It has been a long hot and breezy, sunny season. The skies, now are turning gray, and we are bringing the umbrellas to wherever we go. Rainy season is back. Now, for those planning a trip to Costa Rica, the question arises: What to do in Costa Rica in the rainy season?

Costa Rica in the rainy season

Pouring rains in Golfo Dulce

I was a tour guide in the Costa Rican rainforests for over twenty-five years:

Can you imagine how many times I heard the question: What.’s the best time to come to Costa Rica?

Well… Yes! Costa Rica in the rainy season blooms, and it is the best time to see it!  

Of course, it all depends on what you want to do or see. If you are into getting a tan and simply laying on the beach from breakfast to dinner… Well then! Probably the rainy season is not for you.

But, if you are into rainforests, wildlife, adventures and luscious landscapes:  

You will enjoy the rainy season intensely! 

1.    Costa Rica in the rainy season is green, green, green!

Costa Rica in the rainy season

Depending on where you go in Costa Rica, everything is green all year round (Northern Plains, South Pacific or Caribbean Coast).

Or it radically changes and in the sunny season it is brown and yellowish.

But, throughout the rainy season, the whole country turns luscious green. Wherever you go, the Pure Life phrase that Costa Ricans insist on comes to life, and you can understand it, all throughout your trip.


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2.    Fewer people, shorter lines. If any at all.

Costa Rica in the rainy season

In the sunny season, there are two facts that alter the usual daily life of touristic attractions:

First, of course, the season itself. Many people are running away from the Winter and find in the Tropics a much nicer weather.  Many people honestly think that it is the best time of the year to come.

And there are the cruises. Cruise ships that come to both coasts and that flood the country with crowds. Especially if you are near the main ports of call, you will find them. Large groups, buses of forty or fifty people filling rainforests trails, trams and hanging bridges.

Not nice if you are into adventure, wildlife, and rainforests.

3.    It rains two or three hours a day.

Costa Rica in the rainy season

Sucio River on a rainy afternoon (Photo by Carlos S. Saenz)

Rainy season is not all that rainy. September and October are the wettest months in the Pacific and Central areas. November and December if you are on the Caribbean side (This can extend to January). Yet, throughout the year, it only rains a couple of hours in the day. Refreshing the weather and bringing to life the forests.

4.    Rafting and floating.

Costa Rica in the rainy season

The great teamwork activity. The mighty rivers! Full! The best to enjoy any sport in sweet water! The rivers are full; the forests are brighter.. and you are wet, anyway!

Costa Rica in the rainy season, rafting is more fun, more technical and better than when the rivers are low… Surfing too!

5.    The rain is quite warm

Rainy Season in Costa Rica

Unless you are going to the higher mountains, the temperature remains the same, and the rain water is not cold.

If you have a tiny part of your inner child still playful, you will enjoy the Costa Rican rains more than anyone!

6.    Rainforests glow

Costa Rica in the rainy season

For the trees, the sunny season is the desert, it is rough and sterile, and some of them hardly survive. As soon as rains start, lots of them recover their leaves and several are starting to ripen their fruits. The birds and monkeys sightings are everywhere. It is quite a busy season for all the forest. Life is back with the rain!

7.    Volcanoes

Rainy season in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano Sight, from the Poas Volcano Crater, over the clouds

As odd as it may seem, it is easier to see the volcanoes after a good shower. In the sunny season, the humidity comes from the Caribbean and forms clouds that get stuck up on the tops of the mountains. Moreover, well yes! In Costa Rica, mostly all mountains, are, in fact, volcanoes. In Costa Rica in the rainy season, this humidity turns into pouring rains that after a while, pass and leave the mountains transparent.


You may also be interested in What is a tropical cloud forest after all?


8.    Turtles

Turtles

Turtle season happens all throughout the rainy season.

Depending on where you are going, you can see the huge leatherbacks, the beautiful hawksbill or the abundant green sea turtles:

Olive Ridleys: On the Pacific Coast they nest throughout the year, but the actual nesting is intense from July to November.

Hawksbill Turtles: Nest in Cahuita National Park in September & October and can be found foraging in the Golfo Dulce.

Leatherback Turtles: Caribbean Coast, On the Caribbean, they nest from March to July, although hard to see. On the Pacific, they nest from September to March.

Green Sea Turtles: They nest from July to October along the North Caribbean, especially Tortuguero.

9.    Dolphins and Whales:

Rainy Season in Costa Rica

Humpback Whales migrating time is from July to November (Dates depend on where you are going in Costa Rica. Ask your Camino Travel consultant about this!)


You may also want to read: Costa Rica is a sanctuary for humpback whales