Costa Rica, is known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity, and vibrant culture. To truly experience the essence of this tropical paradise, understanding its two primary seasons is key. In this Budget Adventurer’s guide, we’ll delve into the distinct characteristics of Costa Rica’s dry and rainy seasons, offering recommendations on what to do, where to go, and valuable tips for a memorable journey. With Budget Costa Rica as your travel companion, we learn how to dance in the rain!

The Dry Season (Summer) December to April

What to Expect:

Costa Rica’s dry season is synonymous with sunny days, clear skies, and a landscape that transforms into a sun-kissed paradise. This period, spanning from December to April, is ideal for outdoor adventures, beach escapades, and exploring the country’s diverse ecosystems.

Where to Go:

  • Guanacaste: Known for its pristine beaches, Guanacaste shines during the dry season. Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo offer excellent opportunities for water sports like surfing and snorkeling.
  • Arenal: The Arenal region is perfect for exploring outdoor activities like hiking, ziplining, and relaxing in natural hot springs. The clear skies also provide optimal conditions for stargazing.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park: Head to Manuel Antonio during the dry season to enjoy the stunning beaches, hike the trails through the rainforest, and spot diverse wildlife, including monkeys and sloths.


  • Beach Bliss: Embrace the coastal beauty and indulge in beach activities. Playa Conchal and Manuel Antonio Beach are must-visit destinations.
  • Adventure Awaits: Explore Arenal Volcano National Park for thrilling adventures like hiking the volcano trails or taking a canopy tour.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Visit the Ostional Wildlife Refuge to witness the nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles, a unique natural phenomenon.

Things to Look Out For:

  • Crowds: The dry season is the peak tourist season, so popular destinations may be more crowded. Plan and book accommodations and activities in advance.
  • Wildfire Risks: In some areas, especially those with dry forests, there may be a risk of wildfires. Stay informed about local conditions and follow safety guidelines.

The Rainy Season (Invierno): May to November

What to Expect:

The rainy season in Costa Rica, from May to November, brings refreshing rain showers that transform the landscape into a lush, green paradise. While rain is more frequent, it often comes in short bursts, allowing for enjoyable exploration.

Where to Go:

  • Tortuguero: Known as the “Amazon of Costa Rica,” Tortuguero National Park comes alive during the rainy season. Witness sea turtles nesting and explore the extensive network of canals.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: The rainforest flourishes during this season, making Monteverde a haven for birdwatching, hiking, and exploring the unique cloud forest ecosystem.
  • Southern Pacific Coast: Uvita and the Osa Peninsula offer incredible biodiversity. Explore the Marino Ballena National Park and Corcovado National Park during the rainy season for a lush experience.


  • Rainforest Adventures: Immerse yourself in the unique ecosystems of Costa Rica. Explore the hanging bridges in Arenal or take a guided tour through the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
  • Turtle Nesting: Head to Tortuguero to witness the nesting of green sea turtles and loggerheads. It’s a magical experience that only happens during the rainy season.
  • Waterfall Chasing: With increased rainfall, waterfalls like La Fortuna and Nauyaca become even more spectacular. Take the opportunity to discover hidden gems off the beaten path.

Things to Look Out For:

  • Road Conditions: Some remote areas may experience challenging road conditions during heavy rainfall. Check road conditions and plan your routes accordingly.
  • Mosquitoes: With more standing water, especially in rainforest areas, be prepared for an increase in mosquitoes. Bring insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants in the evenings.

General Tips for Both Seasons:

Car Rental Convenience: We know we are a bit biased but having a car rental in either season is such a gamechanger, it provides the flexibility to explore various destinations, especially those that aren’t reachable through tours or third parties. 

Dress Accordingly: Pack light layers for the dry season and include a waterproof jacket and comfortable hiking shoes for the rainy season.

Plan Activities in Advance: While spontaneity is part of the adventure, booking accommodations and popular activities in advance ensures a smoother experience, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Respect Nature: Whether you’re exploring a dry forest or a rainforest, respect the environment and follow responsible tourism practices. Stay on designated trails, avoid disturbing wildlife, and support conservation efforts.


Costa Rica’s two seasons offer distinct but equally enchanting experiences. Whether you’re basking in the sun-drenched beaches of Guanacaste or trekking through the misty cloud forests of Monteverde, each season unveils a unique facet of this tropical haven.

With Budget Costa Rica, your journey becomes more than just a trip; be sure to check our guide for the best rental option according to your plans and needs here. 

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