Visiting any country during their rainy season doesn’t sound very appealing – cold drizzle, mud, monsoons – the rainy season has a bad reputation.
This isn’t the case in the Central American country of Costa Rica, the land of Pura Vida or pure life. There are many reasons why the rainy season (May to mid-November) can actually be the best time to book a vacation.
So, let’s stop calling it the rainy season and call it by something more positive – the green season. Read on to discover 10 reasons why the green season is the best time to visit Costa Rica.
10 Kids are out of school
Many families take advantage of their kids’ summer break to plan family vacations. Unfortunately, everyone else has the same idea making a trip to Disney World, or a US beach an unpleasant crowded experience.
Not so in Costa Rica. While tourists avoid the rainy season, smart travelers know it’s the “low season” for tourists which means very few crowds at most attractions. And, the good news is that Costa Rica is filled with activities the kids will love. From zip-lining to sloth watching, you’ll make great memories that will last a lifetime.
9 Magnificent waterfalls
It takes a lot of water to make a waterfall an impressive thing to see and the green season is when the waterfalls are at their most powerful and majestic. In Costa Rica, you’ll find myriad captivating falls from 60 to 300 feet high.
Visit Rio Celeste in the Rio Tenorio National Park where the water is a brilliant blue. The hour-long hike to the top of the waterfall is worth it for the view alone. Or, plan to visit rescued jungle animals at La Paz Waterfall Gardens outside of San Jose before hiking a short distance to the falls.
You may not consider booking a trip to Costa Rica just for the fruit but the green season is the perfect time to find fresh fruits in quantities you won’t find at any other time of the year.
Try the spiny, red mamón chino, also knowns as rambutan, sold in bags along almost every road in the country. Or, experience the dark-skinned mangosteen which originally came from Indonesia. Inside you’ll find a white fruit that tastes somewhat like a cross between a banana and a peach. Que rico!
7 Prices Are Lower
Lower demand from travelers means lower prices. Airfare, car rentals, hotels, even Airbnb rental prices drop during the green season. Many excursions and restaurants will also offer green season deals to entice travelers to visit.
Hotel owners will tell you Costa Rica has three seasons: peak, high, and low (or green). Peak season is during traditionally busy travel holidays like Christmas, or Easter, high season is the dry season when travelers flock to the country, and low season happens during the wetter months. During that time, you can expect to save $30-50 per night at hotels making it the perfect time to visit.
6 The Hot Springs Are Magical
The large number of volcanoes in Costa Rica makes it home to many hot springs. There is nothing more magical and relaxing than soaking in the warm water of the springs when the air is cool and a fine mist is falling. During the green season, you’ll find fewer people willing to brave the weather and you may find you’ll have the place to yourself.
There are hot springs near the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, at the Miravalles Volcano in Guanacaste, and at Rincon de la Vieja. Whether your idea of a perfect vacation means a swim-up bar at a high-end resort, or soaking with the locals in a natural thermal river, you’ll love the serenity of the springs as you experience the warm rains of the rainforest
5 Green Season Showers Bring Many Flowers
During the rest of the year, many areas of the country turn brown and dry, not exactly what you imagine when you think of Costa Rica. It’s because of the amount of rainfall the country gets during the rainy season that makes it a nature lover’s paradise. As the jungle comes back to life it provides a beautiful backdrop to a wide variety of blooming trees and flowers. The beginning of the green season is also prime time for orchid viewing as the early rains trigger their colorful blooms.
4 Sea Turtles
If you want to experience the early part of the life cycle of Costa Rica’s turtles, the green season is the perfect time to visit. Between September and November, turtle hatchlings are making their way to the sea and there are lots of places in Costa Rica to witness this phenomenon.
Hermosa Beach on the central Pacific coast is one of the best places to observe the hatching sea turtles making their way to the ocean and, according to Costa Rica Experts, Tortuguero Beach is the largest nesting site for the endangered green sea turtles in the western hemisphere.
3 There’s A Whale Watching Festival
If you’re looking to connect with marine wildlife, there’s no better place to do it than during the Whale and Dolphin Festival in September at Ballena Marine National Park on the Pacific coast. You can book a whale-watching tour for around $35 for adults and $26 for kids 3-9 years of age, and the festival has activities for guests of all ages.
If your travel plans don’t align with the dates of the festival, there are lots of other opportunities to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. The best viewing times are from August to October along the Southern Pacific Coast.
2 It Doesn’t Rain All Day (Usually)
Just because it’s called the rainy season doesn’t mean it rains all day, every day. On most days in Costa Rica, there will be a rainstorm in the afternoon, or at night leaving plenty of time to have fun between raindrops.
Be forewarned: when it rains, it rains! Costa Rica’s epic thunderstorms will remind you of nature’s power and the soothing sounds at night will lull you to sleep.
It’s important to note that a wise person once said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”. Be prepared by packing rain gear and lightweight clothing, and the occasional storm won’t feel like a hassle. Besides, all that rain brings on some pretty incredible rainbows.
1 Cooler Temperatures
Temperatures on the Caribbean beaches during high season (December through April) can reach over 90 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity making it an uncomfortable time to visit. While the temperatures on the coast stay higher than the rainforest regions all year, you can expect much more comfortable weather in both places during the green season.
In areas of higher elevation the average temperature range is between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round so if you’re trying to beat the heat in August in the US, traveling to Costa Rica’s mountainous areas may be the way to go.