While still in the Canadian north, Toronto actually, as winter nears and many start to look south for their escape from the cold and snow that they know well is around the corner, one of the most often asked questions of yours truly is, what’s winter like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica does not have a winter as it is known in the northern hemisphere. It doesn’t have a summer either. Or Spring. Or Fall.  The seasons Costa Rica are: dry season and rainy season.

There’s never a bad weather day in Costa Rica’s dry season | © Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr

The seasons Costa Rica are: dry season and rainy season.

The dry season typically is from November/December to April/May; the rainy season from April/May to October/November. Before the effects of the changes in climate the two periods were well defined. Now not so much, a season has lingered well past the changes of the past.

Interestingly, the coldest months of the year, in the Central Valley are now December and January. Only a few years back it was typically from Christmas to the second week in January, at the latest.

When I say cold, the temperature drops a few degrees and we in Costa Rica put on sweaters and jackets, especially at night.

To understand the difference between dry and rainy, the rainy season is characterized by heavy rainfall almost every day with a two-week break usually in July called the “veranillo de san juan”.

Frog wearing umbrella. Photo Penkdix Palme

The months of September and October are worst of the rainy season, that now can extend into November. Last year, for the very first time, a hurricane touched land in Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua.

The dry season is typically the opposite, almost no rain during the entire season.

No matter if the dry or rainy season, temperatures remain constant averaging around 28 Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) during the day and 19 at night for San Jose and parts of the Central Valley, warmer in the low-lying areas such as the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and the Northern Zone, cooler in the higher elevations. Costa Rica is known for its micro-climate conditions.

Being close to the equator, the average daily highs or lows may vary a few degrees between the dry and rainy. There are extreme days, but averages remain constant during the entire year.

I always recommend newcomers to Costa Rica to check out the different areas before settling down.


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