain to never stop, but in reality, we had a pretty dry experience overall. Late afternoon and evening showers were common, but it hardly did more than sprinkle during any of our daytime activities.
- Come prepared. You have to know that at some point you will get wet, so pack for the rain. Wear weatherproof shoes, bring an umbrella, or better yet, throw a lightweight poncho in your daybag.
- Embrace the rain. In fact, there are some activities that that will be even more memorable in the rain. The rainforest will be shrouded in mystery. The hot springs will sizzle as the cool rain hits the pools. And, I am sure I don’t have to tell you that 4-wheeling is way more fun with mud and puddles.
- Just enjoy. Yes, the rain is a bummer on vacation, but it comes packaged some pretty terrific perks, namely the rain brings out the beauty of an already beautiful country. There is a reason they call the rainy season the ‘green season.’ The countryside and jungle are a vibrant green, and the waterfalls are cascading with terrific force that makes for great picture opportunities. The locals agree that the rainy season is the best time of year in Costa Rica.
Looking for More? Check out why Jaco is a great family destination in Costa Rica. Or maybe you are looking for some romance in Costa Rica.