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Weather in Costa Rica

Dec 03, 2012

Weather in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful country and it is worth visiting (or even living) for so many reasons! A very important one of them is the weather.

The country is located in a tropical area, so people enjoy nice warm weather year round. Even if Costa Rica is a small country, visiting it from one corner to another will allow you to experience a great diversity of climates, or microclimates, which depend on the topography and geography of every region.

Why Does Costa Rica Have so Many Microclimates?

The biggest influence on any region's climate in Costa Rica comes from its location, the weather changes as you move through the country. For example, the capital San Jose and the areas around it have what is considered to be the best climate in the world. It has mild weather, with temperatures that vary between 60 degrees (the minimum during winter, when wearing a light jacket will be enough to keep warm) and 80 degrees. Another reason for the heavenly climate in some of Costa Rica's regions is the altitude, and that is probably why most people living in Costa Rica have settled in the center of the country: this area, known as the Central Valley, is located at 3,000 or more feet above sea level, the altitude giving it the mild climate. On the other hand, climates start to change as you move closer to the coast. Due to the lower altitude and the ocean, temperatures rise and there is more humidity. As a result, in the Central and South Pacific areas, temperatures can reach 90 degrees, making the weather a bit more difficult to cope with, especially because of the humidity. If you have difficulty breathing, then a good idea would be to go a little bit higher - on the hills and mountains near the coast where the ocean breeze is more soothing.

Costa Rica's most populated area on the coast is the North Pacific. The Gold Coast is known for its sunny and dry climate, and the great weather attracts tourists year round, as temperatures never go below 80 degrees.

The Two Seasons in Costa Rica

Even if temperatures are more or less the same every month, there are still two distinct seasons in Costa Rica. The thing that differentiates them is the quantity of rain that falls; thus, you have the dry season, called "verano" by locals (summer in Spanish) and the rainy one, or "invierno", meaning winter. The Costa Rican summer lasts from December to April and is preferred by most tourists, while winters are in the other half of the year. The seasons are the same almost everywhere in Costa Rica, except for the Caribbean Coast: here, the weather is rainy almost all year round, with a short, drier season that lasts for two months, generally in September and October.

Let's have a closer look at the two Costa Rican seasons:

  • The dry season - the sun is shining, the sky is blue and clear and the weather is always great, especially in the Central Valley. Tourists know and love this, and it's why flights are more expensive this time of the year, as well as hotel stays and all the activities you can enjoy while in Costa Rica during this time.

  • The rainy or green season - although the skies are clear in the morning, don't let this fool you; it's not wise to go outside without an umbrella. You never know when the rain may start - it may be in the early or late afternoon / early evening. Either way, there is rarely a day without rain! The downpour doesn't last for long; it usually goes for about an hour before suddenly stopping to have a rest until the next day. Because the rain always comes after midday or even later, the locals run their errands in the morning, so the pouring rain won't catch them unprepared. Despite the name of "winter", the temperatures do not drop too much, so the weather is still warm - you won't see any puffy jackets or hats and gloves, a light jacket or cardigan will be more than enough. If the idea of half a year with daily rain annoys you, just keep in mind the fact that Costa Rica is famous for its lush plant life and also for its rich agriculture. They are both a result of the perfect combination between the dry and rainy seasons.

How Much Rain Does Costa Rica Get Exactly?

Well, the numbers are different from one region to another. The quantity of rain that falls tends to increase as you move from the Northern Pacific region (the driest, with 80 inches of rain every year) to the border with Panama, or the Southern Pacific coast (160-240 inches of rain per year). The Central Valley part is somewhere in between, with 120-160 inches per year, which is enough for the beautiful rainforests that grow in that area.

Points to Remember Before Heading to Costa Rica

  • December and January are the best months to go to Costa Rica. Being the first two months of the dry season, this is a good combination of both parts of the year, having the best sides of each of them.

  • Costa Rica is very close to the equator, so the sun shines brighter than in North America or Europe, making it a lot easier for you to get sunburns. Remember one word: sunscreen!

  • If you are considering a move to Costa Rica, try to visit every area and decide which microclimate you like the most. You will also have to compromise: a place near the beach may sound great, but the temperature and humidity will be higher. On the other hand, living in the central area of the country might be just a bit further from the beach, but you will enjoy the best climate in the world.

Now that you know all there is to know about the weather in Costa Rica, make sure to plan accordingly and enjoy your stay!

The weather is only part of Costa Rica's draw... the culture, the nature and the people are all reasons people love this country so much. Come and visit for yourself! Click HERE to learn more.

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