Tourist season is in full swing in Costa Rica right now, the dry season attracting visitors from every corner of the globe. Those in the know rest easy, knowing there’s an adventure in Costa Rica for every month of the year and that no matter when one visits, there’s a corner of the country at its absolute prime.
Wondering how to plan your Costa Rica adventure vacation to soak up the very best experiences of all?
Read on to find out!
Mid-December – April – High Tourist Season
Tourist season starts in earnest with the New Year vacation, the next few months seeing a surge in visitor numbers. North Americans and Europeans wishing to escape the winter cold head here to soak up the endless sunshine, especially on the western half of the country, which receives little rain during this period. It’s worth noting that ‘little’ doesn’t equate to ‘no rain at all’. Costa Rica is a tropical luscious country, its prime rain forests, cloud forests and jungles thriving with plenty of downpours, all year long.
Temperatures soar during these months and you’ll find the Pacific coast thriving with life, small villages swelling with tourists and a host of amazing boat trips and adventure excursions offering everything under the sun. The pros of visiting now is that everything is open (accommodation wise), flights abound and getting around the country is made infinitely easier as roads (and hiking trails) are dry and passable. The downside is that crowds can get considerable in the most visited spots (Arenal and Manuel Antonio being the top two) although there are so many options for off-the-beaten-path travels that getting away from it all is dead easy.
Beach vacations along the Pacific Coast – Clear skies and calm seas make this the best period for beach vacations along the west coast of Costa Rica. These are your picture-perfect Instagram days here, with the idyllic conditions making snorkeling, sea kayaking and SCUBA diving absolutely ideal. Head to Guanacaste and Puntarenas and discover the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see anywhere.
Laid-back relaxation – The Nicoya Peninsula can’t be beaten this time of year, especially if you’re after a secluded gem of a place where you can soak up the rays and enjoy a well-deserved stint of R&R. There are some gorgeous eco-lodges strewn about the peninsula and they offer unique, nature-filled adventures.
Snorkeling and diving on the Pacific – The first few months of the year are perfect for sea-based sports along the Pacific Coast, the idyllic climate ensuring clear visibility and calm waters. If snorkeling and SCUBA are a top priority, plan your trip between January and April.
Spring-break adventure vacations – Families head to Costa Rica in earnest from mid-March onwards, to take advantage of Spring-break vacations.
Corcovado adventures – If you want to visit Costa Rica during high-season, there’s an array of options, like Corcovado, where you can get away from the crowds and still enjoy the best climate of all. Remote and wonderful Corcovado is a wilderness and wildlife paradise, a hard place to reach but an incredibly rewarding one and undoubtedly one of the best wildlife-watching destinations in Costa Rica.
May – Mid-September – Green Season
Green Season – the name given to the wettest period of the year – is still a wonderful time to visit Costa Rica. Crowds dwindle, the wilderness is washed anew and there’s still plenty of adventure to be found all over, even more so if you’re into whitewater river fun. July and August have become increasingly more popular in recent years, with European summer vacationers catching on this stellar travel period yet, generally speaking, this is still a quiet time of year.
River-based adventures – The best rafting and wild kayaking trips kick off now, a time when the ensuing rains guarantee great water levels and oodles of fun. From now until the end of the year, adventure vacations in a few prime spots are full-on, with only a few destinations offering the best conditions of all.
Guanacaste delights – The northern Guanacaste province is renowned for having most of its daily downpours in the late afternoon and into the evening, which makes for great daytime explorations. Just know that unpaved roads can become inaccessible during high-water levels and plan where to stay accordingly.
Whale-spotting on the Golfo Dulce – This revered warm-water haven attracts humpback whales in July and August
Turtle nesting season – Costa Rica’s sea turtles head to various beaches to nest from June, culminating in mass nesting events (called arribadas) in October.
Mid-September – Early December
The Pacific Coast enjoys its rainiest months now, offering very quiet and great value-for-money experiences for those who don’t mind heavy remain restricting extensive. The Caribbean Coast, on the other hand, enjoys its driest period in September and October so if you’re travelling to Costa Rica now and wish to have a host of activities on offer, head to east instead.
December is particularly great, especially the first two weeks: rains recede dramatically, temps are cooler yet the Christmas crowds (and higher prices) have yet to materialize. This, along with early September and the last two weeks of May, are superb shoulder-season finds.
Whale Festival in Bahia Ballena – Uvita’s whale festival takes place in the first two weeks in September, highlighting the fact that this is prime whale-watching month along these shores. Head to the Marino Ballena National Park and enjoy a fantastic boat trip to spot humpback and pilot whales, dolphins, turtles and over 80 species of marine species.
Arribadas – Mass nesting events, some of the most mesmerizing natural phenomena in the world, occur in October and November. Read our guide to turtle nesting in Costa Rica to know where to go and what to expect. Las Baulas National Park is a particularly good spot to see leatherback turtles in great numbers in October. Witnessing the magical arribadas of Olive Ridley turtles is a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience in Costa Rica.
Caribbean adventures – Head to the east-coast this time of year and you can enjoy plenty of hiking, wildlife watching and snorkelling in sublime conditions – find out Highlights of the Caribbean Coast when planning your trip at this time of the year.
Tortuguero National Park – Costa Rica’s turtle sanctuary, the aptly-named Tortuguero National Park, is an unspoilt corner of remote wilderness, the perfect place to spot nesting turtles in September and October.
The Busiest Times Of The Year In Costa Rica
Aside from foreign tourists, Costa Rica also enjoys a healthy national and regional tourism scene, one that absolutely explodes during the weeks of Christmas and Easter. These can actually be wonderful times of year to visit, with many cultural events taking place which add a whole new dimension to your trip. As long as you pre-plan and pre-book your trip way ahead of time, you’ll certainly enjoy this amazing time of year in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Rios Adventure Vacations – How We Plan Our Adventures
We run our tours in various locations of Costa Rica, taking advantage of the amazing diversity of the country to offer adrenaline-pumping tours, no matter what time of year you visit. Our Costa Rica Rios group tours kick off on certain dates yet we also plan bespoke itineraries form private groups who just want to enjoy some togetherness. We know this country like the back of our hands and know precisely what to deliver depending on your interests, ages, desires and budget.
If you’ve just landed on our website, we’ll introduce you to our top Adventure Vacations – all of which can be personalized to suit your specific needs. Carefully crafted and thoughtfully planned, our tours offer something for every kind of adventure-seeker:
Honeymoons & Romance – Whether you’ve just tied the knot or wish to rekindle your romance, these superb itineraries offer a wonderful balance of downtime and adventure, so you can have the best of both worlds
Off the beaten path & Nature – For nature-lovers craving for an unplugged (and unforgettable) adventure in paradise, our remote wilderness adventures await
Family Vacations – Because a family that plays together, stays together. We offer a host of options and can advise you on the best itineraries to suit your and your child’s interests
Kayak Adventures – For avid kayakers who just can’t get enough of Costa Rica’s crazy rivers – this one’s for you! This 8-day bonanza is unreal and we offer plenty of options for your non-kayaking travel companions – so no-one needs to compromise
Week of Adventures – Undoubtedly the most popular tour on our collection, our week of adventure serves up a little of EVERYTHING: from kayaking to surfing, whitewater rafting, canopy swinging, mountain biking and everything in-between
Ready for the travel adventure of your life? Come discover Costa Rica with us in 2019!