Climate of Costa Rica
Where is the country of Costa Rica located? Costa Rica is a country in Central America that borders Panama and Nicaragua. Costa Rica has a number of tropical climates, with the east and northeast of the country having a tropical rainforest climate (type Af according to the Köppen climate classification) and the rest of Costa Rica mainly has to do with the tropical monsoon climate (type Am) and the tropical savanna climate (type Af). Due to the many height differences (the central Cordillera mountain range runs right through Costa Rica) and the influences of the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, you will find a wide variety of microclimates within Costa Rica. Within a radius of a few kilometers there can be quite large differences in temperature, precipitation pattern and sunshine. The highest mountain peaks of Costa Rica (including Cerro Chirripó – 3819 meters and Irazú – 3431 meters) have a climate due to their height that no longer falls within the tropical climates based on the temperatures. With temperatures between two and twenty degrees Celsius, these places have a moderate maritime climate.
East of the Mountains
The northeast of Costa Rica, bordering Nicaragua and the Caribbean Sea, has a tropical rainforest climate. This part of Costa Rica has the highest relative humidity in the country and the maximum temperature is between 26 and 31 degrees Celsius all year round. Unlike the rest of Costa Rica, this area does not have a dry season or a rainy season, but is hot and rainy all year round. The province of Limón measures an annual average of about 3000 to 3500 millimeters of precipitation, which always falls in the form of rain. The only months in which there is a little less rainfall are February, March, September and October. However, these months still account for an average of 160 to 220 millimeters per month, amounts that are double that of the wettest months in the Netherlands. Temperatures are also the most constant in this area. The average maximum temperature in Limón is between 26 and 29 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperature between 22 and 24 degrees. The province of Heredia, in the northeast and bordering Nicaragua, averages slightly higher temperatures.
The central part of Costa Rica and the western side of the country have a real rainy season. From May, the amounts of precipitation increase significantly and there is a real rainy season. Depending on the region, this monsoon period lasts until sometime between late October and early December. From December it will be considerably drier. The combination of dry and sunny weather, and pleasant temperatures especially in the province of Guanacaste, makes part of Costa Rica especially popular among Americans as a winter sun destination.
Thanks to its relatively southern location in Central America, Costa Rica has virtually no chance of hurricanes. The supply route of hurricanes from the Caribbean is just north of Costa Rica. Because neighboring Nicaragua is on a possible course for hurricanes, you can suffer from the indirect consequences of a hurricane in the northeast of Costa Rica. Huge amounts of rain can fall within hundreds of miles of a hurricane. This water is absorbed into the air during the formation of the hurricane and can cause enormous flooding in surrounding areas.
Getting around Costa Rica
Want to come face to face with tree frogs, iguanas and sloths? Do you want to experience the fascinating nature of Costa Rica to the fullest? Want to get a glimpse of Costa Rica’s rich culture? Then take a tour through this fascinating country. If you wish, you can combine a tour of Costa Rica with neighboring countries such as Panama or Nicaragua. A reliable travel organization where you can book a Costa Rica holiday is ANWB Reizen. This travel provider offers Costa Rica tours with Dutch-speaking guidance.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month|
Best time to visit Costa Rica
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Costa Rica? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. Costa Rica is located in the part of America referred to as Central America or Central America. On the western side, Costa Rica borders the Pacific Ocean (or Pacific Ocean), while the eastern side of the country borders the Caribbean Sea. Its geographical location allows for different tropical climates. There are few differences in temperature within the country. What you notice is that the Pacific coast is warmer than the Caribbean coast and that it is slightly cooler in higher areas, where you will find the capital San José, than in the lower parts of Costa Rica.
If you have to indicate a general period as the best time to travel to Costa Rica, then we would dare to recommend January to April for a holiday in Costa Rica. This is the dry period in a large part of the country, in which the sun shows itself quite a lot. In Puntarenas, which is located in the north-central part of the wet coast, it can be on the hot side with afternoon temperatures around 33-35 degrees Celsius. December is a better alternative.
Best time to go for a beach holiday in Costa Rica
Most beach resorts offered in the Netherlands for a sun holiday in Costa Rica are located on the west coast, especially in the northern half of the west coast. Looking at the combination of temperature and precipitation, the best time to travel is late November to mid-January. If you are stuck with the Dutch school holidays, the Christmas holidays are therefore the best travel period for a beach holiday in Costa Rica. The period that follows is fine in terms of weather and precipitation, but warmer: 34-35 degrees Celsius is than normal during the day. Precipitation increases from May. This rainy season lasts until mid-November. The southern coastal areas are wetter and the rainy season lasts longer. It often starts there in the second half of April and continues until December.
Traveling around Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a popular tour destination. The impressive nature ensures that there is so much to see that it is a shame to stay in one place. The best time to travel around Costa Rica is from mid-December to the end of April, but you do need to be a little careful about planning your route. Some parts are best avoided in December, while other parts can be quite hot in April. If you want to make a trip through Costa Rica during the May or summer holidays, you have to take into account that you are in the wet season. That means you could be dealing with heavy rain showers.