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Relax in Nature in Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Climate & Weather

What can you expect in terms of weather and climate in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica's Tropical Climate

Costa Rica's tropical climate is pleasant throughout the year, with no extreme climate or weather conditions, prevailing trade winds helping to cool down much of the coastal areas. You can visit Costa Rica during the whole year, we are willing to recommend a customized itinerary for any dates, just ask!

We include normal conditions to be expected, nonetheless Nature has it's course and different influences may change the behavior of what is considered "normal" conditions. Many believe world conditions are changing due to our contribution in pollution and contamination of our atmosphere. This and many other reasons drive us to think and act towards sustainability.

Costa Rica is a tropical country, situated roughly between 8 and 11 degrees above the equator.  There are two distinguishable seasons: dry and rainy (green!).   The dry season is generally between late December and April and the green or rainy season lasts the rest of the year - May through November, that said, there is an average of 5 hours of daily sunshine during the rainy season.  Climate in the Caribbean coast behaves a little differently and does not have this extended dry weather, it pretty much stays green all year round and due to the humidity. Our Specials can always be modified to suit your individual needs and adapted to the expected weather in the different areas of Costa Rica.

Averages

The average annual temperature for most of the country lies between 21.7°C (71°F) and 27°C (81°F). The coolest months are from November through January, and the warmest from March through May. San José, the capital, where over a third of the population lives, stands at approximately 1170 meters altitude and has an average annual temperature of 20.6°C (69°F). In the mountains you will feel much cooler temperatures, and as expected, in the costs you will find sunnier, hotter weather.

It is interesting to note that some of the coldest temperatures are registered during the early dry season or "summer". Climate is, of course, a complex phenomenon, and there are many aspects of the weather in Costa Rica that are worth examining in more detail, such as the influences of wind, rain, and topography Weather in the tropics is essentially a phenomenon of solar radiation and air circulation. Intense heat at the equator puts air in motion, and a worldwide pattern of winds is established. The most famous of these, for Costa Rica, are the northeasterly trade winds, known locally as "vientos alisios". These winds blow with considerable force from December to March and April and are responsible for carrying moisture in the form of mists to the slopes of the Tilarán mountain range. These mists are what sustain the magnificent cloud forest ecosystem.

Rainfall patterns, although seasonal, vary greatly in intensity across geographical areas. Some locations receive over 6 meters (18 feet) of precipitation per year, while others receive fewer than 1.5 meters (4 feet) as id the case in the Guanacaste Dry Forest. Most of the total rainfall for any given site (about 70%) occurs on less than 15 days of a whole year, and will often be experienced as days of torrential downpour.

The Continental Divide

The topography of the country also has great influence on the weather patterns of a given locality. As a result, the timing of the dry and rainy seasons varies a bit on each slope of the mountain ranges that run from the northwest to the southeast and divide the nation into it's Continental Divide, a Caribbean slope and a Pacific slope.

On the Caribbean slope the rainy season begins from mid to late April and continues through December and sometimes January. The wettest months are July and November, with a dry spell that occurs around August or September. Major storms, called "temporales del Atlantico" occasionally buffet this slope between September and February, when it will rain continuously for several days; but an average rainy season day will begin clear with a few hours of sunshine that will give way to clouds and rain by the afternoon. In contrast, the driest months of February and March might be almost entirely without rainfall. Click for hotels in the Caribbean... Click for Activities in the Caribbean...

On the Pacific slope the rainy season begins in May and runs its course until November. Here again, days often begin sunny and pleasant, with rains coming later in the day. This is a period in which the trade winds coming from the northeast are much reduced in intensity, and as a result storms often come in from the Pacific Ocean in September and October. In the northern half of the country the Pacific slope experiences an intense dry season, in which no rain may fall for several months. The forests of the Northwest are to a large extent deciduous, letting their leaves fall in order to conserve water. Winds can be very strong, occasionally reaching speeds of 90 km/hr in the lowlands, although they average more around 20 km/hr. The whole Central Valley, in which the capital is situated, experiences a mild, pleasant dry season that is matched by moderate temperatures for most of the year, and a lower than average amount of rainfall. Early settlers prized the area for both its mild climate and fertile soils. The southern half of the Pacific slope is much wetter than its northern counterpart, with a shorter dry season and longer and heavier afternoon rains in the wet season. Click for hotels by zone... Click for activities by zone...

El Niño

In a discussion of the climate in Costa Rica one cannot omit El Niño, "The Child". It is a poorly understood weather phenomenon that occurs every two to seven years. It is originally detectable as an unusual warming of a section of the Pacific Ocean. Some scientists have postulated that this phenomenon might have been partially responsible for the disappearance of several species of frogs in the late 80's, which are extremely dependent on water. Each time it occurs analysts across the world hold their breaths waiting to see the effects it has on different regions, because they can often be disastrous.

We are willing to share our views on the expected weather during your stay in Costa Rica, click for more information...

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