From blissful beaches and palm-fringed shores to volcanic terrain and dense jungle, Costa Rica’s landscapes are a destination highlight and can all be experienced in their best light during Costa Rica summer holidays. Although our summer is technically Costa Rica’s winter (and the rainy season), the weather during mornings and early afternoons remains delightful and temperatures rarely stray below the mid-20s. Travelling between May and June coincides with the ‘green season’, when the seasons are in transition and the country is generally quieter. In our humble opinion, witnessing the lush rainforests
and blossoming vegetation (minus the crowds) is well-worth braving a few showers for. In July and August, much of the country also tends to experience a dip in rainfall – referred to as veranillo (mini summer) – promising the climate of Costa Rican summers, without the throngs of sun-seeking tourists. Certain regions are actually at their best during Costa Rica summer holidays, such as Arenal and the Caribbean coast, while the summer months also see some special wildlife events. Head to Tortuguero National Park between July and September to experience turtle nesting season – watching the hatchlings scurry towards the shallows is a magical sight. Embrace the pura vida way of life during a holiday which effortlessly combines a beach break with intrepid jungle trekking and adrenaline-inducing adventure activities, against emerald-green backdrops.
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What can you expect from Costa Rica summer holidays that you won’t find anywhere else?
Costa Rica summer holidays represent an excellent time for wildlife watching and budding zoologists can experience whale- and dolphin-watching at their peak in August or September. Certain areas are also most apt for visiting during our summer. Arenal and the Caribbean are exceptions to the rainy season, with the former’s dry season occurring between May and October, and the latter seeing the most sun in September and October. If you’re still not completely convinced by the benefits of visiting during Costa Rica’s winter, December to April is the country’s dry season, and Costa Rica summer holidays can be interpreted as an escape from our less-than-desirable weather to their sun-kissed summer months.
With fewer crowds frequenting the country during this time, there’s even more opportunity for authentic experiences. Take shelter from the afternoon rainfall in one of San José’s eclectic markets, such as the Central Market, and tuck into gallo pinto (the national dish), fresh seafood, sorbetera (local ice cream) and talapinto (a thin omelette). The capital city and Central Valley benefit from a unique climate known as ‘perpetual spring’, with less variation in temperature and the most rainfall occurring in August and October. These regional variations in climate and exceptions to the rainy season work in your favour for summer holidays to Costa Rica, as there’s always a dry corner ripe for exploring.
There are plenty of charming, traditional towns punctuating the natural landscapes, which are perfect for whiling away a rain-soaked afternoon. Shop for souvenirs along the shorefront of Dominical, listen to live calypso music in Cahuita or take a yoga class in Montezuma on the Nicoya Peninsula. And once the clouds have cleared in the afternoon, head straight to one of its bohemian beach bars and make the most of the sunshine.
Special things to do during Costa Rica summer holidays:
- Head out on whale and dolphin watching excursions around the Osa Peninsula or Gulf of Papagayo during July and August.
- Trek through Arenal Volcano National Park with a local guide, across other-worldly lava fields.
- Catch some waves on the Caribbean coast – seasoned surfers will feel at home in the consistent swells, or if you’re an eager novice, we can organise surfing lessons.
- Experience turtle nesting season in Tortuguero National Park, between July and September.
Best time to visit for summer holidays in Costa Rica:
The ‘best’ time to visit Costa Rica is a much-debated topic, as the weather can vary wildly from region to region and rainfall is often sporadic and unexpected. Generally, the period from May to November is dubbed as the country’s ‘rainy season’ and gets a bad rep as a result. Yet, this season also offers plenty of merits and Costa Rica summer holidays shouldn’t be immediately discounted based on the mention of rainfall. A more romantic moniker for these months is the ‘green season’, as a nod to the lush greenery and vegetation which appears across the landscapes. Along with the flourishing scenery and abundant wildlife, this period also sees a drop in tourist crowds, adding the nickname of ‘best-kept-secret season’ to the list. Just be sure to pack your waterproofs and you’ll be good to go.