Find here the most common mistakes about the weather in Costa Rica. Myths and beliefs that are not necessarily true.
When thinking about coming to Costa Rica a lot of people thinks that the weather forecast is very simple: Rainy season: It will rain. Sunny season: It will be sunny and warm. Ehmmm no. That is not necessarily true.
We are in the tropics you see? Here the weather goes by other rules, sometimes still unknow by humans. However, us locals have a clue about them, as we have observed signs throughout our lives.
So, I’d like to give you eight tips in terms of the Costa Rican weather that might result interesting for you:
Mistake # 1: “The forescast says that….” To think that the weather in Costa Rica is predictable. It is… sometimes. But sometimes it isn’t. So, at the end it is absolutely unpredictable.
Mistake # 2 “Rainy season in Costa Rica is from May to November and sunny season is from December to May”. This is true regarding for instance Guanacaste, in the North Pacific. But, for instance all the areas highly influenced by the Caribbean Sea (The Caribbean coast, Arenal Volcano, Sarapiqui River, etc.) go by different rules: Sunny season go in March and April and in September and October, with exceptions like whenever “El NIño” is around and it doesn’t rain much throughout the year.
Mistake # 3: “Rainy season in Costa Rica is rain rain rain”. Mistake! Actually in the rainy season usually it is sunny half a day mostly in all regions. Two or three hours of rain and that’s it! (Except when there is what we call “Temporal”. A “temporal” in Costa Rica means that there is a low pressure system in the Caribbean (Or in the Pacific) that is causing a lot of rain all day long.)
Mistake #4: “We should be careful in the hurricane season in Costa Rica” Not one single time has Costa Rica been affected by a hurricane! At least not up front. Interestingly the Caribbean hurricanes hit Costa Rica on the Pacific side. What it happens is that hurricanes get stuck in the peninsula of Nicaragua and socks up the water from the Pacific Ocean and pours it over the country.
Mistake #5: “Volcanoes in the sunny season are visible…” Well! Yes… sometimes. In the sunny season it happens quite frequently that the clouds get stuck in the mountains and the rest of the valleys have blue skies. But then, again, volcanoes are mountains.
Mistake #6: “When the rainy season in Costa Rica stops, rain stops. When the sunny season in Costa Rica stops, it stops” Well no… November and May are actually called “transition months”. Their days are sunnier than the usual in the rainy season and are rainier than usual in the sunny season. But these are great months to come, as they are both in low season and the weather is quite pleasant.
Mistake #7: “Costa Rican weather is hot everywhere…” Ummm… no. The higher you get the cooler it will be. Up to the point that there are mountains in Costa Rica where the temperature may drop to the thirties (F°) and even lower. (No snow however)
Mistake # 8: “When it rains animals don’t come out”. That is true… up to a certain extent. There are animals (For example toucans that actually come out in the rain. And probably the best time to see animals is when it pours and then the sun comes out. Wow! Every creature in the forest comes out to get dry!