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Weather and the Travel Seasons
Temperatures are moderate year-round, averaging 72 degrees in the highlands and from the low 70’s to the high 90’s in the lowlands and coastal areas. The rainy season, which is generally characterized by sun in the late mornings and moderate rain in the afternoons and evenings, is from late May to November, with the heaviest rains falling in October. On the Caribbean side, the driest period is from February to April followed by a short "Indian Summer" in June and July.

Visitors arriving in Costa Rica from early December through late April can expect sunny days, comfortable nights and dry weather. Winds pick up during this time of the year, particularly in the Northern Guanacaste Region. This will have an effect on your golf game, fishing and it is the peak season for wind-surfing on Lake Arenal. Rivers tend to be at their lowest level in March, which makes for a more technical and challenging white water rafting experience.

December to April also marks the tourism high season, with peak seasons during the week from Christmas to New Year’s and Easter. Advanced reservations of up to six months are highly recommended for travelers looking to visit during the peak seasons, as well as during long holiday weekends in the United States (President’s Day, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving in particular). Reservations of up to eight months in advance are recommended for some of the most popular, smaller resorts (Lapa Rios, Flor Blanca and the Four Seasons in particular).

The period between May and November is considered the green season, as the seasonal rains turn the landscape into many bright shades of green. While rainfall increases, particularly in the Northern Plains, the Caribbean coast and the Central Valley, it also improves some of the most popular activities such as hikes in the rainforest and white water rafting. Fishing tends to pick up in the Guanacaste Region.

Beach and sun-seeking tourists can still enjoy the green season. This time of year brings rain to most of the regions inland, but the beach areas tend to have sunny mornings and only an occasional rain shower in the afternoon or early evening. Extreme weather systems may increase rainfall throughout the country, but chances for good weather along the Pacific shoreline throughout the year are good.

May and June are transition months from the dry weather to the rainy season. This also brings down the prices of hotels and airline tickets, which makes this one of the best times to visit for bargain hunters. Additionally, during these months, hotels tend to have are less crowded, increasing your privacy and freeing up the staff to pay even more attention to your needs.

July and August, although part of the rainy or green season, are also very popular months to visit Costa Rica. Since it is summer holiday time in both the United States and Europe, a large number of tourists choose to vacation in Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s popularity is growing in many European countries, and travel is increasing as direct flights are added between European capitals and San Jose. Reservations for travel to Costa Rica in July and August are recommended at least two to three months before traveling.

September and October are the true low season in Costa Rica. If rain is not a big issue for you, this is the absolute best time to visit, as you will not only find the best rates available year-round, but you will have your pick of hotels, room-types and will get the full attention of the staff.
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