Live tropical, feel cool. It is hot at the beach, but pleasantly mild in the mountains. If it is 90F at sea level it will be 75F at 2500 feet altitude. And this is year around!
Costa Rica’s has two seasons: rainy and dry. The dry season runs from January to May and the rainy season from May to November and December.
The Caribbean has a rainy season that begins from mid to late April and continues through December and sometimes into January. The wettest months are July and November, with a dry spell that usually happens around August or September. The average rainy season day will begin clear with a few hours of sunshine that then gives way to clouds and rain by the afternoon. In contrast, the driest months of February and March, could go almost entirely without rainfall. In the Pacific, the rainy season begins in May and runs through November. Like the Caribbean, days often begin sunny and very pleasant, with rains coming later in the day.
The average annual temperature in Costa Rica is around 21 to 27 degrees Celsius or 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The coolest months of the year are November, December and January. From March to May temperatures are a bit higher and afternoon showers in the rainy season are often cool.
The Central Valley includes parts of the provinces of San José, Cartago, Heredia and Alajuela. Like Costa Rica itself, climate in the Central Valley varies from warm and dry to humid and chilly depending on which side of the valley you live on. The Central valley, even during the rainy season, usually does not have long rainy days. Mornings are mostly clear, followed by a few hours of heavy downpour in the afternoon. During the dry season, particularly during late December and January, expect dry windy conditions with cool nights.
The North Pacific region encompasses the province of Guanacaste, the western section of the province of Alajuela and the northern section of the Puntarenas Province. The North Pacific is one of Costa Rica’s most visited areas as it has some of the country’s most beautiful beaches (Tambor, Sámara and Flamingo). Liberia, the main city, has an average annual temperature of 82 F (28 C) with high temperatures above 90 F (32 C) from February through April. This is Costa Rica’s sunniest region, but you can count on regular afternoon showers from June through October – excluding the traditional dry spell in July called “veranillo” or little summer. The North Pacific has an average annual rainfall of 55 inches (1400 mm) and has its sunniest months from January through April.
This coastal region includes parts of the provinces of Puntarenas and San José. The Central Pacific area includes the well-visited beach communities of Jacó, Dominical, Uvita, Quepos (near Manuel Antonio National Park) and Puntarenas to the north. In Puntarenas, daytime temperatures may reach the low nineties (above 32 degrees Centigrade) throughout the year. March through May is considered the hottest months, although at the beaches, cool breezes moderate the heat. The dry season lasts from January through March. Rain showers will occur most afternoons at other times of year. The mountain range along the Pacific coast has temperatures moderated by altitude.
Part of the province of Puntarenas, this region has some of Costa Rica’s most varied topography with its high mountains and huge tracks of pristine rainforest that are located in the Osa Peninsula. The South Pacific area has a dry season (January to mid April) and rainy season (May through December). Temperatures near the coast don’t vary that much throughout the year with averages from the low 80’s through low 90’s (upper 20’s to low 30’s Centigrade). The Valle del General (General Valley) has more moderate temperatures (high 70’s to low 80’s) and morning temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C) in the higher elevations. Rain varies widely from 120 inches (3000 mm) in the Valle Del General to 200 inches (5000 mm) in the Osa Peninsula. The rainiest month in this area tends to be October, while the driest month is February.
The Caribbean includes the province of Limón and is the most humid and rainiest area in Costa Rica. Attractions here include Tortuguero National Park, Cahuita and the scenic white water rapids. Because of the constant humidity coming in from the Caribbean Sea, downpours can last for days. Temperatures in the coastal areas and in the southern Talamanca Mountains average in the low 80’s (upper 20’s Centigrade), with May, June and October being the hottest months. Somewhat lower temperatures may occur from December through February. Although it rains throughout the year, you can normally count on clearer conditions during September and October. In the Turrialba mountain region the rainiest months are June and November. Temperatures here are slightly cooler (upper 70’s to low 80’s year around.
The rural and less populated northern region includes parts of the provinces of Guanacaste, Alajuela and Limón. Temperatures will vary depending on the altitude. The higher elevation temperatures average in the low to mid 60’s (mid to upper teens Centigrade) while in the lowlands, like in San Carlos, expect temperatures in the upper 70’s to low 80’s (mid to upper 20’s Centigrade) year around. Like the Central Valley, the months of April and May are considered the hottest, while December and January the coolest. Lowland rainfall averages about 100 inches (2,500 mm) a year while in the mountains expect to receive 140 inches (3,500 mm) or more. Attractions in the area include the active Arenal Volcano and the world famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
Annual Rainfall for Major Areas:
Central Valley: 1.100-2.500 mm 43-98 inches
Northern Pacific: 1.400-4.300 mm 55-98 inches
Central Pacific: 2.300-4.300 mm 91-169 inches
Southern Pacific: 2.300-4.000 mm 91-157 inches
Caribbean Region: 2.000-4.500 mm 79-177 inches